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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 tenant issues related to the Residential Tenancies Act, December 18 2013.

Councillor Josh Matlow spoke regarding development charges, October 9, 2013.

Community Update for March 7, 2014

Fighting to Keep Hodgson Rink Open for our Community


Keeping Hodgson rink open for the 2014/15 season and retaining it in our community is a top priority for me as both our City Councillor and as a local parent myself.


With the Hodgson rink closed this year due to necessary repairs, I worked closely with many dedicated parents in our community to build the "SkinnamaRink" natural ice rink (near our newly named Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground) at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park. While this rink has been a great success, it does not replace having an artificial rink in our neighbourhood. While it has been exceptionally cold this season, in a typical winter, artificial ice rinks provide about a 100 skating days while natural ones only provide 50.


The Hodgson rink is closed this year as a result of two ammonia leaks in two years and it was not clear when the next one might occur. Components at a facility like Hodgson have a life cycle of 15-20 years. The Hodgson rinks are now over 30 years old and continue to operate with many of the original components. The Hodgson rinks carried ammonia instead of the brine or glycol solutions used in other outdoor rinks. This created a much greater health and safety risk to users, particularly next to a school yard and neighbouring residences. There is no doubt that the rink's infrastructure needs to be completely replaced.


The land on which the rinks are located is owned by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). Therefore, the City of Toronto must negotiate with the TDSB as a stakeholder in the reconstruction process. The City has $2 million earmarked toward the Hodgson rink in its 2014 capital budget and is ready to begin construction. However, the City is requesting a 20- year agreement from the TDSB in order to justify this investment. At this point, TDSB staff is only willing to commit that their property will remain a rink for 10 years to keep their options open for future uses.


I arranged a meeting at city hall last week to meet with TDSB and City staff to negotiate options. I have called for a follow up meeting this Monday with Trustee Laskin (who's been very supportive), TDSB and City staff to arrive at a resolution and will update you next week.


I am committed to finding a fiscally responsible solution that ensures Hodgson is open for skating in the 2014/15 season and that a rink remains in our community for years to come. I very much hope that the TDSB will be a willing partner in finding a reasonable resolution for our community. This skating rink means too much to our kids and our community.


The City of Toronto offers free and affordable family activities during March Break


Throughout March Break (March 10-16), the City of Toronto is offering free and low-cost family-friendly activities all throughout the city.

 

Toronto offers many opportunities to participate in winter sports; 11 of the City’s skating rinks, along with Centennial and Earl Bales ski and snowboard centres, will remain open until March 16, weather permitting.

 

March Break camps are also available and are a great opportunity for youth to enjoy a wide variety of activities such as arts, crafts, music, drama, games and sports. More information on camps being offered is available here.

 

Many non-seasonal activities will still be available for families to enjoy. Several indoor swimming pools, historic sites and museums will be open throughout the break. The High Park Zoo and Riverdale Farm will be open daily as well.

 

For more information on programs and services within the City of Toronto, residents can visit toronto.ca or call 311.

 

Protecting Ward 22 at the OMB


The applicants for the Art Shoppe development have taken the City to the OMB. At the pre hearing I ensured that our community's interests were well represented by City Planning and Legal staff. The OMB has suggested mediation and, regardless of whether the City chooses a full hearing or mediation, I will be fighting for a more reasonable development on this site. The developers have proposed two towers of 38 and 29 storeys on a site where a midrise is more appropriate. The Art Shoppe is directly adjacent to single family homes on Soudan and Hillsdale, has direct impacts on condo residents in adjacent buildings and many other residents, and is outside the provincially designated Urban Growth Centre.


As well, the hearing regarding 95 & 99 Broadway finished last week after a long three day hearing. On behalf of our community I want to thank City Legal, City Planning and the Sherwood Park Residents' Association for defending our community from this inappropriate development. I will inform the community when the OMB releases its verdict.


For more information on the many other development issues I'm working with our neighbourhood residents and planning staff on in Ward 22, see this webpage I creted to keep you informed. And, please visit this page for more information about you can help free Toronto from the OMB.


Concerns Increase Regarding Trains Carrying Crude Oil through Toronto Neighbourhoods


Several residents and I are concerned, and are raising reasonable questions, about the significant increase of trains carrying crude oil over the past five years, from 500 carloads in 2009 to an estimated 140,000 in 2013.


A significant number of these tank cars are using the Canadian Pacific rail line that runs through Toronto from the Junction neighbourhood along Dupont St. right in the heart of ward 22's Rathnelly and Summerhill neighbourhoods.


This increase in oil shipment has occurred without any consultation or public notices. I met with CP several weeks ago and they were unwilling to even discuss rerouting the trains. I am organizing a liaison group of concerned community members, MP Carolyn Bennett and neighbouring Councillors to meet with CP again in April.


For more information please see this article.


Building Code Violations go Uninspected


As Vice-Chair of the Audit Committee, I learned last week that 3,735 building code violations were currently unresolved, including 180 orders to rectify unsafe situations.


