Dear residents and friends,
I deeply appreciate your support and confidence and I look forward to an ongoing dialogue with you on the many issues, challenges and opportunities we'll face together as a community here in Ward 22, St. Paul's and as a city.
I'm advocating for a more thoughtful, creative and responsible new approach for city council. I want council to engage our city's residents with an inspiring plan and make informed decisions that are based on evidence, community consultation and the merits of arguments - rather than ideology or left or right-wing partisanship.
My staff and I are here to assist you with any concerns or questions you may have. We're also working every day to improve our local neighbourhoods- along with supporting the many valued services Torontonians rely on every day. You are always welcome to contact me at 416-392-7906 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Councillor Matlow spoke on tenant issues related to the Residential Tenancies Act, December 18 2013.
Councillor Josh Matlow spoke regarding development charges, October 9, 2013.
Federal Budget 2013 and Toronto's Infrastructure Priorities
How does this year's federal budget, announced yesterday, affect our City? In short, there's some good news, but also a lot of room for improvement.
You may have seen the headlines about new infrastructure funding. The federal government is dedicating $47 billion to infrastructure spending across the country over the next decade, and they're also going to make gas tax transfers more predictable by raising the amount by 2% each year. Stable, predictable funding is an important step towards rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and catching up with our rapid growth.
I've heard clearly from Ward 22 residents that our first priorities for new infrastructure spending should be a new Downtown Relief Subway line, taking pressure off the critically overcrowded Yonge line, and emergency repairs to keep the Gardiner Expressway safe.
Unfortunately, the federal commitment to infrastructure spending won't come close to paying for even these two priorities for Toronto. I am urging the federal government to take more responsibility for solving the serious problem of congestion in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area, which is a major economic challenge and should be a national concern. But I'm also a realist and recognize this is such an urgent problem that we can't wait for the federal government to act – we have to invest in our own infrastructure if we want anything built.
That's why I will continue to be a vocal supporter of Metrolinx's Investment Strategy to pay for improved and expanded transit across Toronto and our region.
Due to our advocacy, Metrolinx, the City of Toronto & the TTC have all formally designated the Downtown Relief Subway Line as a priority for the next phase of transit projects. If we don't clearly focus on how we'll fund transit projects, rather than continuously reopening old transit debates, nothing will get done.
And while this federal budget has some positive news for cities, it still neglects many urban priorities. We desperately need the federal government to develop national plans for daycare, housing, and transit. Remember, 80% of Canadians live in urban areas, and the federal budget should address our needs and reflect our priorities. I will continue advocating that, as density grows in our city, our infrastructure, including schools, roads, public realm, utilities and transit, finally keep up with the growing demand.
Community Clean-Up Day
Spring has finally arrived (at least on the calendar) and it's time to give Toronto a good spring cleaning together! April 19 and 20 are this year's Community Clean-Up Days for schools, businesses, and neighbourhood organizations. You're invited to visit the Community Clean-Up Day website to register your local clean-up or to join an existing clean-up. Please register by April 15 to ensure that the City of Toronto can pick up all the trash and recyclables you collect, at no cost to you.
Earth Hour 2013
8:30 pm tomorrow (Saturday, March 23rd) marks this year's Earth Hour. Please consider turning off your lights, going out to plant a tree or participating in Earthhour.org's Earth Challenges. However you choose to spend your Saturday, please take a moment to focus on your impact on the environment and how you can contribute to a healthier more sustainable planet.
This environmental initiative has gained huge momentum and is celebrated in 152 countries and 7,001 cities across the globe. It unites us all in the fight to preserve the planet for generations to come. Join millions of concerned people from around the world and become involved in Earth Hour. For more information on events in Toronto, please visit http://www.wwf.ca/events/earthhour/event/.
Reminder: Greening Your Condo or Apartment Building
I'm hosting an event with the Green Team of First Unitarian Congregation on how to make your apartment greener and more energy (and cost) efficient, including strategies and resources that are available to you. Let's make a green and healthful Toronto together! Please join me on Tuesday, March 26th at 7 pm at the First Unitarian Congregation, Workman Hall, 175 St. Clair Avenue West.
Downtown Transportation Operations Study
The City of Toronto will host a drop-in event next week to obtain public input as part of a study of transportation in the downtown core.
The Downtown Transportation Operations Study is looking at ways to get more out of the existing transportation infrastructure, in an attempt to make travel in the downtown less challenging and more efficient for all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, drivers and those involved in moving goods across the
The drop-in event will take place in the rotunda at Metro Hall, 55 John St., on Wednesday, March 27th from noon to 9:30 pm.
