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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.

 

Councillor Matlow's Community Update for October 11, 2013

Dear Residents,

 

I hope you find my latest update to you interesting and informative. It's been such a pleasure seeing so many of you recently throughout Ward 22's neighbourhoods.

 

I wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving weekend and please always feel very welcome to contact me if I can be of support to you.

 

Warm regards,

Josh

 

PS- I just arrived home from bringing greetings to North Toronto Collegiate Institute's graduating class of 2013. Congratulations to the grads, their family, friends and the remarkable NT staff.


 

Council rejects fully-funded Scarborough rapid transit plan, raises debt and property taxes

 

This week, after what seemed like an endless debate (for many months), Council chose to tear up the City of Toronto's agreement with Metrolinx to construct a fully-funded, traffic-separated, seven-stop Light Rapid Transit (LRT) line and change plans by replacing it with an unnecessary three-stop extension of the Bloor-Danforth line that will cost an additional $1 Billion. This extension will increase our city's debt and require a 1.6% property tax increase that will be phased in over the next 3 years.

 

The new Scarborough LRT, just like a subway, would have been a completely traffic-separated line. No lanes removed. No traffic lights. No cross streets. This was factually never a streetcar vs subway debate and should not have been characterised as such. The new subway route will travel through a relatively low density area that would have been well served by the LRT as this video illustrates. The Sheppard subway is already heavily subsidised by the rest of the TTC system due to low ridership and projections indicate the Scarborough subway will require the same. It is unfortunate that misinformation and political opportunism overshadowed facts and fiscal responsibility in this debate.

 

The subway extension still needs to go through a lengthy Environmental Assessment process and there appears to be some hesitation on the part of the provincial government. However, I don't anticipate that the issue of rapid transit in Scarborough will come back to the municipal level during this term of Council.

 

I will continue to advocate for the Relief Subway Line, which Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig, TTC CEO Andy Byford, Toronto's Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat and City Manager Joe Pennachetti all agree is Toronto's top and evidence-based transit priority. The Relief Line is the one line that most transit experts agree is not only justifiable from a ridership perspective but will very shortly become necessary if we are to avoid crippling overcrowding elsewhere on the subway system and curb gridlock on our city's streets.

 

Please visit my Relief Subway Line webpage for further information and find out how you can take action to support building this critical infrastructure now!

 

Toronto is now a Food and Water First City

 

I was very happy to successfully move a motion this week to add Toronto's important voice to the many residents and Ontario municipalities who care about putting Food and Water First, protecting our region's agricultural lands.

 

REMINDER: Upcoming Neighborhood Town Halls with your city councillor

Hosting and attending community meetings and other events in Ward 22 is very important to me to both engage and inform residents. I want to know that I'm reflecting your priorities. Throughout the fall, I'm hosting a community town hall in every Ward 22 neighbourhood. Please save the dates for the October meetings listed below. If you don't see your neighbourhood listed below, I'll be posting upcoming dates and locations of meetings in a following e-newsletter as they are confirmed. I hope to see you there!

 

Forest Hill and South Hill: Wednesday, October 16 from 7 to 9 pm

First Unitarian Toronto, Shaw Hall, 175 St. Clair Avenue West

 

Rathnelly and the Upper Annex Area: Thursday, October 24 from 7 to 9 pm

De La Salle College, JP II, 131 Farnham Avenue

 

Hodgson Natural Ice Rink Public Meeting

 

Please join me on Monday, October 21 from 7:30 to 9 pm at Maurice Cody Public School’s library to discuss the City's temporary repairs of Hodgson Rink for the 2013-14 season.  I've asked Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff to join us to discuss creating a natural rink at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park. We must ensure our kids have a local place to skate until the Hodgson Rink is repaired and upgraded for next season.

 

Toronto Midtown Business Association Social Media Education Series

 

I will be speaking at a Toronto Midtown Business Association (TMBA) Social Media Education Series event on the evening of Wednesday, October 23.  The event will be held at The Bradgate Arms, 54 Foxbar Road, from 5 to 7 pm.  The entry charge is $10 for TMBA members and $15 for non-members with advance online registration.  There is also a $5 charge for payment at the door.  To register online, please visit the TMBA website.  All are welcome and I look forward to seeing you there!