This is unacceptable and I will continue working with my colleagues to help ensure that staff works through the backlog and doesn't allow work orders to accumulate in the future.


For more information please see the Audit Committee's resolution to address these issues and this article.


Made-for-Toronto Local Appeal Body


The Province of Ontario has granted the City of Toronto the power to establish a local appeal body to hear appeals of Committee of Adjustment decisions on both minor variances and consent applications. This does not include applications for larger development proposals.

 

You are invited to share your ideas and views on this matter. Public consultations are being held throughout the city at six locations. The Central Toronto public consultation will be on Monday, March 17, 6:45 pm, at Metro Hall – Rooms 308 & 309 (55 John Street). For more information, please click here.

 

Ward 22 Parks Update


Many of our Ward 22 parks and playgrounds have been in need of improvements. I’m working closely with staff from Parks, Forestry and Recreation to ensure that our parks receive the upgrades they need. I’d like to share the following updates regarding Charlotte Maher Park and Forest Hill Road Park. I am also working with neighbourhood residents to improve many other local parks, including the median parkettes on Belsize Dr.

 

The improvement project at Charlotte Maher Park is expected to be awarded around the end of March 2014, and construction is expected to be completed in the first half of July 2014.

 

The project at Forest Hill Road Park is expected to be awarded in April 2014. Construction is expected to begin around the second half of May 2014, with completion anticipated by mid-July 2014.

 

These park improvements will help beautify our neighbourhoods and improve our community's quality of life.

 

Between Generations: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto seeks volunteers aged 55 and over in Ward 22!


For only 1 hour a week during the school day, you could help change the life of a young person just by being a friend! Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto (BBBST) is looking for adults aged 55+ to mentor a child at an elementary school in their community. The program requires a weekly commitment during the school day for one school year, where volunteers take part in activities such as playing board games, reading, drawing, building model planes, learning a craft or just getting to know their Little Brother or Little Sister.

 

Mentoring means changing lives, including your own. It’s a rewarding way to give back through becoming a special friend to a child in your community.

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters facilitates life-changing relationships that inspire and empower children and youth to reach their potential. BBBST relies on volunteers and donations in order to continue to ensure that every child who needs a mentor, has a mentor. For more information, or to start the application process, please e-mail Max Beaumont or call 416-925-8981 ext. 4118. For more information, you may also visit www.bbbst.com.

 

Build the Relief Subway Line Now!


The Relief Subway Line would provide an alternative within our existing subway system, which is already overcrowded during rush hours. It would also curb gridlock on our city’s streets and increase access to jobs and attractions. It is the evidence-based subway expansion project that would most improve Toronto’s economy and residents’ quality of life.

 

To take action and learn more about the proposal, please visit my page on the Relief Subway Line.

 

Stop Unfair Rent Increases


Above the Guideline Increases (AGIs) for basic upkeep and repairs have pushed rents, that are already steep, into the unaffordable range in recent years. Landlords can apply for AGIs through the Landlord and Tenant Board. While there are certainly some very good landlords, too many others are abusing the system. Many repairs should be included as part of a landlord's overall expenses and paid for from the rent they already receive. It is clear that tenants, often seniors who have fixed pensions, are being unfairly burdened for the landlord’s basic cost of doing business.

 

For more information and to learn how you can take action against spiralling rent increases and unexpected fees, please visit my page on AGIs.

 

Dressing for Downton: Costumes from Downton Abbey exhibit to open Tuesday at Spadina Museum in Ward 22


Please see the City's press release on this exhibition in our ward:


Mayor Rob Ford was joined by Councillor Josh Matlow (Ward 22 St. - Paul's) at a media preview event held for the upcoming Dressing for Downton: Costumes from Downton Abbey exhibition at Spadina Museum. The Canadian premiere of this exhibition of costumes worn by the characters of the award-winning British television series will be on display from March 11 to April 13.

Presented by the City of Toronto in partnership with VisionTV/ZoomerMedia, this exhibition features 20 Downton Abbey costumes from seasons one to three, borrowed from Cosprop, Ltd., the London-based costume house that designs and creates the beautiful clothing worn by the cast of the television show. Nine of the costumes have accompanying hats. All of the costumes are historically accurate, some made entirely of new textiles and others a mix of new and vintage abrics.

The costumes are identified by character and season with labels that feature photographs of cast members wearing the exhibited costumes. The tour takes visitors through the museum's family and servants' spaces and links the characters and events from the TV show to real Toronto history.


In addition to the Downton costumes, the exhibit will feature items from the City of Toronto's artifact collection, which highlights examples of clothing worn by Torontonians during the Downton Abbey era.

Featured items include five dresses and a selection of accessories that includes shoes, purses and jewellery. A beautiful velvet and satin dress worn by one of the Austin family members, who lived in the home that is now Spadina Museum will be exhibited along with its corresponding velvet jacket. The two pieces were purchased in Toronto and have labels indicating Boase Gowns Toronto.


