This is an example of a HTML caption with a link.





Welcome

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 councillor_matlow@toronto.ca.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Josh

Latest Videos

Councillor Matlow spoke on options for the Scarborough Subway, March 31, 2016.

Councillor Matlow spoke on tenant issues related to the Residential Tenancies Act, December 18 2013.

OMB to be overhauled; New Planning Tribunal Substantive Step for Toronto Neighbourhoods

Cities and residents will have more control over development decisions and community planning


Toronto City Hall – Councillor Josh Matlow welcomed the elimination of the Ontario Municipal Board, to be replaced by the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal, announced by the Province this morning as a positive step toward greater local control of the planning process for Toronto.

 

"These substantive reforms could finally put vital decisions about how our neighbourhoods will grow into the hands of local planners, communities and ultimately, local elected representatives," said Matlow. "I look forward to working with the Province to ensure that this new tribunal levels the playing field for residents and contributes to their quality of life."


Some of the planning process improvements to be implemented by the new Local Planning Appeals Tribunal include:


·         Approved Official Plan updates and amendments will be shielded from appeals in perpetuity
.         New Tribunal will only be allowed to hear cases on the "validity of the decision" by council, making it a true appeals body 
·         Secondary Plans will be shielded from appeals for two years
·         New agency to provide local residents with free planning and legal advice as well as representation

 

Councillor Matlow has been working to eliminate the OMB since 1999 as Campaign Director of the environmental advocacy organization, Earthroots. In 2012, Councillor Matlow and his colleague Councillor Wong-Tam moved a motion to request the provincial government to remove Toronto from the OMB.

 

Councillor Matlow looks forward to reading the details of the legislation and will provide analysis to his community when this information is made available.

 

City Hall and Community Update for May 1, 2017

Leadership on Housing and Transit Begins by Setting the Right Priorities

I'm very concerned about how, while the mayor understandably calls on the Province for adequate funding for the significant transit and housing shortfalls in Toronto, I believe there have been decisions made at city hall that have not demonstrated thoughtful or competent management of these priorities from either a financial or social and urban planning policy perspective.

Please click here for a video of a portion of my comments about this during last week's city council meeting while we were debating the closure of TCHC homes.

Province Introduces Legislation to End Unlimited Rent Increases in Apartments Built After 1991

The longstanding issues with the province's 1991 rental loophole allowing unlimited increases have recently been exacerbated by landlords taking advantage of Toronto's overheated housing market by doubling rents in some cases. After a long campaign by the Federation of Metro Toronto Tenants Associations, ACORN, ACTO, my office and many others, I want to commend the provincial government for introducing the Rental Fairness Act, 2017 to end unlimited rent increases on apartments built after 1991.

The legislation also includes additional changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, including:
  • Enabling a standard lease to help both tenants and landlords know their rights and responsibilities, while reducing the number of disputes
  • Protecting tenants from eviction due to abuse of the "landlord's own use" provision
  • Ensuring landlords can't pursue former tenants for unauthorized charges
  • Prohibiting above-guideline rent increases in buildings where elevator maintenance orders have not been addressed
  • Removing above-guideline rent increases for utilities, to protect tenants from carbon costs and encourage landlords to make their buildings more energy efficient.
While I strongly support all of the initiatives the Province has taken with this legislation, more action is needed to eliminate Above the Guideline Rent Increases for routine capital maintenance. This provision negatively impacts so many people in our community, including seniors on fixed incomes.

For more information please see this CBC article.

Community Groups Request Province to Require Comparison of Scarborough Subway with LRT Plan

Over 20 community organizations including Scarborough Transit Action, TTC Riders, and Toronto Environmental Alliance have signed a letter to Premier Wynne and Environment Minister Murray requesting the province to require the City to undertake a comparative evaluation of the 1-stop Scarborough subway extension and the 7-stop LRT. The groups cited my motion to Council last month asking for a similar analysis. Unfortunately, Council voted against my motion asking for factual information. To date, City Council has not been provided with a side-by-side comparison of the two options.  

As the organizations state in their letter, Ontario’s Transit Project Assessment Process allows the Premier and Minister to intervene if there is “potential for a negative impact on a matter of provincial importance that relates to the natural environment.” Given that the number of riders projected for the subway continues to fall and the escalating cost has left inadequate funding for the 17-stop Eglinton East LRT, the letter writers assert that:
  • The Scarborough subway extension has the potential to exacerbate, rather than reduce, Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions
  • That building the seven-stop LRT instead, would reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions arising from transportation.
For more information please see this Toronto Star article.

Council Approves Strategy to Provide 30,000 New Child Care Spaces

As a parent of a four year old daughter, I know how difficult it is to find quality daycare space in Toronto. Like many of you, I had to put Molly on a waiting list shortly after she was born to ensure she would even have a spot. That's why I was pleased that Council approved the Childcare Growth Strategy last week.

The program seeks to create 30,000 new licensed spaces in the city. The goal of the program is to ensure daycare spaces for 50% of children 0-4 years old by 2026. The percentage of children in that age range currently served by the city’s daycare system is 31 per cent.

The City initiative is contingent upon the federal and provincial governments contributing 80% of the costs. The province sent a strong signal that they are willing to contribute to this plan with a funding boost in last week's budget.

For more information please see this CP24 article.

Province Announces Measures to Cool Toronto's Housing Market

Also in last week's budget, the provincial government introduced a number of measures they hope will cool down Toronto's housing market. One of these measures is a 15% Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) on non-Canadian citizens, non-permanent residents and non-Canadian corporations buying residential properties containing one to six units in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH). Other measures include:
  • A program to leverage the value of surplus provincial land assets across the province to develop a mix of market-price housing and affordable housing.
  • Legislation that would allow Toronto to introduce a vacant homes property tax in an effort to encourage property owners to sell unoccupied units or rent them out
  • A review of the rules real estate agents are required to follow to ensure that consumers are fairly represented in real estate transactions.
  • Education for consumers on their rights, particularly on the issue of one real estate professional representing more than one party in a real estate transactions
  • A partnership with the Canada Revenue Agency to explore more comprehensive reporting requirements so that correct federal and provincial taxes, including income and sales taxes, are paid on purchases and sales of real estate in Ontario.
For more information, please see this background document from the Ministry of Finance.

Meeting Announcement: North Toronto Memorial Community Centre Construction

While the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre is located in Ward 16, I know that many members of our community use the facilities for important and well-cherished recreation, classes, and social services. That's why I was so concerned when I was informed about the needed repair work that is threatening to shut down the centre for over a year starting this fall.

After meetings I've had with North District Staff, I am convinced that this rehabilitation work is necessary. However, I am advocating that they adopt a phased approach for the project that will see some of the facilities, and programs, at the Centre open during the entirety of the construction period.

The public meeting will be held at North Toronto Memorial Community Centre at 6:30pm on Wednesday, May 17.

Ontario Municipal Board Will no Longer Hear Minor Variance Appeals

Committee of Adjustment decisions on minor variances (generally related to single-family homes) will no longer be appealable to the Ontario Municipal Board. Instead, Toronto has now established its own Local Appeals Body.

I hope that this is an important first step toward Toronto having greater freedom from the OMB.

For more information, please see this Toronto Star article.

Possible Bid-Rigging on City Paving Contracts

The Auditor General brought a report raising serious concerns about potential bid ringing on City paving contracts to Council last week. I'm very concerned in regard to both these specific allegations and the larger systemic issues that report raises. I am pleased that my colleagues voted unanimously to approve my motion. I believe any contractor taking advantage of the City, and ripping off residents' tax dollars, should never do business with Toronto again. For more information, please see this Toronto Star article.