 

Halloween Programming at Casa Loma

 

Get your little knights, princesses, ghosts and pirates signed up to this delicious spooky haunted castle workshop at Casa Loma on Halloween weekend, October 26 and 27! Work with dessert decorators and learn how to decorate a Halloween castle. Each child will have their own castle to assemble and decorate using candy and other yummy embellishments for the haunted Halloween house. We encourage everyone to come in costume.

 

You can also celebrate Halloween medieval style at Casa Loma! Bring your whole family to the castle for an opportunity to step into the past. The knights will perform and educate you and your family in workshops such as Dagger Defense, The Art of Swordplay and Armour.

 

For more information on the timing and cost of events, please visit the Casa Loma website.

 

Spadina Museum Conversations: Mythmaking: Zombies, War, and the Art of Advertising

 

This November, every Tuesday from 7 to 9 pm, Spadina Museum will be hosting participatory talks about movie monsters, pitching products and war from the 1920s to the present. Each week includes speakers such as Kelly Michael Stewart (host of Fright Nights at the Projection Booth) and Toronto-based writers such as Ann McDougal.

 

Spadina Museum is located at 285 Spadina Road. General tickets are $8 plus tax, student tickets are $5 plus tax, and the 3-part series of conversations that runs on November 5, 12, and 19 is $20 plus tax. For more information, please visit the City of Toronto’s website.

 

Ecumenical Christmas Food Drive

 

For the 42nd consecutive year, churches in Rosedale, Moore Park, and Leaside are sponsoring a Christmas Drive to assist local food banks and other community agencies. Donations will be picked up from 9:30 am to noon on Saturday, November 30 at two locations: Our Lady of Perpetual Help at 1 Garfield Avenue and Leaside Presbyterian Church at 670 Eglinton Avenue East.

 

For further information, please contact the Campaign Chair, Brian Kearney, at 416-972-0585, or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Off-Leash Dogs in Ward 22 Parks

 

Over the past few months, Ward 22 residents have written to me about the issue of off-leash dogs within the Kay Gardiner Beltline Trail.

 

It is fantastic to know that so many of you are enjoying the trail! To maintain the trail as a shared space that functions for all users it should be remembered that dogs are not allowed to be off-leash along the Beltline Trail. Please visit the Parks, Forestry and Recreation website for a list of off-leash dog parks.

 

Earlier this year City staff completed the Beltline Trail Study. The study was to assess the current conditions of the trail and through community consultation, to better understanding the priorities of the surrounding community and trail users. For more information, please visit the study’s website.

 

June Rowlands (Davisville) Park Tree Update

 

Recently I heard from concerned residents about a tree with a history of falling limbs near the tennis courts in June Rowlands (Davisville) Park.

 

I wanted to let you know that this situation has been addressed and pruning of the tree has been completed. I'd like to thank the concerned residents who brought this dangerous situation to my attention and to Urban Forestry staff for their attention to this matter.

 

Safety is a top priority and I invite anyone with similar concerns to contact my office at 416-392-7906.

 

Committee of Adjustment Updates

 

Each week I hear from many residents on a variety of local issues. This includes requests to support our community through some of the more contentious Committee of Adjustment applications that could impact the fabric of our neighbourhoods.

 

Here are just a few active files that I have been working with the community on:

 

126 Manor Road East - Settlement Agreement Approved at the OMB

 

This past spring there was a proposal to demolish the existing home and replace it with a multi-family dwelling with three units. I had a lot of concerns with this proposal, as did many members of the community and the planning department. This proposal also would have meant losing a very large and significant tree on the property. Shortly before the Committee of Adjustment hearing date in April, we had convinced the applicant to revise their proposal, and they sought a deferral from Committee of Adjustment to work with my office and the community work out a more modest plan. The committee instead refused the application outright, and the owners appealed the decision to the OMB. Through City Council I directed city planning and legal staff to attend and negotiate a settlement that addressed the concerns of everyone involved, which was successfully reached and ratified by the OMB this fall, that included preserving the tree.