“Spadina Museum is the ideal location for the Canadian premiere of the Downtown Abbey exhibition,” said Councillor Josh Matlow (Ward 22 St. Paul's). “Residents and visitors will have an opportunity to learn about the lives of the Spadina's Austin family and those in their employ, through the fictional lens of Downton Abbey's Crawley family and their servants.”


The Austin family negotiated the transfer of the house, its furnishings and remaining acreage to the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario in 1978. Spadina Museum opened to the public in 1984 and was revitalized to explore the interwar years focusing on the 1920s during a restoration in 2010.


Advance tickets are available at https://spadinamuseum.streamintickets.com/. Tickets are $25 weekdays/$30 on weekends (plus taxes) a person. The museum is open daily from Tuesday to Sunday and closed Mondays.


Spadina Museum: Historic House and Gardens is one of 10 historic museums operated by the City of Toronto. Located at 285 Spadina Rd., it's Toronto's only museum to represent the 1920s and '30s. Visitors can view unique exhibits, artifacts, furnishings and original materials and explore the estate's restored 1905 gardens.


More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/spadina and on Facebook.com/spadinamuseum or follow on Twitter @spadinamuseum.

 


For ongoing council and community news, my contact information, along with a calendar of events, please visit www.joshmatlow.ca. Click here to read my previous community updates.

 

Eglinton Crosstown Public Meeting - Chaplin Station

 


On Thursday, February 27, Metrolinx will be hosting a public meeting for information on the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. The meeting will be an Open House format with an opportunity to view displays and speak one-on-one with Metrolinx staff.

 

 

The meeting will be held from 6:30 pm to 8 pm at the Northern District Library, located at 40 Orchard View Blvd.

   

Community Update for February 21, 2014

REMINDER: You're Invited to a Community Skating Party at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park!

 

After working closely with parents in our community, I'm delighted to announce that the "SkinnamaRink" natural ice rink (near our newly named Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground) at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park is now open for fun! This season, Hodgson Rink is temporarily closed for necessary repairs. While I was very upset about the timing of this work, members of the community and I felt that it was important there still be a local rink for our kids to skate in the interim. I deeply appreciate our remarkable local parents/residents who worked incredibly hard to make this happen including Chris Trussell, Jon De La Mothe (our human Zambonis), Jennifer Dobson Matheson and many others!

 

To celebrate the opening of our new rink, AppleTree Markets has organized a Community Skating Party on Sunday, February 23. The party will be from 10 am to 12 pm, and will feature refreshments, music and an ice show. I hope to see you there!


Update on Addressing the Roots of Youth Violence


I am pleased to announce that, after nearly a year since I first moved a motion at Council to create this strategy, the final report to address the roots of youth violence, titled the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy, was supported unanimously by my colleagues at Council this week. This comprehensive report contains 110 recommended actions to support our most vulnerable youth.

 

I look forward to seeing the thoughtful and proactive measures to deal with youth violence implemented in community centres, libraries and TCHC facilities across Toronto. The staff-recommended initiatives to assist our city's most vulnerable youth include mental supports, employment training and crime diversion programs in targeted areas. This strategy also uses every dollar allocated to these programs in a more efficient, deliberate and focused way to get the best result for at-risk youth.

 

Motion to Stop Unfair Rent Increases Supported at Council


Our community's campaign to stop unfair rent increases has kicked into high gear. My motion to request the province to eliminate Above the Guideline Increases (AGIs) for basic upkeep and repairs passed Council this week. Please read this Toronto Star article for more information and to learn how you can take action against spiralling rent increases and unexpected fees, please visit my page on AGIs.

 

Congratulations to new TTC Chair Maria Augimeri


At Council this week, Councillor Maria Augimera was elected to replace Councillor Karen Stintz as Chair of the TTC. I look forward to working with her on the many important transit issues facing our city. In particular, I will continue to advocate to move up the timeline for the Relief Subway Line, increasing capacity on the existing Yonge subway line and local bus routes that are already overcrowded, returning evening service on the Mt. Pleasant 74 along with many other initiatives critical to reducing gridlock and moving us all to our jobs, school, family and friends faster.

 

Taxi Reform


After several years of consultation, City Council voted this week to support taxi drivers by moving toward an owner-operator system. The reforms will cut out the middle-men who owned the licenses and ensure that more of the profits will go to the drivers who put in the hard work. Taxicabs were also made more accessible. Please see this article for a more detailed description.

 

Protecting Ward 22 at the OMB


The applicants for the Art Shoppe development have taken the City to the OMB. At the pre hearing yesterday I ensured that our community's interests were well represented by City Planning and Legal staff. The OMB has suggested mediation and I will be fighting for a more reasonable development on this site. The developers have proposed two towers of 38 and 29 storeys on a site where a midrise is more appropriate. The Art Shoppe is directly adjacent to single family homes on Soudan and Hillsdale, has direct impacts on condo residents in adjacent buildings and many other residents, and is outside the provincially designated Urban Growth Centre.

 

For more information on developments in Ward 22 please see this webpage and please visit this page for more information about you can help free Toronto from the OMB.

