Ward 22 certainly had a very successful city council meeting last week. I very much appreciate my colleagues' support.
I want to remind you that while I work hard to reflect, and represent, our community when making city-wide policy decisions, my staff and I are also here every day to help resolve more local and specific concerns regarding the delivery of city services.
Please see my latest update to you below.
Roots of Youth Violence
My office and I had been working on a Roots of Youth Violence motion for the past several weeks. My intention was for this motion, based on the recommendations put forward by Alvin Curling and Roy McMurtry's The Review of the Roots of Youth Violence Report, to come forward at a time when we weren't reacting to a recent spate of shootings. However, as the tragic events that have taken two 15 year olds in the past 10 days have shown, that moment is becoming harder to find as these tragic events keep happening.
I'm pleased that Council passed my motion which recognizes that extensive consultation has taken place and reports with sound recommendations have already been written. We now need to take genuine and sincere action.
The motion passed Council unanimously, seconded by Councillor Michael Thompson, with input across partisan lines from my colleagues including Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday and Councillor Adam Vaughan. This issue demanded that Council work together to tackle a serious and ongoing problem. I'm proud to say that thus far my colleagues, including Mayor Ford, have come through for Torontonians.
However, there's a couple more steps to take before the recommendations in my motion are moved forward for implementation. I'll let you know when we expect this to come to the City's Executive Committee soon.
Northern Secondary School Green Space Improvement
Together, we successfuly rebuilt Northern Secondary School's Clarke Pulford Field for students and the local residential community. Now we have an opportunity to beautify the greenspace on Mount Pleasant Road.
I am pleased that my motion to transfer $75,000, secured through developer's fees, for the Northern Lakes Landscape Design Project was approved by Council. The new outdoor meeting and learning area in front of Northern Secondary School seeks to recreate the once vibrant ecosystem of Walmsley Brook. The project will suggest a dry river bed with trees, rock seating areas, plantings and flagstone paths.
This project will provide an enhanced seating and strolling area for the wider community providing a peaceful public space in a busy area. The Northern Lakes project will be of particular interest to the residents of several nearby seniors' homes who will benefit from nearby green space.
Supporting the Central Eglinton Community Centre
I am also pleased that Council supported my motion to transfer $25,000.00, also secured through developer's fees, to ensure that the Central Eglinton Community Centre's (CECC) expansion is fully accessible.
The CECC provides a variety of programs and services for people of all ages including parent/child activities and a range of social, recreational and leisure programs for older adults and seniors. The Centre also provides after school programs, food bank box, income tax clinics, legal advice, financial planning and employment & training information and opportunities.
This funding will help ensure that the CECC, and its important programs and services, will be fully accessible for people of all abilities.
Reminder: Community Meeting Notice for Development Proposal at 281-289 Avenue Road
I have been working closely with our Cottingham and Rathnelly neighbourhoods for the past two years regarding a proposed condo development on Avenue Rd. Along with addressing several concerns we have about this proposal, I have invited City staff to discuss the applicant's proposal to cut down trees along their lot line in Robertson Davies Park in order to build the driveway into their development. I believe it's fundamentally wrong that trees could be cut down in a public park to facilitate a new condo building. I am inviting local residents to share their views on the proposal. Please join me on Wednesday, February 27th from 7 pm to 9 pm at the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto's Sunderland Hall, 175 St. Clair Avenue West.
2013 Live Green Toronto Awards
The first entries for the 2013 Live Green Toronto Awards are in and voting has begun! You can enter, vote and have your say in the search for Toronto's greenest youth, individual, group, small business and corporation. The final entry deadline is March 3rd, 2013. Winners will receive a Live Green Toronto Award, $2,500 courtesy of award sponsors and a chance to share their story on CP24.
For more information, please visit www.livegreentoronto.ca.
Davisville Redevelopment Proposal Update
As your City Councillor, I have been closely following the TDSB's efforts towards a condo- development proposal on their Davisville PS property that would ultimately come to City Hall. Soon after taking office, I met with the local school trustee and school board staff to discuss their options for redevelopment. I clearly informed the TDSB representatives that Davisville PS is located in a Neighbourhood designated zone under Toronto's Official Plan. This designation allows for a maximum of 4 storeys. I am very willing to work with the TDSB on a plan for their property that would respect the City of Toronto's Official Plan.
Recently, the Ministry of Education halted their support for further capital projects by the TDSB. This action by the Province doesn't appear to have stopped the TDSB's plans for Davisville as the Board quietly declared a portion of the school's playground surplus at a recent meeting.
For further background information please see my letter to residents regarding this issue. Please also read this story from Saturday's Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/rumble-in-north-toronto-as-school-board-goes-toe-to-toe-with-city-over-development-plan/article9002153/?service=mobile.
I am committed to supporting Davisville PS, Metro School for the Deaf and Spectrum parents' interests to have great school for their kids while asking that the school board, and Province, fulfills its responsibilities to students by keeping school facilities in good repair without adversely impacting local neighbourhoods.
Maurice Cody Dirt-to-Turf Campaign
Maurice Cody Junior Public School has initiated an exciting campaign to help to fund a new artificial turf playing field. I am working to ensure that the City dedicates development funds to this local community initiative and I encourage you to consider a charitable donation. For a breakdown of sponsorship levels and information about the benefits of sponsorship, please visit http://schoolweb.tdsb.on.ca/mauricecody/Sports.aspx.
A Toronto Casino?
I expect that a vote may come to city council as early as this April on whether or not we will see a large casino open in Toronto.
As I've written to you before, the majority of Ward 22 residents have told me they oppose a Toronto casino and I share their view. Based on consistent reports on problem gambling, traffic gridlock and potential adverse affects on the local economy, I will not be supporting a casino in the City of Toronto. I know that some of you may disagree with my decision. However, I respectfully submit to you that the known negatives outweigh any suggested benefits, and it's simply not worth the gamble.
Attending Community Meetings
Hosting and attending community meetings and other events in Ward 22 is very important to me to both engage and inform residents. I am always very pleased to update residents on local issues and on policy decisions made by City Council. Over the past month, I've meet with various local groups and residents including:
- The Central Eglinton Community Centre
- Yorkminster Park Baptist Church's Out of the Cold Program
- The Republic Residents' Association and the Rathnelly Area Residents Association
- Mount Pleasant Road Baptist Church and The Estonian Church
- Eglinton PS parents
- Local businesses
- 53 Division (Toronto Police Services)
- Many dozens of individual residents and their families
My schedule fills up quickly, so please contact my office as early as possible if you'd like me to attend your local meeting to address questions, concerns and if you need my assistance.