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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 21, 2014

Significant Progress Made Toward Keeping Hodgson Rink Open!


The Hodgson ice rink is closed this year as a result of two ammonia leaks in two years. Components at a facility like Hodgson have a life cycle of 15-20 years. The Hodgson rink is now over 30 years old. There is no doubt that the rink's infrastructure needs to be completely replaced.


With the rink closed, I worked closely with many dedicated parents to build a natural ice rink nearby. While this rink has been a great success, it does not replace having a reliable artificial rink in our neighbourhood.


The land on which the rink is located is owned by the TDSB. The City earmarked $2 million toward the Hodgson rink in its 2014 capital budget and is ready to begin construction. However, TDSB staff was only willing to commit that their property will remain a rink for 10 years to keep their options open for future uses, which is insufficient for a capital investment of this size.


I worked with Trustee Laskin to ensure that City and TDSB staff were focussed on arriving at a resolution rather than the obstacles in their way.


I am delighted to report that there has been significant progress made by the City and the TDSB toward an agreement. The City is now moving forward with tendering a contract to refurbish and upgrade the rink. The facility will continue to be located at Hodgson Senior Public School and, barring any unknown construction, the rink will most likely be ready for the 2014/2015 winter season.


To the parents and residents who have advocated for our local rink, I can tell you that not only were your voices heard, they were instrumental in what we've achieved.


Once again, when our community has been presented with a challenge we've successfully faced it together.


City Staff recommends Necessary Further Study Needed to Properly Assess Porter's Expansion Proposal


Porter Airline's proposed expansion plans for Billy Bishop Airport (BBTCA) represent an intriguing proposal that could present benefits to downtown businesses, tourists, and travelers. As you may be aware, though, City Staff are making strong recommendations to Executive Committee next week that advises more time is needed to weigh the potential benefits while honestly studying possible long=term negative impacts on, for example, our city's waterfront and local traffic. Moreover, the Staff report points out that Porter's expansion proposal are as yet insufficient and Transport Canada has yet to even evaluate the proposal.


While I recognize that a downtown airport is an asset to the city and appreciate the quality service Porter Airlines provides to Toronto's residents, I believe it's responsible to thoughtfully accept the advice City staff have presented to Council. In fact, I believe it would be reckless not to. I know that Porter has been actively lobbying and campaigning. The convenience of an expanded downtown airport and the excitement many people have about taking a jet from Toronto Island to various destinations has convinced many of you to contact me. Obviously, if Porter's request was a simple as that, I believe it would have been approved already. But it's not. It's actually a far more complex issue than it may seem like on the surface, as clarified in the Staff report I've read. I sincerely hope you can support my position, and strong conviction, that I have a duty to put facts before politics, and to ensure the decision we make is fully informed and truly evidence-based. I voted for a Staff report to be completed on the benefits and concerns regarding an expanded Billy Bishop Airport that would allow jets, no matter whether they eventually be operated by Porter, West Jet or Air Canada, etc. Now, I would like to read the completed Staff report I requested in order to make the right decision for Toronto.


Free the Food Trucks


Earlier this week, the Licensing and Standards Committee made a number of recommendations to provide new opportunities on food trucks. After months of thoughtful debate and collaboration between Councillors and staff, the primary guidelines are:


  • Food trucks can park for five hours on any one block
  • Limit removed on the number of Mobile Food Vending Permit holders on any block
  • Mobile Food Vending Permit holders will be required to be 50 linear metres from a licensed eating establishment that is open and operating.

I strongly support the measures taken by the Licensing and Standards Committee and I will be voting for their recommendations when they come to Council next month. I also support the idea of BIAs being a part of this conversation. From everything I have read and learned on the matter, it has been shown in other cities that food trucks contribute to more vibrant and active streetscapes.


Eglinton Crosstown Update


Construction on the Eglinton Crosstown will be conducted through Midtown from Spring to late Fall 2014. The work zone will extend from approximately east of Spadina Road to Heddington Avenue along Eglinton Avenue West. Traffic patterns in the area will continue to change and shift during different phases of the work. For more information on the Crosstown project, please click here.