 

Metrolinx’s Free Social Media Workshop for Businesses


Metrolinx is currently working with local businesses and BIAs to ensure that the public is aware Eglinton Avenue West will be open for business during the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown. Metrolinx will be hosting a free Social Media Workshop for small businesses on Friday, February 28 at 10 am in Northern District Library’s Room 244A (40 Orchard View Blvd.) If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by this Tuesday, February 25.

 

Eglinton Crosstown Construction Public Meeting


On Thursday, February 27, Metrolinx will be hosting a public meeting for information on the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. The meeting will be an Open House format with an opportunity to view displays and speak one-on-one with Metrolinx staff.

 

The meeting will be held from 6:30 pm to 8 pm at the Northern District Library, located at 40 Orchard View Blvd.

 

New Circles Prom Drive


New Circles is collecting new and gently used dresses, suits, shoes and accessories to help make a graduating student's prom memorable. From now until Friday, April 4, items can be dropped off with Patrick Rocca at Bosley Real Estate (290 Merton Street). If you are unable to drop off the items, please e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to make arrangements for pick-up. Please note that all donations must be laundered.

 

If you do not have any clothing items to contribute but would be interested in donating, a donation can be made and an item will be purchased on your behalf. To make a donation, please e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it at New Circles for more information.

 

Clean Toronto Together 2014


The City of Toronto’s Clean Toronto Together campaign returns this April during Earth Week. With the recent snow storms, Toronto's public and private spaces need our support more than ever! Led by Live Green Toronto, this year's campaign theme, Clean and Green, is encouraging participants to pick up litter, plant greenery, mulch and become involved in community gardening and graffiti clean ups.

 

Community clean up dates include:

 

  • Corporate and School Clean-up Day on Friday, April 25
  • Community Clean-up Days on Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27

To register your clean-up event, please visit Clean Toronto Together 2014.

 

Last year, I joined many of you for your clean-up events. I would be delighted to participate again this year so please do keep me informed of any events you are organizing in our community!


For ongoing council and community news, my contact information, along with a calendar of events, please visit www.joshmatlow.ca.

   

Community Update for February 5, 2014

 

You're Invited to a Community Skating Party at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park!

 

After working closely with parents in our community, I'm delighted to announce that the "SkinnamaRink" natural ice rink (near our newly named Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground) at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park is now open for fun! This season, Hodgson Rink is temporarily closed for necessary repairs. While I was very upset about the timing of this work, members of the community and I felt that it was important there still be a local rink for our kids to skate in the interim. I deeply appreciate our remarkable local parents/residents who worked incredibly hard to make this happen including Chris Trussell, Jon De La Mothe (our human Zambonis) and many others!

 

To celebrate the opening of our new rink, AppleTree Markets has organized a Community Skating Party on Sunday, February 23. The party will be from 10 am to 12 pm, and will feature hot chocolate, music, a food truck and an ice show. I hope to see you there!

 

Transit Update

 

At Council last week I asked my colleagues to eliminate the 2014 tax and debt increases to fund a 3-stop subway extension in Scarborough, which would provide far less service, for much more money, to far fewer residents than the original LRT plan. I believe it would have been the honest, prudent and fiscally responsible choice to work with staff over the next year to receive a full and accurate accounting of the sunk costs associated with the LRT cancellation and all the costs required for the subway extension. The purpose of the motion was to provide Council the opportunity to revisit the issue during the 2015 budget process with a clear understanding of the long term impacts this transit decision will have on Torontonians.

 

Unfortunately, the Council Speaker ruled my motion out of order citing questionable legal issues as justification for her ruling despite my office having been told by the City Clerk that my motion was in order.

 

I will continue to advocate for the evidence-based transit option for Scarborough, along with championing a Relief Subway Line for every Toronto resident that will provide more residents with better service for less money and will not require 30 years of property taxes and debt. Recent polling is demonstrating that, when given the facts, Toronto residents know that a 7-stop, traffic-separated LRT (no car lanes removed or stops at traffic signals) for $1.8 billion and fully funded by the Province is a better, more honest and fiscally responsible choice than a 3-stop subway for $3.5 billion that isn't supported by transit or planning experts. I believe we must move forward now with transit that makes sense and is based on evidence rather than politics.

 

In my next update to you, I'll have an update on the progress being made on the Eglinton Crosstown and a notice for a Metrolinx public meeting for Ward 22 residents.

 

Supporting Tenants


My office has heard from too many renters who have been treated unfairly by their landlords. In most instances, these tenants were taken advantage of because they were unaware of their rights.

 

The City's Outreach and Organizing Program helps tenant groups to organize and prepare for hearings at the Landlord and Tenant Board for rent increase disputes, or at the Ontario Municipal Board for demolitions and condo conversion matters.

 

Unfortunately this program was cut a few years ago leaving many tenants without effective representation. I successfully moved a motion to renew this program to help ensure that renters are protected against unfair rent increases. You can read my full motion here and learn about my concerns with current rules on Above the Guideline Rent Increases here.

