Toronto’s Heritage Protection Policies Must Be Strengthened
Toronto has a shameful record when it comes to protecting its architectural heritage.
The wanton demolition of the Bank of Montreal building at 2444 Yonge Street last month, and the Stollery's Building at Yonge and Bloor in January 2015, are just two of the most recent examples of the City's inability to stay ahead of development applications. We need to implement a more proactive mechanism to protect better protect Toronto's built heritage before. That's why I moved a motion in 2015 to strengthen our heritage policy framework.
Currently, for a building to have protection, it must be either “listed” or “designated” under the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA). A very lengthy process is required for a property to become listed, including a full evaluation and completed Staff research report, followed by consideration by both Community Council and City Council. Only following City Council approval does a property become eligible for protection under the OHA, including demolition protections under the Ontario Planning Act. This review process can take up to five months to complete for a single property. For a property to become fully designated, the process can take up to eight months. There is nothing to save a heritage property from the wrecking ball while this process is taking place.
My motion asked City Planning staff to report back to Planning and Growth Management Committee on the feasibility of establishing a new tier of heritage designation that is more inclusive, proactive and expeditious. This new category would protect properties that have been identified but not yet evaluated for listing or designation.
We are still waiting on the Chief Planner to take action on this Council direction.
You can read more about the current challenges facing the City's heritage policy and my efforts to improve them in this article.
Also, for your convenience, I have created an interactive map of all heritage properties located in Ward 22.
City Staff Proposing Massive Fee Hikes for Patios
Small business owners across the city are sounding the alarm over a proposal from Licensing and Standards Staff that would see fees for some patios increase by over 1000%. While some adjustment might be reasonable, I will not support any measure that provides a disincentive for business owners to provide outdoor seating in appropriate locations.
Patios contribute to more fun and vibrant streets, our local economy and community residents' quality of life. Where residential neighbors aren't adversely impacted, the City should be working to encourage more patios instead of making them prohibitively expensive.
For more information on this issue, please read this article.
REMINDER: Community Skating Party with Josh Matlow, Rob Oliphant & Carolyn Bennett!
I'm excited to be co-hosting a community skating party with our local MPs, Rob Oliphant and Carolyn Bennett at Hodgson Ice Rink (East of Mt. Pleasant, entrance off Millwood/Harwood, behind Hodgson PS).
Please join us from 2pm to 4pm on Sunday, February 12th for a fun, family-friendly afternoon with free coffee and hot chocolate.
I look forward to seeing you there!
REMINDER: Councillor Josh Matlow's 2017 City of Toronto Budget Town Hall Meeting
On Wednesday, February 8th at 7pm, I will be hosting my 2017 Budget Town Hall for Ward 22 residents at Christ Church Deer Park, Elliott Hall, 1570 Yonge Street.
The City of Toronto's budget will affect virtually every City service and your feedback is very important to me. 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.
REMINDER: Let's Design Ward 22's Two New Park Spaces Together: Second Public Meeting
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.
Midtown in Focus Study Continues
As part of our Midtown in Focus study, the City of Toronto is developing an area-wide vision for parks and public spaces in the Yonge-Davisville area. As a follow up to a successful workshop in the fall, myself and City Planning Staff are reconvening for another public meeting at 7pm on Wednesday, February 22nd at Northern District Library (40 Orchard View Boulevard). We would be pleased to hear your feedback and ideas on creating a safer and more vibrant public realm in the community!
Updated Ward 22 Development Page
To ensure you are informed and engaged about developments being proposed for sites near your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive webpage.
My webpage listing all the proposed developments in Ward 22 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).