 

48 Oriole Gardens - OMB Hearing on October 16, 2013

 

Last Spring at Committee of Adjustment there was a proposal to tear down the existing home, sever the property and build a new semi-detached home. I shared the concern of the many residents of Oriole Gardens, that this proposal was not in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood, particularly on Oriole Gardens. While the Committee of Adjustment refused the application, the decision is being appealed to the OMB, and I have directed through City Council that City Staff support the residents attending the OMB hearing to also attend and defend the Committee of Adjustment Decision.

 

237 Dunvegan Road - OMB Hearing on December 10, 2013

 

I have recently met with some residents on Dunvegan Road - concerned about a proposal at this property that would have an inconsistent front yard setback, which would change the character of the street. I also share their concerns, along with the City of Toronto planning Staff. The Committee of Adjustment refused this application, and it is also being appealed to the OMB. I had asked the Chief Planner to exercise her delegated authority to have staff city staff attend and defend the Committee of Adjustment decision.

 

17 Hillholm Avenue and 157 Forest Hill Road - Refusal at the October 9, 2013, Committee of Adjustment Hearing

 

Earlier this summer there was a proposal to tear down the existing dwelling at 17 Hillholm Avenue, sever the property, and build two new homes that would be reoriented on to Forest Hill Road. Most residents on Hillholm Avenue felt that this proposal was not appropriate, as shifting the orientation of the homes would impact the stability of the area. The Committee of Adjustment agreed with both the community and my office and the application was refused.

 

599 Soudan - Appeal to the OMB

 

On September 11th an application to tear down the existing dwelling, sever the property and build a new semi-detached home was considered by the Committee of Adjustment. Despite written concerns from the planning department about the proposed density that is much greater the anything else in the area, and concerns from local residents about how this proposal would impact the exiting character of the street, this application was approved by the Committee of Adjustment.

 

I appealed to the Chief Planner to quickly exercise her authority to appeal this decision to the OMB, which has now happened. A hearing date has not been set.

 

240 Balmoral Avenue - Deferred Committee of Adjustment Application

 

A proposal for a severance and minor variances for 240 Balmoral was scheduled for a Committee of Adjustment hearing this summer. After hearing from many residents who had concerns about this proposal, I asked for and the applicant agreed for a deferral to attempt to work out a resolution before it is heard by the Committee of Adjustment. A meeting with the residents and the applicant is scheduled this month.

 

59 Heath Street West - Inclusion on the City of Toronto Inventory of Heritage Properties

 

At the October 3rd Preservation Board meeting, staff brought forward recommendations to include 59 Heath Street West on the inventory of Heritage Properties. The preservation board approved the report, and it will now go to Community Council next week, and then City Council for approval. Once approved, it will allow Heritage Staff to monitor any building permit applications, and work with the owner to ensure that the heritage elements of the home are preserved during any renovations.

 

This report came as a result of a motion I moved at Community Council in April, to address some concerns the community had over the future of this property after it was recently purchased.

 

Road Sweeping Operations Update

 

Transportation Services is getting ready to perform sweeping operations on the streets of our city this fall. The purpose of the sweeping is to collect leaves that fall, naturally, onto the street. All streets will be swept on two occasions. The operation will continue until November 29, 2013.

 

Please do not rake leaves onto the roadway or sidewalk form your property.City by-law officers will be enforcing the City of Toronto by-law that relates to the use of streets and sidewalks. Raking leaves onto the roadway is a by-law offence and could result in charges being laid. In addition, raking leaves onto the sidewalk, road or catch basins can create unsafe conditions.

 

Here's how to put leaves out for collection: Use reusable containers without a lid, such as old garbage and recycling bins or paper yard waste bags. Put leaves at the curb by 7 am on your garbage collection day. Check you waste collection calendar for more details. The City does not collect leaves and yard waste in plastic bags or Halloween-themed plastic bags. To reduce the amount of leaves you put out for collection, feed leaves to your backyard composter, plus stockpile leaves to add as dry material during the winter.

