It's very important to me that I accurately reflect our community's priorities, and represent you, when I vote on our behalf on the City of Toronto's budget. On Wednesday, February 8 at 7pm, I'll host my 2017 Budget Town Hall for Ward 22 residents. The meeting will take place in Elliott Hall at Christ Church Deer Park (1570 Yonge Street).
The City of Toronto's budget will affect virtually every City service and encourage your feedback. I hope you will be able to attend.
If you would like more information on the proposed 2017 City of Toronto Budget in advance of my Town Hall meeting, please click here.
I'm excited to be co-hosting a community skating party again this year with our local MPs, Rob Oliphant and Carolyn Bennett at Hodgson Ice Rink (east of Mount Pleasant Road, on Davisville Avenue behind Hodgson Sr. Public School). Please join us from 2-4pm on Sunday, February 12 for a fun, family-friendly afternoon of skating and hot chocolate.
I look forward to seeing you and your family there!
New Tenant Protection Legislation Approved
I am very pleased to report that my colleagues supported moving forward with a new program to provide much needed protection for Toronto renters. This success was the result of years of hard work with local tenant advocates and city-wide organizations, including the Federation of Metro Toronto Tenants’ Associations, ACORN, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, and community legal clinics.
At present, far too many renters live in sub-standard housing. The City’s Multi Residential Audit Building (MRAB) program has found over 58,000 deficiencies in approximately 1000 buildings since Building Audits began. Leaking roofs, stained carpets, non-functioning elevators, and pest infestations are far too common. And these violations are mostly from just the shared areas in buildings and don’t capture the serious problems tenants face inside their units.
Some landlords have ignored City orders to fix their properties for years with little consequence; they treat the small fines as the cost of doing business, drag out performing the repairs through court appeals, and are even granted time extensions.
The system certainly doesn’t give tenants the same leniency when their rent is due.
This comprehensive new by-law includes several motions I moved to address some of these concerns, including:
- A “Rentsafe” rating program for buildings modelled off of the “Dinesafe” program for restaurants that requires landlords to post a colour-coded sign that displays the City's rating in a prominent, publicly identifiable location, along with posting the same information on the City's website
- Request the Province to grant the City the power to fine landlords for property standards violations
- Establish guidelines for when the Property Standards Committee can grant time extensions on work orders for violations and to limit those criteria to situations that are only extraordinary circumstances
- Develop standard operating procedures for City enforcement officers which provide targeted timelines by violation category to bring landlords into compliance with City by-laws from the date an order is issued, and make the standards available to the public on the City website
These measures, and many others contained in the program, were the result of extensive consultation with tenants across the city.
For more information, please see this Toronto Star article.
Ending the Tax Rebate for Vacant Stores
There are far too many empty storefronts on our main streets. They hurt neighbouring businesses and adversely impact our communities. That’s why I strongly support, and commend, Mayor Tory for his support for eliminating the City’s backward policy of providing tax rebates to landlords of vacant units.
For more information on how this measure could lead to more vibrant shopping areas in Midtown, please see this North Toronto Post article.
Toronto’s Climate Change Plan Moves Forward
In 2007, the City of Toronto adopted the target of reducing our greenhouse gas by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. So far, we have reduced our emissions by 24%, but it is projected that Toronto will not meet our goal without significant further action.
There is an 8.7 million tonne gap between our projected GHG emissions in 2050 and our low-carbon target. Over the next 34 years, transformative changes to the City’s core urban systems - transportation, building design & operation, energy systems and waste management – will be necessary.
To read the full TrasformTO report, please click here.
Toronto Seniors Strategy 2.0 Hospital Consultation at Sunnybrook
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 and I, in my capacity as Toronto's Seniors' Advocate, are working with older Torontonians, caregivers, agencies and other orders of government to co-create the next version – "2.0".
As part of this next phase in the strategy, I proposed to City staff that we consult with older adults who are patients at Toronto's hospitals. Hospitalized seniors can often feel more like patients than citizens of our city. Today, we brought the City to them at Sunnybrook Hospital, where I was delighted to learn about the best ways to help them. I look forward to participating in subsequent consultations at our hospitals to gather further thoughtful feedback from in-patients on how we can improve their quality of life and connectedness to their city, as we develop Toronto's Seniors Strategy.