Further Council Motions Demand Stronger Heritage Protection Policies for Toronto

Toronto has a shameful record when it comes to protecting its architectural heritage.

The wanton demolition of the Bank of Montreal building at 2444 Yonge Street earlier this year and the Stollery's Building at Yonge and Bloor in January 2015, are just two of the most recent examples of the City's inability to stay ahead of development applications. We need to implement a more proactive mechanism to protect better protect Toronto's built heritage before. That's why I moved a motion in 2015 to strengthen our heritage policy framework.

Currently, for a building to have protection, it must be either “listed” or “designated” under the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA). A very lengthy process is required for a property to become listed, including a full evaluation and completed Staff research report, followed by consideration by both Community Council and City Council. Only following City Council approval does a property become eligible for protection under the OHA, including demolition protections under the Ontario Planning Act. This review process can take up to five months to complete for a single property. For a property to become fully designated, the process can take up to eight months. There is nothing to save a heritage property from the wrecking ball while this process is taking place.

One of the recommendations in my motion asked City Planning staff to report back to Planning and Growth Management Committee on the feasibility of undertaking a city-wide heritage survey, much like the one that was recently completed in Los Angeles (SurveyLA), in an effort to be more inclusive, proactive and expeditious. 

We are still waiting on the Chief Planner to take action on this Council direction.

A recent Toronto Star Op-Ed article by Michael McClelland of ERA Architects spurred three separate motions at last week's City Council meeting asking for the very same thing I did over two years ago: a survey of the entire city. I am thankful for the additional impetus and urgency my colleagues' motions have lent to my initial request to push this important step forward swiftly. We've lost too much of our built heritage already.

You can read more about the current challenges facing the City's heritage policy and my efforts to improve them in this article.

Also, for your convenience, I have created an interactive map of all heritage properties located in Ward 22.

Councillor Josh Matlow's Community Environment Day

On Thursday, June 1 from 4-8pm, I will be hosting my annual Community Environment Day. The event will take place in the parking lot of North Toronto Memorial Arena (174 Orchard View Blvd).

Please drop off any unwanted art supplies, books, toys, and used sports equipment. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste, or even replace your damaged green bin.

Ward 22 Parks Update

Manor Road East Parks
Working together as a community, we successfully fought to preserve green space at the former Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club site. We also worked amicably with the Manor Road United Church to create public space rather than a townhouse development at their site.

 

For your information, here are the final illustrative panels of the designs for our two brand new City parks. I am happy to move forward with these plans, as mandated by the community. I'd like to thank all of the residents who helped shape the vision for these parks by attending my public meetings and writing to me with your feedback. Also, thank you to the appropriate City staff and design consultants for bringing the community's ideas to life!

 

If construction progresses as planned, and without any unforeseen impediments such an inclement weather, it is anticipated that work on the two parks will be completed by the end of the year.


June Rowlands Park (including Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground)
For your information and review, here are the final illustrative panels of the exciting improvements to Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground at June Rowlands Park. Special thanks to Lesley Stoyan, the Communities in Action Group, Sharon Hampson and Bram Morrison for their participation, our design team, Dan Connolly and City Parks staff and everyone who contributed to the community consultation meeting I hosted on April 3 at Greenwood College School.

 

These concepts represent what the community approved at the public meeting. That being said, I have heard from a number of local parents who would like to see more toddler-friendly equipment in any future playground enhancement plans. I strongly agree and plan to work with residents and City staff to make this happen.

 

If construction on the current phase of improvements progresses as planned, and without any unforeseen impediments such an inclement weather, work should begin sometime this fall (also to avoid impacting the enjoyment of our park during the summer season!).


Glenn Gould Park
I am delighted to announce that the improvements to Glenn Gould Park are almost complete!

It was a great pleasure to work with local residents to make much-needed enhancements to the park, including new playground equipment, a water bottle filling station and ornamental fencing to better protect children at play from this busy intersection. Patterning for the new playground curbing and surfacing is piano-themed, as a nod to the late internationally-renowned pianist and Ward 22 resident after whom the park is named.

A final inspection by City staff will take place shortly and our new-and-improved park should be ready to enjoy by Victoria Day weekend!

Ward 22's Davisville Village Farmers’ Market Opens for Another Season!


I'm delighted to support AppleTree Markets, a local Ward 22 non-profit organization, that will once again be transforming June Rowlands Park into a vibrant "town square" for the sixth year of our community's popular farmers’ market. The market is a place where you are sure to see friends and neighbours, while buying fresh produce, fish, meats, chocolate, and so much more.


This season, the market begins on May 9 and will operate weekly on Tuesdays between 3 and 7pm.

I look forward to seeing you there!


Davisville Village Jane's Walk

I am delighted that the South Eglinton Ratepayers' and Residents' Association (SERRA) has created a Jane's Walk that explores Ward 22's Davisville Village, from its earliest days through the neighbourhood's continuing transformation. The walk takes place at 2pm on Saturday, May 6 and will begin outside the historic J. Davis Post Office and General Store at 1909 Yonge Street (now, Starbucks). For further event details, please click here. I hope to see you there!

For your information, the full list of this year's Jane's Walks across Toronto is available here.

REMINDER: Toronto-St. Paul’s Summit: Working Together for a Better St. Paul’s

Please join me and my colleagues representing all levels of government at this year's St. Paul's Summit on Sunday, May 7 at Christ Church Deer Park (1570 Yonge Street), 3-5pm. Together with the St. Paul's community we will be talking about key issues affecting our country, province, city, school boards and neighbourhoods.


I am honoured to be joining federal MP, Dr. Carolyn Bennett, provincial MPP, Dr.Eric Hoskins, my local colleagues at City Hall and school trustees in this important conversation with our residents.


REMINDER: Deer Park Residents Group Annual General Meeting

Please join me for the Deer Park Residents Group (DPRG) Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, June 6 at Calvin Presbyterian Church (26 Delisle Avenue). The membership desk will open at 6:30pm and the meeting will commence at 7pm.

The annual meeting of the DPRG is an opportunity for residents of our neighbourhood to learn about activities during the past year. The agenda will include a summary of actions taken by the DPRG, events in our district and an election of members of the Board for the coming year. I will be speaking to attendees about developments in Ward 22 and beyond that have an impact on all of us. Any persons attending who are not already members of the DPRG will be encouraged to join.

The DPRG welcomes members who have an interest in participating in its activities and serving on the Board. Please feel welcome to email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

REMINDER: South Eglinton Ratepayers' and Residents' Association Annual General Meeting

The South Eglinton Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (SERRA) is constituted for the purpose of furthering and protecting the common interests of its members relating to real estate, zoning, municipal planning and any other matter touching on or relating to real property within the membership area, bounded by Yonge Street, Bayview Avenue, Eglinton Avenue and Merton Street.

SERRA will be holding its AGM this year at 7pm on Monday, May 8 at Greenwood College School (443 Mount Pleasant Road). I hope to see you there!

Chaplin Estates Garage Sale

Please join me on Saturday, June 3rd for the Chaplin Estates Garage Sale! The event will take place in the area bounded by Yonge Street, Chaplin Crescent, and Eglinton Ave W and will run from 8am to 2pm. I hope to see you there!

Toronto Police 53 Division Annual Open House

The officers and staff of 53 Division invite you to their annual open house at 75 Eglinton Avenue West. The event will take place at 11am-3pm on Saturday, May 13. There will be station tours, face painting a BBQ and many more family-friendly activities.

