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.
Dear Mayor & Council,
As Presidents of the Eglinton Park, Oriole Park, Sherwood Park and South Eglinton Residents' Associations, we represent constituents on both sides of Eglinton Avenue between Mt. Pleasant and Avenue Roads. After several years of consultation and community engagement, it is unfortunate that both the process and the plan for Eglinton Connects have been misconstrued by a few isolated individuals in the community. In addition to the official community consultations held by City Planning, Eglinton Connects has been discussed and widely supported through the Midtown Planning Group and at our AGMs.
We have taken the Eglinton Connects plan so seriously because the Yonge-Eglinton area is fast becoming a very urban, densely populated node. Unfortunately, the infrastructure has not kept pace with this redevelopment.
The sidewalks, for example, are already inadequate to accommodate the number of pedestrians in the area. In addition, there are very few trees and not enough street furniture. The present condition of Eglinton Avenue near Yonge Street will soon become untenable when the numerous condos currently under construction, or in the midst of the approvals process, are completed.
Right now, Eglinton doesn't work for drivers, transit users, pedestrians or cyclists. With the removal of the nine bus routes currently crossing Eglinton between Mt. Pleasant and Avenue Road being replaced by the underground Crosstown LRT, a significant amount of the right-of-way will be freed up.
We look forward to a complete street with widened sidewalks suitable for the many seniors that live in the area, as well as parents with strollers and residents with mobility issues. Our neighbourhood desires an animated streetscape with outdoor cafés, public art, separated bike lanes and pocket parks. The space afforded for large trees along Eglinton is especially supported by our memberships.
We have also had concerns about traffic movement on Eglinton and possible infiltration into our neighbourhoods. That's why we have been proactively working with Councillor Matlow to address these issues and are pleased to have provided input on his motion to help ensure Eglinton has right-hand turn lanes and synchronized traffic signals with technology to address queuing in left turn lanes. "Zebra stripes" at intersections and other measures are also needed to protect our local neighbourhoods.
While we recognize that no Neighbourhood Transition Areas (NTA) or expanded laneways are proposed for our community, we support Councillor Matlow's motion that requires fulsome consultation should either be proposed.
The Eglinton Connects plan is supported by us, the Presidents of our respective Residents' Associations, because it envisions Eglinton as a beautiful Main Street for all Torontonians that balances a number of priorities, not just as a highway for people passing through.
Tom Cohen Ben Daube
President, EPRA President, Sherwood Park Residents' Association
Greg Russell Chris Sellors
Past President, SERRA President, Oriole Park Association
June has been a very busy month working for our community. Hundreds of meetings during the days, a community meeting almost every night and the weekends have been filled with fun community events where I've been able to see, and hear from, so many of you and your families. From school graduations to the world's largest LGBTQ wedding at Casa Loma, it's been a great joy to work- and celebrate- with you in Ward 22. Some of the events that I, and my office staff, have hosted or attended this past month include:
- Relief Line Public Community Meeting
- Toronto Museum Visioning Workshop
- Eglinton Way BIA Social Mount Pleasant Village BIA "Restaurantacular!"
- Deer Park Residents' Group AGM, Brentwood Towers Tenants' Association and 112 St. Clair Avenue West AGMs
- Tim Horton's Camp Day
- Oriole Park Garden Committee Meetings
- Davisville PS and Oriole Park PS Parents' Night Outs and Fundraisers
- Cottingham PS, Davisville PS, Eglinton PS, Maurice Cody PS, Brown PS, Oriole Park PS, Hodgson Sr PS and Forest Hill Jr & Sr PS Fun Fairs/Garden Fetes
- Balliol/Davisville Laneway Party and Banff Road Annual Street Sale
- Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club Public Meeting
- Manor Road United Church Green Space Meeting
- St. Clair West Planning Study Public Meeting
- 31 Roehampton Tenants' Meeting
- 123 Eglinton East Town Hall Meeting
- Hodgson Sr PS, Northern SS, Deer Park Jr and Sr PS, Cottingham PS, Davisville PS and Eglinton PS Graduations
I do hope you're able to enjoy everything our vibrant city has to offer this season. Whether you've been dancing at Toronto's NXNE music festival or the Toronto Jazz Festival, celebrating World Pride or simply having fun with your friends, neighbours and family.
