Make Your Voice Heard: OMB Review Public Meeting Tonight
Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) is an unaccountable, unelected and anti-democratic provincially-appointed body that has final say over our city's planning decisions.
The provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs and the Attorney General announced this week that they will begin a long overdue review of the way the OMB operates. As many of you know, I have been a long-time advocate of freeing Toronto from the OMB’s purview.
While the Province has stopped short of eliminating the OMB altogether, there are a number of very positive reforms proposed in the consultation document that would significantly improve the planning process for Toronto, including:
Only allowing the OMB to hear appeals on the “validity of the decision” by council, limiting the OMB’s ability to hear appeals and completely overturn decisions
Preventing appeals of secondary plans, including Yonge and Eglinton which is now under review, for two years
Requiring the OMB to send “significant new information” arising from a hearing back to councils for re-evaluation before rendering a decision
More actively promoting mediation to settle disputes, preventing adversarial hearings
Better training for OMB members, who are appointed by the Province
To learn more and have your say on this important issue to our community, you are welcome to attend a meeting hosted by the provincial government tonight:
Location: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, Room 201 Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 Time: Registration and Open House 5-6pm/Town Hall 6-9:30pm
If you cannot attend, there are several other ways you can get involved, including:
Ontario Municipal Board Review Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Provincial Planning Policy Branch 777 Bay Street, 13th Floor Toronto, ON M5G 2E5
The deadline for feedback is December 19, 2016.
Please click here to learn more about what you can do to help free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
Revised SmartTrack Approved Despite Lack of Basic Information
Council voted last week to spend at least $71 million on pre-construction work, including planning analysis and property acquisitions, related to the revised SmartTrack plan.
As I wrote in my letter to you last week, Council made this decision to spend time and money without knowing if the Eglinton Crosstown West extension will connect to the airport, how many people will ride the new line, how it will be paid for and other basic information typically provided to Council before advancing a transit project.
Despite my concerns regarding the process and the potential utility of this project, I do think this initiative has merit. I have long been a supporter of extending the Crosstown to the Pearson airport and the concept of adding Toronto stations on GO lines makes a lot of sense as the Province electrifies its lines. However, it is unfathomable to me that we would move forward without even knowing if the former is possible or any context of where this project fits in Toronto’s transit priorities.
I will provide updates on this project as they become available.New Ward Boundaries
The Toronto Ward Boundary Review, initiated to help ensure that each person is fairly represented, was approved by Council last week. The team from the Canadian Urban Institute that conducted the Review looked at the number of people living in each ward, as well as other factors such as geographic communities of interest and neighbourhoods, major physical and natural boundaries and population trends, to ‘draw the lines’ among Toronto’s wards.
Council adopted the recommendation from the outside team to add 3 new wards, following recent changes by the federal and provincial governments to add the same number of new representatives to address Toronto’s growing population. Any changes that occur as a result of the review will likely come into effect for the municipal election that takes place in 2018.
To read more about this issue and the upcoming changes, please click here.
Make Your Voice Heard: Public Consultation Meeting on Potential City of Toronto Museum at Old City Hall
Since 2012, I have been actively working to establish a City of Toronto Museum. Toronto is one of the few cities of its size in North America not to have a place to showcase its history.
I originally advocated for the museum to be at Casa Loma's under-utilized North Campus, there is no question that Old City Hall is a more desirable place for this purpose from a geographic, historical, and functional perspective. With the Province opting not to renew its lease for provincial courts, we have a rare opportunity to finally move forward with a City Museum in a building that merits Toronto's dynamic history.
Last Year, City Council supported my request to reject suggestions that Old City Hall be turned over to mostly retail uses in favour of a museum. You are welcome to attend the following meeting to have your say on this issue:
Location: Metro Hall, 55 John Street Date: Tuesday November 22, 2016 Time: 6:30–9pm
Exciting Improvements on the Way for Glenn Gould Park!
Many of you have written to me about the construction activity that has recently commenced at Glenn Gould Park. Following the public consultation I held with Parks staff in September 2015, I am pleased to announce that this park will be receiving some much-needed enhancements including new playground equipment, a water bottle filling station and ornamental fencing to better protect children at play from this busy intersection. Patterning for the new playground curbing and surfacing will be piano-themed, as a nod to the late internationally-renowned pianist and Ward 22 resident after whom the park is named.
