Dear Friends and Residents,
This Monday, September 26th, city council will be considering the city manager's recommendations arising from the Core Service Review. While I strongly agree with reviewing the services the City provides and how it provides them, I am concerned that this process was done hastily, without enough regard to context and information on expected revenue. Moreover, in my opinion the public consultation process was inadequate. I am working closely with my colleagues from every political perspective towards finding solutions to Toronto's structural deficit, while protecting the services that are important to our residents.
Please click here to read my statement on this subject I previously sent to our community.
Also, please review this update I've prepared for you below on the following issues and events:
- Waterfront Update
- TTC Service Reductions
- Free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) Motion
- Relieving Congestion Motion
- Northern Secondary School Field
- Provincial Election - Candidate's Debate
- The 2nd Annual Mount Pleasant Village Fall Fair
This is an extremely busy time at City Hall between an ambitious Council schedule and a large number of projects in Ward 22. Therefore, my staff and I may not be able to provide a personal response to each and every email we receive, but rest assured, I will read all correspondence you send to me. Your feedback is always appreciated and valued.
Ward 22 – St. Paul's
I am very happy to report that a unanimous council vote was cast in favour of retaining Waterfront Toronto as the lead agency to continue developing a mixed use, green and people-friendly waterfront we can all be proud of.
The public reaction to the Mayor's ill-conceived plan from many Toronto residents, including hundreds from Ward 22, led to a compromise that retained Waterfront Toronto's thoughtful, progressive and award-winning vision while opening the door to faster timelines if they can be achieved in a responsible manner.
This issue has demonstrated the power of civic engagement and advocacy. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to work with many passionate residents of St. Paul's to defend our waterfront. Please click here to read my statement on this topic I sent to you previously.
TTC Service Reductions
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) recently proposed a number of service reductions and capital improvement delays to meet the budget reduction targets requested by the Mayor's office. At the TTC Commissioner's meeting on September 16, 2011 the following service and capital reductions were adopted:
- The removal of 89 peak-period buses on approximately 50 routes across Toronto. This measure will cause crowding and less frequent service
- During off peak hours on high use bus routes, service standard guidelines now dictate that, on average, 20% of passengers will be without a seat in comparison to the previous standard that every passenger will get a seat. This measure will cause crowding and less frequent service
- Delaying the delivery of 15 new street cars and 10 new "Rocket" subway cars
- Delaying the purchase of 134 new buses
- The commission also asked staff to look for alternate funding to continue Wheel-Trans service for about 700 dialysis patients who do not have limited mobility
The TTC is a public service. Public transportation is the only transportation option for many seniors, students and workers across the city. Many residents in our community rely on public transit to go grocery shopping, travel home from work, visit family or attend religious services on the weekend. Also, I am concerned about the safety of individuals, including seniors and women, traveling after dark that cannot afford a taxi and are left with long walks to their home if service is infrequent.
The TTC, the Mayor's office and Council should be working to improve service to make transit the preferred options for Torontonians. Reducing service and delaying the purchase of faster, more comfortable vehicles will, by the TTC's own estimates, turn riders away from public transit leading to increased air pollution and gridlock.
As your advocate, I will continue working to find solutions to this year's budget challenges that retain and improve the transit services Torontonians rely on.
Free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) Motion
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto – Centre) and I put forward a motion to eliminate the OMB from Toronto's planning process. At yesterday's Council meeting it was referred to the Planning and Growth Committee. There will be an opportunity to provide input to that committee via public deputations or letters in the coming weeks. I will be sure to notify you once I have the details so that you have an opportunity to make your voice heard. It is time for our local communities to have the final say on the future of Toronto's neighbourhoods.
Relieving Congestion Motion
My motion with Councillor Layton to increase enforcement and fines for motorists that stop, stand, park illegally or otherwise obstruct traffic on arterial roads during rush hour was referred to the Committee of Government Management. There will be an opportunity to provide input to that committee via public deputations or letters in the coming months. I will be sure to notify you at that time. Please click here to read a thoughtful column on this motion by the Globe & Mail's Marcus Gee.
Northern Secondary School Field
Thanks to many years of good work and advocacy by both the school and local residential community, my motion to allocate $630,000 of Section 37 funds to contribute to rebuilding Northern's field passed unanimously through City Council. The funds will soon be transferred to the TDSB and I look forward to celebrating the re-opening of Northern's Clarke Pulford Field in the near future.
Provincial Election - Candidate's debate
This is the only all-issue public debate scheduled in St. Paul’s, sponsored by the Forest Hill, South Eglinton, Deer Park, Oriole Park, South Hill, and Foxbar Residents’ Associations.
Date: Monday, September 26, 2011-09-23
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Location: Christ Church Deer Park - 1570 Yonge St. (NW corner of Yonge & Heath St.)
Parking is available on City lots on Heath opposite the church; on Alvin (1 block E of Yonge & S of Heath); side street parking.
The 2nd Annual Mount Pleasant Village Fall Fair
Date: Saturday October 15th, 2011
Time: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Location: Along the East and West sidewalks of Mount Pleasant, from Eglinton to Davisville, and along the south side of Eglinton, east of Mount Pleasant.
The 2nd Annual Mount Pleasant Village Fall Fair will be bringing out the best from our dynamic community and businesses! You will experience dazzling performances, fabulous free samples and sidewalk sales, contests and delicious food tastings, interactive activities, treats, and crafts for kids and adults. A celebrity meet-and-greet with Bret “The Hitman” Hart, spokesperson for Stroke Recovery Canada. That’s not all! The first thousand visitors to come to The Mount Pleasant Fall Fair receive a free gift.
Our Fall Fair is also very proud to have partial proceeds benefiting March of Dimes Canada in partnership with United Way Toronto.
For more details and information on how to get your passport to win even MORE great prizes, please visit www.mountpleasantvillage.ca