I wish you all a very Happy Canada Day. I hope to see you soon in our community.
St. Paul's Canada Day Picnic with the Honourable Carolyn Bennett MP
This Tuesday, July 1, you are invited to join our Member of Parliament, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, at her annual St. Paul's Canada Day Picnic. The event will take place at Wells Hill Park (470 St. Clair Avenue West at Hilton Avenue) from 12 pm to 2:30 pm and will include face painting, live music, dance troupes, family friendly activities and a barbeque. I hope to see you there!
POPS Plan Passes Planning & Growth Management Committee
I'm delighted to report that my initiative to identify Toronto's Privately Owned Public Spaces, or "POPS" for short, and create design guidelines, including a POPS signage template and logo, passed Planning & Growth Management Committee last week.
As Toronto continues to grow, there is an increasing need and demand to revitalize existing parks and open spaces as well as to create new parks and open spaces.
In order to provide this much needed open space within Toronto’s dense urban landscape, the City often negotiates with private developers to include POPS as part of the development application and review process. POPS are a specific type of open space which the public is welcome to enjoy, but remain privately owned.
Save the Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club Green Space!
As many of you are now aware, a developer is in the process of purchasing the Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club property (196 Manor Road East) from the Club’s Board with the intent to build townhouses on the site.
It is clear from the overwhelming response that this green space is very important to our community. That's why I've been proactively working very hard to acquire this property as a public park since this issue came to my attention several months ago.
Earlier this month I successfully moved a motion at Council directing Real Estate Services staff to evaluate the fair market value of the property at 196 Manor Road East, and directing Parkland Acquisitions staff to begin negotiations with the current owner(s) for the purpose of purchase by the City and report back to Council's Executive Committee in August. I also saw many of you at a public information meeting I held at Hodgson Sr PS on June 18.
While it has became clear that this issue is primarily a private one amongst Board members and shareholders of the Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club Board, I have engaged City legal staff to further assess the City's interest in this matter. I can assure you that if there is a willing seller, I will work to have developers' funds directed toward the purchase of this property.
For more information on the efforts of local residents I have been working with to keep this space green please visit: glebemanorlawnbowling.com
New Traffic Light Coming to Yonge and Roehampton
For as long as most of us can remember, the intersection of Yonge and Roehampton has needed to better managed and safer for pedestrians and drivers alike. It had become clear to me and most residents that a stop sign was no longer sufficient for the volume of foot and car traffic at that corner.
Responding to the current situation and the influx of development coming to the area, I requested City staff to act on this priority and for Council to direct developers' funds toward the installation of a new traffic light at the intersection. I'm very happy to report that the Public Works & Infrastructure Committee approved my request at its most recent meeting.
For more information please read this staff report. The matter will be considered by full Council in a couple of weeks.
Forest Hill Village Green P Parking Lot
There has been some discussion about the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) and the Forest Hill Village BIA's proposals to develop the Green P parking lot at the corner of Thelma Avenue and Spadina Road in the Forest Hill Village. Please see my letter that I sent to residents in July 2013 regarding both my position on growth in the Village and my ethical responsibility to recuse myself from voting on this specific matter. However, although I am legally unable to vote on this matter, according to legal advice I've received along with what the City's Integrity Commissioner has told me, I am certainly allowed to keep you informed, and offer my opinion, as I always want to.
