Dear residents and friends,
I deeply appreciate your support and confidence and I look forward to an ongoing dialogue with you on the many issues, challenges and opportunities we'll face together as a community here in Ward 22, St. Paul's and as a city.
I'm advocating for a more thoughtful, creative and responsible new approach for city council. I want council to engage our city's residents with an inspiring plan and make informed decisions that are based on evidence, community consultation and the merits of arguments - rather than ideology or left or right-wing partisanship.
My staff and I are here to assist you with any concerns or questions you may have. We're also working every day to improve our local neighbourhoods- along with supporting the many valued services Torontonians rely on every day. You are always welcome to contact me at 416-392-7906 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Councillor Matlow spoke on tenant issues related to the Residential Tenancies Act, December 18 2013.
Councillor Josh Matlow spoke regarding development charges, October 9, 2013.
P.S. It's been a great pleasure seeing so many of you at recent community meetings and events. Melissa, Molly and I hope to see you this afternoon at the Deer Park PS Spring Fair and on Saturday at the Maurice Cody PS Spring Fair and the Rathnelly Day celebration!
City Council Meeting: Tuesday June 11 & Wednesday June 12
The agenda for the next City Council meeting has been published. You can view all the items up for consideration here. City Council meetings are open to the public and held in the council chambers at City Hall starting at 9:30 am each day. Meetings are also broadcast live online.
Toronto & East York Community Council Meeting: Tuesday June 18
The agenda for our next Community Council meeting has also been published. There are four community councils in Toronto and each is responsible for local or neighbourhood matters. You can view all the items up for consideration here. Community Council meetings are open to the public and are held in Committee Room 1 on the second floor of City Hall starting at 9:30 am.
For a reminder of upcoming public meetings, events and other information I've sent you recently, please click here to read my May 31st e-newsletter.
Despite unprecedented challenges at city hall, I have been very busy working with our community, and my colleagues on council, to address the many important priorities I hear about from residents like you.
It has been such a pleasure seeing so many of you at recent events such as my transit town hall, the Mount Pleasant Village BIA Kids Day and the Brown and Oriole Park School Fairs.
Tomorrow, I'll be at Eglinton and Cottingham school fairs along with a Beltline Clean Up (to remove invasive species such as Garlic Mustard) on Saturday morning. We'll be meeting at 10am at the trail entrance near Duncannon.
I do hope you find my latest update to you interesting and informative.
Funding for Transit and Infrastructure Priorities
This weekend, many of my City Council colleagues are in Vancouver at the annual conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, where they are calling for a greater role from the Government of Canada in building and maintaining our cities' infrastructure. Big cities like Toronto are Canada's economic engines and there is a clear national benefit to sustained investment in our growth.
My latest contribution to this effort is a motion I'm bringing to June's City Council meeting to consider options the federal government could use to support Toronto's transit and infrastructure priorities. In the United States, there are many models of support, such as tax-free municipal bonds, that help cities get the best results from their investments. Under a system model to the U.S. "Build America Bonds," Toronto could invest in one-third more infrastructure each year without increasing debt servicing costs. I've asked City staff to determine which model works best for Toronto so we can request that support from Ottawa.
Parking for Mopeds and Scooters
I've heard from many residents who are being affected by the City's recent crack-down on sidewalk scooter parking and I agree with your concerns. We should encourage the use of mopeds and scooters to reduce congestion in Toronto, and we can use a little common sense to accommodate these vehicles on City boulevards where they are out of the way of both pedestrians and cars. To learn more, please read my letter to the Licensing and Standards Committee requesting action on this issue.
Raccoons and Other Urban Wildlife
A family of raccoons is trying to make a home in my barbeque and they're making quite a mess! I know many of you have had much worse experiences with raccoons, skunks and other urban wildlife on your property. I'm asking City staff to make recommendations for actions to reduce the negative effects of urban wildlife and increase everyone's enjoyment of both private and public outdoor spaces.