City of Toronto Community Stewardship Program

City staff are preparing to launch their 16th year with the Community Stewardship Program that runs from May - September.

The Community Stewardship Program works with volunteers in City of Toronto natural areas to plant native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, remove invasive species (a leading cause of biodiversity loss) and monitor site conditions through citizen science. Volunteers are led by experienced City Staff and can also participate in expert-led workshops on various environmental topics.

The City has goals of increasing tree canopy cover, improving the quality of natural habitats, and engaging the public in our green spaces. This Program gives the public the opportunity to learn about Toronto's ravines and how they're managed with hands-on activities to keep these places healthy.
There is a stewardship site in Ward 22 – Nordheimer Ravine. For more information about the program and how you can get involved please click here.

ESL Service at Central Eglinton Community Centre

If you are looking for an informal place to practice English, you are invited to join CECC's free "English Conversation Circle" on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. The English Conversation Circle is facilitated by a volunteer, and runs from 6:30pm to 8:00pm.

For full program details, please click here.

Homelessness Awareness Campaign

I am pleased to share information about a month-long public awareness campaign that launched on April 24 to encourage Torontonians to talk about homelessness. 

This campaign builds on the City's relationship with the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness and adds a new dimension to the Toronto for All campaign.

Phase 1 of this City of Toronto public awareness campaign ran in the summer of 2016 and focused on Islamophobia. In the fall of 2016, Phase 2 helped to encourage dialogue among residents and media in Toronto and internationally with a campaign on anti-Black racism.

This campaign phase is designed to challenge perspectives on homelessness and to spark a conversation that will lead to more people understanding that an inclusive Toronto means including those who are currently experiencing homelessness.

The Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (TAEH) is a growing, community-based organization of more than 100 agencies each committed to ending chronic homelessness. The Alliance and its members are key City partners in the delivery of homelessness services to vulnerable Toronto residents.

The overarching long-term goal of the Toronto for All campaign is to create a Toronto that says "no" to all forms of discrimination. The goal with the current campaign is to challenge existing perspectives on homelessness and to make people confront any lingering sense that it's okay to deny access to their neighbourhoods just because people are experiencing homelessness. Over the next few months, the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness will be holding a series of community conversations about homelessness. Funding for the campaign comes from the provincial government.

Like the other phases of the Toronto for All campaign, this one is based on the free transit shelter space that the City secured as part of its contract with Astral Media. In addition, there is interior-subway and social media advertising. To find more information and learn about ways to participate in the ongoing conversation, click here.

Toronto Residents Are Invited to Share Their Views on Prohibited Animals

The City of Toronto is reviewing prohibited animal regulations and is inviting members of the public to share their views at two public meetings or through an online survey.

A consultation meeting will be held on Monday, May 1 at Metro Hall, Room 310, 55 John St., from 6:30 to 8:30pm.

Key areas of discussion include the process to add or remove animals from the prohibited animals' list, as well as identifying the extent of use and possibility of regulating prohibited animals in educational programming at birthday parties, parades and other activities.

A staff report with recommendations is expected to go to the City's Licensing and Standards Committee for consideration later this year.       

For more information about the review and the online survey click here.

Eliminate Surprises with New City of Toronto Tax Calculators

Looking to buy a new home? Use the new Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) and enhanced residential Property Tax calculators to get tax estimates instantly to help plan and budget for your next move. These new calculators are available online and can be used anytime, anywhere. The MLTT calculator provides estimates for first-time home buyers, single family homes and all other properties. The enhanced Property Tax calculator provides a detailed estimate of the property taxes for residential properties and a breakdown of how your tax dollars are working for you. This is part of the City's commitment to modernizing services and improving customer experience.

For more information about Municipal Land Transfer Tax and/or Property Tax, please click here.

Independent Toronto Airspace Review Update

Please see below for an update from the Principal Consultant at Helios:

A change to our programme: as you are all probably aware the GTAA is undertaking maintenance work on runway 05 / 23. I understand that this has caused a substantial change in the usual pattern of runway and airspace usage. With this change in traffic patterns there has been an increase in interest in Helios’s airspace review and the recommendations that we are considering. Due to this increased interest NAV CANADA have asked Helios, and we have agreed, to change our programme to allow all community members to continue to submit comments up to the end of May 2017. Comments can be submitted via the normal email address This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . This change in programme means that Bo and I are unable to honour our commitment to deliver the final presentation by the end of June 2017, for this we apologise. I will be in touch as soon as I have a new date for the final presentation.

Updates to the review’s website: a new document has been added to the studies website that provides an overview of the three studies that Helios is currently delivering for either NAV CANADA or the GTAA.

In addition three additional FAQs have been added:
  • Does this review mean recommendations can be implemented without consultation?
  • Is Helios involved in other studies related to Toronto Pearson Airport or airspace?
  • What is the ICAO Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management?
There are some links within the answers to these questions that provide further background information.

To learn more, please click here.

Spring 2017 Tree For Me Event

Get a free tree for your home and learn how to plant and care for it through Tree For Me. With Tree For Me events happening across Toronto this spring, it couldn't be easier to help grow Toronto's tree cover!
Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation staff would like to invite you to attend a Tree For Me event to experience this first hand! You can pre-register for the events by clicking here.

NoToBrownlow.com Website is Now Online

The South Eglinton Ratepayers' and Residents' Association (SERRA) has asked that I share the following message with you regarding this inappropriate development proposal: 

Have you been following the NoToBrownlow campaign? SERRA has formed a Party to fight this development at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Here are some of the key points:
  • The north side of Soudan and part of Redpath Avenue have been purchased by a developer who plans to put up two 24-storey rental towers on a four-story podium that will stretch along the north side of Soudan Avenue from Redpath to Brownlow Avenues – and abutting the townhouses on Redpath.
  • The development represents more than 360 rental units, but with insufficient provision of parking and little regard for traffic flow and shadow impact.
  • The City has designated part of the site for parkland dedication, which the development has not adequately addressed.
  • This development offers no appropriate transition to the low rise houses on the south side of Soudan and the townhomes on Redpath. On the Soudan side there will be a massive four-storey podium – almost a wall — across the street from modest two-storey homes. On Redpath, one of the towers will be directly abutting the townhomes. And on Brownlow one of the towers will directly block the existing rental building at 18 Brownlow, owned by the same developer.
The City is strongly opposed to this development and is a Party, along with SERRA, at the full 9-day OMB hearing beginning July 31st.

SERRA has had to hire a lawyer and planner to help us fight this development. Working with professionals at the OMB costs money – a lot of money!

We’ve set up a website with more information and encouragement to donate. Go to our website notobrownlow.com and hit the Donate button.

39-41 Roehampton Avenue Public Meeting

 

A rezoning application has been submitted to City Planning to construct a 49-Storey residential tower containing 617 residential condominium units. The proposal also includes a publically accessible open space (POPS) on the site.

Please join me at 6:30pm on Thursday, May 4 in the Best Western Roehampton Hotel & Suites (808 Mount Pleasant Road), for a meeting to discuss the proposed development. City Planning staff will be in attendance to answer any questions you may have.

1982-1984 Yonge Street Public Meeting

The City has also received an application to amend the Zoning By-law to permit a new mid-rise, mixed use building on Yonge Street, just south of Belsize Drive. The new building is proposed to be 8 storeys with retail on the ground floor, office on the second floor and contain 30 residential rental units.