It is anticipated that construction on the park improvements will be completed in late Fall, though this is a weather dependent timeline. I will be sure to share any further updates about progress on the park, as I receive them.
Let's Design Davisville's Two New Park Spaces!
Working together as a community, we successfully fought to preserve green space at the former Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club site. We also worked amicably with the Manor Road United Church to create public space rather than a townhouse development at their site.
Now the fun part begins! Please join me and your neighbours to discuss potential designs and uses for our two new parks at 6:30pm on Tuesday, December 6 in the gymnasium at Maurice Cody Jr Public School. City of Toronto Parks staff will also be in attendance.
Save the Date: Oriole Park Association AGM
Please join me for the Oriole Park Association's Annual General Meeting at 6-9pm on November 16, 2016 at North Toronto Memorial Community Centre (200 Eglinton Avenue West).
The meeting will commence with the President's report, followed by the election of board members and presentation of the Garden of the Year award. Upcoming community events will also be discussed. I will be giving an update to attendees on local and City-wide priorities at the meeting. Following that, Steve Paikin, anchor of TVO's "The Agenda", will talk about his recent book Bill Davis: Nation Builder and Not So Bland After All. The evening will conclude with a book signing.
Davisville Parks and Public Realm Workshop
As part of the Midtown in Focus study, the City of Toronto is developing a vision for parks and public spaces in the Yonge-Davisville area. Please join me and City Planning staff at a workshop at 1-5pm on Saturday, November 19th at Greenwood College School (443 Mount Pleasant Road). The event will include an overview presentation, walking tours and group activities focused on opportunities for developing a safer, better connected, more inviting and beautiful public realm.
The City of Toronto will be carrying out waterproofing and structure rehabilitation work on the Rosehill Reservoir at David Balfour Park. These necessary upgrades will help to ensure the structural integrity of the reservoir, extend its service life, and bring the infrastructure to a state of good repair. I have been pleased to work with my colleague, Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, City staff and local Residents' Associations on honing this restoration plan.
City staff have provided the following update on the project:
In recent weeks the Rosehill Reservoir Rehabilitation project team has received many comments and questions from local residents. The City is grateful for the time and effort the community is dedicating to this project, and appreciates the feedback provided.
The project team had originally planned to host a Public Open House in November 2016. However, in response to comments received from the community we have decided to postpone this event in order to allow for additional work to be completed. We apologize for this change in schedule, but feel this will afford the project team more time to incorporate feedback. We will provide updates when a Public Open House date has been set. This event is anticipated to take place in early 2017.
For more information on this project, which is being updated throughout the construction process, please click here.
The Jeff Mann Scholarship - Fundraising Call to Action
Lost too early, Jeff Mann was a beloved teacher at Deer Park Public School, a dedicated coach, mentor and friend to many. Mr. Mann inspired students to reach their potential while instilling positive values of strong character and good citizenship. A scholarship has been created to celebrate Mr. Mann's legacy and continue his memory.
Each year starting in June 2017, two scholarships of $2500 will be awarded to one male and one female grade twelve graduate who will continue post-secondary studies. Scholarship recipients will be Deer Park graduates who demonstrate leadership and contribution through sport. Applicants will demonstrate a passion to improve, tenacity, a competitive spirit, and inspire those around them to be better.
$50,000 is being raised to make the scholarship a reality. Help celebrate Mr. Mann's legacy with a generous donation. Donations of $25 or more are eligible for tax receipts. All donations are appreciated.
Churches in Rosedale, Moore Park and Leaside are again sponsoring a Christmas Drive (the 45th consecutive) to assist local food banks and agencies that are in urgent need of help at this time of year. Flyers are delivered to area households on Saturday, November 19 and donations are then picked up on the following Saturday, November 26. There are two locations. The first is Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (OLPH) on St. Clair Avenue East, one block west of Mount Pleasant Road. The other is St. Cuthbert’s Church on Bayview Avenue, south of Millwood Road near Humphreys Funeral Home.
Times on both days are from 9:30 am until around 1 pm. Donations are sorted and packed at OLPH with same day delivery to recipient food banks and agencies. In 2015 about 18,000 items were collected and it is hoped to better this figure this year as the demand is still great. Financial donations are also welcome and tax receipts are available. About 300 volunteers are required and community hours (generous ones) are available for high school students who require for graduation or other reasons.