 

Here's what the City collects as yard waste: Leaves, plant/tree trimmings, weeds and brush. Branches measuring less than 7.5cm or 3" in diameter should be tied in bundles no longer than 1.2m or 4' in length and 60cm or 2' in diameter. Pumpkins and waste fruit from trees in your yard are also accepted.

 

Soil, sod, grass clippings, logs or tree stumps are not collected. For more information on yard waste, please call 311or visit the City’s website.

 

Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy

 

The City of Toronto's Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy is being updated to remain in place until 2020. Public consultations started on September 30, 2013. Since 2005, the Strategy has adopted 13 Priority Neighbourhoods (now known as Neighbourhood Improvement Areas).  City Council has been working with residents, businesses, community organizations and funders to provide the services and facilities that the neighbourhood residents need to be successful.

 

The consultation process includes a survey and in-person conversations with residents, community organizations, businesses and funders, and will help to determine what needs to be considered when identifying the next generation of Neighbourhood Improvement Areas. This includes ways to strengthen the social, economic, and physical conditions that will unlock the keys to city-wide change.

 

Consultations are ongoing until November 8, 2013. Additional information can be found on the Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy website. You can also contact the consultation team at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or at 416-338-8368.

   
   

My letter to the TTC regarding their proposed shutdown of Yonge subway tracks

October 3, 2013

 

Andy Byford

CEO, Toronto Transit Commission

1900 Yonge St

Toronto ON  M4S 1Z2

 

 

 

Dear Mr. Byford,

 

 

Recently, you informed me that the TTC expects to require a temporary closure of the Yonge subway line between St. Clair and Eglinton stations at some point in the future. I appreciate this advance notice.

 

 

We all understand that the City needs to maintain and construct new infrastructure to keep the lights on, water running and, in this case, get residents to work and back. However, Torontonians expect that this work is done properly, as quickly and with as minimal a disruption to their daily lives as is possible.

 

 

Given that this closure would shut down a portion of our city's busiest transit route, it has the potential to affect thousands of transit riders including commuters from across our city and region, shoppers and tourists. It is absolutely imperative that we are fully prepared well in advance to accommodate everyone who needs to travel through and within Midtown Toronto.

 

 

I am writing to urge you to take the substantive steps necessary to keep Toronto moving. In a publicly accessible response could you please consider the following points/questions:

 

 

A) Is it necessary to shut down the tracks during operating hours and/or weekdays? Could the work be done overnight and/or on the weekend?

B) And if A) is not feasible and you can demonstrate to the public why, could the work be done in August when fewer people are working?

C) With transportation capacity significantly reduced would prioritizing shuttle buses (perhaps with shuttle bus-only lanes) ensure that riders can continue to move during this period of disruption?

 

 

The city does not have to grind to a halt during this subway closure as long as the TTC  proactively addresses the situation. I am requesting that the strategy you develop be open and transparent, incorporating feedback from Toronto residents.

 

 

I look forward to your response, and to learn more about your plans, at your earliest possible opportunity.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

Josh Matlow
Toronto City Councillor

Ward 22 – St. Paul’s

 

 

cc:       Karen Stintz, TTC Chair and City Councillor, Ward 16 – Eglinton-Lawrence

Stephen Buckley, General Manager, Transportation Services

   

Councillor Matlow's Community Update for September 26, 2013

Dear Residents,

 

I hope you find my most recent update to you below both interesting and informative. It's very important to me that I represent your priorities and keep you informed about our community and decisions being made at city hall. I continue to advocate for thoughtful, evidence-based & fiscally responsible policy that serves Toronto's residents. Please see my reports on transit, along with other important issues, included in this enewsletter.

 

As always, feel very welcome to contact me if I can be of assistance to you.

 

Best regards,

Josh

 


 

Scarborough Rapid Transit

 

At the upcoming October Council meeting my colleagues and I will be asked to overturn a decision that would have delivered the 7 stop Scarborough LRT in a completely traffic-separated right-of-way without traffic lights or cross streets at no cost to the City as per the current Metrolinx Master Agreement in favour of a 3 stop subway extension (as approved at the July Council meeting) for approximately $1 billion to be paid for through property taxes. Please see my letter to the mayor and councillors here. It is vital that my colleagues and I receive accurate and fulsome technical and financial information from the TTC beforehand. I have sent a letter to TTC CEO Andy Byford requesting further details about the subway plan including additional costs and ridership numbers. To read the full letter, please click here.

