Proud to be Appointed City of Toronto Seniors Advocate
During my first year as our city councillor, I initiated the City of Toronto’s Seniors Strategy: a proactive, holistic and inclusive initiative that seeks to create a truly accessible, respectful and age-friendly Toronto.
Since its inception two years ago, 86 of the 91 recommendations have been either partially or fully implemented, including the provision of seniors’-centred social services at appropriate TCHC buildings, and an increase in home visits by City paramedics. I am proud of the major steps we have taken, but there is still more work to be done.
That’s why I want to thank Council for giving me the opportunity to serve as the City of Toronto’s Seniors Advocate, so I can continue working on the next phase of the Seniors Strategy. I deeply appreciate their confidence and support for the work we're doing.
Next Update: Davisville Power Outages
As I mentioned in my previous update - I've heard from many of you that recurring power outages over the past several months have been disrupting your daily lives, from resetting alarm clocks to damaging electronic devices. My family and I have also been affected by these outages and share your frustrations, not only about the inconveniences they can cause but also the dramatic increase in the frequency at which they are occurring compared to past years.
As I have stated before - I do understand, and even appreciate the fact, that upgrading their infrastructure is important and necessary. However, I have made repeated requests to Toronto Hydro, asking them to share all information available with the public about the cause of these outages and what is being done to reduce their frequency. I met with their communications staff earlier this week – and they have provided me with an additional update with regards to their Millwood Project.
If you continue to experience outages in the meantime, or have any other issues you'd like to share regarding their service, please contact Toronto Hydro directly at 416-542-8000.
Here is, verbatim, what they shared with me yesterday:
Toronto Hydro Update:
Thank you for your cooperation and patience - Phase 3 of 6 of Toronto Hydro’s Millwood Project is now complete.
Toronto Hydro is investing in your neighbourhood. The Millwood Project is a six-phase, $19 million project that will improve power reliability in the area bounded by Oriole Parkway, Eglinton Ave, Bayview Ave and Carstowe Ave.
We appreciate your patience throughout the project, and are pleased to report that Phase 3 was completed this fall. Construction was completed in September as planned; however, Hydro One and our control room required additional testing to ensure the upgraded equipment is safely integrated into our power grid. We completed this work in November and apologize for the numerous short duration outage, called momentary outages, that occurred while testing and switching over.
Before the new equipment was integrated into our system, many residents in the area experienced momentary outages as well as longer duration outages, called sustained outages. During October and November, the area experienced two sustained outage and one momentary outage. These outages were caused by foreign interferences that are difficult to control such as tree branch and animal contact. Now that the new equipment is integrated into our system, we are able to minimize the number of homes impacted by such interferences.
While we cannot guarantee uninterrupted power, this project will significantly reduce both the duration and frequency of outages as well as the number of customers affected in that area.
Toronto Hydro is continuing to invest in your community, and preparation for Phase 4 of 6 of the Millwood Project has begun. Since 2014, Toronto Hydro has invested approximately $22.2 million ward-wide, and plans to invest another $16.5 million over the next year or 5 years, pending the approval of the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). Once the OEB makes their decision known, we will provide more detailed information on next phases of the Millwood Project and other investments in Ward 22.
Our commitment to you is to keep you informed and up to date on projects and outage information as it relates to your area.
Our capital projects communications includes:
· Notice to your Councillor
· Delivered general letters to affected residents with project contact information
· Delivered equipment letters
· Planned outage notification (24-48 hours prior to the outage)
More information is also available on our website at http://www.poweruptoronto.ca/projects/map.
Information on unplanned outages is available through our call centre at 416-542-8000, with automated power outage messages updated approximately every hour. You can also find regularly updated information on our website. Search our new outage map by address and find estimated times for restoration, detailed boundaries, and number of customers affected. For major outages, register to receive alerts at outageTO.com.
We look forward to continuing to work with Councillor Matlow to improve communications with the residents of Ward 22.
Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground Improvements - Our New Music Garden is Completed!