2014 Community Clean-Up


The City of Toronto's annual spring clean up is quickly approaching. Residents, businesses and organizations are welcome to participate in local clean up events. If you are interested in helping to keep Toronto clean and green this spring, please click here to register your group.


This year’s clean up will take place on the following dates:

  • Friday April 25, 2014 - Corporate & School Clean-up Day
  • Saturday April 26 & Sunday April 27 - Community Clean-up Days

Please call my office at 416-392-7906 or email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and I can provide you with free bags for trash and recyclables. I would also be delighted to join you and help clean our community with you and your group.

 

Enter and vote in the 2014 Live Green Toronto Awards


With video entries and public voting, the City's Live Green Toronto Awards offer everyone an opportunity to participate in the search for Toronto's greenest people, groups and businesses.


Residents, groups and businesses that reside or operate in Toronto can enter this year’s awards by submitting a short video, up to 90 seconds long, and telling their green story in 500 words or less. Residents can view the videos and vote for their favourites online, once per day. Winners will be determined through a combination of votes and judges' scores.
Award categories open for entries include:

  • Youth
  • Individual
  • Group
  • Small business
  • Corporate

Winners will receive $2,500 courtesy of sponsors, including Toronto Hydro and the City's Economic Development and Culture Division, and a chance to appear on CP24. Entries and votes will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on April 28. Winners will be announced on May 20, 2014. For details, the entry form and tips on how to create your video, please click here.


Call for Nominations: Heritage Toronto Awards


The call is out for nominations for the 40th Annual Heritage Toronto Awards! The awards celebrate outstanding contributions in the promotion and conservation of Toronto's history and heritage by professionals and volunteers.


Nominations are requested for five categories, including heritage books, short publications, and digital media; promotion of Toronto's heritage by a volunteer-based organization; and the William Greer Architectural Conservation and Craftsmanship category for building owners' excellence in the restoration of heritage buildings.


The deadline for nominations is Friday, May 16 at 4:30 pm. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in October of this year.


For more information, and to access the nomination forms for the five categories, please click here.


First Annual Dupont Dig Festival


The Dupont Strip BIA is holding its first annual Dupont Dig: a flower and gardening festival with the goal of reaching out to and connecting with the community.


The event is set to take place on Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25, from 11 am to 5 pm. The central location for the festival will be at Huron Street North and Dupont Street.


More information will be available closer to the festival dates, but for now please save the dates!


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. In an upcoming update, I'll be providing you notice for a Midtown public meeting on Next Steps for the Relief Subway Line and a Regional Relief Network with the City of Toronto and Metrolinx that I'm organizing for early May, 2014.


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.

 

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.

 

Working together, progress achieved on Hodgson Rink

You can download a printable PDF of my letter by clicking here. I have also included an accessible plain-text version below:

 

March 12, 2014

 

 

Dear residents,

 

I am delighted to report to you that there has been very significant progress made by the City of Toronto and the TDSB toward an agreement regarding the future of the Hodgson Ice Rink. The City of Toronto is moving forward with tendering a $2 million contract to refurbish and upgrade the rink. Now that the TDSB is finally prepared to approve a lease agreement, the facility will continue to be located at Hodgson Senior Public School and, barring any unknown construction challenges such as inclement weather, the rink will most likely be ready for the 2014/2015 winter season.

 

I want to take this occasion to thank our School Trustee, Shelley Laskin, for her effective advocacy and partnership in these negotiations. I cannot express strongly enough how much I've appreciated working with Trustee Laskin on behalf of our community and how much I value her commitment to putting our neighbourhood's kids above all else. I also want to express my gratitude to the City of Toronto and TDSB staff who answered our call to focus on arriving at a resolution rather than the obstacles in their way.

 

To the parents and residents who have advocated for our local rink, I can tell you that not only were your voices heard, they were instrumental in what we've achieved.

 

I will share further details with you when an agreement is formally signed.

 

Each time our community has been presented a challenge, we've successfully faced it together.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Councillor Josh Matlow

Toronto City Councillor

Ward 22 – St. Paul's

www.joshmatlow.ca

   

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

   

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