 

My star assistant Ev Delen has created this easy to read infographic comparing the proposed Scarborough subway and the approved, fully-funded Scarborough LRT.

 

The Case for a Relief Subway Line

The Relief Line is the subway line that will most improve Toronto’s economy and our quality of life. It would provide an alternative to the congested Yonge-University line, curb gridlock on our city's streets and increase access to the jobs and attractions in our downtown core. Please click here to read more.

 

Eglinton Crosstown Update

 

Amidst the headline-grabbing dysfunction of the Scarborough rapid transit debate, the Eglinton Crosstown is progressing. Boring machines are currently tunneling under Eglinton, stations are being designed and the City is working on plans to improve the street above ground after construction under the street is finished. I am committed to work closely with local residents and small businesses throughout the construction process.

 

City Planning's Eglinton Connects study is focusing on the above ground portion of the Crosstown project. Based on feedback received from the public earlier this year, City Planning is presenting their draft recommendations next week that include:

  • Wider sidewalks, plus room for big trees, benches and patios
  • New public spaces including parks and plazas
  • Traffic reconfigurations throughout Midtown where the Crosstown runs underground
  • A continuous, protected bike lane along Eglinton from Black Creek through to Brentcliffe

Our local meeting will take place on Tuesday October 8 at Forest Hill Collegiate (730 Eglinton Ave W) at 6:30 pm.

 

Development Charges Set to Increase

 

The City of Toronto's Executive Committee endorsed the Development Charges Study and the proposed Development Charges Bylaw this week. The recommendations will be further considered at Toronto City Council at its meeting on October 8. The new fees will help pay for the cost of infrastructure required to service new development, such as roads, transit, water and sewer infrastructure, community centres, and fire and police facilities.

 

The proposed rates represent, on average, a 75 per cent increase over the current residential rates and a 25 per cent increase over the non-residential rate. If the new rates are approved by City Council, the City will implement the rate increases over a two-year period beginning February 1, 2014, with 55 per cent of the increase coming into effect by August 1, 2014 and full implementation by February 1, 2016.

 

While I am pleased that the development industry will start supporting more of their share of the growth it has so greatly benefited from, the City unfortunately backed down from their initial, higher, development charge rates in fear of losing at the OMB. Please see this National Post article for further information.

 

Updates on the new 2014 Ward 22 parks projects

 

This year I’ve worked hard to improve the parks in Ward 22.

  • Work is underway on the approved conceptual plan for the Mission Ground Parkette, located at 399 Merton Street.
  • A consulting firm is currently being selected to take on the Hodgson AIR recreational park project, located behind Hodgson Senior Public School at Davisville Avenue and Mount Pleasant Avenue, and the design process is expected to begin shortly.
  • The preliminary design for Forest Hill Road Park has been completed and approved by the community.
  • A Landscape Architectural consultant is currently being selected to help us move forward with the next steps of the architectural process for this park.
  • A Landscape Architectural consultant will also be selected in the near future to take on the next phase of Charlotte Maher Park.
  • And finally, the project scope of Belsize and Glebe Manor Parks is being reviewed, and I will be working with a consulting firm shortly to get improvements underway.

With all of these improvements in the works, we can look forward to great changes happening in our parks in 2014!

 

REMINDER: Public Meeting for Midtown in Focus at Anne Johnston Health Station, tonight at 6:30-9:00 pm

 

Tonight, I invite you attend the first public meeting for Midtown in Focus, a study advancing a vision for parks, open space, and streetscape in Yonge-Eglinton. The City has hired a Study Team (including Public Work and Swerhun Facilitation) to generate ideas for this vision, and they want to hear your thoughts and ideas about what works, and what could be better in Midtown. The meeting will include, a presentation, a series of interactive activities, and a facilitated discussion.

