Hydro One's Clearcut of 29 Trees in Robertson Davies Park
On Thursday, September 1, Hydro One broke a promise to Ward 22 residents by cutting down 29 mature trees in Robertson Davies Park on Avenue Rd. In 2012, after months of hard work, our community reached an agreement with Hydro One to protect a stand of trees on the South side of the park.
These trees not only provided shade and aesthetic value for park users but also acted as a buffer to the CP Rail line abutting Robertson Davies. Visiting the park shortly after the incident it was obvious how intrusive the sound of the freight train can be with the loss of the trees.
Hydro One has provided an apology to the community and has committed to “fix” the problem. Unfortunately, and realistically, nothing they can do now will be able to replace the mature trees that were lost- they were 40 year-old mature trees and the damage is irreversible. I do, however, expect them to do everything necessary to mitigate the terrible impact of this action.
I requested they write directly to nearby residents. The next step I've requested is for Hydro One to hold a community meeting to account for their actions and receive your direction on how best to move forward. I will notify you as soon as a meeting date is set.
Here is a letter that Hydro One distributed to neighbours:
September 2, 2016
We are writing to you today to apologize. Yesterday, Hydro One made a mistake. Our forestry crew was in Robertson Davies Park to trim Norway maples located under the transmission line. After trimming two trees, a decision was made on the ground that the trees would not survive the pruning and that it was best to remove them. This decision was made without the knowledge that we have a long history of working with your community to protect those trees.
The proper process in this instance is that if the crew had to alter the work plan, they are required to contact a supervisor to discuss the change. Work should have stopped and a community meeting should have been planned to discuss the health of the trees. We apologize that this did not happen. We will understand exactly how this mistake was made and ensure that it is never repeated.
We will work with the City of Toronto and Councillor Josh Matlow to fund a replanting plan that restores the park to the community’s satisfaction. If you have any questions, come see us today in the park where we will be until 5 p.m. If you miss us in the park, you can call our Community Relations Office at (416) 345-6799. We will work with you to regain the trust that we had built with your community.
Vice President, Lines and Forestry, Hydro One
Public Open House to Discuss Future of Davisville School Site and Community Hub
As you may know, I successfully moved recommendations at city council to move forward with a Community Hub, with public recreation space including a double gym and swimming pool, at Davisville PS.
Please join Trustee Laskin and myself for an open house to discuss the future of the Davisville PS site and provide your feedback on the new Community Hub, which was approved last month by City Council, the school rebuild, and the child care facilities.
Where: Hodgson Sr Public School (Gymnasium) - 282 Davisville Ave
When: Tuesday September 20, 7pm – 9pm
Glebe Manor Parkettes (on Belsize Drive) Update
I'm delighted to announce that the improvements to the parkettes are now completed!
That being said, several of you have contacted me, wondering when the orange fencing will be removed from portions of the parkettes. Part of the recent improvements included re-seeding of the grass, which is why the fencing remains. The contract between the City and the Landscape Architecture firm stipulates a 4-month protection period of these re-seeded zones, to ensure the new seed takes root properly without being trampled by people and pets.
Had the weather conditions this summer been more favourable for growth (more rain and less intense, prolonged heat), please be assured that I would have agreed with some of you that the fencing should be removed ahead of schedule so the entire green spaces could be enjoyed by all sooner than later. In fact, I did have that conversation with those overseeing this project recently. Considering the situation, though, it seems most responsible to give the seeding the full protection period suggested in the contract. This will potentially avoid having to re-seed next year and reinstall the fencing for several more months. The fence removal date is projected for September 24.
I just wanted to share this update with you and I look forward to enjoying the full extent of our revitalized parkettes very shortly!
'Movie Night in the Park' Returns to June Rowlands (Davisville) Park with The Incredibles!
For the third year in a row, please join me and my family for 'Movie Night in the Park'. This year's family-friendly outdoor movie screening will be The Incredibles.
I would like to extend a big thank you to Apple Tree Markets for organizing the event and to local sponsors for their support in making it happen.
I look forward to sharing an amazing evening of cinema with our community on Friday, September 23 at 8pm. (Rain date: Saturday, September 24).
Mount Pleasant Village Harvest Fair
I hope to see you at the 7th annual Harvest Fair hosted by the Mount Pleasant Village BIA on Saturday, September 24. Festivities and attractions include sidewalk sales, live music, pumpkin carving, a pie-eating contest, and a petting zoo. All activities will take place on Mount Pleasant Road between Eglinton and Davisville from 10am to 4pm.
I hope to see you there!
More details are available on the Mount Pleasant Village BIA website.
Please Join Me for Heritage Toronto's Atop Davenport Hill in the 1920s Tour!
In the 1920s, Davenport Hill was home to some of Toronto’s wealthiest families, such as the Eatons and Austins, and well known visitors, including Ernest Hemingway. Led by historians from Spadina Museum, this walk explores the development of Davenport Hill from a neighbourhood of grand estates to a suburban development.