Public Meeting: 2221 Yonge Street
Please click here to learn about the upcoming public meeting for this condo development proposal. I have serious concerns with this application. Even though the proposed location is closer to the corner of Yonge and Eglinton than the Minto development (where higher heights are projected under the Official Plan) the site is too small for a 56 storey building. As proposed, the building would also limit the ability of a builder to provide a vitally important public square on the adjacent southeast corner if that site were to be redeveloped.
The meeting will be held at 7 pm on Wednesday, June 5, in the auditorium at North Toronto Collegiate (17 Broadway Avenue).
Public Meeting: A New Maurice Cody PS Community Field!
Earlier this spring, I moved a motion on behalf of our community, at Toronto City Council that was successfully approved today dedicating $300,000 towards Maurice Cody PS' Dirt-to-Turf project.
These funds, which I identified from developer fees (Section 37) will now bring our field revitalization project very close to fruition. In the past couple of months I have been working with the Parent Council's Dirt-to-Turf Committee, School Council, Trustee Laskin, City Legal staff, Principal Howard and TDSB staff on a community-use agreement to ensure access to the new field for our neighbourhood's families.
We are working toward a draft agreement that balances the places the neighbourhood's interest to use the new facility first, while also recognizing the TDSB's need to bring in revenue to ensure that the new field is maintained. I look forward to your input on the future use of the new field at a community meeting I am co-hosting with Trustee Laskin on Monday, May 10 in the Maurice Cody PS gym.
Support Taking Action on Youth Violence at City Hall
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.
Please join us on at Toronto City Hall on Wednesday, June 26, at 9:30 am in support of the first steps of an action plan, in response to my motion that was approved unanimously by Council in February 2013 to reduce youth violence in our city, which will be considered by the Community Development and Recreation Committee.
Please save this date, as this is the only official opportunity for public feedback before a vote at City Council later in the summer. It is vitally important that Mayor Ford, the rest of City Council, and the wider community hear your voice and understand how important it is for us to finally take real action to stop youth violence. We can't do this without you.
Preserving 1909 Yonge Street (Currently the Davisville Starbucks)
The Starbucks at 1909 Yonge Street is the original Davisville General Store and Post Office building, and was constructed in 1894.
I believe that this is an important part of our cultural heritage, and has been a landmark for generations.
On May 14th, 2013, I moved a motion at Toronto and East York Community Council directing Heritage staff to evaluate this property for possible designation under the Ontario Heritage Act. Heritage staff will report back to Community Council with their findings. I am hopeful that this important landmark will soon be protected for many more generations to come.
Opening of Toronto's Beaches and Water Facilities
The majority of Toronto's beaches will be officially opening this weekend! Eight out of eleven beaches will have lifeguards placed this weekend, with the other three opening on June 15th.
Toronto's beaches are as follows:
Bluffer’s Beach - lifeguards in place this weekend
Centre Island Beach - lifeguards in place this weekend
Cherry Beach- lifeguards in place this weekend
Gibraltar Point Beach- lifeguards will be in place by June 15
Hanlan’s Point Beach- lifeguard this weekend
Kew-Balmy Beach- lifeguards in place this weekend
Marie Curtis Park Beach - lifeguards will be in place by June 15
Rouge Beach - lifeguards will be in place by June 15
Sunnyside Beach - lifeguards in place this weekend
Ward’s Island Beach - lifeguards in place this weekend
Woodbine Beaches - lifeguards in place this weekend
Daily water quality information can be obtained on the Beaches Hotline at 416-392-7161 or at www.toronto.ca/beach.
Meanwhile, we are happy to say that the outdoor pool at the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre will be opening on June 22nd! More information about the opening of Toronto's outdoor pools can be found at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/prd/facilities/outdoor-pools/index.htm.
Finally, splash pads are open May 18th to September 22nd and wading pools are open June 28th to September 1st. Splash pads are unsupervised water play areas and are conveniently located in many parks and playgrounds. Wading pools are shallow water areas for children located within parks.