An online survey is available for the public to provide opinions on downtown transportation issues. The survey is available at http://www.toronto.ca/dtos.
The Trend Towards Historical Preservation in Toronto
Toronto General Hospital Fundraiser
On Thursday, April 25th Toronto General Hospital will be hosting their 4th Annual International Pub Night at St. Lawrence Hall, 157 King St E. This event begins at 7:30 pm and is a fundraiser for the hospital's transplant program. Tickets are $50 and include your first drink. There will be international beer and cider tastings, a raffle, an auction and a live band. For more information or to purchase tickets please visit www.internationalpubnight.com.
Improvements to Snow Removal Update
As I previously communicated to you, I had written to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee asking that they direct the General Manager of Transportation Services to review and report back to the Public Works Committee with recommendations on how to improve the level of service for snow removal. This was of course based on the experiences of many residents of Ward 22 this winter with the City's response to clearing and the general lack of snow removal from our city streets.
At the Public Works Committee meeting this week, the General Manager of Transportation Services was indeed directed to look into these concerns, and will be reporting back to the Committee in the fall on what steps they will be taking to address the concerns that we have raised.
Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about these concerns. I will continue to advocate for you on this critical service.
Safe Beltline Trail Crossings
At the January Community Council meeting, I moved a motion to direct Transportation Services staff to report back to this April's Community Council meeting with viable options to install signalized crossings where the Beltline trail intersects with Oriole Parkway, Avenue Road and Bathurst Street. This would include ensuring that these crossings are fully synchronized with the existing signalized intersections in the area.
This request was in response to concerns raised from trail users that there is no safe crossing that is truly contiguous for residents. While City staff had initially refused any request to consider adding signalized crossings along the Beltline, at our urging, they are now fully reviewing every viable option.
City staff recently reported back to me this week that they need a little more time to complete this report. I have asked them to ensure it is completed as soon as possible. I will keep you updated as I receive more information.
The City of Toronto has made great strides to help reduce the incidence of smoking. Successive bans on tobacco smoke in workplaces, restaurants, bars and other public spaces have succeeded in reducing second-hand smoke and the social acceptance of smoking.
However, there are still a significant number of smokers in our city and these positive policies have created some unintentional negative consequences. The current by-laws do not address the reality that many smokers are now littering on our public sidewalks.
While some bar and restaurant owners provide cigarette butt receptacles for their patrons, this is done on an ad hoc basis. This motion requests that the City Manager work with representatives from the restaurant and bar industry to develop an appropriate solution to the unsightly problem of cigarette butts littered on Toronto's sidewalks and streets.
1.City Council request the City Manager to consult with representatives from the restaurant and bar industry to develop an appropriate solution to the unsightly problem of cigarette butts littered on Toronto's sidewalks and streets; including receptacles.
2.The findings from the consultation requested in recommendation (1) be delivered in a report to Municipal Licensing and Standards Committee by July 2013
If you were able to take a March break, I hope you had a very enjoyable time with your family.
If, like me, you were working this week, I hope this finds you well nonetheless :)
Please see my latest update to you below. As always, please feel very welcome to contact me or my staff if we can be of assistance.
PS- Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Synchronized Traffic Lights
I believe curbing Toronto's traffic congestion must be a priority for council. That's why I've been strongly supporting investment in a better, and expanded, transit system and cracking down on "curb hogs" who stop in traffic during rush hour. For many months, I've also been working to improve the synchronization of our city's traffic signals. Some lights are already synchronized, but many are broken down or use out of date technology. On my request, City staff will be reporting soon on how to improve the system and help get traffic flowing better.
Toronto Casino Update
As I've written to you before, the majority of Ward 22 residents have told me they oppose a Toronto casino and I share their view. Based on consistent reports on problem gambling, traffic gridlock and potential adverse affects on the local economy, I will not be supporting a casino in the City of Toronto. I know that some of you may disagree with my decision. However, I respectfully submit to you that the known negatives outweigh any suggested benefits, and it's simply not worth the gamble.
I believe a report regarding a casino will arrive at Executive Committee in April and then be considered by Council by May of this year.
Many people have requested more information about the "No Casino" lawn signs they've seen around our neighbourhood. These are provided at no charge by the grassroots organization No Casino Toronto.
