I hope you find my most recent update both interesting and informative. It's very important to me that I accurately represent your priorities and keep you informed about our community and decisions being made at city hall.
As always, please feel very welcome to contact me if I can be of assistance to you.
My Letter to the Mayor and Council: Let's get Scarborough Transit back on track
The ongoing and seemingly endless debate regarding how to best serve our residents with new rapid transit in Scarborough has been a difficult one. I have written a letter to my colleagues urging them to turn their backs on the cynical politics that has clouded this issue and choose the evidence-based, fully-funded and ready-to-go plan that will serve more people for less money in a completely traffic-separated right-of-way.
To read the letter please click here.
Upcoming Neighborhood Town Halls with your city councillor
Hosting and attending community meetings and other events in Ward 22 is very important to me to both engage and inform residents. I want to know that I'm reflecting your priorities. Throughout the fall, I'm hosting a community town hall in every Ward 22 neighborhood. Please save the dates for the October meetings listed below. If you don't see your neighbourhood listed below, I'll be posting upcoming dates and locations of meetings in a following e-newsletter as they are confirmed. I hope to see you there! The South Eglinton/ Davisville Village town hall was a great success last week.
Chaplin Estates and Oriole Park: Tuesday, September 17th from 7 to 9 pm
Oriole Park Public School Gymnasium, 80 Braemar Avenue
The Eglinton/Roehampton/Broadway area: Tuesday, October 1st from 7 to 9 pm
North Toronto Collegiate Institute Cafeteria, 17 Broadway Avenue
Deer Park: Thursday, October 3rd from 7 to 9 pm
First Unitarian Toronto, Workman Hall, 175 St. Clair Avenue West
CORRECTION: New proposed boundaries for the St. Paul's federal riding
New boundaries for our riding, St. Paul's, have been proposed for the 2014 federal election. You can read a description of the most recent proposal by clicking here.
I have spoken with the office of our Member of Parliament, Dr. Carolyn Bennett, to clarify the status of the proposed changes. In fact, these boundaries have not been approved or made official because Parliament has been prorogued until October. I will update you if and when the new boundaries are finally in effect.
Sam the Record Man Sign: Protecting Our Heritage
The Sam the Record Man rotating records sign was the most recognizable symbol of the downtown Yonge Street strip for decades. The flashing neon sign gave character to an area that has become increasingly dominated by chain stores. Ryerson negotiated a deal with the City several years ago to display that sign on, or close to, it's original location.
Unfortunately, this past Tuesday, Toronto and East York Community Council voted 7-4 to allow Ryerson University out of their deal. Cities like Boston, Chicago, Montreal and New York have been successful in protecting buildings that are hundreds of years old. We should be able to preserve a sign.
This decision tarnishes the legacy of Sam Sniderman who was instrumental in exposing the broader public to the wealth of musical talent in Toronto. Further, by not holding Ryerson to their agreement it sets a dangerous precedent for developers and institutions. The City is effectively saying that if one encounters an obstacle trying to protect our heritage that it's not a big deal. What motivation will property owners have to preserve Toronto's story in the years ahead?
This issue will be coming to Council in October. I assure you that I will work as hard as I can to hold Ryerson to their word to ensure that the famous Sam's sign is displayed downtown for future generations.
Please listen to my interview with CBC's Metro Morning.
City of Toronto Fighting Yonge & Eglinton and St. Clair & Avenue Developments at the OMB
At last week's meeting of the Toronto and East York Community Council I directed staff to provide legal and planning resources to oppose an inappropriate development near Yonge and Eglinton. The application proposes to construct a residential condominium development with an 8-storey base plus two, 30-storey towers for a total height of 38 storeys. The proposed density is 22.4 times the lot area. I have directed the City to fight the proposal because the development does not conform to the Official Plan, including policies related to Built Form, Tall Buildings and Apartment Neighbourhoods. My primary concern is that this proposal represents a significant overdevelopment of the site.
The preliminary OMB hearing will be on October 22nd at 10:00 am while the full hearing will begin on February 24th, 2014 at 10:00 am and is scheduled to last for 5 days.
Also at last week's Community Council meeting, I directed staff to fight a development at St. Clair and Avenue Rd. The proposal for a 13 storey building would be an overdevelopment of the site and inappropriate for this stretch of St. Clair. The development does not conform to City policies concerning height, massing, setbacks, and transition. The proposed building would be extraordinarily close to a neighbouring apartment building. The approval of the proposed project would set a negative precedent for future development in the area that undermines the policies of the Official Plan.
The preliminary OMB hearing will be on November 22nd at 10:00 am. The full hearing is not yet scheduled.
My Age-Friendly Grocery Guide
Since I was elected to City Council in 2010, I have been working closely with our communities, experts and City staff to develop the new City of Toronto Seniors Strategy, a proactive, holistic and inclusive initiative that seeks to create a truly accessible, respectful and age-friendly Toronto.
In this spirit, I am delighted to share Toronto's first age-friendly grocery guide with you. This has been created specifically for Ward 22 residents. I've prepared this guide to help connect older adults with local businesses that provide age-friendly services in our community including deliveries, discounts and many other accommodations.