 

Establishing a Local Appeals Body


The Province of Ontario granted the City of Toronto the power to establish a Local Appeal Body (LAB) to hear appeals of Committee of Adjustment decisions (for minor variances). This does not include larger developments - please see information here about freeing Toronto from the OMB.

 

The City Planning division is launching "Made-for-Toronto Local Appeal Body" public consultations around the city with the express purpose of initiating and facilitating public dialogue around this matter. City Planning will make recommendations on establishing a Local Appeal Body in April.

 

  • Monday, March 17, 2014 at Metro Hall, Rooms 308 & 309, 6:45 pm to 9 pm. Staff presentations commence at 7 p.m.

Notices are being sent out to ratepayer groups (and other interested organizations and parties) around the city.

 

For more information please visit the City's Planning website.

 

Update on Addressing the Roots of Youth Violence


I am pleased to announce that, after nearly a year since I first moved a motion at Council to address the roots of youth violence in our City, the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy was approved by the Community Development and Recreation Committee on January 21. This comprehensive report contains 110 recommended actions to support our most vulnerable youth. Please see this article in the Toronto Star for more information. You can download and read the Strategy here. At its meeting on February 19, City Council will consider final approval of the Strategy.

 

It is time for the City of Toronto to take thoughtful and proactive measures to deal with youth violence no matter what neighbourhood it is found in. We cannot wait for another tragedy to spur more calls for blue ribbon panels and simplistic reactions. There have been many good reports that have already provided us with recommendations on how to move forward including The Review of the Roots of Youth Violence by Dr. Alvin Curling and The Honourable Roy McMurtry. Genuine, evidence-based action is needed now and without delay.

 

Last week, City Council approved my motion to provide funding in the 2014 Budget for staff-recommended initiatives to provide mental health, employment training and crime diversion supports in targeted areas across Toronto. This is the first step toward implementing the Youth Equity Strategy and truly addressing the roots of youth violence in Toronto.

 

Jane's Walk: Re-Imagining the Silent City


On Thursday, February 6 at 2 pm, meet at the 1643 Yonge St. gates of Mount Pleasant Cemetery for a Jane's Walk entitled Re-Imagining the Silent City, led by York University urban planning student Nicole Hanson. The walk will focus on re-imagining and reconceptualising urban planning practices for deathscapes in diverse cities.

 

This is an accessible event. Parking is available at the Mount Pleasant Visitation Centre, and the walk will begin at 2 pm from the Yonge St. gates. Nicole will be holding a sign with her name on it. You may find the online event listing here.

 

Public Meeting #3 on the Gardiner Expressway East Environment Assessment and Integrated Urban Design Study


The City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto are hosting a meeting on Thursday, February 6 where you can make your voice heard about the results of the evaluation of alternative solutions for the future of the Gardiner Expressway East. The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 9 pm at the Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street) in The Bram and Bluma Appel Salon. Those who cannot attend the meeting in person may participate and watch the meeting online via the project website.

 

Family Day at Spadina Museum


This Family Day, experience the world of the 1920s and 1930s at Spadina Museum on Monday, February 17. This era will be presented to children through music, toys, games and dance. Hands-on tours are scheduled for 12:15 pm, 1 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm. Regular admission applies.

 

SPRINT Senior Care Doubles Number of FREE Exercise Classes


SPRINT Senior Care is an accredited not-for-profit, community support service agency, that has recently doubled its number of free exercise classes for seniors. Their classes are great for keeping fit and having fun. They also include chair-based exercises, low-impact cardio, bands and balance, and chair yoga. For information consult SPRINT Senior Care’s monthly community programs calendar or call SPRINT Senior Care at 416-481-6411.

 

Downton Abbey comes to Spadina Museum


Beginning March 11 and running through April 13, Spadina Museum will host the Canadian premier of Dressing for Downton: Costumes from Downton Abbey. Guests will be able to see 20 costumes worn by the characters on the show, as well as take part in themed tours and related talks. Tickets are available on the Spadina Museum website.

 

Free Income Tax Clinic at Yonge & Eglinton


From March 1 to April 25 the Central Eglinton Community Centre (CECC) is offering free income tax clinics by appointment at their Yonge and Eglinton office (160 Eglinton Avenue East). Certain income guidelines and restrictions apply. For more information, please phone Nancy at 416-392-0511 ext. 225 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


For ongoing council and community news, my contact information, along with a calendar of events, please visit www.joshmatlow.ca.

   

My request of Toronto council to eliminate the 2014 Tax & Debt Increases for a Bloor-Danforth subway extension

January 28, 2014


Re: EX 37.1 Recommendation 160 and EX 37.3 Recommendation 1b – Allocation for Scarborough subway extension and associated property tax increase in 2014 Budget


Dear Colleagues,


I am writing to request that you consider the accompanying recommendations requesting that the proposed .5% tax increase for the Bloor-Danforth subway line be eliminated from the 2014 property tax rate. As well, I am requesting that the $14.5 million allocation for the extension be removed from the 2014 budget and referred to the 2015 budget process.


