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.
Keeping you updated regarding community and City Hall issues is a top priority to me. When there are emergencies such as last winter's ice storm or today's power outage, I work to ensure that you have current information on what actions are being taken.
Since learning of the power outage this morning, I have been communicating throughout the day with Toronto Hydro. I was recently advised that there are only three buildings without power, of 8,000 initially affected. I will continue closely monitoring the situation until every resident has their power restored. Meanwhile, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel welcome to contact Toronto Hydro at 416-542-8000.
I hope you have a very enjoyable and, most importantly, warm Family Day weekend!
At 10:30 am today, power went out from Eglinton south to Wellesley and Spadina east to Yonge. With the extremely cold weather that's been forecasted for this weekend, I was very concerned and immediately contacted the Office of the President of Toronto Hydro for an update.
I've been advised that both Toronto Hydro and Hydro One crews are on site and are working to determine the cause of the outage. While we don't currently have an estimated time for the restoration, I can assure you that crews are focused on the restoration process. As soon as I receive further information from Toronto Hydro, I will let you know.
If you are aware of a senior or anyone else affected by the power outage that is on their own without access to the internet, TV or radio, please consider checking in on them.
February 10, 2015
Dear Mayor and Council,
Re IA 3.1- IA3.5 Administrative Inquiries on Scarborough Subway Extension
I submitted five Administrative Inquiries (IA 3.1 – IA 3.5) under Municipal Code S27-61 to obtain information not yet presented to Council on the Scarborough Subway Extension.
I appreciate the City Manager and Staff taking the time to respond to my questions.
Please see the accompanying recommendations that request some of the Administrative Inquiries to be received, as the answers were satisfactory, while I have made the request for others to be referred to Executive Committee for additional input and clarification from staff.
I very much hope that you agree that thoughtfully reviewing facts, and considering impacts on the City’s budget, should be a basic part of how Council considers public policy, including transit expansion. I respectfully request that you support an opportunity for councillors to collect relevant and important information at Executive Committee.
Please review my recommendations below:
To be received:
IA 3.1: Metrolinx Sunk Costs Associated with Scarborough LRT
Council directed the City Manager to report back on negotiations with Metrolinx on the sunk costs re: Scarborough LRT cancellation. The City Manager has informed Council that an audit on the Metrolinx sunk costs has been completed by Price Waterhouse Coopers and the City is in the final stages of negotiating the agreement with Metrolinx. I look forward to seeing the City Manager's report to the Budget Committee on these costs as part of the 2015 budget process.
IA 3.3: Scarborough Subway Extension Study Area
The City Manager has clarified that the boundaries of the study area were determined by possible routes for the subway as opposed to a full assessment of transit options in the corridor. My primary concern is that SmartTrack, given the GO line’s proximity to the potential subway extension corridors, is considered when assessing the ridership of the Scarborough Subway Extension. The City Manager has assured Council that will occur.
To be referred:
IA 3.2: Operating and Capital Maintenance Costs for the Scarborough Subway Extension
The City Manager has clarified that $30-40 million was for annual capital maintenance costs only. Operating costs have yet to be determined and he was unable to provide an estimate. Given the potential annual effect on the TTC's operating budget and the associated tax increase, I believe that it is important to receive more information on this issue. Given that the TTC operates several other subway lines it does not seem unreasonable for staff to at least provide an estimation based on per kilometre operating costs elsewhere in Toronto's network. This information will be critical as we prepare for subsequent City budgets.
IA 3.4: Discrepancy between number of trains and projected ridership
As reported in the Globe and Mail in July of 2014, there was a discrepancy in the July 2013 staff report between the number of trains budgeted for and the service level (and associated ridership) stated to be provided. The City Manager has addressed the reasoning behind offering a reduced number of trains through the Scarborough Subway Extension, but has not answered how 120 second headways would be achieved with the lower vehicle compliment.