You can download the guide as a PDF file and print it from your home computer or at the library. You can also view it in your web browser as an image by clicking here. And please feel very welcome to call me at 416 392 7906 if you are unable to print the guide and I will send one to you in the mail.
Update on the Sign Proposal Application for 2221 Yonge Street
Have you seen that huge and misleading condo ad sign at Yonge and Eglinton? It's now gone.
On Tuesday, September 3rd the Sign Variance Committee met to discuss a first party sign proposal for a wall sign on 2221 Yonge Street. The Committee refused to grant the variance, which would have permitted a sign 524 square metres in size. The maximum permitted sign is 100 square metres.
For more information about the Committee's decision, you can visit the web page here.
North Toronto Collegiate Institute redevelopment wins a Toronto Urban Design Award
Congratulations to the North Toronto Collegiate Institute Redevelopment upon receiving a Toronto Urban Design Award. This award is presented by the City of Toronto to commend designers and city builders that work hard to build projects that contribute to the look and livability of Toronto.
My Spacing Toronto interview on Boston, MA
Upon my return from an insightful 3-day visit to Boston, I was featured in a Q&A session in Spacing Toronto. During my recent trip, I gained inspiring ideas from Boston to help improve the function of our own city, including an effective and reliable 311 app that is well promoted and interactive, and a "City Hall to Go" which provides mobile city services. To read more about my trip, please visit Spacing's website.
Hodgson Rink Repairs
I've been informed that the Hodgson ice rink will not be open this winter due to an overdue need for repairs. This past winter, City staff detected an ammonia leak that has hastened the already existing need to replace the entire system. Design and engineering work has started, and construction on a new artificial rink will begin next summer with a completion date for the winter 2014/2015 season. However, I am working very hard to have a natural rink operating instead for the upcoming season as so many of our kids rely on it for recreation throughout the winter.
Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground Naming at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park
On September 10th, I brought a motion to Community Council proposing the playground at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park be named the “Sharon, Lois & Bram” playground. My proposal has now been referred to City staff to undertake a study, and this important next step will include consulting with local residents. Staff will bring their report back to a future Community Council meeting for a vote.
The official playground opening would be in the spring, and I am working with Sharon, Lois and Bram to see that they are able to attend and maybe even play a song! When the ceremony details are finalized, I will share the invitation on my website and in my e-newsletter.
Upcoming Public Meeting for "Making Space for Culture"
Culture Services at the City of Toronto is currently conducting a research project, Making Space for Culture. The project seeks to identify affordable and sustainable cultural space needs in communities across the City.
The City of Toronto will be holding a public meeting this evening, Monday, September 16th, from 6 to 8 pm at the Deer Park Library (40 St. Clair Avenue East) to hear your thoughts and ideas.
For more information on the project and for public meeting schedule, you can visit the web page here.
Date Change on Upcoming Town Hall Meeting for Proposed Billy Bishop Expansion
Over the past several months, I have heard from many Toronto residents expressing their voice about Porter Airlines and the proposed expansion of Billy Bishop Airport (BBTCA). The City of Toronto is currently undertaking a review of the request to amend the 1983 Tripartite Agreement between the City, the Government of Canada and the Toronto Port Authority (TPA), which would permit the landing of commercial jets at BBTCA.
A number of events are being held this month to discuss the potential impacts related to this proposal and to provide the public opportunities to participate in the discussion. Workshops were held earlier this month on September 4th and 9th. The Town Hall meeting is now being held on September 19th at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place (100 Princess Boulevard, Salon 105).
For more information on these events or to fill out an online survey, you can visit the web page here.
Face to Place Exhibition featuring photographs of The Eglinton Way
Market Gallery, 95 Front Street (south of St. Lawrence Market), is hosting Face to Place, an exhibition of photographic art works by six Toronto-based artists, illustrating their personal connections to social and architectural history in the City's urban landscape. Artist-photographer Bradley Lipton has documented 321 Chaplin Crescent and The Eglinton Way. It runs from September 21 to October 19. Click here for more information.
Toronto Community Housing Resident Engagement Consultation
This fall, Toronto Community Housing (TCH) is a consulting with residents. Please come out and make your voice heard. The meetings will be held at:
Friday, September 20th
1 to 4 pm
931 Yonge Street
Wednesday, September 25th
1 to 4 pm
931 Yonge Street
Tuesday, October 1st
6 to 9 pm
North York Civic Centre, Council Members Lounge
5100 Yonge Street
Wednesday, October 2nd
6 to 9 pm
931 Yonge Street
Friday, October 4th
6 to 9 pm
931 Yonge Street
Toronto Green Community Hosts "Laugh for the Environment" Comedy Fundraiser
Toronto Green Community will be hosting their 4th annual Laugh for the Environment comedy fundraiser at Grace O'Malley's Restaurant on October 19th from 4 pm to 7 pm. The Toronto Green Community is a non-profit environmental organization that develops programs to increase ecological awareness in communities across Toronto. Proceeds will support programs such as Lost Rivers and the Eglinton Park Community Garden.
The event will include door prizes and a silent auction and will feature a lineup of improvisational comedy skits inviting audience participation.