Despite unprecedented challenges at city hall, I have been very busy working with our community, and my colleagues on council, to address the many important priorities I hear about from residents like you.
It has been such a pleasure seeing so many of you at recent events such as my transit town hall, the Mount Pleasant Village BIA Kids Day and the Brown and Oriole Park School Fairs.
Tomorrow, I'll be at Eglinton and Cottingham school fairs along with a Beltline Clean Up (to remove invasive species such as Garlic Mustard) on Saturday morning. We'll be meeting at 10am at the trail entrance near Duncannon.
I do hope you find my latest update to you interesting and informative.
Funding for Transit and Infrastructure Priorities
This weekend, many of my City Council colleagues are in Vancouver at the annual conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, where they are calling for a greater role from the Government of Canada in building and maintaining our cities' infrastructure. Big cities like Toronto are Canada's economic engines and there is a clear national benefit to sustained investment in our growth.
My latest contribution to this effort is a motion I'm bringing to June's City Council meeting to consider options the federal government could use to support Toronto's transit and infrastructure priorities. In the United States, there are many models of support, such as tax-free municipal bonds, that help cities get the best results from their investments. Under a system model to the U.S. "Build America Bonds," Toronto could invest in one-third more infrastructure each year without increasing debt servicing costs. I've asked City staff to determine which model works best for Toronto so we can request that support from Ottawa.
Parking for Mopeds and Scooters
I've heard from many residents who are being affected by the City's recent crack-down on sidewalk scooter parking and I agree with your concerns. We should encourage the use of mopeds and scooters to reduce congestion in Toronto, and we can use a little common sense to accommodate these vehicles on City boulevards where they are out of the way of both pedestrians and cars. To learn more, please read my letter to the Licensing and Standards Committee requesting action on this issue.
Raccoons and Other Urban Wildlife
A family of raccoons is trying to make a home in my barbeque and they're making quite a mess! I know many of you have had much worse experiences with raccoons, skunks and other urban wildlife on your property. I'm asking City staff to make recommendations for actions to reduce the negative effects of urban wildlife and increase everyone's enjoyment of both private and public outdoor spaces.
Public Meeting: 2221 Yonge Street
Please click here to learn about the upcoming public meeting for this condo development proposal. I have serious concerns with this application. Even though the proposed location is closer to the corner of Yonge and Eglinton than the Minto development (where higher heights are projected under the Official Plan) the site is too small for a 56 storey building. As proposed, the building would also limit the ability of a builder to provide a vitally important public square on the adjacent southeast corner if that site were to be redeveloped.
The meeting will be held at 7 pm on Wednesday, June 5, in the auditorium at North Toronto Collegiate (17 Broadway Avenue).
Public Meeting: A New Maurice Cody PS Community Field!
Earlier this spring, I moved a motion on behalf of our community, at Toronto City Council that was successfully approved today dedicating $300,000 towards Maurice Cody PS' Dirt-to-Turf project.
These funds, which I identified from developer fees (Section 37) will now bring our field revitalization project very close to fruition. In the past couple of months I have been working with the Parent Council's Dirt-to-Turf Committee, School Council, Trustee Laskin, City Legal staff, Principal Howard and TDSB staff on a community-use agreement to ensure access to the new field for our neighbourhood's families.
We are working toward a draft agreement that balances the places the neighbourhood's interest to use the new facility first, while also recognizing the TDSB's need to bring in revenue to ensure that the new field is maintained. I look forward to your input on the future use of the new field at a community meeting I am co-hosting with Trustee Laskin on Monday, May 10 in the Maurice Cody PS gym.
Support Taking Action on Youth Violence at City Hall
It is time for the City of Toronto to take thoughtful and proactive measures to deal with youth violence no matter what neighbourhood it is found in. We cannot wait for another tragedy to spur more calls for blue ribbon panels and simplistic reactions. There have been many good reports that have already provided us with recommendations on how to move forward including The Review of the Roots of Youth Violence by Dr. Alvin Curling and The Honourable Roy McMurtry. Genuine, evidence-based action is needed now and without delay.
Please join us on at Toronto City Hall on Wednesday, June 26, at 9:30 am in support of the first steps of an action plan, in response to my motion that was approved unanimously by Council in February 2013 to reduce youth violence in our city, which will be considered by the Community Development and Recreation Committee.
Please save this date, as this is the only official opportunity for public feedback before a vote at City Council later in the summer. It is vitally important that Mayor Ford, the rest of City Council, and the wider community hear your voice and understand how important it is for us to finally take real action to stop youth violence. We can't do this without you.
