Working with Mayor Tory on Restoring Water Service
This February has been one of the coldest on record. As a result, Toronto Water has had an unprecedented number of calls from residents with No Water Service due to either frozen pipes or broken watermains.
I am extremely frustrated with how the response has been handled by the City. Many residents have been without water for several days, and it has been incredibly difficult to get any accurate information from staff for residents or my office. There have been families with small children and even entire buildings affected by broken or frozen pipes.
Earlier this week I brought this forward to the Mayor's Office and suggested that Toronto Water be provided the proper resources to effectively communicate with residents who have no water and, more importantly, to ensure that their water service is restored as soon as possible. I also spoke directly with Toronto Water's General Manager about our concerns.
On Wednesday the Mayor and the General Manager of Toronto Water announced that a special SWAT team has been established to help residents with no water service as a result of frozen pipes. I deeply appreciate Mayor Tory's genuine attention to this matter and see this as a good first step. However, I believe there is much more that will need to be done to effectively serve, and communicate with, residents.
For more information on the Mayor's announcement, please visit the City's Newsroom website.
Toronto Hydro Outage Communication Program
To keep you informed about hydro operation and customer service concerns in our community that might affect you or your neighbourhood, Toronto Hydro is developing an outage communication program to be used during power outages caused by severe weather.
For more information, you can register at https://outages.torontohydro.com/.
REMINDER: 2015 City of Toronto Budget Community Town Hall Meeting
On Tuesday, March 3rd at 7 pm, I will be hosting my 2015 Budget Town Hall for Ward 22 residents. The meeting will be held in the Multi-Purpose Room at the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre (200 Eglinton Avenue West).
The City of Toronto's budget will affect virtually every City service and your feedback is very important to me.
If you would like more information on the proposed 2015 City of Toronto Budget in advance of my Town Hall meeting, please visit the City of Toronto website.
Upcoming Mosaic Home Care Services Events for Seniors
This spring, Mosaic Home Care Services will be hosting a number of wonderful events.
Wine, Women and Keeping our Wits: A Conversation on Brain Health with Joanne Tandoc from the Alzheimer Society of Toronto will be held on Thursday, April 23 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Caring for our Parents, Today and Tomorrow: A conversation with leading Canadian expert in Geriatric Care, Audrey Miller, will be held on Thursday, May 21 from 6:30pm to 8:30 pm. Both of these events are free and will be held at the Verity Club on Queen Street. A light meal is included.
Please also feel welcome to join Mosaic for a trip to the Royal Ontario Museum on Friday, April 24 from 9 am to 1:30 pm. The cost is $10.00 per ticket and a light lunch is included.
For more information on these and other upcoming events, please call 416-322-7002 or 905-597-7000. You can also check out Mosaic's website at www.mosaichomecare.com for further information.
Toronto Takes First Steps to Implement Poverty Reduction Strategy
Toronto is a vibrant, prosperous city. It is also a city of growing disparity and inequity trends that will challenge its long-term success. In Toronto, 25% of children live in poverty as well as 1 in 5 adults. Poverty is both deep and pervasive and continues to be concentrated in specific groups and neighbourhoods. That's why City Council unanimously adopted recommendations to develop Toronto's first Poverty Reduction Strategy in April 2014.
I am pleased that Deputy Mayor McConnell has included additional supports to help protect tenants from unfair rent increases, and targeted assistance for marginalized youth including mental health resources and safe after school spaces. Both of these initiatives build on motions that I initiated during the previous term of Council.
For more information, please see this presentation to the Budget Committee by Deputy Mayor McConnell.
Improving the Committee of Adjustment Process
I have heard from many of you that the Committee of Adjustment process needs to be improved. Frustration has been expressed about a number of issues, including the inadequacy of public notices and the quality of the Committee members. Earlier this week, Staff brought a preliminary report to Planning & Growth Committee titled Committee of Adjustment Continuous Improvement Initiatives with the goal of improving transparency, accountability and public engagement, as follows:
a) Expand the public hearing notice area beyond 60 metres of the subject site
b) Extend the timeline for the delivery of the public hearing notice beyond ten days
c) Improve the manner, form and content of the public notice and sign
d) Explore alternative means to engage surrounding neighbours prior to the hearings;
e) Improve the training and on-going professional development of Committee of Adjustment members
f) Require a City Planner to be on hand during public hearings of the Committee to answer questions from Committee members and the public
g) Consider audio-visual recording or audio recording of Committee of Adjustment panels
h) Develop a public participation strategy, including the development of a comprehensive guide to ensure that the public is well informed about Committee of Adjustment processes, as well as how to effectively engage in Committee hearings
I will provide updates as work toward improving the Committee of Adjustment moves forward and notify you when there are public consultation opportunities.
Taking Action on Saving Toronto's Heritage
As you may have seen, Heritage Toronto recently released its State of Heritage Report. However, just a few days before its release, a motion was moved at Budget Committee that would eliminate eight positions and reduce funding to the City Planning department. These positions were originally recommended to enhance area studies, Heritage Conservation District (HCD) plans, and strategic initiatives.
The motion was approved at Budget Committee, and is now a part of the recommended Budget. However, the Budget still must be reviewed by Executive Committee on Monday, March 2nd before moving on for final approval at City Council on March 10th. The full motion is here.