I am delighted to report to you that the Forest Hill Village BIA members overwhelmingly voted against the retail expansion proposal and for an expanded surface parking lot at their recent Annual General Meeting on June 24, 2014 at Grace Church on-the-Hill on Lonsdale Road. They supported moving forward with simply expanding the existing surface lot onto the adjacent residential lot to the north that is already owned by the TPA. I believe this is very good news for local residents and for the merchants themselves who would've otherwise been without the Green P during the proposed retail expansion construction period.
The purpose of the meeting was for the BIA's members to instruct the board about which TPA scenario they would support for the Thelma lot. James Parakh from the City of Toronto's Planning department was also in attendance to describe the scope of work for the Forest Hill Urban Design Guidelines Study I brought to Toronto City Council to protect the fabric and character of our village. The temporary bump-out I had installed at Thelma & Spadina, to create safer sightlines, will soon be replaced with a permanent bump-out and lay-by parking constructed on the south side of Thelma, across from the TPA lot.
St. Clair Avenue West Planning Policy Review
St. Clair Avenue West, between Avenue Road and Spadina Road, has a unique planning regime under Policy 221 of the Official Plan. The area is not considered an "Avenue" as is much of the rest of St. Clair West and the Policy was written well before the introduction of the streetcar right-of-way. For these reasons, and others, City Planning has advised me that Policy 221 is an insufficient tool to protect our community from inappropriate development.
It is clear that action needs to be taken as the City has recently lost two hearings at the OMB regarding applications on St. Clair Avenue West. While inappropriate development will likely continue to affect our neighbourhoods until Toronto is freed from the jurisdiction of the OMB, I believe that the current efforts to strengthen outdated Area Specific Policy parcels, such as Policy 221, could help communities avoid the OMB.
Last Wednesday I attended a public meeting hosted by City Planning staff to hear directly from the community as part of this policy review, to ensure that residents' voices are heard. I truly appreciated the thoughtful and constructive feedback received by those of you in attendance at the meeting, as well as others who have taken the time to write me on this issue. Throughout this entire study process, I will continue working with local residents and City Planning to help ensure new development better fits into the fabric and character of our community. That means not only trying to limit height and density, but achieving greater setbacks and appropriate transitions between St. Clair Avenue and our neighbourhoods. Developers should also be required to facilitate streetscape improvements such as trees, planters and benches.
Sustainability for Manor Road United Church, More Green Space for Ward 22?
Manor Road United Church (MRUC) has been reviewing long-term sustainability options and decided that half of the church's current property at Manor Road and Forman Avenue would more efficiently serve the needs of the present congregation and community programs. The MRUC site is comprised of four city lots fronting on Manor Road; the church aims to continue to own/occupy the two westernmost lots (containing the church proper) and sell the two eastern lots.
I am delighted that MRUC recently reached out to me, rather than a developer, about the possibility of having the City purchase the eastern half of the church property. Earlier this week I attended a roundtable meeting with City staff, MRUC's Reverend Debra Schneider, congregation members and other local residents, to discuss MRUC's vision for a more sustainable existence on the western portion of the property and the potential for a much-needed local green space adjacent to Forman Avenue for the benefit of both ongoing church activities and the community at large. I am currently arranging a follow-up meeting with City staff and MRUC's development committee chair to discuss further the feasibility of this exciting proposition. I will be sure to keep you updated on this matter through my website and e-newsletter, as more information becomes available.
377 Spadina Road Public Meeting
I've heard from many Montclair residents who are very interested in knowing as much information possible about a potential rezoning application for 377 Spadina Road. The new owner has advised me of his plans to build townhouses flanking Montclair Avenue and an underground commercial parking lot accessed off of Spadina Road.
I would like to invite you and your neighbours to an important meeting to discuss this potential rezoning application. I have asked the applicant to meet with Montclair residents directly to have an open dialogue about their plans in detail, and they have agreed to attend this public meeting to be held Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 7pm in the Parish Hall at Grace Church on-the-Hill (300 Lonsdale Road).