IA 3.5 Ridership Projections for the Bloor-Danforth Subway Extension in CC 7.17- Scarborough Rapid Transit Options
Between January of 2013 and July of the same year, City staff inflated the ridership projection for the Scarborough Subway Extension from 9,500 passengers per direction in the peak hour (well below the level needed to justify a subway) to 14,000 using the same metric – which brought ridership to the cusp of justifying a subway. Staff admitted that this was a "preliminary" assessment, yet this higher figure was cited by staff at both the July and October 2013 council meetings as reason to opt for the higher capacity transit option.
I appreciate that the City Manager provided the names of the models and that he informed Council that Staff were unable to use the more robust projection model due to time constraints. However, there are still some basic and outstanding questions related to what assumptions planners made, and how they made them, about the rest of Toronto's transit network and train frequency cited in AI 3.4 that merit explanation.
- City Council request to receive IA 3.1, IA 3.3
- City Council request that IA 3.2, IA 3.4, IA 3.5 be referred to Executive Committee
Toronto City Councillor
Ward 22- St. Paul's
I believe that as the City and School Boards serve the same constituents, the residents of Toronto, they must work more closely togther to make long-term and more comprehensive decisions.
As I'm sure many of you have seen in the news, the Minister of Education has asked the TDSB to develop a list of schools to review. The Minister's rationale for potential closures is that a large number of TDSB schools have low enrolment, with many at less than 65% capacity. While there are no schools in Ward 22 are at risk of closure, I am concerned about the possible city-wide effects associated with losing schools without a long term plan to retain community purpose of the facilies and green spaces.
Enrolment numbers alone do not present a full picture of a school's utilization rate. Field areas provide community green space while activities inside can include ESL and Adult Education classes, recreational sports programs, child care, Girl Guides and many others.
I am pleased that Mayor Tory has declared that the City has an interest in this issue and has supported the motion I originally moved in 2012 to create a City-School Boards Working Group to address closures, as well as other points of mutual interest such as supporting vulnerable youth and shared recreational opportunities, including pools and development requests. Unfortunately, the previous administration did not see the value of strengthening the City's relationship with the school boards, but Mr. Tory has signalled that he will be reviving the Committee.
For more information, please read this article.
Tenant Issues Committee
Tenants make up over 50% of Toronto's residents and have specific rights and responsibilities that are governed by City of Toronto by-laws and provincial legislation. Tenants have the right to live in a clean, well-maintained home and deserve fair representation when being faced with unfair rent increases or eviction.
Far too often, unfortunately, my office hears from renters that are living in apartments where these basic needs are not being met. That's why I brought a motion forward at Executive Committee to establish a Tenants Issues Committee for this term of Council. I was pleased that Mayor Tory recognized the importance of these issues and moved the motion.
Like many churches across our community and city, the Manor Road United Church (MRUC) has had to face the challenging reality of what to do with their property to secure their long-term sustainability. After reviewing several options, they decided that half of the church's current property at Manor Road and Forman Avenue would more efficiently serve their needs. The MRUC site is comprised of four city lots fronting on Manor Road; the church will continue to own/occupy the two westernmost lots (containing the church proper) and is selling off the two eastern lots.
I am delighted that MRUC reached out to me last year, rather than a developer, about the possibility of the City purchasing this eastern half of the church property. Since then, I have worked with Park Acquisitions staff and MRUC to have the City acquire this portion of the site using Section 42 funds, to maintain as a much-needed green space in the community. Both parties are currently in serious discussion about a finalized purchase agreement and we are all in agreement that protecting public space for our community is far better than another townhouse development.
Despite recent announcements about political support for a 3-stop subway, the Scarborough LRT is still part of the Master Agreement with Metrolinx. Council will soon be faced with a very important decision. It can either reaffirm its support for the fully-funded, planned and ready-to-go, traffic-separated (in its own corridor), 7-stop rapid transit LRT line for Scarborough or spend more than $1 Billion on a shorter subway extension- serving fewer residents for more money, increasing the City's debt and Torontonian's property taxes.
Before this choice is made, it is vital that Councillors are provided with full information and put facts before politics.
Please read this article about some the questions I'll be asking at next week's city council meeting.