 

The Anne Johnston Health Station is located at 2398 Yonge Street, and the meeting will be held in the Second Floor Meeting Room. Signs and staff will be directing you to the room once you enter the building off Yonge Street.

 

To review resources related the project, please visit the Midtown in Focus website.

 

Mount Pleasant Harvest Fair

 

My family and I hope to see you at the Harvest Fair hosted by the Mount Pleasant Village BIA this Saturday. Festivities and attractions including sidewalk sales, live music, a pumpkin carving contest, a butter tart throwdown, and a petting zoo will take place on Mount Pleasant Road between Eglinton and Davisville from 10 am to 5 pm. More details are available on the Mount Pleasant Village BIA website.

 

REMINDER: Upcoming Neighborhood Town Halls with your city councillor

 

Hosting and attending community meetings and other events in Ward 22 is very important to me to both engage and inform residents. I want to know that I'm reflecting your priorities. Throughout the fall, I'm hosting a community town hall in every Ward 22 neighbourhood. Please save the dates for the October meetings listed below. If you don't see your neighbourhood listed below, I'll be posting upcoming dates and locations of meetings in a following e-newsletter as they are confirmed. I hope to see you there!

 

The Eglinton/Roehampton/Broadway area: Tuesday, October 1 from 7 to 9 pm
North Toronto Collegiate Institute Cafeteria, 17 Broadway Avenue

 

Deer Park: Thursday, October 3 from 7 to 9 pm
First Unitarian Toronto, Workman Hall, 175 St. Clair Avenue West

 

Casa Loma’s Upcoming Events

 

Over the next few weeks Casa Loma will be hosting a number of seasonal and Halloween themed events, including Thanksgiving/Autumn Cupcake Decorating on October 12; Ghost Tracking on October 14, 27, 28, and 29; and Haunted Castle Decorating on October 26 and 27. Please note that some events required advanced registration. For more information and to learn about other upcoming events please call 647-725-1822 or visit www.casaloma.org.

 

Re-Visioning Yonge Cycling Workshop

 

Yonge Street is Toronto's main street but, for a number of reasons, many people don't feel comfortable walking or cycling for everyday activities along or near Yonge. In Toronto and around the world, good neighbourhood main streets are welcoming and accessible to people on foot and on bicycles. This is important for the vibrancy of our community and can help reduce congestion on our roads and the Yonge subway.

 

Cycle Toronto is facilitating a community conversation about the cycling conditions along the entire Yonge corridor, from Lake Ontario to Steeles Avenue, including side streets and parallel roads. I will be in attendance along with many of my City Council colleagues representing neighbourhoods along Yonge Street to discuss barriers and to brainstorm solutions with local residents. Please join us and share your insights.

 

The workshop will be held October 2, 6:30 - 9:00 pm, at Northern District Library (40 Orchard View Blvd) Room 200. For more information please visit the Cycle Toronto event page.

 

Style on the Way

 

From Thursday, October 24 to Saturday, October 26, the Eglinton Way BIA will be hosting Style on the Way. This three day celebration of Eglinton Avenue will include free rickshaw rides, shopping specials, eats and treats, buskers, jugglers and face painting! For more information, please visit the new Style Lives Here website.

 

Returning common sense to parking for moped and scooters

 

On Friday, the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee agreed to begin the process of returning common sense to scooter and moped parking in Toronto. Due to the motion that Councillor Berardinetti and I brought to City Council, staff have been directed to report back to the Committee with realistic options so that we can move on to finally legalize boulevard parking for scooters and mopeds. This is a necessary step on the path to achieving concrete change.

 

Our job now is to emphasize the urgency of this work to City staff. They need to come back quickly so that people will no longer have to fear receiving unreasonable $50 tickets for simply parking their scooter or moped.

 

Making a tech-friendly Toronto by providing free wi-fi in public spaces

 

I'm bringing an initiative to city hall to create more free wi-fi spaces across the city because I believe it will be a great benefit to our high-tech economy, our tourism industry, and our quality of life, as well as helping Toronto residents who cannot afford internet access in their homes. The Toronto Star wrote an editorial in support of my plan, which you can read here.