Is it too Hot in your Apartment?
I've heard from many tenants over the last few years that their unit can be uncomfortably hot, especially in late spring when landlords are mandated by the City to have the heat on even when it is warm. That's why I moved a motion in 2012 asking staff to report on the feasibility of changing the date on which landlords can turn off the heat from June 1st to an earlier one.
While staff has presented some compelling data in their report suggesting there are still too many cold days in May to change the date on which the City allows landlords to turn off the heat in apartment buildings. For large buildings it is not as simple as turning a switch off and on. Once the heat is turned off, it cannot reasonably be turned on again. However, there are still an increasing number of warm days in May and, throughout the summer as a whole. We cannot ignore this issue.
Toronto tenants have the right to a comfortable and healthy home. I have asked staff in a letter to the Licensing and Standards Committee to go back and look for real solutions to this issue, including a request that the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto review whether mandating maximum temperatures in rental units is feasible. The Committee endorsed the majority of my recommendations. The matter will be considered by full Council in a couple of weeks.
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 about what you can do to help free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
City Planning staff have advised that the Public Meeting for 183 – 195 Roehampton Avenue and 139 – 145 Redpath Avenue will need to be rescheduled. The original date was June 17, 2014, and the meeting was to be held at City Hall – Committee Room 1 as part of the Toronto and East York Community Council June agenda.
Once the new date for the Public Meeting is confirmed, I will share this information through my e-newsletter and website, along with the final City Planning report.
I have been told that a developer is in the process of purchasing the Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club property from the Club’s Board with the intent to build townhouses on the site.
I know how important this green space is to our community. That's why I've been proactively working very hard to acquire this property as a public park since this issue came to my attention several months ago. Please join me, City staff and your neighbours to discuss this important issue.
When: Wednesday, June 18 at 7 pm
Where: Hodgson Sr. Public School, Gymnasium, 282 Davisville Avenue
I want to express my gratitude for the tremendous commitment displayed by our community toward keeping this space green. Thank you for your advocacy!
After the seemingly never-ending winter we endured, our neighbourhoods have finally come alive again with several events over this past month. Since the beginning of May, I've enjoyed seeing so many of you at countless community fun fairs, fundraisers and activities in every corner of our Ward 22 community including:
· Davisville Village Farmer's Market at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park
· Beltline Cleanup
· Brown Public School Garden Fête fundraiser
· Doors Open Walking Tour
· Eglinton Way BIA Social
· Forest Hill Homeowners' Association AGM
· Jane's Walk
· Meals on Wheels outreach
· Oriole Park Community Garden Opening
· Oriole Park Public School Parents' Night Out fundraiser
· Rathnelly Area Residents' Association AGM
· Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground Naming Ceremony and concert
· South Eglinton Residents' and Ratepayers' Association AGM
· YWCA Women of Distinction Awards
A special thanks to all the parent and resident volunteers whose hard work makes these community-building events and fundraisers possible. June will also be a very busy month and I look forward to seeing you at one of the many Midtown events, including:
· My Community Environment Day at Eglinton Park
· Deer Park Residents' Group AGM
· Forest Hill Jr/Sr Fun Fair
· Glebe Manor Square East park public meeting
· Relief Subway Line Public Information Meeting
· School graduations
· St. Clair West Planning Study Public Meeting
(See some dates and locations below in this e-newsletter)
These events are not only a wonderful chance to meet my neighbours but a great opportunity to receive feedback, suggestions and new ideas. Please always feel welcome to share your thoughts with me.
You're Invited to a Public Meeting on the Relief Subway Line!
The City of Toronto and the TTC are starting to plan for a Relief Subway Line. Please join me and City experts to discuss possible route alignments, how this project could help ease congestion on the overburdened Yonge-University-Spadina subway line and more.