Please join me at 6:30pm on Thursday, May 11 in the gymansium at Oriole Park Jr Public School (80 Braemar Avenue), for a meeting to discuss the proposed development. City Planning staff will be in attendance to answer any questions you may have.

Development Proposals in Ward 22

To ensure you are informed and engaged about development proposals being proposed for sites near your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive webpage

My webpage listing all the proposed developments in Ward 22 has recently been updated to reflect current development applications and, as always, contains locations, staff reports and public meeting notices. Additionally, the map now shows the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre surrounding Yonge and Eglinton, as well as the designated Avenues (portions of Eglinton Avenue West, St. Clair Avenue West, Yonge Street, Mt. Pleasant Road and Bayview Avenue). These are all areas where the Province is directing growth. Clicking on any of them will provide links to more information about the ward's Avenues/Urban Growth Centre, as well as links to the City's Official Plan and local secondary plans. 

The OMB is a quasi-judicial, un-elected and un-accountable provincial body that has the final say on all planning decisions in the province of Ontario. The tribunal's powers to overrule decisions made by our elected municipal representatives are anti-democratic and often lead to planning decisions that far too often support the interests of the development industry over those of our communities and our city's official plan. To read more about the OMB and my advocacy to free Toronto from its purview, please click here.
   

Final Designs for Ward 22's Two Brand New City Parks

Dear Residents,


For your information, here are the final illustrative panels of the designs for our two brand new City parks on Manor Road East (at the former Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club and the eastern portion of Manor Road United Church). I am happy to move forward with these plans, as mandated by the community. I'd like to thank all of the residents who helped shape the vision for these parks by attending my public meetings and writing to me with your feedback. Also, thank you to the appropriate City staff and design consultants for bringing the community's ideas to life!


If construction progresses as planned, and without any unforeseen impediments such an inclement weather, it is anticipated that work on the two parks will be completed by the end of the year.

 

Best Regards,


Josh

 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


   

More exciting improvements coming to Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground and June Rowlands Park!

Dear Residents,


For your information and review, here are the final illustrative panels of the exciting improvements to Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground at June Rowlands Park. Special thanks to Lesley Stoyan, the Communities in Action Group, Sharon Hampson and Bram Morrison for their participation in our design team, Dan Connolly and City Parks staff and everyone who contributed to community consultation meeting I hosted on April 3rd at Greenwood College School.


If construction progresses as planned, and without any unforeseen impediments such an inclement weather, work on the additions to our playground should begin sometime this fall (also to avoid impacting the enjoyment of our park during the summer season).


Best Regards,


Josh

 

 

**Update as May 15th***

 

The existing equipment in the park will not be moved or altered, but after hearing feedback from the community, I requested the addition of a toddler-friendly slide!

 

   

City Hall and Community Update for March 31, 2017

Groundbreaking Tenant Protection Legislation Passes Final Hurdle

As Chair of the Tenants Issues Committee, I am very pleased to report that my colleagues supported our new Tenant Protection by-law to provide much needed protection for Toronto renters. The provisions in the by-law will be in force by July of this year.

This success was the result of years of hard work with local tenant advocates and city-wide organizations, including the Federation of Metro Toronto Tenants’ Associations, ACORN, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, and community legal clinics.

At present, far too many renters live in sub-standard housing.  The City’s Multi Residential Audit Building (MRAB) program has found over 58,000 deficiencies in approximately 1000 buildings since Building Audits began.  Leaking roofs, stained carpets, non-functioning elevators, and pest infestations are far too common.  And these violations are mostly from just the shared areas in buildings and don’t capture the serious problems tenants face inside their units.

Some landlords have ignored City orders to fix their properties for years with little consequence; they treat the small fines as the cost of doing business, drag out performing the repairs through court appeals, and are even granted time extensions.

The system certainly doesn’t give tenants the same leniency when their rent is due.

This comprehensive new by-law includes several motions I moved to address some of these concerns, including:
  • A “Rentsafe” rating program for buildings modelled off of the “Dinesafe” program for restaurants that requires landlords to post a colour-coded sign that displays the City's rating in a prominent, publicly identifiable location, along with posting the same information on the City's website
  • Requesting that the Province grant the City the power to fine landlords for property standards violations
  • Establishing guidelines for when the Property Standards Committee can grant time extensions on work orders for violations and to limit those criteria to situations that are only extraordinary circumstances
  • Developing standard operating procedures for City enforcement officers which provide targeted timelines by violation category to bring landlords into compliance with City by-laws from the date an order is issued, and make the standards available to the public on the City website
  • Ensuring that landlords will not be able to rent vacant units if they have outstanding property orders in the building for vital services such as heat or water
These measures, and many others contained in the program, were the result of extensive consultation with tenants across the city.

For more information on this ground-breaking legislation, please see this article.

Council Ignores Evidence and Chooses 1-Stop Subway Over 24-Stop LRT Network for Scarborough

As many of you have heard by now, Council has opted to continue work toward a 1-stop extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway to the Scarborough Town Centre instead of a 2-line, 24-stop network. I wrote extensively about the options in my previous newsletter to you.

It is unfortunate that, yet again, Council decided to not ask for relevant and important information by voting against my motion to have Staff finally provide a Business Case Analysis comparing the 1-stop subway with a 7-stop LRT in the McCowan corridor. This is especially disappointing in light of the answers to my questions on transit options for Scarborough ahead of the vote which, among other things, stated that:
  • The briefing note provided by the TTC in 2016 claiming that the cost of the LRT was the same as the subway was based on incorrect assumptions
  • Funding sources and amounts for the 1-stop subway extension have not yet been finalized
  • The LRT plan is at a far more advanced design stage than the 1-stop subway
In addition, a new study released before the vote found that most Scarborough residents will spend more time on the bus with the 1-stop subway plan.

Despite this setback, I will continue to advocate for honest and evidence-based transit. For more information on what this vote means going forward, please see this article.

Unprecedented Meeting on Tenants and Housing Affordability Next Week

On Monday, April 3 I will be co-hosting an unprecedented joint meeting(s) of the Tenant Issues Committee, which I Chair, and the Affordable Housing Committee with my colleague, Councillor Ana Bailao.  

Toronto's rental housing market has become increasingly unaffordable for many people.
The challenges of finding and keeping a decent and affordable place to live are affecting people across the rental spectrum in all areas of the city, including Midtown.

Rents are rapidly rising beyond the rate of inflation and, on the turnover from one tenant to the next, units newly on the market are drawing bidding wars. Due to historically low vacancy rates and a lack of new purpose-built rental supply, more and more residents are finding themselves precariously housed by renting condominiums.

Despite the ongoing construction of new condominiums, there remains a critical shortage of homes that people can afford. As a result of market pressures and a lack of protection for any rental unit built after 1991, some tenants in condominiums have recently reported annual rent increases between 10% and 50%.

Residents in purpose-built rental buildings that supposedly have protection from rents rising above inflation are also at-risk. Landlords are allowed to increase rents substantially for basic maintenance, including balcony replacements and new boilers, due to unfair provisions in the provincial Residential Tenancies Act. 

This meeting will look at housing affordability in a holistic manner and request the provincial government and City Staff to move forward with concrete measures to help ensure that all Torontonians have access to a safe, clean, and healthy home.

The meeting will take place at 3pm in Committee Room 2 on the 2nd floor of City Hall.

Proposal to Increase Fines for Speeding in School Zones

I was very pleased to support a motion by Councillors Mark Grimes and Mike Layton to request the Province to allow the City the ability to double fines for speeding in designated school zones. This is an important issue in our community and I will be advocating for this important measure as it moves to the Ontario government.

