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.
Council took a significant step forward toward offering a greater diversity of street food in Toronto by easing restrictions on food trucks. While there certainly will be more mobile vendors on the streets in new locations this summer, I believe Council could've gone even further to free the food trucks.
Concerns from some councillors were not based on evidence from other cities around the world. In fact, the experience in cities such as Los Angeles show that businesses, and residents' quality of life, benefit from the animated streetscape that food trucks can provide. I will continue pushing for fewer restrictions on street food in the coming years with my colleagues Mary-Margaret McMahon and Josh Colle (both have been very strong and leading advocates), along with promoting more opportunities for public performers and patios. While responsible health and safety regulations are always important, Toronto has a history of being timid and bureaucratic when it comes to many creative and entrepeneurial ideas. Policies become unneccessary red tape. I believe an animated public realm, and a fun and diverse variety of street food options, enhances our quality of life while increasing foot traffic for local businesses.
Funding Delivered for Ward 22's First Community Garden in Oriole Park
In 2012, I held a participatory budgeting meeting asking residents of the Brentwood Towers, Deer Park and Chaplin Estates how they would like to allocate developer funds to improve Oriole Park. The local community voted to direct these Section 37 funds toward a community garden. A volunteer committee was subsequently struck and worked with City staff to design the garden and enact procedures to ensure that the new planting beds will be properly maintained.
I am happy to report that my motion to deliver this funding was passed by Council. Construction should be completed this summer.
Council Supports My Motion to Address Rail Safety Concerns
I'm very pleased to report that Council has unanimously supported my motion that requests the federal government address local residents' concerns regarding the significant increase in hazardous materials travelling by rail through Midtown in recent years. In particular, trains carrying crude oil have increased 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 Street, right in the heart of Midtown, through Scarborough in the east. My motion requests that the federal government:
- require rail operators to publicly release information on dangerous goods being transported by rail;
- enact more stringent safety standards for tanker cars carrying crude oil through Toronto's neighbourhoods; and
- require rail companies to engage in meaningful dialogue with local residents before shipping hazardous materials next to our homes, schools, hospitals and daycares
Council Takes Action to Fix More Potholes
As many of you have undoubtedly noticed, there are potholes on virtually every one of Toronto's roads this spring after one of the longest winters I can remember. That's why I was pleased to support a motion that was passed by my colleagues this week that will increase the City's ability to meet the demand and fill more potholes than usual.
Billy Bishop Airport
Thank you to everyone who emailed and called me on this issue. I have had no less than hundreds of conversations about this over the past several months and I really appreciate your feedback. I am very pleased to report that the staff recommendations were passed unanimously by Council this week that will consider expansion options in an evidence-based way, protects tax dollars, engages the Toronto Port Authority in negotiations about how the airport and City should interact and ensures our waterfront is protected.
Funding Secured to Support Public Mural at Kay Gardner Beltline Entrance
The wall near the entrance to the Kay Gardner Beltline at Mt. Pleasant Road and Merton Street has been a target for graffiti "taggers" in recent years. That's why I was happy to deliver funding to support Greenwood College School's efforts to create a mural to cover up existing graffiti and discourage future "taggers".
The project is a joint effort between Greenwood students and staff, local residents and a local visual artist. To ensure that the project is of a high quality my motion requires Greenwood to work in consultation with the City's StreetARToronto program.
Avenue Road Traffic Safety
Due to concerns raised by local parents including those of children at Brown PS, I have asked city staff to investigate and report back on all feasible options to help improve pedestrian and traffic safety along Avenue Road south of St. Clair Ave. W. where many motorists are known to speed.
Once staff have concluded their initial investigation, we will pull together a working group including area residents, the school community, Toronto Police and Transportation Services to discuss moving forward with meaningful, and evidence based solutions to help better protect our community.
If you are interested in participating in this process, please do not hesitate to contact my office directly.
Upcoming Relief Line Public Meetings
The City, TTC and Metrolinx are hosting joint Open Houses to consult the public on options for relieving crowding on the Yonge corridor and overall transit network, and the timing and priority for a potential Toronto Relief Line.
If you are interested in attending one of three jointly hosted Open Houses early next month to present your concerns and ideas, please find the details below.
- Saturday, April 5 from 9 am to 1 pm (presentation starts at 10 am). Sheraton Centre Toronto Dominion Ballroom, 123 Queen Street West.
- Thursday, April 10, from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm (presentation starts at 6:30 pm). Riverdale Collegiate Institute, 1094 Gerrard Street East.
- Saturday, April 12, 9 am – 12 pm (presentation starts at 10 am). Holy Name Parish, 71 Gough Avenue.