 

Funding transit and infrastructure priorities in Toronto

 

In June, City Council approved my motion to have the City Manager study innovative policies that could reduce the City of Toronto's debt burden and allow us to invest more heavily in our transit and infrastructure priorities. In his report to the Executive Committee, which was adopted this morning, the City Manager recommended a program based on the model of "Build America Bonds" in the United States which are directly supported by their federal government. With City Council approval expected in October, we'll be approaching Ottawa to request their assistance in establishing such a program in Canada.

   

My letter to TTC CEO Andy Byford requesting more information about the proposed Scarborough subways

Below is my response to TTC CEO Andy Byford's reply to my letter requesting more information about the proposed Scarborough subways.

 

October 7, 2013

 

Dear Mr. Byford,

 

Thank you for your letter dated October 4, 2013 in response to my letter dated September 30, 2013 requesting additional information for the upcoming City Council meeting where future options for rapid transit in Scarborough will be debated. I appreciate the time you and your staff have taken to respond to my concerns with the McCowan Corridor subway extension of the Bloor-Danforth line and your overall dedication to improving public transit for Torontonians.

 

I welcome the information provided in your response on cost issues including the SRT decommission, responsibility for cost escalations and the process for allocating funding for engineering/design work associated with the new Environmental Assessment that would be necessary for the proposed McCowan Corridor subway extension. Your letter was also useful in highlighting a number of determined costs including $30-40 million per year in capital maintenance and unknown costs such as the cancelled Bombardier contract that are not including in the $3.56 Billion estimate contained in the Report from the City Manager on Scarborough Rapid Transit Options.

 

As noted in your letter, detailed planning work has not been undertaken for the McCowan Corridor extension. I was provided a description of the process used in past transit forecasting analysis and specific data from the 2006 Scarborough RT Strategic Plan, but little in the way of specific data, models and methodology used for ridership projections for the McCowan Corridor extension as requested in my letter. The density and trip origin numbers provided contemplated the route alignment of the approved LRT contained in the signed Master agreement between the TTC, City and Metrolinx. If the TTC has generated similar studies for the McCowan Corridor extension used to generate its ridership forecasts for the proposed subway I would request that it is provided to Council as an appendix to CC. 39.5: Scarborough Rapid Transit Options: Reporting on Council Terms and Conditions in the Council meeting agenda.

 

Of particular concern is your revelation that the TTC has not determined overall trip time from point of origin, including time of travel for walking and bus, for the LRT and the proposed McCowan extension given its importance to transit riders and their representatives on Council. As the subway option provides decreased geographic coverage and fewer stops it is likely that many Scarborough residents would confront a longer overall commute with this option than with the LRT. Having this information quantified would be helpful for Councillors and residents.

 

I understand that it is standard practice to perform detailed planning work only after approval for a project is given. However, this is not a standard transit planning exercise. If Council gives Staff permission to move forward studying the subway extension, the only alternative - the fully-funded, shovel-ready Scarborough LRT - is dead. And in four years, if the EA confirms that the Relief Subway is, in fact, a prerequisite for the McCowan Corridor extension or it is determined that it is indeed more of a regional route that Toronto taxpayers should not be funding alone, or the technical studies find it is exorbitantly expensive due to geological features, what do we do? We'll have spent several years studying it and hundreds of millions of dollars keeping the current RT standing with nothing to show for it. Given the risks associated with the decision before Council, the TTC's rationale underpinning the McCowan Corridor extension is inadequate.

 

I appreciate the quick response you provided to my letter and your candour in answering my questions. I look forward to discussing this issue with you further at City Council on October 8, 2013.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh Matlow

Toronto City Councillor

Ward 22 – St. Paul’s

www.joshmatlow.ca

 

cc:

Joseph Pennachetti, City Manager, City of Toronto

Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner & Executive Director, City Planning, City of Toronto

Bruce McCuaig, President & CEO, Metrolinx

 

Click here to download my response to TTC CEO Andy Byford's reply to my letter requesting more information about the proposed Scarborough subways as a print-ready PDF.

 


Below is TTC CEO Andy Byford's reply to my letter requesting more information about the proposed Scarborough subways.