Community Meeting: Next Improvements to June Rowlands Park and Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground

On Monday, April 3 at 7pm, please join me to discuss your vision for an improved and expanded Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground and other enhancements at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park. City staff from Parks, Forestry & Recreation will be in attendance to present design concepts and receive your feedback.

The meeting location is Greenwood College (443 Mount Pleasant Road), Room 174. I hope to see you there!

To view the event flyer, please click here.


SAVE THE DATE: Councillor Josh Matlow's Community Environment Day

On Thursday, June 1 from 4-8pm, I will be hosting my annual Community Environment Day. The event will take place in the parking lot of North Toronto Memorial Arena (174 Orchard View Blvd). Please drop off any unwanted art supplies, books, toys, and used sports equipment. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste, or even replace your damaged green bin.


Toronto-St. Paul’s Summit: Working Together for a Better St. Paul’s

Please join me and my colleagues representing all levels of government at this year's St. Paul's Summit on Sunday, May 7 at Christ Church Deer Park (1570 Yonge Street), 3-5pm.

Together with the St. Paul's community we will be talking about key issues affecting our country, province, city, school boards and neighbourhoods.

I am honoured to be joining federal MP, Dr. Carolyn Bennett, provincial MPP, Dr.Eric Hoskins, my local colleagues at City Hall and school trustees in this important conversation with our residents.


Deer Park Residents Group Annual General Meeting

Please join me for the Deer Park Residents Group (DPRG) Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, June 6 at Calvin Presbyterian Church (26 Delisle Avenue). The membership desk will open at 6:30pm and the meeting will commence at 7pm.

The annual meeting of the DPRG is an opportunity for residents of our neighbourhood to learn about activities during the past year. The agenda will include a summary of actions taken by the DPRG, events in our district and an election of members of the Board for the coming year. I will be speaking to attendees about developments in Ward 22 and beyond that have an impact on all of us. Any persons attending who are not already members of the DPRG will be encouraged to join.

The DPRG welcomes members who have an interest in participating in its activities and serving on the Board. Please feel welcome to email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

South Eglinton Ratepayers' and Residents' Association Annual General Meeting

The South Eglinton Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (SERRA) is constituted for the purpose of furthering and protecting the common interests of its members relating to real estate, zoning, municipal planning and any other matter touching on or relating to real property within the membership area, bounded by Yonge Street, Bayview Avenue, Eglinton Avenue and Merton Street.

SERRA will be holding its AGM this year at 7pm on Monday, May 8 at Greenwood College School (443 Mount Pleasant Road). I hope to see you there!

Clean Toronto Together Registration is Now Open

It's time for some spring cleaning! Gather your friends, neighbours, co-workers and classmates to clean a park, laneway or any other space that needs your help. Friday, April 21 is the Corporate & School 20-Minute Makeover; Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23 are the Community Cleanup Days.

Registration is now open. Individuals, community groups, schools and businesses can register their cleanup events online or by calling 311. Registration helps the City arrange for special litter and recycling pickups and helps to reduce duplicate cleanups. Learn more and find out when and where to get free GLAD® garbage and recycling bags for your cleanup online or by calling 311. 

To learn more and to register your event, please click here.


If you are planning to hold a community clean-up, please let me know and I'd be happy to drop by and help out!

Celebrating National Caregiver Day

Twenty-nine percent of Canadians and Torontonians are family caregivers to someone in need. The majority of them are seniors. On January 31, 2017 City Council passed a motion to recognize Family Caregiver Day annually on April 4.

In recognition of Family Caregiver Day we will be holding an event in the Council Chamber at City Hall, co-hosted by City staff involved in the Toronto Seniors Strategy, the Toronto Seniors Forum, ENRICHES and twelve other stakeholder organizations, to recognize the valuable contribution of family caregivers to our community and to express our support.

Family caregivers often assume this role with no training or additional resources and are facing challenging and stressful situations on a daily basis. The latest report of the ‘Change Foundation’ suggests that the majority of caregivers succumb to physical and psychological illness as a result of their caregiving responsibilities. Despite that, they are often not recognized for their role and are not perceived as a population in need of support in the health care system and the community at large.

This event promises to be a wonderful opportunity for Toronto to come together in support of this often invisible and vulnerable group of individuals that is such a crucial component to the well-being of our Toronto community. As the City's Seniors Advocate, I am delighted to be speaking to attendees at 1pm on Tuesday, April 4.

For full event details, please click here.

Toronto Seniors Strategy 2.0: Have Your Say!

In my capacity as the City's Seniors Advocate, I'm actively working with City staff and community partners to develop the next phase of the Toronto Seniors Strategy, to improve City services for older Torontonians and make Toronto a more age-friendly city. We would also love to hear from you! I encourage you to participate in our online survey by April 15. 

Please click here to access the questionnaire.

Toronto Seniors Helpline

WoodGreen Community Services, Toronto Central CCAC, and Toronto Central LHIN are pleased to launch the Toronto Seniors Helpline (TSH)!

The Toronto Seniors Helpline is a single phone line that streamlines access to community, homecare and crisis services for seniors, their caregivers and their health care providers. Through this initiative, CNAP, Seniors Crisis Line and TC CCAC information and referral staff have unified as a single team with a shared focus on information and referral, supportive counseling and service navigation services. As a result, seniors will experience the ease of one access point, more streamlined care, and warm transfers to the services that best meet their needs. TSH is for seniors, caregivers, and health care professionals.

TSH can be reached at 416-217-2077. The number is TTY-compatible; interpretation services are available.

TSH is answered by certified staff who connect people to the care they need, including CCAC home care services, crisis outreach teams, and other services in our community that support seniors’ safety, health and well-being. The team is comprised of information and referral staff from the TC CCAC and WoodGreen staff, all of whom have been cross-trained in service offerings across the home and community sector, including crisis services.

Low Income Retirement Workshops at Toronto Public Library

Planning for Retirement on a Low Income workshops will be offered again this spring at 9 library branches in Toronto, thanks to generous funding from The Rotary Club of Toronto. The goal of this workshop is to provide low-income attendees, in plain language, with a complete picture of benefits available to them, explain how these benefits interact, and outline best strategies for long term retirement planning on a very limited income. John Stapleton, Metcalf Foundation Fellow and social policy expert, is the presenter.

The impact of the series cannot be overstated. Mainstream financial advice is in most cases, inappropriate and detrimental to low-income earners. For example, advising a low-income person to save within an RRSP, can be very bad advice as it reduces their Guaranteed Income Supplement. Simply put, this information is not readily available elsewhere, and fills a real need. The 9 workshops in the fall 2016 series attracted 523 attendees – mostly disadvantaged persons in need of any available assistance, or someone attending on their behalf.

North Toronto Memorial Community Centre Temporary Closure

The City is enhancing North Toronto Memorial Community Centre to improve facility operations and services to the community. The centre will close for state of good repair renovations in September 2017 for approximately 18 months. For more information, please click here.

While the community centre is located outside of my ward, many Ward 22 residents use the facility and will be impacted by this closure. I encourage you to attend an upcoming community meeting hosted by City staff to learn more about the renovations and program relocation. The meeting will be held at North Toronto Memorial Community Centre at 6:30pm on Wednesday, May 17.

Open Call for Jane's Walk Leaders

May 5th, 6th, & 7th Jane's Walk Festival

If you have a fun, informative, unusual way of looking at your neighbourhood, then Jane’s Walk wants you to host a walking conversation in your community!