A Walk Exploring the History of Deer Park
On Saturday, June 8th, local photographer and historian Walter Psotka will be leading a walking tour throughout the Deer Park area. Learn about interesting and previously unknown facts about this historically significant neighbourhood! If you wish to participate, please visit the Deer Park Library or call the branch at 416-393-7549.
The walk will be starting at the library at 1:20 pm.
Reminder: Seniors Forum: Living Longer, Living Well
The Toronto Council on Aging is hosting a Seniors Forum at Metro Hall on June 10 from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Dr. Samir K. Sinha will be presenting highlights and key recommendations from the Province of Ontario's Seniors Strategy and I will be sharing highlights from our new Toronto Seniors Strategy. Admission is free but seating is limited. To register please call the Toronto Council on Aging at 416 630 7000. I will be making the opening remarks and I hope to see you there!
You can read more about my work on the City of Toronto's Seniors Strategy here.
Reminder: Community Environment Day
On Saturday, June 22nd from 10 am to 2 pm I will be hosting my annual Community Environment Day. The location is the North Toronto Memorial Arena at 174 Orchard View Blvd. Please bring any unwanted art supplies, books, toys, and used sports equipment. Cycle Toronto Midtown will be there to donate your used bikes to the non-profit organization Charlie's Freewheels. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste. You can also replace your damaged green bin.
First National Summit of LGBTQ-A* Service Providers
The First National Summit of LGBTQ-A* Service Providers will be taking place on June 26th and 27th at Ryerson University. The summit will be the first time that all service providers will meet to discuss a national vision for the LGBTQ-A* community in Canada. The summit will focus on connecting Service Providers, professional development, and the creation of a national vision for collaboration and partnership. The cost of participating in the event in free!
More information on the summit can be found by visiting http://www.jersvision.org/en/programs/dare-stand-out-canadas-national-lgbtq-service-providers-summit.
Bayview Buckets Adopt-a-Tree Project is Back!
Local businesses on the west side of Bayview Avenue are encouraged to adopt a tree in front of their business for the 2013 growing season. Street trees face harsh urban conditions such as limited access to water but provide us with so many benefits, including shade, cleaning our air, and making our neighbourhoods beautiful. Bayview Buckets aims to help these trees thrive by watering them regularly.
Community leader Helen Godfrey will be approaching businesses over the month of June to explain the program, and provide information and tools. Read Helen's update on the project on the LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests) blog.
Look for the Bayview Buckets sign in the storefront windows and remember to thank your local business for keeping our community healthy! A list of participating businesses will be updated on my website.
NOTICE OF MOTION
Funding Transit and Infrastructure Priorities in Canada's Largest City
Moved by: Councillor Josh Matlow
Seconded by: Councillor Peter Milczyn
This motion requests that City Council consider the accompanying recommendation to explore reforms to municipal bonds that would reduce the cost of servicing the City of Toronto's debt and increase our ability to build and maintain City infrastructure.
Governments in other jurisdictions, including the United States, have reduced interest rates and the cost of carrying municipal debt by implementing various tax breaks or rebates. These measures can alleviate the burden on municipalities and make municipal bonds more attractive to private investors.
The City of Toronto will spend $400 million to service its debt in 2013. Toronto also has a $2 billion backlog on infrastructure projects including the crumbling Gardiner Expressway, leaky subway stations, and broken refrigeration systems at municipal ice rinks. We also need to build more transit infrastructure, parks, libraries, affordable housing, and other projects to accommodate our rapid growth.
The City of Toronto should study the opportunities for provincial and federal reforms to municipal bonds that would reduce the cost of servicing municipal debt and increase our ability to build and maintain infrastructure, and make recommendations to those governments.
1. City Council request the City Manager to report to the Executive Committee on the following:
a. initiatives and best practices used in other jurisdictions to reduce the cost of servicing municipal debt, including but not limited to:
i. tax-free or exempt municipal bonds such as was used with "Ontario Opportunity Bonds"
ii. direct-pay municipal bonds such as "Build America Bonds" in the United States
b. recommended actions for City Council to request the federal and provincial governments can take to reduce the cost of servicing municipal debt and increase the City's capacity to invest in its infrastructure priorities.
