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Issues & Policies


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Achieving $25 Per Capita Arts and Culture Funding

Click here to view our letter as a pdf document.

 

November 30th, 2012

 

Budget Chief & Budget Committee Members

City Hall

100 Queen St. West

Toronto ON

M5H 2N2

 

Dear Budget Chief and Committee Members,

 

Re:  Achieving the $25 per capita arts and culture funding in the 2013 Operating Budget

 

Background:

For ten years, various Toronto City Councils have periodically affirmed and re-affirmed our commitment to increase the per capita arts and culture funding to twenty-five dollars ($25).

 

Unfortunately, previous political commitments remain unfulfilled.  The effects have been significant. The City of Toronto has now fallen drastically behind other major North American cities in its funding for the arts, with an investment of only $18 per resident.  Our major and direct competitors, including Chicago ($26), Montreal ($32), New York ($74) and San Francisco ($87) all invest significantly more in their cultural activities.

 

As recently as August 2010, City Council once again reaffirmed the importance of arts and culture with a commitment to increase the funding from $18 to $25 per capita in the 2013 budget by approving the Strategies for Arts and Culture Funding by a 40-1 vote.

 

Toronto’s own Culture Plan already recognizes the importance that the arts play in building the strong economic and social environment necessary for Toronto to compete and prosper as a creative city in North America.

 

Large cultural amenities such as the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario along with vibrant galleries, live music venues, and local theatres help draw tourists from across the country and beyond into Toronto.  Creating opportunities for residents to be active in the arts through a painting class, dance lesson or immersive participatory events like Nuit Blanche provides a recreational activity beyond sport but also fosters innovation, a shared sense of identity and social cohesion.

 

According to the University of Toronto's Martin Prosperity Institute, there are 83,000 people directly employed in the cultural sector, representing 6 per cent of our total workforce. Creative industries grew at a rate of 2.9 per cent between 1991 and 2009, exceeding growth in other key sectors such as financial services (2.4%), medical and biotechnology (1.7%), and the food and beverage industry (1.4%).

 

In November 2012, the Supreme Court decision to deny the sign industry any further appeal on the City's billboard tax will potentially raise an estimated $10.4 million toward the $17.5 million annual investment needed to reach the relatively modest $25 per capita funding goal.

 

The business case is clear.  The revenue source is available.  We can delay no longer.  Toronto’s economic competitiveness must include the strategic fulfillment of our decade-long pledge to increase the per capita arts and culture investment to $25.

 

Recommendation:


Budget Committee request that appropriate staff along with the General Manager of Economic Development and Culture produce a Briefing Note for the wrap-up budget meeting outlining the social and economic benefits of increasing to $25 per capita funding for arts and culture.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Josh Matlow                                                                    Kristyn Wong-Tam

Toronto City Councillor                                                     Toronto City Councillor

Ward 22 – St. Paul's                                                        Ward 27 – Toronto Centre Rosedale

www.joshmatlow.ca                                                          http://ward27news.ca/

 

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Moving Forward with The Big Move - A Downtown Relief Subway Line and a Regional Transit Plan

Earlier today, Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, and the Minister of Transportation, Bob Chiarelli, announced that construction on the Downtown Relief Line (DRL) will be accelerated by 10 years. The DRL is desperately needed to take the pressure off the already over-crowded Yonge line. This is great news for the entire Greater Toronto Area and Ward 22 residents who routinely wait 2 or 3 trains in the morning before getting on at Eglinton, Davisville, St. Clair or Summerhill.

 

It was also announced today that a real conversation, at long last, will begin in January 2013 about how to pay for the DRL and other regional transit priorities. The public consultation will consider a variety of funding mechanisms and there will be a report on how to move forward by June of next year.

 

For a long time I have been advocating for a regional plan for transit improvement and expansion. This will better reflect how people truly move across municipal boundaries everyday and, if the entire region is to benefit from better transit, then residents from Toronto and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area should share in the responsibility for paying for it.

 

For more information please see the Metrolinx press release regarding today's announcement.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

   

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NOTICE OF MOTION FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETING-NOV 27, 2012 Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS): Protecting and increasing access to publicly secured open spaces

NOTICE OF MOTION

 

Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS):  Protecting and increasing access to publicly secured open spaces


Moved by Councillor Josh Matlow

Seconded by Councillor Adam Vaughan

 

Toronto is becoming an increasingly dense city with an additional 134,000 new residents added between 2001 and 2011. The majority of those new inhabitants are living in condominiums. In the past 10 years, 121,210 new condo or apartment units have been created. Since 2006, over 90% of all residential applications have been for multi-unit dwellings. It is anticipated that this trend will continue as Toronto's population is expected to grow by 160,000 over the next 10 years with just as many new condo or apartment units added.

 

These vertical homeowners are joining apartment residents and office tower workers that use public spaces as their backyards, living rooms and lunch counters. It is well established that public spaces provide a social meeting place and there is increasing evidence demonstrating that open spaces can have a positive impact on physical health, mental well-being and even longevity.  As the City of Toronto plans to continue building vertically, it must ensure that its urban parks, plazas and squares are accessible.

 

The City's Planning Division has been very successful at securing new open spaces through Section 37 agreements. These spaces are publically accessible but privately owned and maintained at the cost of the landowner. Since 2000, at least 1 million square feet have been added in over 27 of these new privately owned public spaces. Other publicly accessible open spaces include plazas in front of office buildings and green spaces surrounding "tower" apartments through density bonuses negotiated primarily in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

 

While the City has been successful at adding new publicly accessible space, many of these places are not well used. Experience from other North American cities demonstrates that the largest barrier to these spaces is a lack of awareness that they are open to the public. New York, San Francisco and other cities require signage at privately accessible open spaces that indicate they are available for public use.

 

This motion seeks to increase the use of privately owned public spaces through designated signage.

 

Recommendations:

  1. Council requests the City Manager to develop a report that identifies all privately owned public spaces in the City of Toronto

 

  1. Council requests the City Manager to report on a strategy to ensure that all privately owned public spaces have visible signage indicating the space is open to the public; this includes, but is not limited to, parks, plazas, open spaces, squares and walkways

 

  1. City Council requests that the reports identified in Recommendations 1 & 2 be delivered to Planning and Growth Committee by June of 2013
   

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