New Funding for Central Eglinton Community Centre and Northern Secondary School
Accessibility upgrades and other improvements are coming soon to the Central Eglinton Community Centre (CECC), funded with $25,000 paid by condo developers for the privilege of building in our community. The CECC provides a variety of programs and services for people of all ages including parent/child activities and a range of social, recreational and leisure programs for older adults and seniors. This funding will help ensure that the CECC, and its important programs and services, will be fully accessible for people of all abilities.
I've also directed $75,000 to Northern Secondary School to transform the lawn on Mount Pleasant Road into an attractive public space for everyone to enjoy. The new outdoor meeting and learning area, which was once Walmsley Brook, will suggest a dry river bed with trees, rock seating areas, plantings and flagstone paths. This project will be of particular interest to the residents of several seniors' homes in the area who will benefit from nearby green space.
Guest Lecture Symposium: Heritage Preservation and Restoration in Toronto
The Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology at George Brown College has invited me to speak about the importance heritage preservation in Toronto and my own experience with Casa Loma. I'll be joined by other speakers including Councillor Joe Mihevc, E.R.A. Architects Principal Michael McClelland, and Renaissance Fine Homes Principals Matthew Garnet and Frank Vitale. Please join us.
When: Thursday, March 28 at 6:30 pm
Where: 146 Kendal Ave., George Brown College, Building ‘E’, Room E321
St. Patrick's Day Celebration
Are you feeling green this weekend and interested in celebrating St. Paddy's Day with community? Well, looks like you struck gold! Our Member of Parliament, Carolyn Bennett is holding her Annual St. Paddy's Day Gathering. Come out on Saturday, March 16th from 4:30 to 6pm, at the the Unicorn Pub, 175 Eglinton Ave. Carolyn and her St. Paul's Constituency Office welcome all members of the community, their friends and family to this fun-filled event. I hope to see you there!
Event: "Why are more consumers choosing to support organics?"
A New LCBO for Bayview Avenue for Davisville Village Residents
In a discussion earlier this week with our local MPP, Dr. Eric Hoskins' office, I learned that a new LCBO will be opening in our community, at the corner of Bayview Avenue and Millwood Road (in the old Blockbusters). It's expected to open in late April.
Building an Equitable City Together
The City of Toronto with the support of the Access, Equity and Human Rights (AEHR) Working Group would like to invite you to attend a panel discussion highlighting four inspiring stories from senior leaders within the Toronto Public Service that explores how equity considerations are shaping City infrastructure.
There will be discussion sessions on:
- The City's draft Equity, Diversity & Human Rights Framework
- Ongoing mechanisms for community engagement on equality issues in the city
- Measuring the impact of equity work
When: Thursday, March 28 at 9:00 am
Where: 789 Yonge St (one block north of Bloor St.) at the Toronto Reference library in the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon 2nd floor
Registration Deadline is March 18, 2013. Register online here: buildingequitablecity.eventbrite.com
Call For Entries: 2013 Toronto Urban Design Awards
Every other year, the City of Toronto holds Urban Design Awards to acknowledge the significant contribution that architects, landscape architects, urban designers, artists, design students, and city builders make to the look and livability of our city.
The 2013 call for entries opens today, March 15, and closes at 4 p.m. on May 16. I encourage all designers, architects and developers working in Toronto to submit eligible projects.
Entries will be on public display at City Hall beginning September 9, 2013. For more details, please visit toronto.ca/tuda.
Reminder: Greening Your Condo or Apartment Building
I'm hosting an event with The Green Team of First Unitarian Congregation on how to make your apartment greener and more energy (and cost) efficient, including strategies and resources that are available to you. Let's make a green and healthful Toronto together!
Date: Tuesday, March 26, at 7 pm
Where: First Unitarian Congregation, Workman Hall, 175 St. Clair Ave. W.
For ongoing council and community information, along with a calendar of events, please visit www.joshmatlow.ca.
Please read below my latest community update to keep you engaged and informed. I wish you a very happy International Women's Day.
Remembering Charlotte Maher
This week, I was deeply saddened to learn of my friend Charlotte Maher's passing. Charlotte made invaluable contributions to the Midtown and North Toronto community through her pioneering work with organizations such as People and Organizations in North Toronto (P.O.I.N.T), the Central Eglinton Community Centre, the Upper Yonge Village Day Care, the Sherwood Park Residents’ Association, and Senior Peoples’ Resources in North Toronto (SPRINT).
It was an honour to work with Charlotte on creating an age-friendly Toronto. I loved her dearly and will always appreciate the many contributions she made over many years to our community.
