The last few days have seen more shocking revelations, along with the video of him appearing to smoke crack cocaine and make homophobic and racist remarks, about Mr. Ford including serious allegations by his own staff about drinking at city hall, illegal drugs, prostitutes and harassment, to name just a few. Mr. Ford has also recently made very offensive comments about women including a former staff member of his and his own wife. This ongoing circus must come to an end.
While there is no legislation that allows Council to remove a mayor from office, my colleagues and I have worked closely together to mitigate further damage Mr. Ford can do to our city and do everything possible within Council's authority including allocating many of the mayoral functions and resources to the Deputy Mayor for the remainder of the Council term, including:
- Reassigning the powers of the Mayor in emergency situations such as a severe storm or a future event like the G20 protest
- Reassigning the powers of the Mayor to appoint and dismiss Chairs of Standing Committees such as Parks & Environment and Planning & Growth
- Protecting his staff and ensuring that the functions of the Mayor's office continue under the direction of the Deputy Mayor
I still believe that the best and most honourable resolution to this awful situation is for Mr. Ford to resign, put the residents of Toronto first and seek the help he needs. His statements, unfortunately, indicate that isn't likely. As a result, Council is using all the tools at its disposal to ensure that the important business of Toronto continues and your tax dollars are spent wisely.
On a positive note, I have seen councillors from across the city and the political spectrum work together in this difficult time like never before to meet this unprecedented challenge. My colleagues and I have cooperated to form a consensus in response to this challenge and have voted in near unison on the items regarding Mr. Ford. It is my hope that this spirit of collaboration and respectful dialogue will carry forward to matters of public policy, such as transit and housing, for the good of Toronto.
Our city is greater than any one person. We are a vibrant community of 2.8 million people who make Toronto one of the best places to live in the world. Together, will continue to work to make it even better.
Please see some important meeting notices and updates below for your information.
St. Paul's Summit: Livable Cities
Please join me and other St. Paul's elected representatives for a discussion on what makes our city livable and how the government can contribute to sustainable communities within it.
Livability is determined by a variety of factors which need to appeal to everyone in a city as diverse as Toronto. These factors include but are not limited to things like healthcare, education, culture, safety and the environment. This year, Toronto was ranked as the world's fourth most livable city!
The summit will feature several panelists, including myself:
- Hon. Carolyn Bennett, M.P. for St. Paul’s
- Dr. Eric Hoskins, M.P.P. for St. Paul’s
- Joe Mihevc, City Councillor for St. Paul’s West, Ward 21
- Shelley Laskin, TDSB School Trustee
- Jo-Ann Davis, TCDSB School Trustee
I welcome you to come out and join us on Sunday, November 17, at 1:30 pm at Oakwood Public Library, 341 Oakwood Avenue (at Rogers Road).
REMINDER: Meeting to discuss improvements to the playground at Charlotte Maher Park
Please join me on Tuesday, November 19 at Northern Secondary School (851 Mount Pleasant Road) to discuss and provide your feedback on playground improvements at Charlotte Maher Park. The meeting will be held in the library and will begin at 7 pm. Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff will be in attendance to answer any questions you may have.
REMINDER: Meeting to discuss improvements to parkettes on Belsize Drive
I've heard from residents that the median parkettes on Belsize Drive are in need of design, beautification and structural improvements. Please join me to discuss options and to provide your feedback on Wednesday, November 20 at 7 pm at Greenwood College School (443 Mount Pleasant Road). The meeting will be held in room 103. Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff will be in attendance to answer any questions you may have.
REMINDER: 124 Belsize Drive Public Meeting
An application has been submitted to City Planning to permit the redevelopment of 124 Belsize Drive with six new 3-storey semi-detached dwellings with a common underground garage. Please join me at 7 pm on Tuesday, November 26 at the North Toronto Community Church, located at 7 Eglinton St. East, for a meeting to discuss the proposed development. City Planning staff will be in attendance to answer any questions you may have.
REMINDER: Ecumenical Christmas Food Drive
This upcoming community event takes place on November 23 (to hand out flyers) and November 30 to collect donations which are then sorted, packed in boxes and immediately delivered to recipient food banks and agencies. The households canvassed are in Rosedale, Moore Park, Bennington Heights and Leaside. There are two locations - Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, St. Clair Avenue East, one block west of Mount Pleasant Road and Leaside Presbyterian Church, Eglinton Avenue, just east of Bayview Avenue.
Times on both days are from 9:30 am until about noon. Upwards of 300 volunteers are required and generous community hours are available for high school students. It is also a fun and rewarding family experience.
In addition, two area Sobeys stores (St. Clair Avenue just east of Yonge Street and Wicksteed Avenue near Laird Drive) are again supporting this effort by holding in-store drives throughout the Christmas season. These sources typically add another 10,000 to the overall total.
New Outdoor Learning Centre at Davisville School on its way!
I had the privilege this Council meeting to move a motion in support of Davisville Public School with $75,000 toward a new outdoor classroom entirely paid for through developer funds. The new outdoor area will feature a vibrant learning and social environment with extra seating, a recycled art installation and music wall, environmentally sensitive play areas and a community library. In addition, upgraded play structures and new fencing for safety. Further, the play areas will incorporate picnic tables and existing components such as the greenhouse and gardens will be accessible for wider community use during non-school hours. It was a pleasure to work with Trustee Laskin and the Davisville PS community!
Fresh Gift Baskets for Silent Auctions
Progress on Toronto Museum at Casa Loma
Yesterday, Council took a significant step forward toward supporting a museum of the City of Toronto at Casa Loma by selecting a new operator for the main portion of Casa Loma and approving funding for a feasibility study for a city museum in the north campus. The City selected the Liberty Grand Group, which has a proven track record of restoring heritage properties for the purposes of an event space. The new operator has expressed great enthusiasm toward a museum and is even installing some exhibits within the main portion that will begin to tell Toronto's story. I will share further information when the feasibility study is completed.
Smoking in Public Places and Patios Restricted
To align the City with provincial laws announced recently, Council has banned smoking from many public spaces and publicly accessible establishments including:
- public building entrances and exits
- outdoor sports fields and parks amenities
- swimming beaches
- public squares
- public parklets
- bar and restaurant patios
- hospital grounds
59 Heath Street West Update
This week at City Council I successfully moved that 59 Heath Street West be officially designated as a heritage property. This designation came at the result of some concerns by local residents in the Deer Park community that this 19th century home could potentially be lost to redevelopment after it went up for sale earlier this year. Working with residents and city staff, we were successful in not only having the property added to the inventory of heritage properties, but also designated as a heritage property this week.
The new owner had already proceeded with getting a building permit to build an addition to the home and work has already started. By and large, the design already respects the heritage value of the home. Now city staff can work with the new owner (who has been very cooperative to date) to further ensure that before any further work progresses, as much of the heritage elements as possible are preserved.
More Information on the Hodgson Ice Rink Repairs
I look forward to working with so many parents and residents who have volunteered to work with me on ensuring our local kids have a place to skate this winter! Thank you so much.