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Parks and Environment

Notice of Public Consultation: Proposed Home Energy Retrofit Program

Dear Residents,


I would like to share the following Notice of Public Consultation with you. The City of Toronto needs your input on a proposed Home Energy Retrofit Program.


South Event Date: Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Location: Metro Hall, Room 308


North Event Date: Thursday, March 7, 2013

Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m

Location: North York Civic Centre, Members Lounge


To learn more, you can visit the website of the Toronto Environment Office.


Notice of Public ConsultationNotice of Public Consultation


Cracking Down on Curb Lane Hogs: Reducing Idling and Making Cycling Safer

With the support of City Council, I have more than doubled the fines for drivers who stop or park illegally on arterial roads during rush hour. It is now a $150 penalty for "stopping, standing, or parking a vehicle during all or any portion of the general rush hour period(s) of 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and or 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday to Friday except Public Holidays where official signs to prohibit parking, standing or stopping are displayed."


Far too often, entire lanes of major roads are blocked due to an individual pulling over to grab a coffee in the morning or a delivery vehicle choosing the afternoon rush period to drop off their goods. Drivers along arterials often use bicycle lanes as a parking lane, forcing cyclists to dangerously merge into traffic. During rush hour this creates very unsafe conditions for cyclists. Although this has never been permitted, it was clear that the old fines and levels of enforcement were not sufficient to deter such activities.


News release: Toronto Adding New Plastic Items to Its Blue Bin Program

Dear Residents,


I'd like to share this news release with you from the City of Toronto. Now you can recycle plastic clamshell containers in your blue bin! To find out where to put all your other trash items, you can visit the Waste Wizard web tool.


The City of Toronto's Public Works and Infrastructure Committee received a report today from Solid Waste Management Services that will result in Toronto introducing the collection of mixed rigid plastics this fall through the City's Blue Bin program. The new items include clamshell containers, clear fruit and vegetable containers, clear takeout containers and molded bakery-item trays.


Until recently, the City could not recycle mixed rigid plastics. New developments spearheaded by the Canadian grocery retail industry, along with advancements in recycling and sorting technology, have removed the obstacles to recycling these plastic materials.


Solid Waste Management undertook a year-long pilot project at the Dufferin Material Recovery Facility (MRF), which currently handles about half of the City's recycling. The project confirmed that the facility now has the capability to sort the new plastics and meet the specifications to market the materials. In May 2013, when the City's new processing contractor, Canada Fibers Ltd., begins operating its new material recovery facility, all of Toronto's recyclables will be processed in state-of-the-art sorting facilities that can sort and prepare these new, mixed rigid-plastic items for end-use markets.


"This is good news for Toronto. Accepting this range of items in recycling will mean fewer materials going into the garbage and ending up in landfill," said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34 Don Valley East), Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.


Solid Waste estimates the cost to collect and recycle the new plastic materials will be approximately $160,000 in 2013. The inclusion of mixed rigid plastics will result in the diversion of 2,000 tonnes annually from landfill. The recycled plastics will be manufactured into products for industrial and household end uses.


"We are excited about this next step in our recycling capability," said Jim Harnum, General Manager of Toronto's Solid Waste Management Services division. "So many foods and products that we use every day are packaged in this type of plastic. Residents can now feel good about putting these items in the Blue Bin instead of the garbage."


Residents should continue to perform current set out and recycling practices, such as emptying and rinsing food containers to remove residue. They can check Waste Wizard, the City's online search tool, if they have questions about particular items. If residents need more room to accommodate these new recyclables, they can call 311 to upsize their current Blue Bin or order an extra Blue Bin free of charge.


A group of students from Jackman Public School in Toronto attended the committee meeting today and were recognized for their avid interest in Toronto's recycling program. The students wrote to the City earlier this year inquiring about when clear clamshell containers could be recycled in Toronto.


MacPherson Avenue "Ecopark"

Since taking office, I have been working with community members on an exciting proposal to transform the hydro corridor on Macpherson Avenue (between Spadina and Davenport) from a derelict eyesore into a usable public space. I was happy to support a local resident's application for a City of Toronto grant to build a demonstration "Ecopark" with solar panels, community gardens, native plants and an electric car.


This is an opportunity for the City to demonstrate its commitment to renewable energy, environmental stewardship and innovative public spaces. The new green space will also provide an educational experience for local schoolchildren from the Waldorf School, Huron Public School and Cottingham Public School.


Solar Energy, Jobs, and Economic Development

Solar energy has the potential to benefit Toronto's environment and economy. As your School Trustee I worked to have solar panels installed on school roofs and am proud to be helping expand green power across the city.


With the support of Council, I moved a motion to endorse potential solar projects for consideration by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA). The OPA has new rules establishing a points system to determine the priority for offering of contracts for rooftop solar projects. Points will be awarded to applications that are supported by the municipality in which the project is located. Projects with more points will be more likely to receive contracts from the OPA.


In particular, I worked with BrightRoof, a Ward 22 firm with projects in our community and across the city. The projects that BrightRoof and others are developing will deliver significant benefits to the City of Toronto, including more local jobs, clean energy, and new revenue streams for property owners.


Transit: Moving Forward

Over the past few months, City Council and Metrolinx, the provincial transit planning body, have made important decisions about the future of public transit in Toronto.


For Ward 22 residents, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, which will run underground between Black Creek Drive and Laird Drive, will be of great assistance to those of us who are frustrated with the current state of congestion on Eglinton Avenue today. The Crosstown line is already under construction, with tunnelling scheduled to begin this summer, will eventually run from Jane Street to Kennedy Road (a distance of 25 km) and is scheduled to be completed in 2020. I am currently advocating that this line be extended to Toronto Pearson International Airport.


It's unfortunate that Mayor Ford failed to present a fiscally-responsible, realistic plan for subways to City Council. Transit planning must be based on sound ridership projections and sourced funding mechanismsnot empty slogans. I will continue to advocate for a Downtown Relief subway line to alleviate current overcrowding on the Yonge subway line.


To help us achieve our transit goals, I've brought forward a motion to City Council to ensure Toronto is part of a regional approach to both plan, and realistically fund, transit improvement and expansion. My motion, "Moving Forward: Improving Public Transit and Relieving Traffic Congestion through a Regional Funding Strategy," is intended to help us move away from the unpredictable one-time, ad hoc transit funding we've come to reply upon in recent years, and allow us to make proactive, evidence-based and fiscally responsible plans to build transit for generations to come. I'll be sure to update you as this initiative progresses.


For the latest updates on this issue, please visit my Transit Issues page.


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