On behalf of our community, I am so grateful to Chrlotte Maher for her many contributions. She will be missed.
International Women's Day
Proclaimed in 1977 by the United Nations, International Women's Day is an international day of reflection on women's rights and advances that have been made towards women's equality both in Canada and internationally. This year, International Women's Day is being celebrated today on Friday, March 8th. I urge you to take a moment to reflect on all the advances made in the women's rights movement as well as reflect on the challenges still facing women today. I hope that we can all work towards a day that my daughter, and all women, will have truly equal access to every one of life's opportunities.
Seniors Strategy at Community Development and Recreation Committee
As Chair of the Seniors Strategy Subcommittee, I am very pleased to confirm that the City of Toronto's Seniors Strategy will be coming to the Community Development and Recreation Committee (CDRC) on April 17th before going to City Council in May. Please be advised that this date had changed recently, as the Seniors Strategy was originally scheduled to go before CDRC on March 18th. I have heard many positive suggestions to improve our city's physical environment to reflect the priorities of an aging population and look forward to discussing the Strategy further at CDRC next month and encourage you to come and either visit, or even make a deputation, at this meeting!
Taking Action on the Roots of Youth Violence
It's been such an honour working with our communities and the co-authors of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence, Dr. Alvin Curling and the Honourable Roy McMurtry, to move this important work forward. I would like to once again thank Mayor Ford and my colleagues for their unanimous support of my motion, Taking Action on the Roots of Youth Violence. I am very happy to share with you a recent letter from Dr. Curling, commending Toronto City Council for addressing this priority and encouraging us to not stop stop until this work is done.
Improving snow removal services for Toronto's residents
This winter I have heard from many of you, with some valid and reasonable concerns with regards to the City's level of service when it comes to snow removal.
Prior to my February 28th meeting with the General Manager of Transportation, I shared with you a letter itemizing theses concerns with City staff and I indicated I wanted to help find ways to resolve these concerns.
As a follow up on this issue, please see my letter to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee asking that formal direction be given to staff to address the service level gaps for snow removal. I will update you as this progresses.
Art Shoppe Update
After many years of speculation about the future of the Art Shoppe site at 2131 Yonge Street, developers have submitted an application to build two residential towers of 38 and 29 storeys. Local residents and I met with the applicants and firmly expressed that due to the lack of transition between the towers and the single-family neighbourhood to the east, the proposal is completely inappropriate. Also, the Art Shoppe site is outside of the designated Yonge-Eglinton Growth area as defined by the Province and the City. The community accepts that a development of some kind will occur at this location, but a mid rise building would be more appropriate.
City Planning is in agreement with the community and me on this site and we will co-host a public meeting in the spring. I will be sure to provide information on the meeting as soon as it becomes available. As soon as I receive a preliminary report from City staff, I will post it on the interactive map on my website.
Casa Loma's March Break Program
Are you looking for activities over the March break for you and your kids? Casa Loma is holding a carnival-themed program where children will be entertained by the likes of Houdini! The Casa Loma Carnival will be running from March 11th to 16th, and this unique interactive installation will feature a variety of performances, games, and spectacles that can be enjoyed by participants of all ages.
For more information please visit http://www.casaloma.org or call 647-725-0707. Events include:
- Big Top Cookie Workshop: March 13, 14, 15 & 16, 11:00 am - 12:00 noon. Children: $18.75 + HST, adults: $23.00 + HST. General Admission to Casa Loma is included. Children will decorate freshly baked carnival-themed cookies and will bring home their collection in a whimsical popcorn box. Pre-registration is necessary for this event. To register, please phone 647-725-1826.
- Breakfast with Houdini: March 13, 14, 15 & 16, 8:30 am - 9:30 am. Children and adults: $25.00 + HST. General Admission to Casa Loma is included. Delight in an exciting breakfast, with the incredible Houdini, in the Casa Loma Conservatory. Children will enjoy Performers Pancakes, Ringmaster Sausages, Stage of Syrup and Butter, and Circus of Fruit. The price also includes a self-guided touring and the Casa Loma Carnival. Adults will enjoy Assorted Acrobatic Breakfast Pastries, Juggling of Coffee, Tea, and Orange juice. Pre-registration is necessary for this event. To register, please phone 647-725-0707.
TABS On Toronto
The Toronto Public Space Initiative is launching a brand new civic engagement tool called TABS On Toronto that will let residents, media, staff, and organizations sign up for email alerts from City Council based on their keyword preferences.