I'm excited to announce that the new and improved playground equipment and brand new musical garden in June Rowlands (Davisville) Park are now ready for all to enjoy! I was delighted to work with Sharon & Bram, Apple Tree Group and Community In Action (CIA) on this magical project that is already receiving very positive feedback from kids and adults alike.
Along with the new music garden (which features low-noise instruments and a small childrens' stage), we added more features to the playground to make it animated and fun, including a large elephant to climb on and various wayfinding signs.
I also intend to work with our community soon on a master plan for the replacement equipment and further park improvements. Also, keep checking my updates for notice about a celebratory community concert in the Spring :)
Safe and Accessible Crossings for the Beltline Park Trail
Many trail users have expressed their concerns regarding the lack of safe pedestrian-cyclist crossings where the Beltline meets Oriole Parkway and Avenue Road. Until now, there have been no safe crossing points that allow the trail to be truly contiguous for residents.
Last year, I requested City Staff to report to Community Council with viable options to install signalized crossings at these locations that are synchronized with the existing signalized intersections. Staff recommendations to install a signalized crossing on Avenue Road south of Chaplin Crescent and replace the existing traffic median on Oriole Parkway with a pedestrian-cyclist refuge island were approved by both Community Council and City Council.
I am pleased to announce that the Avenue Road signalized crossing is now live and the Oriole Parkway refuge island should be completed shortly.
For more information, please read this Town Crier article.
Glen Edyth Park Playground Improvements Public Meeting
Please join me on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at 7pm to discuss exciting, new playground improvements for Glen Edyth Park.
The meeting will take place in the Theatre Room at the Toronto Archives (255 Spadina Road) and will give you a chance to review several new playground design options with myself and Parks, Forestry & Recreation staff. I hope to see you there!
Davisville Jr. Public School Library Fundraiser
Looking for gift ideas? If you purchase an Indigo gift card, then a percentage of your purchase will benefit our school library. You could give an Indigo gift card as a present, or simply use it yourself to make purchases at Indigo immediately.
To purchase an indigo gift card that will also be used to fundraise for Davisville Pubic School, please click here.
City Planning Pop-Up Information Stations
On Sunday, December 13, City Planning will be hosting a Pop-Up Information Station in the Yonge Eglinton Centre regarding the City's ongoing work in support of the long-term livability and vitality of Midtown.
Building on our Midtown in Focus parks and public realm initiative, we are reviewing growth trends and hard and soft infrastructure needs in the Yonge-Eglinton area to inform a much-needed planning policy reset.
Over the coming weeks and throughout January, City Planning will be hosting a series of public pop-up stations at various locations to share information and hear your insights and priorities for your community.
The first Pop-Up will be held on Sunday, December 13 at the Yonge Eglinton Centre (20 Eglinton Avenue West) in the Centre Court from 12:30 to 2:00pm.
Additional Pop-Ups Stations will take place at North Toronto Collegiate (December 14) and Northern Secondary (December 15) with more pop-ups, public meetings and other consultation opportunities to follow in 2016. We will share dates and locations once they are finalized. Please stay tuned for future announcements. More information is available here.
Santa Pancake Breakfast at Manor Road United Church
Boy Scouts' Christmas Tree Sale
It’s time for the annual 58th Toronto Scouts Christmas Tree Sale!
For over 60 years, local Boy Scouts have been selling fresh, Ontario grown Christmas Trees & Wreaths to neighborhood residents. The sale started November 28 and, as always, they can be found on the main lawn at the Church of the Transfiguration (111 Manor Rd E.). Open weekdays 6am – 9pm (weather permitting) and Sat-Sun 9am - 6pm. Deliveries available. Call or text 647-918-2490.
Yorkminster Park Meals on Wheels
One local charity making a difference in our community is Yorkminster Park Meals on Wheels. Operating out of the Yorkminster Park Baptist Church at Yonge and St. Clair, the charity delivers nutritious meals to the sick, elderly and disabled, supporting them in their desire to remain at home and live independently.