Jane’s Walk is a global movement of free, community-led walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs. The walks get people to explore their cities and connect with neighbours. Organizing a Jane’s Walk is easy. It simply involves planning a route, thinking through the stories, places, people and ideas you want to hear and talk about, and then posting it online atjaneswalk.org/toronto. Learn more at www.janeswalk.org.

Jane’s Walk is a great way to personally connect with with other residents, share stories of the neighborhood, and discuss important issues in your community. New walks are posted here every day.

City of Toronto's Proposed Stormwater Charge

Currently, stormwater management is being paid for from the water rate, which means the amount homeowners pay for stormwater management is based on how much water they use. The Stormwater Charge proposal is to remove the portion that homeowners currently pay for stormwater management (currently embedded in the water rate), and show it as a separate charge on the water bill. The water rate would decrease and the stormwater charge would be added. The amount paid for stormwater would be based on property size and the average amount of hard space on properties of a similar size.

More information is available at toronto.ca/stormwatercharge, including:
  • Full details and information about the proposed stormwater charge
  • An online survey to allow for public feedback
  • Examples of how the proposed stormwater charge could impact water bills
  • A full list of the categories and tiers for the proposed stormwater charge
  • A full listing of the public consultation dates and locations

Wheel-Trans Public Meetings: 10-Year Strategy Update and Next Steps

As a follow up to the public meetings held last summer, TTC will be hosting another round of consultations in April to update current and prospective customers on the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy.

Participants will be provided details on the recently implemented Wheel-Trans eligibility and policy changes, as well as information on the Family of Services Pilot Program, Mobility Transfer Hubs and the proposed Community Bus Routes. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A period and an opportunity to provide input on each of these initiatives.

Details on the public meetings can be found on the TTC Wheel-Trans Public Consultations page.

Public Invited to Debate, Collaborate and Create as Consultation on City of Toronto's Long-Term Financial Plan Continues

The City of Toronto is launching Phase 2 of its public consultation on the renewal of its Long-Term Financial Plan. Information about the consultation, including background reports and engagement opportunities, a public workshop and an upcoming online survey, is available athttp://www.investinginTO.ca/. The public is also invited to participate in the conversation on social media, using the hashtag #InvestinginTO.

For the second phase of consultation, the City is inviting members of the public to City Hall for a conversation about how it makes decisions and balances priorities that have a long-term financial impact.

An interactive afternoon of workshops and discussions will be held at Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen St. W., on Saturday, April 22 at 1-5pm. The open house will begin at 12:30pm.

This is an opportunity for the public to:
  • debate how City Hall can balance both its books and its long-term priorities
  • collaborate with community organizations, other members of the public and the City
  • create a financial path that brings us closer to the city we want
More information about the workshops and discussions is available athttp://www.investinginTO.ca/. The workshops will be available via webcast for those who wish to participate online.  An online survey will also be open from April 22 to May 14.

The first consultation, which took place last fall, focused on how the City manages expenses, raises revenue and could maximize its assets. The City heard about the need to balance the priorities and budgets while also supporting the most vulnerable Torontonians. The public was also clear about keeping the City's commitments to innovation, economic health, infrastructure investments and the environment while finding ways to pay for them. The City also heard about the need for information that helps the public understand and contribute to the City's budgets, plans and decision making.

The findings from the consultation process will provide advice for Council and the City Manager as the City sets out to develop its Long-Term Financial Plan. The plan will guide financial decision-making over the long term and put Toronto on a path to financial sustainability. It will also help address structural financial issues as expenditures continue to rise faster than revenues, and help ensure that the City continues to run well, spends public money wisely and delivers the programs and services residents need and want over the long term.

44 Jackes Avenue Public Meeting

The City has received an application to amend the Zoning By-law to permit a new high-rise residential building in the northwest corner of a 1.26 hectare site with two existing high-rise rental apartment buildings. The new building is proposed to be 29-storeys high with a 4-storey podium base.

Please join me at 7pm on Thursday, April 13 in the Cameron Room at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church (1585 Yonge Street), for a meeting to discuss the proposed development. City Planning staff will be in attendance to answer any questions you may have.


390 Spadina Road Development Update

The South Forest Hill Residents Association (SFHRA) has asked that I share the following message with you regarding this inappropriate development proposal: 

Forest Hill Village is Under Attack!

More than 60 local residents attended the pre-OMB hearing on March 1st forcing the OMB to move the proceedings to their largest room. South Forest Hill Residents Association (SFHRA) was well represented by lawyer, Peter Carey, who was successful in securing our "party" status at the OMB.

No date has been set for the OMB hearing itself.  Instead, a second pre-hearing date has been set for August 8th to review any revisions to the developer's plan and determine next steps.  In order to prepare for this meeting, SFHRA needs to hire their own experts to counter the aggressive and well-financed attack by the Armel Corporation and their partners.

We have our work cut out for us!  Did you know the OMB rules 64% of the time against communities and only 36% in favour of communities?  The community can only win this with the support of each member of the community.

Fundraising has begun with a goal to raise $65,000 to prevent the destruction of the Village.  You can help by donating generously:

1. ONLINE- click on the link which will take you to our GoFundMe page:
http://www.gofundme.com/save-forest-hill-village
OR
2. Drop off your cheque made out to South Forest Hill Residents Association at 350 Lonsdale Rd (Attention: Mona Kornberg). There's a 24 hour Concierge.

For further information or to join the fight, email the SFHRA at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit us on Facebook!

* South Forest Hill Residents Association is an incorporated non-profit organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors

Development Proposals in Ward 22

To ensure you are informed and engaged about development proposals being proposed for sites near your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive webpage

My webpage listing all the proposed developments in Ward 22 has recently been updated to reflect current development applications and, as always, contains locations, staff reports and public meeting notices. Additionally, the map now shows the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre surrounding Yonge and Eglinton, as well as the designated Avenues (portions of Eglinton Avenue West, St. Clair Avenue West, Yonge Street, Mt. Pleasant Road and Bayview Avenue). These are all areas where the Province is directing growth. Clicking on any of them will provide links to more information about the ward's Avenues/Urban Growth Centre, as well as links to the City's Official Plan and local secondary plans. 

The OMB is a quasi-judicial, un-elected and un-accountable provincial body that has the final say on all planning decisions in the province of Ontario. The tribunal's powers to overrule decisions made by our elected municipal representatives are anti-democratic and often lead to planning decisions that far too often support the interests of the development industry over those of our communities and our city's official plan. To read more about the OMB and my advocacy to free Toronto from its purview, please click here.
   
   

It's Time to Move Forward Now with an Honest and Fact-Based Transit Plan to Serve Scarborough Residents

Dear Residents,

A bad deal for Scarborough residents keeps getting worse. The cost of the 1-stop subway proposal has risen to $3.346 billion, a 50% increase from when the project was first announced in early 2016. As the cost is going up, Staff are projecting that fewer people will actually want to use the new line. The new report states that the subway will only attract 2,300 new daily riders. That means that the City would be paying approximately $1.45 million for every new rider that the stop gains.

The competing plans that will be debated at Council next week are the same as when I wrote to you about it in a newsletter last July. A 1-stop subway to the Scarborough Town Centre (STC), as shown below:



Or, for approximately the same City funding, we can choose instead to build 2 LRT lines with 24 stops. One line would have 7 stops using the existing RT corridor to link STC and Centennial College to Kennedy Station. This project is part of the signed Metrolinx Master Agreement, and would be mostly funded by the provincial government. Then, with money saved by moving forward now with the approved LRT, Council could fund a new 17-stop extension of the Eglinton Crosstown through Kennedy, serving Kingston Rd, UofT Scarborough, and several neighbourhoods in between.