This system will help residents and organizations such as BIAs and Resident's Associations, City Staff, Media, NGOs, and Councillor's Offices by:
- Saving them time and money as they won't need to conduct manual searches for the up-to-date information they seek.
- Making it easier for stakeholders to engage with City Hall and hold government accountable.
- Helping to prevent stakeholders from missing important issues.
For more information, please visit www.tabsontoronto.ca.
Bill Bosworth Memorial Award nominations
The Mothercraft Board of Directors has launched the Bill Bosworth Memorial Award. This biennial award recognizes outstanding contributions, leadership and innovation in the provision or development of services to families with young children in the City of Toronto. The deadline for nominations is Friday, April 19th, 2013, at 5 pm. The recipient of the Bill Bosworth Memorial Award will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and will be presented with the award at a special ceremony. Bill Bosworth was a long-serving Mothercraft Board Director and deeply committed to making a difference for families. For more information, please visit www.mothercraft.ca.
Greening Your Condo or Apartment Building
Please join me with The Green Team of First Unitarian Congregation to learn how to make your apartment greener and more energy efficient, including strategies and resources that are available to you. Let's make a green and healthful Toronto together!
Date: Tuesday, March 26, at 7 pm
Where: First Unitarian Congregation, Workman Hall, 175 St. Clair Ave. W.
For ongoing council and community information, along with a calendar of events, please visit www.joshmatlow.ca.
March 7th, 2013
TO: Chair & Members, Public Works and Infrastructure Committee
FROM: Councillor Josh Matlow
RE: Improving Levels of Service Related to Snow Removal in the City of Toronto
In Canada, it should come as no surprise when we experience a snowstorm. And Toronto, on February 8th 2013, had what was reported as the largest snowfall in several years- and it was forecasted several days in advance.
While this was one relatively severe winter storm, I believe, based on my own experience and from what I heard from residents, this snowstorm highlighted many long standing service gaps that need to be resolved.
While, there are significant problems encountered across the city, there are unique challenges faced on many of our streets in the old City of Toronto. With narrower streets and abundance of on-street parking that our residents and small businesses rely on, it is much more difficult to safely and efficiently clear and remove snow from our roads and sidewalks.
This winter I have heard from many residents in my Ward who have some major concerns about the City response in clearing and removing snow from our streets and sidewalks.
These concerns include:
- Permit parking spaces lost to snow banks and windrows
- Vehicles parked on the street were plowed in
- Parking lanes on major arterial roads were not fully cleared, creating traffic bottlenecks
- Plows pushed huge piles of snow back on to the sidewalk after being cleared by residents
- Windrows blocking pedestrian crossing and access points
- TTC passengers in some areas were unable to access bus stops
- Windrows blocking driveway entrances
- By-law enforcement had backlogs in addressing snow clearing complaints on private properties
- Public sidewalks not adequately cleared of ice and snow.
- Many steep hills including those on Mt. Pleasant, Yonge Street, Avenue Road and Bathurst Street, where drivers struggle to gain traction were not sufficiently cleared
While I personally found staff to be earnest in their attempts to address the problems identified on a case by case basis, the real issue is the longstanding service gap when it comes to snow removal on our midtown and downtown avenues, streets, roads, crescents, boulevards, laneways and sidewalks. The city does not provide a level of service that is equitable across the entire city.
I am asking that Transportation Services Staff to report back to the Public Works Committee on a strategy to address the service gaps with regards to snow clearing across the city. This strategy should address the current barriers to an equitable level of service across the city, specifically how to work better to remove and not just clear snow from our more narrow streets and those with on street parking. This strategy should also address concerns raised regarding pedestrian safety, including quicker removal of windrows that are blocking sidewalk access and crossing points, and clearer direction including a public awareness campaign and better enforcement when private property owners do not adequately clear snow off of public sidewalks.
That the General Manager of Transportation Services review and report back to the Public Works Committee with recommendations on how to improve the level of service for snow removal to including, but not limited to; removing snow piles and windrows from where they are blocking on street parking spaces that both residents and local businesses depend on, fully clearing parking lanes on major arterial roads to prevent traffic bottlenecks, ensuring vital pedestrian access points along public sidewalks are kept clear at both major intersections and a TTC stops, enhancing both by-law enforcement and providing better communication to property owners on their responsibility to clear snow off of public sidewalks, across the City of Toronto and providing an equitable level of service across the city when it comes to removing windrows from driveways and sidewalk snow clearing.
Toronto City Councillor
Ward 22 - St. Paul’s
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