May 29, 2013
Despite the real and pressing challenges our city faces, we live in one of the world's most vibrant and diverse cities. Toronto is a global centre for finance, arts and culture and is one the best places on earth to live, work and play.
I am proud of our city and will fight to defend it and make it even better. I've found that, over the past few days, it has been more important that ever to do this given the fact that our mayor has allegedly smoked crack cocaine with drug dealers and uttered racial and homophobic slurs. Although I still can't believe I just wrote that, this story (which is the most disturbing in a long list of controversies surrounding Mr. Ford), has gained international notoriety.
As a city, we will get through this. Mayor Ford could help by finally, and honestly, addressing these allegations. And everyone makes mistakes in life- but I believe we are ultimately judged by how we address them and learn from them. That's what adults do. Thus far, Mayor Ford has blamed the Toronto Star.
Meanwhile, please see my latest update to you on city and local issues below including some upcoming public meetings.
Last week, City Council debated which new revenue tools we would recommend to Metrolinx to consider in order to fund the Big Move plan. Along with the City Manager's report, I moved the following motions which I believe reflect the sentiment of our community and sound transit planning. It was not supported by the majority of councillors who I believe chose to play politics with transit rather than demonstrate the leadership our city and region so desperately needs now on this pressing priority.
1a - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Josh Matlow (Lost)
1. City Council recognize that it is vital that new needs-based and evidence-based transit infrastructure be built, and without delay, in order to meet the needs of a growing population in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area.
2. City Council request the Provincial government and Metrolinx to determine the priority and scope of Toronto's next rapid transit project, funded in whole or in part with any new transit-dedicated revenue tool(s), based on ridership projections, land-use patterns, most urgent need, density, future development potential and other methods of assessment consistent with recognized urban planning principles.
3. City Council reaffirm its commitment to its Transit Master Agreement with the Toronto Transit Commission and Metrolinx and that no new dedicated transit funding be diverted from priority transit projects as part of The Big Move.
Edward Keenan, urban affairs columnist for the Grid, provided a comprehensive and colourful account of the debate shortly afterwards.
Fortunately, City Council did manage to, in principle, support revenue tools to fund transit. The provincial government has signalled that they are prepared to lead the GTHA discussion towards how we are going to pay to relieve the gridlock which threatens to cripple our region.
I will continue advocating for a responsible funding plan to build a Downtown Relief Subway Line to ease the already overcrowded Yonge line and an extension of the Eglinton Crosstown out to Pearson Airport. I strongly support moving forward with the Big Move plan. We can't afford not to.
Thank you to so many of you for writing to me about this issue.
Over the past few months, I read your thoughtful letters and took the time to review and study research documents from both Canada and abroad on the economic and social impacts of casinos and problem-gambling.
The majority of you told me that while you recognized the need to find sources of revenue to pay for our city's priorities, you do not believe that the long-term impact on Toronto, its neighbourhoods, its economy and its people are worth the gamble. I agree.
That's why I'm happy to report that Council overwhelmingly rejected a proposal for a new casino in Toronto by a vote of 40-4. Please see this link for the staff report and the final votes on this issue
Toronto begins moving forward to fight gridlock with coordinating traffic signals!
Please click here to read more about my past efforts to fight gridlock and most recently moving forward with coordinating our city's traffic signals. What I asked for here. And what city staff are doing now.
My Newsletter is now in Your Mailbox!
In the past few weeks you should have received my 2013 newsletter in the mail. If yours hasn't arrived yet or you would like a copy to share, here is a digital version (PDF) to view or download.
Mount Pleasant Kids Fun Day
This Saturday, May 25, the Mount Pleasant Village BIA is hosting the first ever Kids Fun Day for our community. Between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm the sidewalks of Mount Pleasant Road will be bustling with entertainment, activities, games, food, and fun for the whole family. Special activities for kids will include yoga, live music, face painting, gardening, and puppet shows. Visit the Mount Pleasant Village BIA website for more details.