We should be working to better protect Toronto's built heritage before it's completely dismantled, piece by piece. That's why I'm taking action to find ways to strengthen our heritage policy framework.
I am happy to report that City Council adopted my motion earlier this month, asking City Planning staff to report back to Planning and Growth Management Committee on several options for establishing a more proactive and comprehensive approach to how heritage preservation is practiced in our city.
I am also delighted to have been recently appointed to the Toronto Preservation Board. I look forward to working with my fellow board members to protect Toronto's remaining heritage. We've lost too much already.
Relief Subway Line Public Meeting - Your voice is needed!
A public meeting to discuss plans for a new relief subway line will be held at Christ Church Deer Park (1570 Yonge Street) on Thursday, March 12 from 7 to 9 pm. This meeting is an opportunity for you to learn more about the plans, to provide input and to discuss the study with the project team. I hope to see you there!
If you would like more information about the exact route, potential stations or expected timing of the project, please visit reliefline.ca. To learn about how you can advocate for this evidence-based subway expansion project, please click here.
Central Eglinton Community Centre Income Tax Clinic
Do you need help filing your income tax return? The Central Eglinton Community Centre is offering a free income tax clinic from March 2 to April 24. The clinic is by appointment only and will be available weekdays, weekday evenings, and Saturdays. To book an appointment, please phone 416-392-0511 ext. 0.
Free Open House Art Fun!
Come and visit the Avenue Road Arts School (460 Avenue Road) on Tuesday, March 10 from 10 am to 6 pm and see what everyone is talking about. The beautiful Victorian building is home to some of the most creative and fun art classes and art projects in Toronto.
Parents or caregivers and children 3 to 10 years of age are welcome to come see the school and try their hand at a fun art activity for free! Art Teachers will be on hand to lead kids through fun art and drama activities. Please note: this is not a drop off program. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. No pre-registration is required.
For more information, please contact the school at 416-961-1502 or visit avenueroadartsschool.com.
Toronto Public Health Measles Update
Toronto Public Health (TPH) is investigating an outbreak of measles in Toronto. As of February 10, there are six confirmed cases of measles; a source has not yet been identified. TPH recommends that all Toronto residents check their immunization records and ensure that their measles vaccination is up to date. For more information about vaccination, please visit the City of Toronto Website. If you have any questions regarding measles exposure or immunization status, please call Toronto Health Connection at 416-388-7600 (during business hours) or 3-1-1 (after hours).
City of Toronto Recreation Programming
Registration for spring and summer City of Toronto community recreation programs, including summer camps, begins at 7 am on March 11 for the Toronto and East York districts. Older Adults (60+ years) who register for adult programs receive a 50% discount. Please call 416-338-4386 or speak with staff at a City community centre for more information on how to register.
To explore recreation program options, visit the City of Toronto Website or pick up a FUN Guide at City Hall, civic centres, community centres and libraries. Many community centres offer free recreation programs, including leisure swimming and skating, and drop-in programs for children, youth and older adults. More information about free and low-cost programming options is available here.
Toronto Youth Cabinet - Welcome to City Hall Day
On Thursday, March 19, the Toronto Youth Cabinet's Community Engagement Working Group is hosting a Welcome to City Hall Day for youth groups all through the March Break. The event will take place from 11 am to 3:30 pm at City Hall, and will be a great opportunity for local youth to find out how City Hall works and to contribute in interactive civics workshops. Participant slots will be provided on a first come, first served basis. TTC tokens and student tickets can be provided for groups, if needed. Lunch will also be provided for all participants and youth staff.
Bill Bosworth Memorial Award
Mothercraft is now accepting nominations for the 2nd Biennial Bill Bosworth Memorial Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions, leadership and innovation in the provision or development of services to families with young children in the City of Toronto. The award is open to volunteers, professionals and students who work in the fields of early learning, early intervention and family support, and who exemplify Bill Bosworth's ability to think big and do bigger.
The deadline for nominations is Friday, April 17, 2015 at 5 pm. The recipient of the Bill Bosworth Memorial Award will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and will be presented with the award at a special ceremony on June 15, 2015. For more information about the award, nomination criteria and to download the nomination package, please visit www.mothercraft.ca.
Clean Toronto Together 2015 - Registration Opens March 2
Online registration for the City of Toronto's Annual Spring Clean up opens on Monday, March 2. Visit the Clean Toronto Together campaign website on March 2 to register your Community, Corporate, or School clean-up events.
This is an opportunity to get together with friends, family, coworkers and classmates to clean a park, laneway or any other space that needs your help. Corporate & School 20-Minute Makeover will take place on Friday, April 17 at 2 pm. Community Clean-up Days can be planned for Saturday, April 18 or Sunday, April 19. Please visit livegreentoronto.ca or call 311 for more information on how to get involved.
Upcoming Wildlife Open Houses
Taking precautions and developing awareness is important to prevent conflict between humans and wildlife. The City is hosting a series of wildlife open houses in March to strengthen residents’ understanding and prevention of human-wildlife conflict. The open houses will offer valuable information on how to wildlife-proof your home, how to keep garbage bins safe from wildlife, how to deter a coyote from your property, and rules and regulations concerning the treatment of wildlife.
To keep you informed about development applications in our community that might affect you or your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive map on my website. I hope you will find this to be a useful reference.