Click here to download the full reply from TTC CEO Andy Byford as a print-ready PDF file.

 


Below is my original letter to TTC CEO Andy Byford requesting more information about the proposed Scarborough subways.

 

Dear Mr. Byford,  At the upcoming October Council meeting my colleagues and I will be asked to overturn a decision that would have delivered the 7 stop Scarborough LRT in a completely traffic-separated right-of-way without traffic lights or cross streets at no cost to the City as per the current Metrolinx Master Agreement in favour of a 3 stop subway extension (as approved at the July Council meeting) for approximately $1 billion to be paid for through property taxes. It is vital that my colleagues and I receive accurate and fulsome technical and financial information from the TTC beforehand. Please make the following information available to City Council and the public:  •	Data, models, assumptions, and methodology used by TTC staff to determine the respective ridership projections for a light-rail conversion and a subway extension including:  o	Trip origin of riders. With each mode of transit, where are the riders expected to start their journey? How many riders are from Scarborough? How many are from other municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area?  o	Future density assumptions, identifying where and how growth will occur •	From point of origin including time of travel for walking and bus, what is the average trip time for Scarborough residents from different municipal ward boundaries (or other delineated land parcels) to Yonge/Bloor station using both subway and LRT? •	Cost to the City of project escalation (nominal dollars) associated with the subway extension only, as Metrolinx will pay these costs if Council opts for the LRT plan •	Annual ongoing operating and maintenance costs associated with the subway extension only, as Metrolinx will pay these costs if Council opts for the LRT plan •	The cost of the subway was estimated in a January TTC report (pg 16) at $2.8 billion. Please account for the $500 million cost discrepancy as compared to the figure cited in the July report to Council •	Cost to decommission current SRT •	Cost to cancel Bombardier LRT contract •	Cost and length of time for new Environmental Assessment for the subway extension •	Cost of engineering and design work for the subway extension •	Cost of permanently providing parallel bus service due to wide spacing between subway stations. •	Describe additional pressures on Bloor/Yonge subway and other effects on TTC network resulting from potential Scarborough subway extension o	In particular, how will service quality and travel times be affected for riders travelling on the Yonge line (including those from Scarborough) if the Relief Subway Line does not open at the same time as a Scarborough subway extension? •	Describe need for Automatic Train Control (ATC) that would be triggered by a Scarborough subway extension including the changed timeline for implementation and cost •	Any additional costs associated with the subway? •	How would shifting resources toward a Scarborough subway extension affect the ability of the City to move forward with projects that have been identified as a higher priority including the Relief Line? Would construction costs be driven up? Would locating additional boring machines be an issue? Would current TTC staffing levels be sufficient?  The TTC has requested similar information from Metrolinx to evaluate the provincial subway option in its September 25 report to the TTC Commission.  Please provide the requested information by October 1, 2013 to give Councillors a week to review it prior to the Council meeting. I appreciate your exemplary service for Toronto transit riders and eagerly await your response.  Sincerely,      Josh Matlow Toronto City Councillor Ward 22 – St. Paul’s www.joshmatlow.ca

Click here to download my letter to TTC CEO Andy Byford as a print-ready PDF file.

 

 

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Help develop a vision for Midtown's parks, open spaces, and streetscape

Dear Friends,

 

On behalf of my colleagues Councillors Stintz and Robinson and City of Toronto Planning staff, I cordially invite you to join us for the first Public Meeting to discuss Midtown in Focus, a study advancing a vision for parks, open space, and streetscape in Yonge Eglinton.

 

The City has hired a Study Team (including Public Work and Swerhun Facilitation) to develop this vision, and they want to hear your thoughts and ideas about Midtown's parks, open spaces, and streetscape: what works today, and what could be better?

 

The meeting will include a presentation, a series of interactive idea-sharing activities, and a facilitated discussion.

 

When: Thursday, 26 September, 2013

Time: 6:30 - 9:00 pm

Where: Second Floor Meeting Room, Anne Johnston Health Station, 2398 Yonge St

More: http://midtowninfocus.com/

 

We hope you can join us, and look forward to hearing from you.

 

Sincerely,

Josh

   

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