The recent demolition of Stollery’s at 1 Bloor Street West is only the latest example of the City’s inability to stay ahead of development applications and preserve historic or architecturally significant examples of Toronto’s built landscape: those physical links to our City’s past that also contribute to the unique character and vibrancy of our streetscapes. That's why it's important that municipal preservation efforts are as comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date as possible. Please see my motion that will be considered at next week's city council meeting.
This Saturday, February 7th at 2 pm, Deer Park Library (40 St. Clair Avenue East) will celebrate Black History Month with a free concert by the Arsenals, an authentic Jamaican ska, rocksteady rhythms and pop act.
Other events to look forward to this month include a talk by a CARP representative about opportunities for retirees to get back into the working world on Thursday, February 12th at 2 pm, and a presentation by consumer advocate Ellen Roseman on Thursday, February 19th at 6:30 pm.
For more information, please visit the Toronto Public Library website.
Clean Toronto Together 2015
The City of Toronto's annual community clean-up campaign, Clean Toronto Together (CTT), returns this April. This year's events will consist of Corporate & School 20-Minute Makeover on Friday, April 17th at 2 pm and Community Clean-Up Days on Saturday, April 18th and Sunday, April 19th. The Community Clean-Up Days are a great opportunity for individuals, groups, associations and organizations to clean up a park, laneway or other public space in their neighbourhood. This initiative coincides with the City's annual spring clean-up efforts and helps keep our city clean and green. Further information about how to register your event and receive support from City Divisions is forthcoming.
Please let me know if you are planning a community clean-up this year, as I would love to attend!
REMINDER: Toronto-St. Paul’s Annual Skating Party
Our local MP, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, will be co-hosting a community skating party with me at the new Hodgson Rink. Please join us from 12 pm to 2 pm on Saturday, February 7th for a fun, family-friendly afternoon with free coffee and hot chocolate. I look forward to seeing you there!
REMINDER: Casa Loma Community Open House for Wards 22 and 21
Nick Di Donato, Councillor Mihevc and I will be co-hosting a community open house at the gardens at Casa Loma. Please join us from 5 pm to 8 pm on Thursday, February 12th for a spectacular Winter Wonderland light display, live ice carving and wood carving presentations. Hot chocolate and s'mores will be available for purchase.
Seniors Community Grant Program
The Province of Ontario has introduced the first grant program in the province dedicated solely to seniors. The program is focused on encouraging initiatives and projects in the non-profit sector that encourage greater social inclusion, volunteerism, education and community engagement for seniors across Ontario. Grants range from $500-$8,000. For more information, please visit the program website.
Edward Snowden at World Affairs Conference
Earlier this week, on February 2nd, privacy activist Edward Snowden participated as keynote speaker in the World Affairs Conference. Congrats to the students from Upper Canada College and Branksome Hall who organized this important conversation, and to both schools for their support!
The Future of Casa Loma: North Precinct Public Meeting
On Thursday, February 26 at 7 pm, please join me at Grace Church on-the-Hill (300 Lonsdale Road) to discuss future uses including the possibility of a City of Toronto museum for the 2.5-acre North Campus of Casa Loma. The property consists of the hunting lodge, potting shed, garage and stables.
REMINDER: 2015 City of Toronto Budget Community Town Hall Meeting
On Tuesday, March 3rd at 7pm, I will be hosting my 2015 Budget Town Hall for Ward 22 residents. The meeting will be held in the Multi-Purpose Room at the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre (200 Eglinton Avenue West).
If you would like more information on the proposed 2015 City of Toronto Budget in advance of my Town Hall meeting, please visit the City of Toronto website.
Build the Relief Subway Line Now!
To keep you informed about development applications in our community that might affect you or your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive map on my website. I hope you will find this to be a useful reference.
Let's Move Forward with Building Scarborough Rapid Transit: 2015 Fact Sheet
The Metrolinx Master Agreement for transit with Toronto still supports the 7-stop, high-speed LRT project in Scarborough.
While Council, when Rob Ford was mayor, first voted to support the fully funded, LRT. It then voted to support a 3-stop subway extension. Council will soon be faced with a very important decision. It can either reaffirm its commitment to the original plan- a 7-stop LRT line or the shorter Bloor-Danforth subway extension in Scarborough.
