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Happy New Year! Community Update on Ice Storm Recovery for December 31st, 2013

Dear Residents,

 

It's been a very long and difficult 10 days for so many people in our city affected by the ice storm. Today, I am happy to report that almost all of the 300,000 households that lost power to their homes are now reconnected. However, we cannot rest until every last one is.

 

I want to express my sincerest gratitude to the remarkable Toronto Hydro workers and City of Toronto staff, along with their colleagues from other jurisdictions, who sacrificed their holidays to work around the clock, in often very challenging conditions, to serve people in need.

 

I also want to thank the many Ward 22 residents who offered their neighbours firewood, generators, food, blankets and even a place to stay. I will always remember the kindness and generosity our community shared with one another. I love being your city councillor.

 

While I believe there will have to be some serious work done soon on improving the way Toronto Hydro and the City of Toronto prepares for events like these, and communicates to residents, today I want to express our community's appreciation to everyone who did their jobs with such tireless dedication to public service.

 

2013 has been a very interesting year at city hall (to say the least). Far too often, the focus has sadly been on scandal, circus, folly and the sensational. But there has been some very substantive work done that is rarely reported. What I enjoyed most this year was working with so many of you on improving our local parks, creating playgrounds and farmers markets, supporting our local small businesses, working together to improve safety on our local streets, protecting the fabric and character of our neighbourhoods, and offering innovative, evidence-based and fiscally responsible ideas to city council to improve transit, the planning process, gridlock and so many more of our priorities. I also deeply appreciate the many friendships we've created and the sense of community we continue to build together.

 

Melissa, Molly and I wish you and your family a very Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing you in 2014!

 

Please see my update to you below.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

 

PS- Molly will already be turning one year old on January 4th! Like those of you are parents understand well, I can't believe how quickly this time has gone by.

 

Details on Ice Storm Food Replacement Gift Cards


Gift cards will be available starting Tuesday, December 31st at the following Ontario Works Toronto offices for people in need who have experienced hardship and have lost food due to the prolonged power outages during the ice storm.

 

All locations are open from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm.Locations will be closed New Year's Day and open from 8:30 am until 7:00 pm on Thursday, January 2, 2014.Locations closest to Ward 22:

 

Metro Hall Employment & Social Services

214 Wellington Street West Toronto, ON  M5V 3C6

Telephone: 416-392-2600

Yonge Eglinton Employment & Social Services

150 Eglinton Avenue East Suite 900 Toronto ON  M4P 3E2

Telephone: 416-397-1800

 

Tree Debris Removal begins January 3


Work to clear all tree debris will begin on Friday, January 3 and it will continue for approximately eight weeks, weather permitting.



Residents are asked to place their tree debris on the curb or the boulevard by Thursday, January 2. Please remember to provide at least one metre of clearance to ensure those with mobility issues can pass safely.



Large limb or stem (body) wood from private trees that have fallen on private property should not be taken to the curb. Property owners should contact a private contractor to remove this material.



Homeowners do not require a City permit to remove damaged or downed trees that are hazardous. Tree removal may not be needed. Some trees can be saved with proper care and maintenance. Trees may be pruned to remove damaged branches. Please use a professional arborist to ensure safety.



Please note that City crews cannot go onto private property to clear private trees that have fallen on private property.



Chainsaw Safety


Only use a chainsaw that you have been trained to use properly and safely. Always wear protective equipment and clothing. Be aware of your surroundings such as weather conditions, terrain, wildlife, buildings, power lines, vehicles, and other people.



Toronto Roads and Traffic


Power has been restored to all signals and all signals are operating normally.



However, the power supply is not quite stable at all signalized intersections and there may be fluctuations in the Hydro supply voltage which can result in a few signals being temporarily "all-out" or on flash. Motorists are reminded to treat any intersection without functioning signal lights as an all-way stop. In such cases, the public should call 311 and the City will send a crew to investigate and fix the problem.



Having trouble parking on your street due to ice or debris?