Preserving 1909 Yonge Street (Currently the Davisville Starbucks)
The Starbucks at 1909 Yonge Street is the original Davisville General Store and Post Office building, and was constructed in 1894.
I believe that this is an important part of our cultural heritage, and has been a landmark for generations.
On May 14th, 2013, I moved a motion at Toronto and East York Community Council directing Heritage staff to evaluate this property for possible designation under the Ontario Heritage Act. Heritage staff will report back to Community Council with their findings. I am hopeful that this important landmark will soon be protected for many more generations to come.
Opening of Toronto's Beaches and Water Facilities
The majority of Toronto's beaches will be officially opening this weekend! Eight out of eleven beaches will have lifeguards placed this weekend, with the other three opening on June 15th.
Toronto's beaches are as follows:
Bluffer’s Beach - lifeguards in place this weekend
Centre Island Beach - lifeguards in place this weekend
Cherry Beach- lifeguards in place this weekend
Gibraltar Point Beach- lifeguards will be in place by June 15
Hanlan’s Point Beach- lifeguard this weekend
Kew-Balmy Beach- lifeguards in place this weekend
Marie Curtis Park Beach - lifeguards will be in place by June 15
Rouge Beach - lifeguards will be in place by June 15
Sunnyside Beach - lifeguards in place this weekend
Ward’s Island Beach - lifeguards in place this weekend
Woodbine Beaches - lifeguards in place this weekend
Daily water quality information can be obtained on the Beaches Hotline at 416-392-7161 or at www.toronto.ca/beach.
Meanwhile, we are happy to say that the outdoor pool at the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre will be opening on June 22nd! More information about the opening of Toronto's outdoor pools can be found at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/prd/facilities/outdoor-pools/index.htm.
Finally, splash pads are open May 18th to September 22nd and wading pools are open June 28th to September 1st. Splash pads are unsupervised water play areas and are conveniently located in many parks and playgrounds. Wading pools are shallow water areas for children located within parks.
A Walk Exploring the History of Deer Park
On Saturday, June 8th, local photographer and historian Walter Psotka will be leading a walking tour throughout the Deer Park area. Learn about interesting and previously unknown facts about this historically significant neighbourhood! If you wish to participate, please visit the Deer Park Library or call the branch at 416-393-7549.
The walk will be starting at the library at 1:20 pm.
Reminder: Seniors Forum: Living Longer, Living Well
The Toronto Council on Aging is hosting a Seniors Forum at Metro Hall on June 10 from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Dr. Samir K. Sinha will be presenting highlights and key recommendations from the Province of Ontario's Seniors Strategy and I will be sharing highlights from our new Toronto Seniors Strategy. Admission is free but seating is limited. To register please call the Toronto Council on Aging at 416 630 7000. I will be making the opening remarks and I hope to see you there!
You can read more about my work on the City of Toronto's Seniors Strategy here.
Reminder: Community Environment Day
On Saturday, June 22nd from 10 am to 2 pm I will be hosting my annual Community Environment Day. The location is the North Toronto Memorial Arena at 174 Orchard View Blvd. Please bring any unwanted art supplies, books, toys, and used sports equipment. Cycle Toronto Midtown will be there to donate your used bikes to the non-profit organization Charlie's Freewheels. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste. You can also replace your damaged green bin.
First National Summit of LGBTQ-A* Service Providers
The First National Summit of LGBTQ-A* Service Providers will be taking place on June 26th and 27th at Ryerson University. The summit will be the first time that all service providers will meet to discuss a national vision for the LGBTQ-A* community in Canada. The summit will focus on connecting Service Providers, professional development, and the creation of a national vision for collaboration and partnership. The cost of participating in the event in free!
More information on the summit can be found by visiting http://www.jersvision.org/en/programs/dare-stand-out-canadas-national-lgbtq-service-providers-summit.
Bayview Buckets Adopt-a-Tree Project is Back!
Local businesses on the west side of Bayview Avenue are encouraged to adopt a tree in front of their business for the 2013 growing season. Street trees face harsh urban conditions such as limited access to water but provide us with so many benefits, including shade, cleaning our air, and making our neighbourhoods beautiful. Bayview Buckets aims to help these trees thrive by watering them regularly.
Community leader Helen Godfrey will be approaching businesses over the month of June to explain the program, and provide information and tools. Read Helen's update on the project on the LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests) blog.
Look for the Bayview Buckets sign in the storefront windows and remember to thank your local business for keeping our community healthy! A list of participating businesses will be updated on my website.