Currently, Yorkminster Park Meals on Wheels delivers approximately 12,000 hot meals and 20,000 frozen meals annually to clients within the North Toronto area. While delivering hot and frozen meals to those in need, the volunteers provide a compassionate visit to clients that may not have other social interaction throughout the day.
The charity was founded by volunteers in 1966, and almost 50 years later, volunteers continue to be the backbone of the organization.
A Successful 2015 Ecumenical Christmas Food Drive
The Drive was an overwhelming success this year with 18,000 items collected, 25% greater than last year, and it marked a return to pre-2010 levels. In addition, almost $3,000 in cash and cheques were received for further purchases by the food banks. A special thanks to all those who contributed and also those who volunteered.
Please note you can still donate at two local Sobeys store locations (Yonge/St. Clair or Leaside at Laird/Wicksteed) via their pre-packaged bag schemes that are presently underway and will continue until early January 2016.
Carols with Friends
On Monday December 21 at 7pm, St Cuthbert's Anglican Church (1399 Bayview Avenue) is hosting their Carols with Friends event. This will be an evening of singing Christmas carols, followed by everyone enjoying some hot mulled cider. Admission is free with a donation of non-perishable food items for the food bank. Everyone is welcome!
At the Spadina Museum: A Roaring Twenties Christmas
Experience a 1920s Christmas on a guided tour of Spadina Museum. Holly wreaths, garlands of evergreens and mistletoe festoon the house based on the memories of the Austin family grandchildren. In the kitchen, visitors will enjoy holiday treats made from original recipes and sip mulled cider warmed on the Art Deco gas range. Holiday admission applies: Adults 8.85, Seniors/Youth (13-18 yrs.) $7.08, Children (6-12 yrs.) $5.75 (plus tax), Children (5 and under) are free.
November 24 to January 3
Tuesday to Friday: 12 to 4 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 12 to 5 pm
Closed Mondays, December 25 & 26 and January 1
Also at the Spadina Museum: Flashman Versus Evil: A Grudge Match - The Golden Age of Radio
See a re-created 1930s radio show – commercials included! We find the hero, Flashman, under the spell of an evil queen. His friends brave dangerous jewellery, irony-laced barbs and goat-riding henchmen to save Flashman and the Universe!
Enjoy this fast-paced comedy, complete with live music, sound effects and a cast playing multiple roles. During your visit, tour this beautifully restored estate. Kids can try hands-on activities, including cookie decorating in the historic kitchen, and making a secret message decoder – a gimmick used by advertisers in the early days of radio to send encrypted messages to listeners. Adults $12, Seniors/Youth $10 and Children $8 (plus tax). Tickets available online or at the door.
Sundays December 6, 13 & 20
Shows at 1 & 3 pm
Museum tours: Noon, 2 and 4 pm
Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan
As the City works towards developing a Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan, City staff are working to engage residents in the process through an online survey. If you wish to provide your thoughts and opinions on Toronto's parks and recreation facilities, and to learn more and submit your feedback, please click here.
Recycling & Collection Calendars
All residents, whether you live in a house or apartment/condo will receive a calendar in December. The calendars have important information about proper waste disposal and include a pull-out recycling guide.
If you want to downsize your Garbage bin, call 311 or go online at www.toronto.ca/311.
If you live in a house and have not received your calendar by mid-December, please contact 311. If you live in an apartment/condo and have not received your calendar by mid-December, please contact your Property Manager.
Holiday curbside collection changes affect Friday collection only: Friday, December 25 moves to Saturday, December 26; and Friday, January 1 moves to Saturday, January 2, 2016.
Annual Christmas Concert at City Hall
You are all invited to attend the annual Christmas Concert at City Hall, on December 24, 2015. The concert begins at 11:30 am and will conclude at 12:30pm. Please visit the official event page for further details.
'Tis the Season to be Green
The City of Toronto's Solid Waste Management Services Division is encouraging residents to "think green" this holiday season.