Parking consideration will be provided for residents who park on the street beyond posted times due to limited access to icy or blocked driveways. If the homeowner receives a parking ticket, there is an application that can be filled out to describe the circumstances and request ticket cancellation here. Completed application forms and documentation can be faxed to 416-696-3652 or sent via e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



Toronto Public Library


All Toronto Public Library branches are open regular hours on Monday, December 30. Libraries offer wifi and internet workstations as well as great books, magazines and more.



Call your local branch or check www.torontopubliclibrary.ca. All branches are open holiday hours, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, December 31.



Holiday Waste Pickup


Residents are reminded that this week, curbside collection on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will move forward one day. This means that Wednesday collection moves to Thursday, Thursday collection moves to Friday, and Friday collection moves to Saturday. Changes are reflected in the residential collection calendar. Please note that there may be collection delays. Residents should leave their materials out until they are picked up.



Food Waste


If you have organic material (food waste) that cannot fit in the Green Bin, please set it out in a clear plastic bag. Food waste will be collected on your regularly scheduled collection day.



Food Safety


Residents who have been without power, or recently had their power restored, are advised to reduce the risk of a food borne illness:
• If you have been without power for 24 hours or longer, all food in the fridge should be thrown out.
• During a power outage of 48 hours or longer, all food in the freezer should be thrown out.
• Any leftover cooked food that cannot be reheated or stored in a working refrigerator or freezer should be thrown out.
Never eat food that looks or smells strange – when in doubt, throw it out.

 

2014 City of Toronto Budget


In January, I'll be hosting a Budget Town Hall to inform you about what is being proposed and to listen to your feedback about both services and tax rates. I'll be sending you a notice after the holidays. Meanwhile, please click here to learn more about the staff recommendations.

 

Three years of regular updates to residents


Keeping you engaged and informed has always been a priority for me since I was elected as our city councillor in 2010. Please click here if you would like to read any archives of past e=newsletters I've sent you on literally thousands of issues important to Ward 22.

 

My Ice Storm Recovery Update for December 29th, 2013

 

Dear residents,

 

It's Day 8 since the ice storm and there are still many residents waiting for power to be restored to their homes.  If you are one of them, Toronto Hydro recommends:

 

  • Check outside to see if the electrical equipment on your home is

damaged or if the service wire is down.  If the wire is down, please
stay back and contact a licensed ECRA/ESA electrical contractor. A list
is available on Toronto Hydro’s website at torontohydro.com/poweroutage

  • If you have completed the above and your power is still out,

please report your outage to 416-542-8000.

 

You are my priority until crews arrive at your home at your power is restored. I will be relentlessly advocating towards Toronto Hydro until the job is done.

 

In addition, please let me know if you need a warm place to stay. We have a community that takes care of each other and know of remarkable residents who are willing to host you.

 

My Special Council Meeting Request


Along with working very hard to help people in our community affected by the power outages now, I also believe its important to never lose sight of prudent and necessary next steps. To me, that's a part of what good governance means.

 

I'm asking the mayor and council to hold a special council meeting in January to ensure we meet the 14 day deadline the Province prescribes to pass a resolution requesting support from the Ontario Disaster Relief Program. This program assists municipalities and individuals who have suffered property damage due to a natural disaster such as an ice storm.

 

This will also be an opportunity for Councillors to share feedback from residents. I've certainly heard from many people about their frustration with the way Toronto Hydro has communicated, the need for better infrastructure and for much more adequate resources to respond to natural disasters and their praise for the tireless work done by Hydro workers. I actually have a long list I've compiled over the past week based on feedback from residents in our community.

 

Tree debris


I've also heard from many of you about what the City of Toronto's plan is for clearing debris from our city's roads. So I asked.

 

Solid Waste Management will be leading a team that includes Forestry, Transportation and Toronto Water. They made the decision that when our crews clear a street, they will be removing all debris in the City's right-of-way from all trees.



This means that they will clear, free of charge all trees (public and private) that have fallen on public property (i.e., sidewalks, streets, medians, boulevards, etc.).



Tree branches that have fallen on private property and are of manageable size that can be dragged to the City's right-of-way (i.e. to the curb) will be picked up.