I am delighted to have been invited to say a few words at the beginning of this walking tour at 1:30pm on September 25 to welcome participants. The tour is being co-presented with Spadina Museum: Historic House and Gardens, starting at Spadina Museum (285 Spadina Road) and ending at Winston Churchill Park (301 St Clair Ave W).
In Memorium - Jeff Mann
I'm deeply saddened to learn of the sudden and tragic passing of Deer Park PS' kind-hearted and dedicated teacher, Jeff Mann. Our community loved him. I will always remember him as a generous, friendly and caring person who so clearly loved what he did so well- educating kids. We will dearly miss him.
Monthly Utility Billing Option – one year pilot program
The City of Toronto's Revenue Services is now offering property owners the option to receive their utility billings on a monthly basis. This one year pilot program allows a monthly billing option to residential customers for payment of their utility bill in a more efficient way and in manageable payment increments. Program applications are now available online and at Enquiry/Cashier counters at City Hall and Civic Centres.
For more information on Monthly Utility Billing – one year pilot program, please click here or contact Lionel Kharag, Supervisor Utility Billing, Revenue Services 416-395-6713.
The City of Toronto Adopts a New Waste Strategy
Following two years of extensive work, the Long Term Waste Management Strategy was approved by City Council on July 15, 2016. This comprehensive strategy will guide waste management in Toronto for the next 30-50 years.
The new Waste Strategy puts priority on reducing waste and minimizing the amount sent to landfill. It emphasizes the importance of community engagement and encourages prevention of waste, maximizing its value before disposal and supporting the move towards a circular economy.
As part of the approval of the Waste Strategy, City Council endorsed an aspirational zero waste goal for Toronto. Zero waste represents a shift in thinking to look at innovative ways to conserve and recover resources and minimize the volume of waste requiring disposal. As we start implementing the Waste Strategy recommendations, including some of the great ideas from the community, please look for new initiatives you can do to help support Toronto’s zero waste goal. We need your help and look forward to your continued participation as we roll out the Waste Strategy's new programs and services.
A copy of the final Waste Strategy can be viewed here.
Yellow Creek and the Vale of Avoca Restoration
The Yellow Creek and Vale of Avoca are important parts of Midtown's natural environment. They allow us to escape the hustle and bustle of our big city without ever leaving it. Unfortuantlely, due to spills, degradation of the vale and the natural course of time, Yellow Creek is in urgent need of maintenance.
Working closely with local residents, led by representatives of both the Summerhill Residents' Association and the Deer Park Residents' Group, Councillor Wong-Tam and I have written to the City's Parks & Environment Committee, requesting a masterplan be created to support the restoration of Yellow Creek and the Vale of Avoca.
Please click here to read our letter.
Another Opportunity to Comment on the Toronto Ward Boundary Review
The Toronto Ward Boundary Review (TWBR) team is seeking feedback from the public, stakeholders and Members of City Council on two items outlined in the Toronto Ward Boundary Review Additional Information Report:
· REVISED OPTION 2 which has 44 wards and incorporates the refinements suggested during the TWBR public consultation process in August - November 2015; and;
· A WARD OPTION that is aligned, where possible, with the boundaries of the 25 federal and provincial ridings.
This information was requested by the City of Toronto Executive Committee at its meeting on May 24, 2016. Based on the input received, a TWBR Supplementary Report will be prepared and submitted to the Executive Committee meeting on October 26, 2016.
There are two ways to provide comments:
• Complete a survey
• Attend one of four public meetings happening this September (visit www.drawthelines.ca for details)
o Sept 14th, 2016. 7-9pm. Metro Hall
o Sept 15th, 2016. 7-9pm. Scarborough Civic Centre
o Sept 19th, 2016. 7-9pm. North York Civic Centre
o Sept 21st, 2016. 7-9pm. Etobicoke Civic Centre
Project Background & Timeline
From July 2014 to February 2015, the TWBR conducted a civic engagement and public consultation process to collect opinions on Toronto's current ward alignment to ensure that wards have more equal population sizes. Currently, they are very disproportionate across the city.
More information can be found at www.drawthelines.ca
The City of Toronto is encouraging residents to be responsible pet owners and keep their dogs on a leash at all times. In addition to increased bylaw enforcement in parks, changes in shifts and "zero tolerance" for dogs off-leash, a communications campaign is being launched with Parks to educate residents about their responsibilities when having pets in the city.
Components of the campaign include advertising in Parks Fun Guide and transit posters in TTC shelters. Other components include posters, Dogs Off Leash 101 public education piece, information on website, postcards and social media campaign.
