I hope you find my most recent update to you below both interesting and informative. It's very important to me that I represent your priorities and keep you informed about our community and decisions being made at city hall. I continue to advocate for thoughtful, evidence-based & fiscally responsible policy that serves Toronto's residents. Please see my reports on transit, along with other important issues, included in this enewsletter.
As always, feel very welcome to contact me if I can be of assistance to you.
Scarborough Rapid Transit
At the upcoming October Council meeting my colleagues and I will be asked to overturn a decision that would have delivered the 7 stop Scarborough LRT in a completely traffic-separated right-of-way without traffic lights or cross streets at no cost to the City as per the current Metrolinx Master Agreement in favour of a 3 stop subway extension (as approved at the July Council meeting) for approximately $1 billion to be paid for through property taxes. Please see my letter to the mayor and councillors here. It is vital that my colleagues and I receive accurate and fulsome technical and financial information from the TTC beforehand. I have sent a letter to TTC CEO Andy Byford requesting further details about the subway plan including additional costs and ridership numbers. To read the full letter, please click here.
My star assistant Ev Delen has created this easy to read infographic comparing the proposed Scarborough subway and the approved, fully-funded Scarborough LRT.
The Case for a Relief Subway Line
The Relief Line is the subway line that will most improve Toronto’s economy and our quality of life. It would provide an alternative to the congested Yonge-University line, curb gridlock on our city's streets and increase access to the jobs and attractions in our downtown core. Please click here to read more.
Eglinton Crosstown Update
Amidst the headline-grabbing dysfunction of the Scarborough rapid transit debate, the Eglinton Crosstown is progressing. Boring machines are currently tunneling under Eglinton, stations are being designed and the City is working on plans to improve the street above ground after construction under the street is finished. I am committed to work closely with local residents and small businesses throughout the construction process.
City Planning's Eglinton Connects study is focusing on the above ground portion of the Crosstown project. Based on feedback received from the public earlier this year, City Planning is presenting their draft recommendations next week that include:
- Wider sidewalks, plus room for big trees, benches and patios
- New public spaces including parks and plazas
- Traffic reconfigurations throughout Midtown where the Crosstown runs underground
- A continuous, protected bike lane along Eglinton from Black Creek through to Brentcliffe
Our local meeting will take place on Tuesday October 8 at Forest Hill Collegiate (730 Eglinton Ave W) at 6:30 pm.
Development Charges Set to Increase
The City of Toronto's Executive Committee endorsed the Development Charges Study and the proposed Development Charges Bylaw this week. The recommendations will be further considered at Toronto City Council at its meeting on October 8. The new fees will help pay for the cost of infrastructure required to service new development, such as roads, transit, water and sewer infrastructure, community centres, and fire and police facilities.
The proposed rates represent, on average, a 75 per cent increase over the current residential rates and a 25 per cent increase over the non-residential rate. If the new rates are approved by City Council, the City will implement the rate increases over a two-year period beginning February 1, 2014, with 55 per cent of the increase coming into effect by August 1, 2014 and full implementation by February 1, 2016.
While I am pleased that the development industry will start supporting more of their share of the growth it has so greatly benefited from, the City unfortunately backed down from their initial, higher, development charge rates in fear of losing at the OMB. Please see this National Post article for further information.
Updates on the new 2014 Ward 22 parks projects
This year I’ve worked hard to improve the parks in Ward 22.
- Work is underway on the approved conceptual plan for the Mission Ground Parkette, located at 399 Merton Street.
- A consulting firm is currently being selected to take on the Hodgson AIR recreational park project, located behind Hodgson Senior Public School at Davisville Avenue and Mount Pleasant Avenue, and the design process is expected to begin shortly.
- The preliminary design for Forest Hill Road Park has been completed and approved by the community.
- A Landscape Architectural consultant is currently being selected to help us move forward with the next steps of the architectural process for this park.
- A Landscape Architectural consultant will also be selected in the near future to take on the next phase of Charlotte Maher Park.
- And finally, the project scope of Belsize and Glebe Manor Parks is being reviewed, and I will be working with a consulting firm shortly to get improvements underway.
With all of these improvements in the works, we can look forward to great changes happening in our parks in 2014!