City crews will not go onto private property to clear private trees that have fallen on private property.



Large limb or stem (body) wood from private trees that have fallen on private property should not be taken to the curb.  Property owners should contact a private contractor to take away this material.



Private tree care companies that have been retained by property owners to maintain trees on private property are responsible for removing and disposing of limb or stem wood, tree branches or other brush that they generate.  This material should not be placed within the public right- of- way.



The City's Forestry crews are still currently focused on maintaining public safety and are working closely with Toronto Hydro to assist and facilitate their efforts to restore power to institutions and residents as quickly as possible. They are removing trees and limbs that are affecting power lines to facilitate power restoration and are clearing trees blocking major intersections and roads to facilitate vehicular traffic, including access for emergency vehicles.



Solid Waste Management, Transportation and Forestry will begin clearing debris from the right-of-way on January 3, 2014. The duration of the cleanup is expected to be 6 weeks or more (weather permitting). We will be deploying crews across the entire City in a systematic fashion.



The requirement for a permit for damaged trees on private property has temporarily been waived. Under normal circumstances, the City requires property owners to submit a request and photos of a tree for which confirmation of by-law exemption is being sought.  However, recognizing the impact the ice storm has had on trees, and to enable owners to take immediate action to eliminate dangerous situations related to privately owned trees, the City has relaxed the usual tree by-law exemption request and confirmation process until further notice.



Where a tree has been rendered imminently hazardous due to the ice storm, property owners are requested to take a picture of the tree to document its physical condition prior to having it removed.  The visual record of the tree's condition together with any other documented information about the tree from a professional tree care company or arborist will be important should complaints be received for follow-up by Urban Forestry staff regarding suspected illegal tree removal.

 

I do hope you find this information helpful. My previous updates to you below have even more practical tips that you might find useful too.

 

As always, please feel very welcome to contact me if I can be of assistance to you and your family. You can also visit my website and follow me on Twitter for immediate updates.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

 

 

My Ice Storm Recovery update to our community on December 28th, 2014


Dear residents,

 

A quick update today:

 

Please see the most recent update from Toronto Hydro below. There is some very helpful information there. However, many residents have found going through their website and general phone line to be somewhat problematic (incredibly frustrating).

 

Therefore, if you are still waiting for power to be restored to your home, or see a downed wire on our local streets, please feel very welcome to email me directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and I'll personally ensure that Toronto Hydro is aware of your specific situation.

 

I want to take this opportunity again to thank the Hydro workers. first responders and City Staff who have been working so hard for our community through the holidays.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

 

PS- I've been working in every Ward 22 neighbourhood over the past week supporting residents and will not rest until every home in our community has power restored. If you live on Kilbarry Rd. or on Soudan near Cleveland, you can come home now. You're power is or is finally being restored. I am hearing about countless streets and individual homes getting power back. Please let me know if yours hasn't.

 

Also, I know of a wonderful resident who is willing to share a warm room in her home. Please let me know if you need it!

 

 

Toronto Hydro power restoration update



TORONTO, Dec. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited
(Toronto Hydro) continues to work around the clock to restore power to
the approximately 6 per cent of customers (18,000) who remain without
power following the ice storm.


Crews are focussing on localized neighbourhoods, apartment buildings,
condominiums and individual homes still without service. While
significant progress has been made, customers who are still without
power should be prepared for restoration to continue over the next few
days. This type of restoration effort is always most labour intensive
with a great deal of forestry work and clean-up required.



Toronto Hydro, with the support of more than 250 electrical trades and
forestry workers from across the province and Manitoba will continue to
work around the clock until all power is restored.

 


Public and worker safety is Toronto Hydro’s first priority and we urge
the public to exercise extreme caution in power restoration locations.
Please keep a safe distance from crews working in the area (at least 15
feet) as tree limbs and ice continue to fall as a result of the warmer
temperatures.



Toronto Hydro continues to closely monitor the weather.  If winds pick
up, they could trigger more outages as already stressed branches and
trees fall onto power lines.