In addition, two area Sobeys stores (St. Clair Avenue just east of Yonge Street and Wicksteed Avenue near Laird Drive) are once more supporting this effort by holding in-store drives throughout the Christmas season. These sources typically add another 10,000 or so to the overall total.
It is a fun event for both families and young persons and is in aid of a worthwhile cause to benefit the less fortunate members of our community.
Toronto Seniors Strategy: Older Torontonians, Caregivers and Community Agencies Serving Seniors... We Want to Hear From You!
Over the next two decades the number of seniors in Toronto will more than double. To prepare for this, the City adopted its first age-friendly plan – the Toronto Seniors Strategy – in 2013. With 86 of the original 91 recommendations now implemented, the City is working with the older Torontonians, caregivers, agencies and other orders of government to co-create the next version – "2.0".
As we prepare the strategy's next phase, City staff would like to drop in on existing meetings in the community to talk about how the City and its partners can make Toronto more age-friendly. This community engagement phase will continue until the end of 2016.
Support Heritage Toronto & Promote Pride in Our City's Old Homes
Heritage Toronto's Century House Plaques are a unique way for homeowners to show pride in their homes and their place in Toronto's history. These hand-made steel and enamel markers are produced locally and available to owners of any house within the City of Toronto that is over 100 years old.
A great gift idea for the upcoming holidays, a Century House Plaque serves as an elegant address marker that can be installed either in a garden or on a building itself.
The purchase of a Century House Plaque also greatly supports important Heritage Toronto programs, such as neighbourhood tours, and new programming promoting heritage education like their upcoming Heritage Primer series.
For more information on the Century House Plaques, and to promote their purchase as holiday gifts, please click here.
Healthy trees offer many environmental, economic and health benefits while also bringing beauty and nature into our neighbourhoods. Trees growing on urban streets face harsh conditions which can negatively affect their health – but we can all help! LEAF and the City of Toronto are excited to release the Adopt-a-Street-Tree Manual, a guide for Torontonians on how to care for commercial street trees in their communities. Come learn about existing Adopt-a-Street-Tree pilot projects and find out what resources are available to help you start your own. Connect with other groups across Toronto interested in helping our street trees thrive.
This information session will take place on Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 1-3pm in the Gladstone Library Community Room (1101 Bloor Street West). To learn more and register, please click here.
Pop-Up Consultations on Facilities, Permits and Sport Programs
Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PFR) is working on a number of initiatives to improve City parks and recreation facilities and services for residents. You may be interested in learning more about three projects that PFR will be consulting the public about over the next two months.
Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan (FMP) The FMP will prioritize investment in parks and recreation facilities over 20 years. It will guide the creation of new facilities, the renewal of existing facilities, and recommend strategies to optimize facility use to meet local and city-wide needs. Learn more about the FMP and its consultation process: www.toronto.ca/parks/facilitiesplan
City of Toronto Sport Plan The Sport Plan will guide the planning and delivery of City sport programs and services. Developed with the Toronto Sports Council, this five-year plan aims to advance sport by increasing awareness of and participation in sport programs, and by strengthening Toronto's network of community sport organizations. Learn more about the Sport Plan and its consultation process: www.toronto.ca/cityofsport
Parks and Recreation Permit Process Review The Permitting Process Review is part of our commitment to improving the systems and business processes that are at the center of our work. The review will identify opportunities to improve the customer experience and reduce the amount of time required to obtain a permit. Learn more about the Permit Review Process and its consultation process: www.toronto.ca/makingpermittingbetter
Consultation Details From Saturday November 5 to Wednesday November 30, staff will be located in fourteen busy locations across the city to discuss issues and consult with people in-person. This approach is a convenient and interactive way for residents to learn about and provide feedback on the three projects.
For consultation meeting information, please click here.
These consultations are just one of several engagement tactics being used by each of these projects to gather public and stakeholder input.
For more information, please feel free to contact the project staff:
Public Consultation on Toronto's Long-Term Financial Plan
The City of Toronto is launching its public consultation on the development of its Long-Term Financial Plan. Information about the consultation, including background reports and engagement opportunities, a series of online surveys and two rounds of community meetings, is available here.
The City is asking for the public's input on some challenging questions about how the City can manage expenses, raise revenue and optimize its assets. I encourage you to share your input, ideas and solutions at a series of public meetings or by participating online.
Updated Ward 22 Development Page
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.
For ongoing council and community news, my contact information, along with a calendar of events, please visit www.joshmatlow.ca. Click here to read my previous city hall and community updates.