I have included this picture of the proposed Centennial College station as a reminder that the 7-stop LRT will go through its own corridor on trains that have the same top speed as a subway (80 km/h).



Unfortunately, the Mayor and some others have declared a "war" over this issue to justify the unjustifiable. They have falsely stated that those wanting a larger network of LRTs for Scarborough have delayed the process.

In fact, providing rapid transit to Scarborough has only been delayed by Council's flip flop from a fully-funded LRT to a 3-stop and then 1-stop subway. The changing and uncertain subway costs and plans are the reason the issue keeps coming back to Council. Assertions otherwise are disingenuous.

Another specious argument put forward by 1-stop subway proponents is that only a subway stop will stimulate economic development at STC. That is a falsely exclusive causal relationship. While a subway stop could help support growth at STC, so would an LRT line. The LRT would actually provide 2 stops in the projected growth precinct. That's one of the reasons why our Chief Planner previously stated that an LRT, rather than a subway, would better stimulate economic development, while also serving more low-income residents as well as students:


(If you are unable to access the video by clicking on the above picture, you can access it through this link)


Asking for the Facts

I have submitted several questions regarding transit options for Scarborough that need to be clarified before Council votes next week. It is very concerning that, at a council meeting last July, City Council may have been falsely led to believe that the LRT would take longer to build than it actually would. In addition, there are several basic questions remaining with regard to the 1-stop subway proposal's funding and ridership. Regardless of what transit plan Council chooses, it is important that the decision be made honestly and based on evidence rather than political interests.

I want Scarborough residents, along with all Torontonians, to have access to rapid transit to improve the quality of their lives.

I have included my full communication to the City Manager below for your review. It is also included in next week's City Council agenda:

March 21, 2017

City Manager's Office
11th Floor, East Tower, City Hall
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Dear Mr. Wallace,

Questions Re: Transit Options for Scarborough

As you know, transit plans in Scarborough have gone through a number of iterations. A 7-stop, traffic-separated LRT was initially approved in 2007, and reconfirmed several times, including the "MOU Plan" between former Mayor Ford and Metrolinx, as shown in the March 31, 2011 Ontario government press release below:


Fig. 1


The project, along with 3 other LRT lines in Toronto, was reconfirmed on February 8, 2012 at a Special Meeting of Council.

The shift to a subway in Scarborough was first approved as a 3-stop subway in October of 2013 for $3.56 billion. The plan significantly changed on January 28, 2016 when Staff presented a 1-stop subway just to Scarborough Town Centre and a 17-stop eastern extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT for approximately the same funding as the previous 3-stop plan, as stated on page 3 of EX 11.5 – Scarborough Transit Planning Update:

"Initial estimates indicate it is possible to construct the extension of Line 2 and the Crosstown East for a similar order-of-magnitude cost and in a similar timeframe as the three-stop Scarborough Subway extension originally proposed."

Unfortunately, the estimated price of the subway, excluding financing and other costs, has risen by more than 50%, leaving the 17-stop Crosstown extension unfunded. At the upcoming Council meeting of March 28, 2017, Council will, for the first time, have an opportunity to decide whether to proceed with a 1-stop extension of the Bloor Danforth subway for $3.346 Billion as identified in EX 23.1 Next Steps on the Scarborough Subway Extension.

I am submitting the following questions as there are several significant matters pertaining to this item that require clarification before Council makes a decision on the future of transit in Scarborough.


Master Agreement

The Master Agreement between Metrolinx, the City of Toronto, and the TTC signed in 2012 stated that the Province would pay 100% of the capital costs associated with the Scarborough LRT as shown in the excerpt below from page 1 of Schedule G in the Master Agreement:


Fig. 2

Question: Is the Master Agreement between Metrolinx, the City of Toronto, and the TTC still valid?


Comparison

The business case analysis before Council only provides a relative comparison between two 1-stop subway options. 

Question: Has the City ever provided a business case analysis that directly compared the subway extension (3 or 1-stop version) with the 7-stop LRT in Scarborough?


Transit Project Construction Issues

On July 4, 2016 a briefing note produced by the TTC (Attachment 1) appeared on CP24 regarding the possibility of moving forward with a 7-stop LRT from Kennedy to Sheppard, serving the existing RT route along with Centennial College and Sheppard. The contents of the briefing note were cited numerous times by Staff and Councillors during the Council meeting of July 12, 2016. This briefing note has still not been publicly posted on the website of the TTC or the City of Toronto.

The briefing note makes a number of assertions regarding the construction of the 7-stop LRT that require clarification prior to the upcoming Council meeting.

First, the briefing note assumes that the start of LRT construction would have to wait until work on the Eglinton Crosstown was completed at Kennedy. However, as the excerpt below from an April 25, 2012 Metrolinx Board Report states, Metrolinx was explicitly planning to start at the north end of the line first to speed up construction time:


Fig. 3

Question: Was the City/TTC aware of new information that would prohibit starting to build the Scarborough LRT at the north end of the line to expedite the construction process?

Further, an excerpt from page 1 of the same 2012 Metrolinx Board Report, shown below, states that, at the time, the Eglinton Crosstown was expected to be completed in 2020 and the Scarborough LRT's completion date was 2019:


Fig. 4


While the completion dates have changed, these construction timelines required that work occur simultaneously at Kennedy Station to facilitate both projects. As depicted in the diagram below, the Eglinton Crosstown was to occupy the below-grade platform, while the Scarborough LRT would enter at-grade.


Fig. 5


The briefing note states that, as a result of the Eglinton Crosstown, the Scarborough LRT is "physically precluded" at Kennedy Station without mentioning that space below-grade would now be available for the Scarborough LRT platform, further improving the transfer to the Bloor-Danforth subway.

Question: Is the City/TTC aware of a reason why Metrolinx would not be able to construct platforms at Kennedy Station for both the Eglinton Crosstown and the Scarborough LRT, as was originally planned, but with the platform levels for the two projects switched?


Design Completion

There have been several concerning inconsistencies regarding the stated level of design completion for both the 7-stop Scarborough LRT and the 1-stop subway that require clarification before Council votes later this month.

During the Questions to Staff portion of the debate on EX 16.1 Developing Toronto's Transit Network Plan to 2031 at the July 12, 2016 Council meeting, Councillor Colle asks the Deputy City Manager, Cluster B, a question on the design completion status of the Scarborough LRT (scroll to the 4hr:45min mark of this video to view):

Councillor Colle: "There's been a lot of discussion around, uh, the percentage of where we are, at design for various projects, and we were told recently for the, call it, 2008-9-10 LRT that that's at about 5 per cent design? Or it was at that time? Is that a fair number?"

DCM: "So, um, Madam Speaker, ah, we've had some discussions as a follow-up. Some elements are at 5 and some are at 10 per cent. That was the information we got from Metrolinx the other day." 

The Deputy City Manager's response is seemingly at odds with the information presented by Metrolinx in the April 2012 Board Report included above (Fig. 3), which states that the longest portion of the line, between Kennedy and McCowan, was at 30% design completion.

Question: Did Metrolinx provide City Staff with information regarding the design completion status of the Scarborough LRT that contradicted their April 2012 Board Report, which claimed that the Kennedy to McCowan portion of the line was at the 30% design stage?