REMINDER: Councillor Josh Matlow's Community Environment Day
On Thursday, May 29 from 4 pm to 8pm, I will be hosting my annual Community Environment Day. The event will take place in the parking lot of North Toronto Memorial Arena at 174 Orchard View Blvd. Please drop off any unwanted art supplies, books, toys, and used sports equipment. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste, or even replace your damaged green bin.
Reducing the Cost of Paid-Duty Police Officers
As a member of the Council's Audit Committee, I set a process in motion to reduce the number of paid-duty police officers the City needs to hire at construction and work sites.
I, along with many residents, find it frustrating and wrong to see uniformed police officers standing by work sites while other budgets to important City services are being cut.
At Audit Committee today, my colleagues adopted my motion that requests the province to follow Vancouver's lead by ensuring that lower-paid enforcement officials are monitoring construction sites. If permitted, this initiative will save the City of Toronto, businesses and community organizations millions of dollars while ensuring that the police are focused on what they're best at - serving and protecting us.
For more information please see this article.
Community Opposes Completely Inappropriate Development
Earlier this month I co-hosted a public meeting with City Planning regarding 33 Holly Street and 44 Dunfield Avenue. I was joined by the many residents in attendance in condemning this proposal.
This is the most egregious infill application I have seen since becoming your Councillor. The developer is proposing to build two condo towers, at 32 and 24 storeys, on a site that already has two large "slab" apartment buildings. If built, pedestrians would face a continuous and imposing wall along both Holly and Dunfield. In addition, the plan envisions placing an extra 5 storeys on "stilts" above each of the existing apartments. To make matters worse, new amenity spaces are proposed for the top of each of the existing apartment buildings that will be off-limits to the tenants below.
The local planner and myself have told the developer that drastic revisions are necessary. If a more reasonable proposal is not submitted, I will aggressively oppose this development at Council and, if need be, the Ontario Municipal Board.
For more information please see this article.
Documentary Screening: Cyber-Seniors
On Friday, May 30th, the new documentary Cyber-Seniors will be premiering at the Carlton Theatre. Directed by Toronto's Saffrom Cassaday, Cyber-Seniors has been described as a "humorous and heartwarming documentary." The film chronicles the journey of a group of older adults as they discover the world of the internet through the mentorship of teenagers. The film's goal is to raise awareness of the digital divide currently facing older adults, and inspire a call to action for local tech-savvy youth to give back to their community.
Screenings will take place at the Carlton Theatre (20 Carlton St., just east of Yonge) at 2 pm, 4 pm, 7 pm & 9 pm daily from May 30 to June 5. Q and A and contest draws will take place at the Friday 7 pm screening and the Saturday 2 and 7 pm screenings.
Spadina Museum Launches New Historic Landscape Tour and Owlery
Spadina Museum will be opening a new self-guided landscape tour which includes historical facts and images relating to local history. Its official launch will feature reproduction owlery by Alex Moyle and live owls to meet, provided by Mountsberg Conservation.
The event will be hosted from 1 to 3 pm, on Saturday, May 31, and all admission to the grounds are free.
Seniors Month at Nathan Phillips Square
In celebration of Seniors Month, the Toronto Seniors Forum is hosting an event on Tuesday, June 3 from 11 am to 2 pm at Nathan Phillips Square. Join us to learn more about seniors' services in Toronto and the City of Toronto's Seniors Strategy. There will also be live entertainment and an opportunity for networking.
Lead in Drinking Water Update
Last week, following a story published by the Toronto Star, I heard from many concerned residents regarding lead in drinking water. I've been advised by Toronto Water staff that lead does not exist in Toronto's source water, Lake Ontario, or in the City's drinking water distribution system. Rather, lead is a concern for homes built before the mid-1950s when residential water service pipes were commonly made of lead. As these pipes corrode or break down, lead can enter drinking water.
If you live in a home built before the mid-1950s, the City offers free lead testing. You can call 311 to pre-register for a water testing kit. For more information, please visit the Toronto Water website.
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