Customers are reminded that if Toronto Hydro is reporting that their
neighbourhood has been restored when their home is still without power
they should do the following:
•    Check to see if your neighbours have power. If they don't, it is
likely that more work is to be done on your street.
•    If your home is the only house without electricity, check your
electrical panel inside the home to see if the breakers are in the "on"
position.

•    Check outside to see if the electrical equipment on your home is
damaged or if the service wire is down.  If the wire is down, please
stay back and contact a licensed ECRA/ESA electrical contractor. A list
is available on Toronto Hydro’s website at torontohydro.com/poweroutage



•    If you have completed the above and your power is still out,
please report your outage to 416-542-8000.


The City of Toronto is still operating Reception centres, where those in
need can access food, water, warmth and rest. For more information,
please visit Toronto.ca

If you spot a downed wire, please stay back (at least 10 feet) and

report it to Toronto Hydro's operations centre at 416-542-8000. For more


information about household items to have on hand during a lengthy
outage, please visit torontohydro.com/poweroutage

Electrical Safety Authority - esasafe.com

 

 

My Ice Storm Recovery update to our community for December 28th, 2013

 

Dear residents,

 

While the vast majority of our community here in Ward 22 now has power restored, there are still many residents who are waiting in the dark and cold. It's been a remarkably difficult, and in many cases costly, week for so many people.

 

Today, along with responding to residents comments and concerns to assist them, I visited every Ward 22 neighbourhood to identify urgent on ongoing recovery and clean up priorities to ensure that both Toronto Hydro and City of Toronto staff were aware of them. The stories of real despair are many but, like I wrote to you about on Christmas, there are so many people throughout our community who are kindly looking out for their neighbours and performing great acts of altruism. That's what our community is truly all about.

 

I also cannot express my gratitude well enough to the workers who missed Christmas with their families and have been working all day and all night to help all of us. I've had an opportunity to speak with a few of them and share our community's deep appreciation for their service and sacrifices.

 

And to those of you who are still waiting for your power to be restored, such as residents on Soudan east of Cleveland, Kilbarry Road east of Oriole Parkway and individual households who are seeing your neighbours' lights on while you're still in the dark, you are very welcome to contact me directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and I'll be sure to let Toronto Hydro know about your specific street and address to ensure that you are on their list of urgent restoration work.

 

To continue keeping you informed, I've posted the latest update from Toronto Hydro below with some helpful advice and contact information. Click here for my previous ice storm updates from the past few days. I'm also providing constant updates via twitter @joshmatlow

 

Please continue to stay safe and as warm as possible.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

 

December 26th, 2013 Power Restoration Continues – Additional crews from other utilities being deployed, focused on most severely impacted areas


Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited (Toronto Hydro) has approximately 48,000 customers without power; 82 per cent have been restored since the height of the storm on December 22.

 

The company continues to work around the clock to get power back on as quickly and safely as possible. Additional aid has arrived from Hydro One and Horizon Utilities and these crews have been deployed to severely impacted areas.

 

Focus is now on power restoration to feeders that serve communities which impact hundreds of customers at a time. Customers who are still without power should be prepared for restoration to continue through the weekend, as inclement weather triggers additional outages.

 

Customers concerned that Toronto Hydro is reporting that their neighbourhood has been restored when their home is still without power, are advised to do the following:

 

·         If part of your home is still without power, it could be because a tree is still hanging on a wire. Please be patient as we work to clear all trees.

·         Check to see if your neighbours have power, if they don't, it is likely that more work is to be done on your street.

·         If your home is the only house without electricity, check your electrical panel inside the home to see if the breakers are in the "on" position.

·         Check the electrical service entry outside your home to see if it is damaged or the service wire is "down".  If the wire is down, please stay back and contact us at 416-542-8000 to report the downed wire.

 

Customers who have power are asked to leave a porch light on which will allow crews to identify those who do not have power more quickly.

 

Due to the warmer temperatures causing heavy snow and ice to fall off of trees, branches and wires, customers should exercise extra caution in heavily treed areas.

 

Media is asked to refrain from following crews while they are working. It is important for our crews to stay focused on working safely and effectively.

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