Council took a significant step forward toward offering a greater diversity of street food in Toronto by easing restrictions on food trucks. While there certainly will be more mobile vendors on the streets in new locations this summer, I believe Council could've gone even further to free the food trucks.
Concerns from some councillors were not based on evidence from other cities around the world. In fact, the experience in cities such as Los Angeles show that businesses, and residents' quality of life, benefit from the animated streetscape that food trucks can provide. I will continue pushing for fewer restrictions on street food in the coming years with my colleagues Mary-Margaret McMahon and Josh Colle (both have been very strong and leading advocates), along with promoting more opportunities for public performers and patios. While responsible health and safety regulations are always important, Toronto has a history of being timid and bureaucratic when it comes to many creative and entrepeneurial ideas. Policies become unneccessary red tape. I believe an animated public realm, and a fun and diverse variety of street food options, enhances our quality of life while increasing foot traffic for local businesses.
Funding Delivered for Ward 22's First Community Garden in Oriole Park
In 2012, I held a participatory budgeting meeting asking residents of the Brentwood Towers, Deer Park and Chaplin Estates how they would like to allocate developer funds to improve Oriole Park. The local community voted to direct these Section 37 funds toward a community garden. A volunteer committee was subsequently struck and worked with City staff to design the garden and enact procedures to ensure that the new planting beds will be properly maintained.
I am happy to report that my motion to deliver this funding was passed by Council. Construction should be completed this summer.
Council Supports My Motion to Address Rail Safety Concerns
I'm very pleased to report that Council has unanimously supported my motion that requests the federal government address local residents' concerns regarding the significant increase in hazardous materials travelling by rail through Midtown in recent years. In particular, trains carrying crude oil have increased from 500 carloads in 2009 to an estimated 140,000 in 2013.
A significant number of these tank cars are using the Canadian Pacific rail line that runs through Toronto from the Junction neighbourhood along Dupont Street, right in the heart of Midtown, through Scarborough in the east. My motion requests that the federal government:
- require rail operators to publicly release information on dangerous goods being transported by rail;
- enact more stringent safety standards for tanker cars carrying crude oil through Toronto's neighbourhoods; and
- require rail companies to engage in meaningful dialogue with local residents before shipping hazardous materials next to our homes, schools, hospitals and daycares
Council Takes Action to Fix More Potholes
As many of you have undoubtedly noticed, there are potholes on virtually every one of Toronto's roads this spring after one of the longest winters I can remember. That's why I was pleased to support a motion that was passed by my colleagues this week that will increase the City's ability to meet the demand and fill more potholes than usual.
Billy Bishop Airport
Thank you to everyone who emailed and called me on this issue. I have had no less than hundreds of conversations about this over the past several months and I really appreciate your feedback. I am very pleased to report that the staff recommendations were passed unanimously by Council this week that will consider expansion options in an evidence-based way, protects tax dollars, engages the Toronto Port Authority in negotiations about how the airport and City should interact and ensures our waterfront is protected.
Funding Secured to Support Public Mural at Kay Gardner Beltline Entrance
The wall near the entrance to the Kay Gardner Beltline at Mt. Pleasant Road and Merton Street has been a target for graffiti "taggers" in recent years. That's why I was happy to deliver funding to support Greenwood College School's efforts to create a mural to cover up existing graffiti and discourage future "taggers".
The project is a joint effort between Greenwood students and staff, local residents and a local visual artist. To ensure that the project is of a high quality my motion requires Greenwood to work in consultation with the City's StreetARToronto program.
Avenue Road Traffic Safety
Due to concerns raised by local parents including those of children at Brown PS, I have asked city staff to investigate and report back on all feasible options to help improve pedestrian and traffic safety along Avenue Road south of St. Clair Ave. W. where many motorists are known to speed.
Once staff have concluded their initial investigation, we will pull together a working group including area residents, the school community, Toronto Police and Transportation Services to discuss moving forward with meaningful, and evidence based solutions to help better protect our community.
If you are interested in participating in this process, please do not hesitate to contact my office directly.
Upcoming Relief Line Public Meetings
The City, TTC and Metrolinx are hosting joint Open Houses to consult the public on options for relieving crowding on the Yonge corridor and overall transit network, and the timing and priority for a potential Toronto Relief Line.
If you are interested in attending one of three jointly hosted Open Houses early next month to present your concerns and ideas, please find the details below.
- Saturday, April 5 from 9 am to 1 pm (presentation starts at 10 am). Sheraton Centre Toronto Dominion Ballroom, 123 Queen Street West.
- Thursday, April 10, from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm (presentation starts at 6:30 pm). Riverdale Collegiate Institute, 1094 Gerrard Street East.
- Saturday, April 12, 9 am – 12 pm (presentation starts at 10 am). Holy Name Parish, 71 Gough Avenue.
Support Delisle Youth Services at the Lifford Grand Wine Tasting
On Tuesday, May 6 from 6:30 pm to 9 pm, all are welcome to attend the Lifford Grand Tasting at Roy Thompson Hall (60 Simcoe Street). Taste over 300 fine wines, spirits, and meet winemakers, winery and distillery representatives from more than 65 producers from around the world. Tickets are $100 with all proceeds going to Delisle Youth Services. Come out to taste wine, have fun and support a great cause!
Toronto Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards
Every year, the City's Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Division administers five awards to recognize the ongoing work of volunteers and communities working to eliminate violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, homelessness, hate crimes, hunger, poverty and illiteracy in Toronto. The awards are:
- Aboriginal Affairs Award
- Access Award for Disability Issues
- Constance E. Hamilton Award on the Status of Women
- Pride Award for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual and Two Spirited Issues
- William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations
Do you know someone you think deserves an award? The deadline for nominations is Monday, May 12. For more information as well as nomination forms, please click here.
Parks Permit Survey
Parks, Forestry and Recreation is currently conducting an online survey in response to the January 2014 Parks and Environment Committee request for a review of permitting procedures to identify opportunities to streamline the issuance of park permits. If you are interested in providing feedback, please click here to complete the survey.
Engage and Improve our Communities with 100 in 1 Day Toronto – June 7, 2014
Do you have ideas to make our city, neighbourhood, or community a better place? On Saturday, June 7, Evergreen and United Way are presenting 100 in 1 Day Toronto – a festival celebrating citizen-driven action that will empower individuals to make positive changes in their own communities. You are invited to develop an intervention, small or big, to showcase your ideas on how to make Toronto a better city.
Visit www.100in1day.ca/toronto to submit your intervention, or to register for a workshop where you can develop your intervention from idea to execution. 100 in 1 Day Toronto wants you to make a difference!
To ensure that you are informed and engaged about development proposals that are being proposed for sites near your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive webpage with locations, staff reports and public meeting notices. Please click here to learn more and here to learn more about what you can do to help free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).