During the same question period, Councillor Colle asks a follow-up question about the design completion status of the 1-stop subway extension to Chief Project Manager for the Scarborough Subway Extension:

Councillor Colle: "And where would the subway be at design percentage of design completion? Around 5 (per cent) I think I've heard?"

Chief Project Manager: "Uh, we're currently at about 5 per cent, yes."

The Chief Project Manager's answer is reinforced by the chart below from the Staff report presented at the July 2016 Council meeting which states that the cost estimate provided was "developed at approximately 5% design": 


Fig. 6


A similar chart included in the Staff Report before Council later this month states that the 1-stop subway extension is still at 5% design.

Question: Given that there has been significant work done on the 1-stop Scarborough Subway Extension between July 2016 and March 2017, why is the project design status not moved beyond the 5% completion status cited in July 2016?


Funding Source Issues

There are a number of unanswered questions regarding funding sources for the 1-stop Scarborough Subway Extension that require clarification prior to Council voting on the issue.

The chart below provides a breakdown of the funding sources for the subway extension:


Fig. 7


Recommendation 6 in the Staff report that contains the above chart reads:

City Council request the Province of Ontario and Government of Canada confirm the sources of funding for the provincial and federal commitments to the Scarborough Subway Extension.

The wording of this recommendation raises a number of questions regarding the degree to which Council can depend on the funding amounts indicated, including:

Question: Has the City determined whether the $660 million committed by the previous federal government will be considered a separate contribution under the Build Canada Fund or will the City have to apply for the project under phase 2 of the Investing in Canada Fund, thereby decreasing the amount of funds available through this program? Will the contribution be escalated under either funding source?

Question: Has the City determined whether the provincial government has agreed to the $1.99 billion escalated contribution cited in Fig. 7? Has the provincial government agreed to transfer the full contribution all at once?


Travel Patterns

One of the proposed main advantages of the 1-stop subway extension, in comparison to the original LRT plan, is the elimination of the transfer at Kennedy station. The main benefit of the elimination of the transfer is a faster travel time downtown. As shown below in the map from the 2011 Transportation Tomorrow Survey, downtown travel accounts for 23% of all transit trips that begin in Scarborough: 


Fig. 8


Also evident in the map is that few riders from Scarborough get off the subway at destinations along the Bloor-Danforth line prior to the core.

As depicted in the rapid transit map below, it would appear that Scarborough commuters going downtown would have a much faster ride on SmartTrack/GO RER.


Fig. 9


Question:
How many riders during the AM peak and throughout the day are predicted to transfer to and from SmartTrack/GO RER at Kennedy Station?

Thank you for your attention in these matters. I look forward to responses that provide me and my colleagues with adequate time to review.


Sincerely,



Josh Matlow
Toronto City Councillor
Ward 22- St. Paul's

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------



Attachment 1



Briefing Note
Date: June 29, 2016

Issues Relating to Re-introduction of LRT Replacement for Line 3 (SRT)
Background
The original proposal - to replace the aging Line 3 Scarborough (SRT) with a 7-stop LRT line, extending to Sheppard Avenue East, is shown in the attached schematic.  This note summarises the primary tasks that would have to be undertaken in the event that the LRT solution was re-introduced. It is intended to assist in the event of any questions on this matter at City Council. It is important to note that these figures are estimates only and have been escalated, as noted below.

Discussion
The Environmental Assessment (EA) that was approved for the LRT project in 2010 must be updated, and formally amended, to address the following elements:

  1. Complete Redesign of the EA-Approved LRT Connection at Kennedy Station:  The most complex aspect of the conceptual design work on the LRT was the connection at Kennedy Station.  The recommended solution, shown in the attachments in plan and cross-section views, consisted of a large one-way LRT loop with the LRT station directly on top of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT (ECLRT) station. As Metrolinx’s plans for the ECLRT were finalised after Council approved subway technology in October 2013, they did not make any provision to protect for the LRT connection. This LRT connection is now physically precluded by the current ECLRT plans and an entirely new design would have to be developed.
  1. New Ridership Forecasts: As with the subway extension, ridership forecasts for the LRT would have to be updated using the City’s new forecasting model and reflect changes in the transit network in Scarborough.  This would include Smart Track/RER - with several options re service frequency and assumed level of fare integration – and options with and without the Sheppard East LRT and the easterly extension of the ECLRT.
  1. Review Potential Conflicts with GO/RER: A new design concept for a Lawrence LRT station must be developed that incorporates the current plans for a Smart Track Station at Lawrence Avenue.  In addition to identifying and resolving any issues at Lawrence Station, the LRT plans would have to reviewed with Metrolinx to  and identify and resolve any conflicts as the running structure is in the same corridor.
  1. Assess LRT Maintenance and Storage Facility (MSF) Options:  Subject to confirmation of a consistent maintenance/operating/ownership model for three LRT lines in Scarborough, an adequate location for MSF facility would have to be identified.  This could mean an interim solution (eg. a Bellamy yard was included in the original LRT EA) with a future consolidation at the previously planned Sheppard/Conlins yard.
  1. Closure of Line 3: finalise plans for the bus replacement service when Line 3 is shut down, including the associated temporary bus terminals and storage facility.
  1. Re-examine Bus Terminal Concepts at Stations: The previous number of bus bays to be confirmed for all stations.


vii)        Update Schedule and Capital Cost

viii)       EA Amendment Public Meeting: It is expected that at least one public meeting would be necessary as part of the process to amend the LRT EA.

Timing
From the point Council directs staff to proceed with an LRT solution, a very rough estimate would be that it would take approximately 12 to 18 months to present a revised plan to obtain Council and MOE approval. This is very much dependent upon the time required to identify, and obtain acceptance of, a new connection at Kennedy Station.

The construction at Kennedy Station is the key element on the critical path for the LRT and depending if the preferred design is above or below grade, construction could range from approximately 3.5 to 5 years.  If staff are directed to proceed in July 2016 and assuming construction cannot begin before the ECLRT work at Kennedy is completed in 2021, a quick preliminary evaluation suggests the LRT could be operational in early 2026 to late 2027.

Funding
With the change in technology, confirmation of contributions from funding partners may be required.

Order of Magnitude Comparison

The October 2013 Council report indicated the Province had announced $1.8B ($2010) for construction of SRT as LRT, to Sheppard. Of the $1.8B, the Province committed $1.48B ($2010) to the SSE.  As a minimum, staff believe the $1.8B should be the starting point, which would have to be updated through proper design to address the changes noted above.
The $1.48B has recently been reported as the total cost of a seven stop LRT.  To facilitate a high level cost comparison of the current subway estimate to the costs of an LRT at this time, the $1.8B was escalated to an end of 2025 opening (2% per year from 2011 to 2013 and 4% per year from 2014 to mid-2023), adding SRT Life Extension and SRT Shutdown service.

$1.8B escalated                                                      $2.7B
SRT Life Extension                                             .108
SRT Shutdown                                                  .171
Total                                                                 $2.979B
Prepared By
Rick Thompson, Chief Project Manager, Scarborough Subway Extension
416-590-6870

   

Page 3 of 53


Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 187

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 187

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 187

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 187

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 187

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 187

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 187

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 187

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 187

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in H:\root\home\ryananthony-001\www\joshmatlowca\templates\rt_infuse_j15\html\pagination.php on line 199

Subscribe to my City Hall and Community Updates

Here are my previous e-newsletters.

Stay up to date on the latest Ward 22 news and events by subscribing to our e-newsletter.

* indicates required

Josh On Twitter