Council was provided with imperfect and incomplete information in the lead up to the October vote on Scarborough rapid transit options. Staff estimated that the City will be responsible for an estimated $85 million in sunk costs for rejecting the fully-funded, traffic-separated LRT. These costs are still under review by City and Metrolinx staff.


How much will the City have to pay Bombardier for the cancelled LRT vehicle contracts?

In addition, while it is unacceptable to see tax dollars spent for absolutely no return, perhaps even more troubling are potentially more expensive unknowns and/or unfunded items associated with the subway extension. The cost impact of an interest rate increase on the required infrastructure loan during a period of historically low interest rates has not been projected. The future capital maintenance cost of the three stop extension is estimated to be between $30-40 million a year - equal to a 1.25 – 1.6% ongoing property tax increase. How will this increase affect residents' ability and willingness to fund future priority transit projects?


To date, neither detailed planning studies nor geotechnical work has begun on the extension. The City has not hired new in-house staff or outside consultants to work on the project. In short, we haven't spent any money toward the subway extension.


Let's make the prudent and fiscally responsible choice to work with staff over the next year to receive a full and accurate accounting of the sunk costs associated with the LRT cancellation and all the costs required for the subway extension. Together, we can revisit this issue during the 2015 budget process with a clear understanding of the long term impacts this decision will have on Torontonians.


The 2014 budget process presents Council with our last opportunity to press pause on this process without incurring further costs. There are many other governments that wish they would have had a similar chance.


Cost Concerns

  • In addition to $2.65 billion in provincial and federal funding along with $165 million in development charges, the extension will cost $745 million in property tax-supported debt capital costs requiring a 1.6% tax increase

This capital cost does not factor in:

  • $30 - 40 million per year in future capital maintenance costs which would be borne by Metrolinx if Council opts for the LRT. That alone is equal to a 1.25 – 1.6% property tax increase

  • Acceleration of implementing Automatic Train Control on the remainder of the Bloor-Danforth line, valued at $450 million, which has previously been included in the TTC's 10 year capital program, post 2023

  • Cancellation of Bombardier contract - cost unknown

  • Annual operating costs – cost unknown

  • Assumed risk of construction cost overruns

  • Assumed risk of increased cost of borrowing if interest rates rise

Recommendations:


  1. Eliminate the .5% residential and .2% non-residential property tax increase for the extension (Scarborough subway extension) contained in 1a of EX 37.3

  2. Delete recommendation 160 from EX 37.1 from the TTC Capital budget including $14.5 million allocation for "change in scope sub-project" in 'a'' and all Council direction to proceed with activities related to the extension contained in 'b', 'c' and 'd'

  3. Request that the City not issue any debentures or otherwise incur any costs for activities associated with the extension in 2014, with the exception of costs associated with the analysis and audit of sunk costs

  4. Request staff provide the full sunk costs associated with the cancellation of the Metrolinx LRT plan and a funding plan for all capital and operating costs associated with the extension including cost projections for all reasonable interest rate increase and cost overrun scenarios for consideration as part of the 2015 budget process


Sincerely,



Josh Matlow

Toronto City Councillor

Ward 22 – St. Paul's

   

Community Update for January 17, 2014

Dear Residents,

 

It has been a very busy start to 2014. I have been working on several local priorities in every Ward 22 neighbourhood and bringing initiatives forward to council to improve our city on issues ranging from seniors, youth equity, transit, infrastructure, gridlock, planning, and much more.

 

Now, and over the next 6-8 weeks, there is a massive cleanup effort across the city taking place to clear our roads and parks of debris caused by the recent ice storm. Today, the mayor and deputy mayor are meeting with GTA mayors regarding the clean up and enormous costs related to it. With respect to the storm recovery and necessary preparation for the next one, I believe it is vitally important that politics be put aside and that our leaders work together, in a mature and productive way, for our city and region's residents.

 

The power outages over the holidays were a truly awful experience for so many people here in Ward 22 and around the GTA. I have been actively sharing feedback I've received from residents (and my own observations) with senior staff at the City of Toronto and Toronto Hydro about how storm and disaster preparation, and response, can be improved. This has focused largely on issues such as communication, infrastructure and governance.

 

I do want to express my gratitude again to the hydro crews from Toronto and across North America for their tireless work to restore our community's power. Along with the many City staff who responded to our requests for support, I believe Toronto Hydro's Joyce McLean and Abby Bogart deserve our recognition. Over the course of ten days, I exchanged literally several hundred emails and calls with them on behalf of residents. They responded to each one and did everything they could to provide assistance. I will forever appreciate the work they did and who they are as people.

 

And thank you to the many Ward 22 residents who offered everything from firewood and generators to food and even a warm place to stay at their homes to neighbours who were in need. Our community truly came together when it mattered.

 

Please see my latest update to you below on city and local issues, and some public meeting notices. Click here to read my previous community updates.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh


REMINDER: 2014 City of Toronto Budget Community Town Hall


Next week, I am hosting my 2014 Budget Town Hall for Ward 22 residents. Please join me on Thursday, January 23 at 7 pm at the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre - Multi-Purpose Room (200 Eglinton Avenue West).