Proposed Improvement to Suydam Park
On Monday, May 27, the City of Toronto is hosting a presentation on proposed streetscape improvements at Spadina Road and Suydam Park. The meeting will be held at Grace Church on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road, between 7 pm and 9 pm. City of Toronto staff and landscape consultants will be present to answer your questions and listen to your feedback.
For more information, please contact Raj Kumar at 416 392 7696.
TTC Town Hall with CEO Andy Byford
Keeping you informed and engaged is a priority for me. I'd like to invite you to a Transit Town Hall I will be hosting at 6:30 PM on Tuesday May 28th at the Salvation Army, 7 Eglinton Avenue East.
I am pleased to announce that TTC CEO Andy Byford will be our special guest and will be discussing his 5 year plan for the TTC.
I believe it is vital that you have an opportunity to have your questions and concerns about Toronto's transit system addressed. Please join us, learn and make your voice heard!
Community Consultation on 2131 Yonge Street (The Art Shoppe)
Please click here to learn about the upcoming public meeting for this condo development proposal. I have serious concerns with this application as the site is outside of the Yonge Eglinton Urban Growth Centre and it's directly adjacent to a neighbourhood. I believe, based on good planning principles, that a midrise development is more appropriate for this location with "main street" retail at grade. Please come to this meeting and make your voice heard.
Beltline Trail Town Hall
The final draft of the Beltline Trail Study is now online. Based on feedback from residents and other stakeholders in our community, it provides a long-term vision for trail improvements along with five "quick start" projects including better access to the Don Valley Brickworks and new wayfinding signage. I have also asked City staff for a plan to improve safety as soon possible by installing synchronized traffic signals where the Beltline Trail crosses Oriole Parkway, Avenue Road, and Bathurst Street.
I will be hosting a Town Hall meeting in our community this summer to discuss this proposed plan for the Beltline Trail and to hear your feedback. I will share the time and location with you shortly.
Health and Beauty Day at Central Eglinton Community Centre
On Thursday, June 6, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, Central Eglinton Community Centre will have a community fundraising event featuring free exhibits and demonstrations on reflexology, meditation, skin and body care, herbal and organic products, natural cosmetics, naturopathic and chiropractic care, hypnosis and more. Healthy lunch and snack will be available at the "In the Pink" Cafe.
Seniors Forum: Living Longer, Living Well
The Toronto Council on Aging is hosting a Seniors Forum at Metro Hall on June 10 from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Dr. Samir K. Sinha will be presenting highlights and key recommendations from the Province of Ontario's Seniors Strategy and I will be be sharing highlights from our new Toronto Seniors Strategy. Admission is free but seating is limited. To register please call the Toronto Council on Aging at 416 630 7000. I will be making the opening remarks and I hope to see you there!
You can read more about my work on the City of Toronto's Seniors Strategy here.
Community Environment Day
On Saturday, June 22nd from 10 am to 2 pm I will be hosting my annual Community Environment Day. The location is the North Toronto Memorial Arena at 174 Orchard View Blvd. Please bring any unwanted art supplies, books, toys, and used sports equipment. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste. You can also replace your damaged green bin.
Ping Pong Table Offered for June Rowlands Park
Dianne Moore of the Forest Hill Rotary Club has very kindly offered for lead the fundraising effort to install an all-seasons concrete ping pong table in our community. The first table of this kind was recently installed at St. Michael's College on the University of Toronto campus and the City of Toronto is initiating a pilot project to install a few tables in public spaces across the City.
I would appreciate your opinion and feedback about the potential for a ping pong table in June Rowlands (Davisville) Park or elsewhere in our community. Our parks belong to the community and any changes must have your support.
Reminder: Davisville Village Farmer's Market
Good news! Our community's new Davisville Village Farmers Market (and first of its kind in Ward 22) has opened for its second season. Come by June Rowlands (Davisville) Park every Tuesday between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and other products directly from local farmers while meeting your friends and neighbours.
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