Support Delisle Youth Services at the Lifford Grand Wine Tasting
On Tuesday, May 6 from 6:30 pm to 9 pm, all are welcome to attend the Lifford Grand Tasting at Roy Thompson Hall (60 Simcoe Street). Taste over 300 fine wines, spirits, and meet winemakers, winery and distillery representatives from more than 65 producers from around the world. Tickets are $100 with all proceeds going to Delisle Youth Services. Come out to taste wine, have fun and support a great cause!
Toronto Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards
Every year, the City's Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Division administers five awards to recognize the ongoing work of volunteers and communities working to eliminate violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, homelessness, hate crimes, hunger, poverty and illiteracy in Toronto. The awards are:
- Aboriginal Affairs Award
- Access Award for Disability Issues
- Constance E. Hamilton Award on the Status of Women
- Pride Award for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual and Two Spirited Issues
- William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations
Do you know someone you think deserves an award? The deadline for nominations is Monday, May 12. For more information as well as nomination forms, please click here.
Parks Permit Survey
Parks, Forestry and Recreation is currently conducting an online survey in response to the January 2014 Parks and Environment Committee request for a review of permitting procedures to identify opportunities to streamline the issuance of park permits. If you are interested in providing feedback, please click here to complete the survey.
Engage and Improve our Communities with 100 in 1 Day Toronto – June 7, 2014
Do you have ideas to make our city, neighbourhood, or community a better place? On Saturday, June 7, Evergreen and United Way are presenting 100 in 1 Day Toronto – a festival celebrating citizen-driven action that will empower individuals to make positive changes in their own communities. You are invited to develop an intervention, small or big, to showcase your ideas on how to make Toronto a better city.
Visit www.100in1day.ca/toronto to submit your intervention, or to register for a workshop where you can develop your intervention from idea to execution. 100 in 1 Day Toronto wants you to make a difference!
To ensure that you are informed and engaged about development proposals that are being proposed for sites near your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive webpage with locations, staff reports and public meeting notices. Please click here to learn more and here to learn more about what you can do to help free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
April 9, 2014
Toronto City Councillors to Speak at Queen's Park Committee on Bill 20: Freeing Toronto from the OMB
Media Availability at City Hall
Toronto City Councillors Wong-Tam, Matlow, Vaughan, and Layton will speak at a Queen's Park Committee regarding a private member's bill to remove Toronto from the jurisdiction of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Public hearings on Bill 20, a private member's bill, will be heard at Queen's Park on April 10th. Should the bill move forward, it would allow Toronto, North America's 4th largest city, to have stronger oversight of its urban development.
Date: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Location: Outside of Committee Room 1, 2nd Floor, City Hall
100 Queen St. W., Toronto
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City Hall – The OMB is a quasi-judicial, un-elected and un-accountable provincial body that has the final say on all planning decisions in the province of Ontario. The tribunal's powers to overrule decisions made by our elected municipal representatives are anti-democratic and often lead to planning decisions that support the interests of the development industry over those of our communities and our city's official plan.
Tomorrow, April 10, the provincial Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs will hear deputations by Toronto City Councillors Mike Layton, Josh Matlow, Adam Vaughan and Kristyn Wong-Tam in support of Bill 20 - Respect for Municipalities Act (City of Toronto), 2013. If passed, the bill would remove the City of Toronto from the purview of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
The provincial bill follows a February 2012 motion moved by Toronto City Councillors Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27 – Toronto Centre Rosedale) and Josh Matlow (Ward 22 - St. Paul's) asking for the removal of provincial oversight on planning matters. This motion was overwhelmingly supported by Toronto's City Council.
- A 2009 study found that developers come out on top 64% of the time when facing municipalities. That number is even more advantageous for developers when facing residents' groups without support from their city government
- Though commonly referred to as an "appeals" body, the OMB treats appeals of municipal planning decisions to the OMB as "de novo", or new, giving little deference to the rulings of democratically elected City Councils
- OMB decisions are used as precedent for future planning decisions, essentially giving the OMB the powers to create by-laws and override elected local Council's decision-making
- It takes a City Planner many days of preparation time for every one day of an OMB hearing. Further, they have to write long, overly technical planning reports in case they are called before the board to defend their professional opinions
- City lawyers must spend the equivalent of 1,400 days a year to prepare for, and attend, OMB hearings. In addition, City forestry, transportation, technical services staff and others are forced to waste valuable time as well.
City Planning staff have advised that the Community Consultation Meeting for 45-77 Dunfield Avenue will need to be rescheduled. The original date was Tuesday, April 15 at 7 pm.
City Planning staff are currently in the process of finding a new date for the Community Consultation Meeting and once it is confirmed, a new flyer will be sent out.
To review the original flyer, please click here.
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
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:
- Small business
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.
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
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.
Councillor Josh Matlow
Toronto City Councillor
Ward 22 – St. Paul's
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