Toronto manages about 1 million tonnes of waste each year. In 2014, residents in single family homes diverted 66% of waste from landfill, and residents in apartments and condos diverted 26%. Together, Toronto diverted 53% of waste from landfill disposal.
The City is committed to continuing to improve waste diversion efforts and moving closer to the goal of achieving 70% waste diversion to preserve the long-term capacity of our Green Lane Landfill. We encourage residents to think first about reducing the amount of waste we generate, then consider reuse or recycling before disposal.
"Create Memories, Not Garbage" this holiday season.
Here Comes the Snow!
As winter approaches, we wish to share some information related to snow clearing on roads and sidewalks. Expressways and main roads are salted as soon as the snow begins, and plowing begins as the snow accumulates.
Local road plowing begins when the snow stops and if the snow accumulation reaches eight centimeters. During this time, snow service requests will not be taken by 311 and residents are asked not to call 311 during the storm to ask when their street will be plowed. Residents should call 311 to report urgent winter-related calls only.
The City has identified a priority network of bike lanes and cycle tracks in the downtown core that will receive enhanced winter maintenance this winter, including snow plowing and salting to improve safety for cyclists.
Finally, the City will clear snow from sidewalks on roads with high pedestrian traffic and on routes where it is possible to do so after two centimeters of snow has fallen. Property owners are required to clear their sidewalks of snow 12 hours after a storm has taken place. I am advocating for much better service on midtown sidewalks to improve accessiblity.
To learn more about sidewalk snow clearing,please click here.
Help the Homeless this Holiday Season
The City of Toronto is advising residents who would like to help people in Toronto who are homeless and vulnerable this holiday season to consider the 2015 Holiday Wish List created with input from community agencies. The City surveyed agencies that run shelters, drop-ins and other services for homeless people, asking them what would bring cheer to their clients during the holidays.
The 2015 Holiday Wish List is now available here.
The most common items on this year's Wish List are winter clothing, toiletries and gift cards for groceries – items that may seem routine but that can make a big difference to a person or family in need. Many agencies are also looking for volunteer help with activities such as sorting donations, serving food and wrapping gifts.
Winter Preparedness: Reducing Vulnerabilities through Social Safety Networks
The Specialized Program for Interdivisional Enhanced Response to Vulnerability Proof of Concept Program is working with City Divisions and Partnership Agencies to develop "The Open Dialogue on Vulnerability in Toronto" series. The series will increase awareness about situations impacting vulnerable Torontonians, the programs and services available, build networks across the service system and create opportunities for operation and systemic level innovation.
As the second anniversary of the 2013 Ice Storm approaches, let’s explore lessons learned and steps being taken to improve responses. This public session is geared to those who would like to learn more about emergency preparedness, including community engagement and the development of social safety networks to support Toronto’s most vulnerable.
WHEN: Friday December 18, 2015 (from 9am – 12:30pm)
COST: Free! Tickets are available here.
WHERE: North York Civic Centre, Council Chambers| 5100 Yonge Street
LIVE Today: Toronto's New Safety Information System for Sexual Violence Alerts
The Safety Information System (SIS) is a new way for Toronto residents to get and share information about sexual violence including rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. People who subscribe online will get: police-issued crime alerts and relevant news stories; prevention information to challenge violence individually and in your communities; information about safety-related events and projects; inspiring, creative messages and materials on reducing violence and building safer spaces; and an opportunity to submit your own creative anti-violence messages, art and useful information to send out through SIS
Messages will get to those who sign up through the channels they choose (e.g. text, voice, email, app, social media). This project is funded by the City of Toronto and supported by Toronto Police Services. More information about the project is available here.
Toronto Renovates Homeowners Program Resumes Accepting Requests
The Toronto Renovates Homeowners Program has resumed accepting Assessment Request forms.
The Toronto Renovates Homeowners Program offers federal/provincial funding for lower-income seniors and people with a disability who wish to make health and safety repairs or accessibility modifications to their homes.
Note: Due to pent-up demand and limited funding this application process may be suspended again in the future.
Proposed Developments in Ward 22
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 about what you can do to help free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).