 

If you would like any information on the proposed 2014 City of Toronto budget in advance of my Town Hall meeting, please visit my website and the City of Toronto website.

 

Update on Addressing the Roots of Youth Violence


I am pleased to announce that, after nearly a year since I first moved a motion at Council to create this strategy, the final report to address the roots of youth violence, titled the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy, is coming to Community Development and Recreation Committee on January 21. This comprehensive report contains 110 recommended actions to support our most vulnerable youth.

 

It is time for the City of Toronto to take thoughtful and proactive measures to deal with youth violence no matter what neighbourhood it is found in. We cannot wait for another tragedy to spur more calls for blue ribbon panels and simplistic reactions. There have been many good reports that have already provided us with recommendations on how to move forward including The Review of the Roots of Youth Violence by Dr. Alvin Curling and The Honourable Roy McMurtry. Genuine, evidence-based action is needed now and without delay.

 

My colleagues at Community Development and Recreation Committee supported my motion to move forward with staff-recommended initiatives to provide mental health, employment training and crime diversion supports in targeted areas across Toronto. I will be working with my colleagues to help ensure these measures are approved by Council through the 2014 budget process.

 

Please see this article in the Toronto Star for more information.

 

June Rowlands (Davisville) Park playground now officially named the "Sharon, Lois and Bram" Playground!

 

Also at Toronto and East York Community Council, my motion to have the playground at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park named after celebrated, Toronto-based children’s music and entertainment trio, Sharon, Lois & Bram, was approved. The official playground sign will appropriately be in the shape of an elephant.

 

Sharon Hampson, Bram Morrison and Lois Lilienstein are all local residents of midtown Toronto and have been performing quality children's music and entertainment for over three decades and continue to be cherished and loved by many generations of children around the world. Their contributions are not only cultural; Sharon, Lois & Bram have been members of UNICEF since 1988 and were appointed National Ambassadors by UNICEF Canada in 1989. They used their television appearances to support the annual trick-or-treat penny drive campaign and received the Order of Canada in 2002 for their commitment to improving the lives of children around the globe.

 

Update on the new Natural Rink at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park


I have some exciting news! I’ve been working closely with parents in our community to get a natural rink open at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park while Hodgson Rink is temporarily closed this season for necessary repairs. While I was very upset about the timing of this work, members of the community and I decided to create a natural rink to ensure there will still be a local rink for our kids to skate in the interim. The natural rink will be open soon. I’d like to thank our remarkable local parents/residents who worked incredibly hard to make this happen!

 

P.S. Given that we’ve already named the playground at June Rowlands Park after Sharon, Lois & Bram, many of us are unofficially calling our new rink the “Skinnamarink”! :)

 

Improving Urban Design in Forest Hill Village


Forest Hill Village is a unique retail area in Midtown Toronto. It is one of the few commercial shopping enclaves in the city that is wholly contained within a residential area.

 

Several recent developments and renovations within the Village have been undertaken with little deference to the prevailing streetscape (such as the new LCBO). To allow this inconsistent development to continue will further threaten the very character and aesthetic that makes the Village unique.

 

That's why I moved a motion to Toronto and East York Community Council this week that directed planning staff to develop urban design guidelines for Forest Hill Village, in consultation with the community, to protect the distinctive "village" character of Forest Hill.

 

You're Invited to Meet with the Midtown Planning Group


While our Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhoods face enormous development pressure, they are divided by three wards and two different planning areas. That's why I, along with my neighbouring councillors, created a process to finally bring forward a comprehensive and holistic planning vision for the Yonge and Eglinton area. The next Midtown Planning Group meeting will be on Tuesday, January 21 and last met in November 2013 (the minutes can be found here).

 

This next meeting will be held from 6 to 9 pm at the Anne Johnston Health Station, located three blocks north of Yonge and Eglinton, at 2398 Yonge St.

 

Midtown in Focus – Public Meeting #2


On Tuesday, February 4, the Midtown in Focus Study Team will present and discuss its Draft Concepts and Implementation Strategies for Yonge-Eglinton's parks, open spaces, and streetscape. This information is the result of community input collected over the fall and winter of 2013.

 

The meeting will be held from 6 to 9 pm at the Salvation Army, located at 7 Eglinton Avenue East.

 

Beautifying the Bus Barns at Yonge and Eglinton


After working hard with the TTC, Metrolinx and City Planning, we are moving forward with an improvement plan to beautify the perimeter of the site. Construction crews are currently working to place informative panels about the new Eglinton Crosstown line that will cover the derelict site in behind that has been left an eyesore for over a decade.

 

While the space is needed in the short-term as a staging ground for Crosstown construction equipment, protecting traffic lanes in the process, I am advocating that there be new public space on this site as part of any new redevelopment.

 

I will continue to advocate that all parties respect the wishes of the community as set out in the Yonge-Eglinton Centre plan that allows for well-designed and reasonable development, while ensuring public space that major cities all over the world have at major transit hubs.