The Scarborough LRT could be constructed and open before a subway extension.
Before this choice is made, it is vital that the public, mayor and councillors are provided with full and accurate information. Please see below the facts that are known to date. There are also still some important questions that have yet to be answered:
The LRT would provide more high-speed service, for less cost and could be completed much sooner for Scarborough residents The new LRT would be in a completely grade-separated corridor. No car lanes removed. No traffic lights. No cross streets. Widely spaced stations. At an average of 36km per hour It would run faster than the Yonge and Bloor-Danforth lines which average 32km per hour The LRT would have the same top speed as a subway – 80km per hour The line would have a capacity to carry 16,000 passengers per hour. It is anticipated that by 2031, the LRT would carry 8,000 passengers per hour leaving it enough capacity to serve the area for many decades to come- the extra capacity offered by a subway won't come close to being needed The LRT would be over two kilometres longer than the subway, have four more stations and is within walking distance to over 20,000 more people- with the possibility to extend the line into Malvern (Centennial College students would not have a stop if the SRT is converted to a subway rather than an LRT) Cost Concerns for all Toronto residents/taxpayers: The subway will cost the City $900 million more in capital costs than the fully funded LRT requiring a 1.6% tax increase, that will remain for 30 years The subway will also require Toronto's allocation ($660 million) of the federal Building Canada Plan which could have been used, for example, to build new affordable housing to help address the City's long waiting list or other prioritized transit projects The capital cost does not factor in: Sunk costs for the original LRT plan, estimated between $75 and $85 million -Metrolinx has already told the City that is is responsible for these wasted tax dollars $30 - 40 million per year in capital maintenance costs which would be borne by Metrolinx. That alone is equal to a 1.25 – 1.6% property tax increase – it is unclear whether this figure includes the operating costs Cancellation of LRT Bombardier contract - cost unknown Toronto assumes risk of construction cost overruns which would be borne by Metrolinx if Council opts for the LRT Toronto assumes risk of increased cost of borrowing if interest rates rise that would be borne by Metrolinx if Council opts for the LRT Property acquisition Wasted planning/engineering/design work that was already underway
The LRT would provide more high-speed service, for less cost and could be completed much sooner for Scarborough residents
The new LRT would be in a completely grade-separated corridor. No car lanes removed. No traffic lights. No cross streets. Widely spaced stations.
At an average of 36km per hour It would run faster than the Yonge and Bloor-Danforth lines which average 32km per hour
The LRT would have the same top speed as a subway – 80km per hour
The line would have a capacity to carry 16,000 passengers per hour.
It is anticipated that by 2031, the LRT would carry 8,000 passengers per hour leaving it enough capacity to serve the area for many decades to come- the extra capacity offered by a subway won't come close to being needed
The LRT would be over two kilometres longer than the subway, have four more stations and is within walking distance to over 20,000 more people- with the possibility to extend the line into Malvern (Centennial College students would not have a stop if the SRT is converted to a subway rather than an LRT)
Cost Concerns for all Toronto residents/taxpayers:
The subway will cost the City $900 million more in capital costs than the fully funded LRT requiring a 1.6% tax increase, that will remain for 30 years
The subway will also require Toronto's allocation ($660 million) of the federal Building Canada Plan which could have been used, for example, to build new affordable housing to help address the City's long waiting list or other prioritized transit projects
The capital cost does not factor in:
Sunk costs for the original LRT plan, estimated between $75 and $85 million -Metrolinx has already told the City that is is responsible for these wasted tax dollars
$30 - 40 million per year in capital maintenance costs which would be borne by Metrolinx. That alone is equal to a 1.25 – 1.6% property tax increase – it is unclear whether this figure includes the operating costs
Cancellation of LRT Bombardier contract - cost unknown
Toronto assumes risk of construction cost overruns which would be borne by Metrolinx if Council opts for the LRT
Toronto assumes risk of increased cost of borrowing if interest rates rise that would be borne by Metrolinx if Council opts for the LRT
Wasted planning/engineering/design work that was already underway
I hope you find this information helpful to make your own, informed position.
Toronto City Councillor
Ward 22- St. Paul's
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