Basement Flooding & Water Quality Improvements Study
A Master Plan Class Environmental Assessment (EA) study is underway to determine the contributing factors for surface and basement flooding in Study Area 40 and recommend solutions to improve the City’s sewer system and overland drainage routes in order to mitigate flooding problems. This study will also aim to improve the quality of stormwater runoff before it is discharged to watercourses.
Please feel welcome to attend the first Public Information Centre (PIC) to learn about factors contributing to surface and basement flooding and the different options being considered to reduce flooding in Study Area 40.
Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Time: 6pm to 8pm
Location: North Toronto Memorial Community Centre 200 Eglinton Ave West (at Avenue Road)
You will have an opportunity to view display boards and speak one-on-one with project staff.
Also, there is still time to complete the online survey.
Retiring on a Low Income: Plain Language Advice
The City of Toronto has partnered with the Toronto Public Library to provide a lecture series including, "Retiring on a Low-Income".
You need to know how to get the most from income security programs. Many financial advisors are unfamiliar with how they work - together and with other income sources. John Stapleton, Open Policy Ontario, will help you understand:
· Old Age Security
· Guaranteed Income Supplement
· Canada Pension Plan
· Ontario Disability Support
Attend a free workshop at a Toronto Public Library branch:
- Parliament: Sept. 27 at 6pm
- Danforth/Coxwell: Sept. 28 at 6pm
- Lillian H. Smith: Oct. 4 at 6:30pm
- New Toronto: Oct. 12 at 6:30pm
- Thorncliffe: Oct. 20 at 6:30pm
- St. James Town: Oct. 25 at 6:30pm
- Lillian H. Smith: Nov. 2 at 1pm
- Albert Campbell: Nov. 9 at 6pm
- Parkdale: Nov. 15 at 6:30pm
Free refreshments and workbooks. All are welcome!
The corresponding Workbook (same title) is available on John Stapleton's website.
"Get Emergency Ready" in Multiple Languages Promotes Personal and Family Preparedness
Toronto is a multicultural society made up of many different communities and languages. As part of its legislated mandate to educate the public on how to be prepared for emergencies, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has translated its publicly available preparedness guides into 11 languages, based on the top language groups identified by Statistics Canada.
In an effort to promote the availability of this information in multiple languages, the OEM is encouraging residents to visit their website, where you can view and download the OEM's personal preparedness guide in your choice of language.
Fighting Overdevelopment of Yonge-Eglinton at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB)
This week at Toronto & East York Community Council I successfully passed motions to send City Planning and Legal Staff to fight several poorly-planned developments that are proposed for the Yonge-Eglinton area, including:
This application is for two towers (25 and 20 storeys) with 648 units facing Soudan, between Brownlow and Redpath. The site is far too small for this significant density. Further, heights and densities are supposed to decrease as sites move away from Yonge and Eglinton. This development is even taller than the OMB-approved 19-storey tower at Lillian and Soudan, which is closer to the major intersection.
City Planning has suggested that a midrise building would be more appropriate for this site and will be advocating for this solution at the OMB. On a positive note, I was successful in moving a motion last March that secured a 10m green strip along Soudan, forcing the developer to set his building back further from the street regardless of the final outcome at the OMB.
For more information, please see the Staff Report.
This application is for a 36-storey rental apartment building containing 236 units. The tower would be attached to the existing 19-storey, 128-unit rental apartment building on the site.
This proposal is extremely disrespectful to the existing tenants who would have to endure years of intrusive disruption. Further, this ‘parasitic’ proposal contravenes the City’s Official Plan Amendment 320 which prohibits infill that creates “…high rise additions to existing apartment building(s).” The addition would create a massive slab building up to the 19th floor, with a combined floor plate of approximately 1,092 square metres. This is much larger than the recommended maximum floor plate for tall buildings in the Tall Building Design Guidelines of 750 metres.
For more information, please see the Staff Report.
This application is for a 47-storey tower containing a total of 455 residential units on the site of an existing office building. The application represents overdevelopment of a small, mid-block site that doesn’t allow the developer to meet tower separation distances of a minimum of 25 metres, as requested by City Planning.
This proposal also contravenes OPA 231, which legislates full replacement of office space. It is important that Yonge and Eglinton contain a mix of work and commercial spaces in addition to the new residential development to ensure that the area does not become a bedroom community.
For more information, please see the Staff Report.
To ensure you are informed and engaged about development proposals being proposed for sites near your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive webpage.
My Proposed Developments webpage has recently been updated to reflect current development applications and, as always, contains locations, staff reports and public meeting notices. Additionally, the map now shows the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre surrounding Yonge and Eglinton, as well as the designated Avenues (portions of Eglinton Avenue West, St. Clair Avenue West, Yonge Street, Mt. Pleasant Road and Bayview Avenue). These are all areas where the Province is directing growth. Clicking on any of them will provide links to more information about the ward's Avenues/Urban Growth Centre, as well as links to the City's Official Plan and local secondary plans.
Please click here to learn more about what you can do to help free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).