 

New Mural for the Kay Gardner Beltline Trail


This week, I met with Greenwood College School students to talk about a mural they are designing for the Kay Gardner Beltline Trail at Mount Pleasant Road. I'm excited to be working with a very talented group of art students and with City staff on this project. I will also be consulting with local residents about the design and will share details of upcoming community consultation meetings once they are finalized.

 

Cleanup of the Kay Gardner Beltline Trail


As I’ve reported to you before, City staff have told me that it will take at least up to 6 to 8 weeks to clean up debris throughout the city from the recent ice storm. While I know it would be nice to see it all cleaned up overnight, I am encouraged that City crews are working hard to clear up our streets and parks as soon as they can. Specifically, to those who have sent me questions about when we can expect the Beltline Trail to be cleared, I can confirm that Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff have made this a top priority and believe that work can begin within the next couple of weeks. I will send out another update if this timeline changes. While debris on the ground is a focus for the cleanup, certainly safety should always be our priority, including broken branches that are overhanging the trail. For more information on cleanup efforts, including a map that is updated daily, please visit this City website.

 

Public Meeting on the proposed Billy Bishop Airport Expansion


On Monday, January 27, City staff will provide an update on the status of their review of the request to permit jet airplanes at Billy Bishop Airport. Representatives of City Planning (including transportation planners), Economic Development, and Public Health divisions will be present to answer questions.

 

The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 pm in the City Hall Council Chambers at 100 Queen St. West.

 

Free the Food Trucks!


The regulations restricting the operation of food trucks are far too restrictive. As this portion of a Torontoist article demonstrates, there are a number of by-laws in place that make it near impossible for a mobile food operation to be successful:

 

"Operating a food truck in Toronto can be a complicated business: you’re not allowed to set up shop in the majority of Toronto streets; you can’t work for longer than 10 minutes in a privately owned parking lot; you can’t settle yourself in a side street; and you’re forbidden from selling your wares within 25 metres of a restaurant that deals in a similar kind of food."

 

While there may be good reasons for some of these regulations, the City needs to look at reasonable ways to allow these businesses to be competitive and for consumers to have more choice. Please visit this City website to learn more about the public consultation process and have your say on the future of food trucks in Toronto.

 

Build the Relief Subway Line Now!


The Relief Subway Line would provide an alternative within our existing subway system, which is already overcrowded during rush hours. It would also curb gridlock on our city’s streets and increase access to jobs and attractions. It is the evidence-based subway expansion project that would most improve Toronto’s economy and residents’ quality of life.

 

To take action and learn more about the proposal, please visit my page on the Relief Subway Line.

 

Starting a Midtown-Yonge BIA


Successful local small businesses, on vibrant main streets, are important for our merchants but also for the quality of life of community residents. Another exciting meeting I had this week was with Steering Committee members of the proposed Midtown-Yonge BIA. I have been working with a dedicated group of business owners who are interested in starting a BIA for Yonge Street from Soudan Avenue in the north to Merton Street in the south. As the Steering Committee proceeds through the official process of starting a BIA, I will continue to send updates through my e-newsletter. To learn more about BIAs, click here.

 

Ward 22 Developments


As you know, Midtown has a large number of new development applications. I continue to work closely with our community to protect the fabric and character of our neighbourhoods and advocate for structures that respect the City's Official Plan and consider quality design. I also recognize that the current planning system gives an unfair advantage to developers and I am working to free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (see below). To view development proposals in Ward 22, please visit the development page on my website. I created this to ensure residents would have direct access to staff reports and be informed about proposed developments in their neighbourhoods.

 

Free Toronto from the OMB! Stop Inappropriate Development


The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) is an unelected and unaccountable provincial body which has the final say on all planning decisions in the province of Ontario that often gives the development industry an unfair advantage at "appeals" hearings over the interests of our communities and the City of Toronto's Official Plan.

 

The OMB has a history of contributing to inappropriate development in our city. Toronto's midtown neighbourhoods are facing an unprecedented amount of new developments, many of which are condos, and it's putting an unjustifiable strain on our community without the adequate infrastructure, including transit and public realm, to keep up with the growth in population.

 

For more information on how to get involved and take action, please visit my page on the OMB.

 

Stop Unfair Rent Increases


Above the Guideline Increases (AGIs) for basic upkeep and repairs have pushed rents, that are already steep, into the unaffordable range in recent years. Landlords can apply for AGIs through the Landlord and Tenant Board. While there are certainly some very good landlords, too many others are abusing the system. Many repairs should be included as part of a landlord's overall expenses and paid for from the rent they already receive. It is clear that tenants, often seniors who have fixed pensions, are being unfairly burdened for the landlord’s basic cost of doing business.

 

For more information and to learn how you can take action against spiralling rent increases and unexpected fees, please visit my page on AGIs.

 


For ongoing council and community news, my contact information, along with a calendar of events, please visit www.joshmatlow.ca.

   
   

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