In early December 2016, I held an initial public meeting to gather residents' feedback on potential designs and uses for our two new parks on Manor Road East that we fought for together (the former Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club site and the corner of Manor Road and Forman Avenue). Since that meeting, the project design consultant has been busy developing design concepts based on that feedback and will be ready to share these drawings with the community shortly.
Please join me and your neighbours on Monday, February 27 to review and comment upon these concept designs for our two new parks! The meeting will be held at 6:30pm in the newly renovated sanctuary at Manor Road United Church (adjacent to one of our new park spaces at 240 Manor Road East). City of Toronto Parks staff will also be in attendance.
City Planning issued a refusal report to construct a 9-storey mixed-use building at 390-398 Spadina Rd, consisting of 46 residential units. Unfortunately, the developer has appealed this decision to the OMB.
While this development is actually located in Ward 21 (on the west side of Spadina Road), it will obviously impact many Ward 22 residents directly across Spadina Road and throughout the Ward 22 portion of Forest Hill Village. In fact, it threatens the very unique character of the Forest Hill Village.
In February 2014, I successfully moved a motion requesting City Planning Staff to study Forest Hill Village (located along Spadina Road) and prepare Urban Design Guidelines to protect the small town feeling of this distinctive area. The mandate for the Forest Hill Village Urban Design Guidelines is to maintain the small town character of the area by identifying the appropriate urban character, materials and building rhythm and articulation for future developments and/or renovations within the study area. This includes a Staff recommendation for a maximum of a four storeys street wall for the Village.
I look forward to joining my colleague, Councillor Joe Mihevc, and the South Forest Hill Residents' Association (SFHRA) for a community meeting about this proposal at 7:30pm in the West Tower Party Room at 400 Walmer Road. To view the full meeting flyer, please click here.
I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of the South Forest Hill Residents' Association (SFHRA) in fighting the current development proposal, their shared passion to preserve the character of the Village and to ensure that any development at this location is an appropriate one. For more information about SFHRA, please click here.
Are you interested in finding more about bike advocacy in Midtown over drinks and pub food? Do you want to join a talented team of local community cycling activists? On January 26, Ward 22 Cycle Toronto is holding a social meeting for new members and anyone interested in finding out more about what the group does, priorities for 2017 and how you can get involved. The meeting will start at 7:00 pm at The Abbot on Eglinton, between Spadina and Avenue.
If you're a Toronto Community Housing Tenant who has community leadership experience and is interested in helping shape the future of TCH and the non-profit housing sector, the City is looking for you to get involved with the Tenants First Implementation Plan. This plan focuses on creating transformative change within TCH through a number of actions based on recommendations from City staff, the Mayor's Task Force and consultation with tenants.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Tenants First Advisory Panel and want more information, you can attend an information meeting on Tuesday, January 24 at 6-8pm Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen West, 2nd Floor, Committee Room 4.
Applications for the deadline are due by 5pm on February 3, 2017.
Through the support of many of you, the Drive was another success with some 16,000 items collected, slightly less than last year, but still remarkable for one day! In addition, over $3,000 in cash donations were received for further bulk purchases by the food banks to meet their special needs. A sincere thanks to all those who contributed and also to the many hard working volunteers who made this wonderful community event happen once again.
The Delisle YouthCan Impact Walk-in provides free mental health and substance use counselling services for all youth between the ages of 13 to 21. Counsellors are there to discuss and provide support for a number of issues including depression, anxiety, bullying, sexual orientation, stress, substance abuse or other concerns.
The walk-in clinic is located at 40 Orchard View Blvd, Room #102 and operates at the following times:
- Tuesday: 2pm-5pm (Please arrive by 3:30pm)
- Wednesday: 4pm-7pm (Please arrive by 5:30pm)
- Thursday: 2pm-6pm (Please arrive by 4:30pm)
- Saturday: 10am-2pm (Please arrive by 12:30pm)
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.