REMINDER: Public Meeting for Midtown in Focus at Anne Johnston Health Station, tonight at 6:30-9:00 pm
Tonight, I invite you attend the first public meeting for Midtown in Focus, a study advancing a vision for parks, open space, and streetscape in Yonge-Eglinton. The City has hired a Study Team (including Public Work and Swerhun Facilitation) to generate ideas for this vision, and they want to hear your thoughts and ideas about what works, and what could be better in Midtown. The meeting will include, a presentation, a series of interactive activities, and a facilitated discussion.
The Anne Johnston Health Station is located at 2398 Yonge Street, and the meeting will be held in the Second Floor Meeting Room. Signs and staff will be directing you to the room once you enter the building off Yonge Street.
To review resources related the project, please visit the Midtown in Focus website.
Mount Pleasant Harvest Fair
My family and I hope to see you at the Harvest Fair hosted by the Mount Pleasant Village BIA this Saturday. Festivities and attractions including sidewalk sales, live music, a pumpkin carving contest, a butter tart throwdown, and a petting zoo will take place on Mount Pleasant Road between Eglinton and Davisville from 10 am to 5 pm. More details are available on the Mount Pleasant Village BIA website.
REMINDER: 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 neighbourhood. 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 Eglinton/Roehampton/Broadway area: Tuesday, October 1 from 7 to 9 pm
North Toronto Collegiate Institute Cafeteria, 17 Broadway Avenue
Deer Park: Thursday, October 3 from 7 to 9 pm
First Unitarian Toronto, Workman Hall, 175 St. Clair Avenue West
Casa Loma’s Upcoming Events
Over the next few weeks Casa Loma will be hosting a number of seasonal and Halloween themed events, including Thanksgiving/Autumn Cupcake Decorating on October 12; Ghost Tracking on October 14, 27, 28, and 29; and Haunted Castle Decorating on October 26 and 27. Please note that some events required advanced registration. For more information and to learn about other upcoming events please call 647-725-1822 or visit www.casaloma.org.
Re-Visioning Yonge Cycling Workshop
Yonge Street is Toronto's main street but, for a number of reasons, many people don't feel comfortable walking or cycling for everyday activities along or near Yonge. In Toronto and around the world, good neighbourhood main streets are welcoming and accessible to people on foot and on bicycles. This is important for the vibrancy of our community and can help reduce congestion on our roads and the Yonge subway.
Cycle Toronto is facilitating a community conversation about the cycling conditions along the entire Yonge corridor, from Lake Ontario to Steeles Avenue, including side streets and parallel roads. I will be in attendance along with many of my City Council colleagues representing neighbourhoods along Yonge Street to discuss barriers and to brainstorm solutions with local residents. Please join us and share your insights.
The workshop will be held October 2, 6:30 - 9:00 pm, at Northern District Library (40 Orchard View Blvd) Room 200. For more information please visit the Cycle Toronto event page.
Style on the Way
From Thursday, October 24 to Saturday, October 26, the Eglinton Way BIA will be hosting Style on the Way. This three day celebration of Eglinton Avenue will include free rickshaw rides, shopping specials, eats and treats, buskers, jugglers and face painting! For more information, please visit the new Style Lives Here website.
Returning common sense to parking for moped and scooters
On Friday, the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee agreed to begin the process of returning common sense to scooter and moped parking in Toronto. Due to the motion that Councillor Berardinetti and I brought to City Council, staff have been directed to report back to the Committee with realistic options so that we can move on to finally legalize boulevard parking for scooters and mopeds. This is a necessary step on the path to achieving concrete change.
Our job now is to emphasize the urgency of this work to City staff. They need to come back quickly so that people will no longer have to fear receiving unreasonable $50 tickets for simply parking their scooter or moped.
Making a tech-friendly Toronto by providing free wi-fi in public spaces
I'm bringing an initiative to city hall to create more free wi-fi spaces across the city because I believe it will be a great benefit to our high-tech economy, our tourism industry, and our quality of life, as well as helping Toronto residents who cannot afford internet access in their homes. The Toronto Star wrote an editorial in support of my plan, which you can read here.
Funding transit and infrastructure priorities in Toronto
In June, City Council approved my motion to have the City Manager study innovative policies that could reduce the City of Toronto's debt burden and allow us to invest more heavily in our transit and infrastructure priorities. In his report to the Executive Committee, which was adopted this morning, the City Manager recommended a program based on the model of "Build America Bonds" in the United States which are directly supported by their federal government. With City Council approval expected in October, we'll be approaching Ottawa to request their assistance in establishing such a program in Canada.