Dear Friends and Residents,
After two long days of City Council debates, I wanted to provide an update on some of the issues that were approved at City Hall. I have also provided some infromation on upcoming events and a proposed “Ecopark” in our Ward. You can find more information on the following subjects below:
- TONIGHT - Public Meeting regarding 129 St. Clair Ave. W
- Free Toronto from the OMB! Motion to be debated November 8th, 2011
- City Council Moving Forward to Protect Animals - Shark Fins and Elephants
- Macpherson "Ecopark" Proposal
- New Waste Collection Model
- Margery Winkler Memorial Bench at Hodgson Senior Public School
- Relieving Gridlock and Traffic Congestion
- Spadina Museum Salon – Persona: Politics and Private Lives in 20th-Century Canada
- Parks Plan – Public Consultation
As always, this is a busy time at City Hall, and 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 me. Your feedback is always appreciated and valued.
Ward 22 – St. Paul's
1. TONIGHT - Public Meeting regarding 129 St. Clair Ave. W
What: Public meeting to discuss site plan proposal for 129 St. Clair Avenue West.
Where: First Unitarian Church – 175 St. Clair Ave. W
When: October 26th, 2011 at 6:30pm
In February of this year I co-hosted a meeting with City Planning on development proposals at 111 and 129 St. Clair Avenue West. At that meeting, local residents requested that I strike a working group to have in-depth discussions on the proposals and to see if we could convince the developers to better reflect the community’s needs in what they will eventually submit. Since then, I have been working closely with representatives from the residents' associations of Foxbar, Deer Park, Granite Place, South Hill, Forest Hill and the Bradgate Arms in a Working Group regarding the developers’ proposals for 111 and 129 St. Clair Avenue West. This Group, which I chaired, included City Staff, ratepayers and residents groups and the development applicants. After many months of work, the residents' associations have reached a consensus on the proposed developments.
The residents on the working group still have serious concerns regarding the proposal for 111 St. Clair West but has agreed on a plan for 129 St. Clair West that helps protect some of the heritage elements of the current church site and improves the public realm while protecting our neighbourhoods. However, it is important to me to hear your feedback before this agreement comes to city council.
I invite you to a meeting that will provide an opportunity to learn about and comment on the Working Group's proposal for 129 St. Clair West and an update on 111 St. Clair Avenue West.
Flyers for this meeting have already been distributed to local residents.
2. Free Toronto from the OMB! Motion to be debated November 8th, 2011
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and I have together submitted a motion to free Toronto’s planning decisions from the purview of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) – the quasi-judicial, anti-democratic body that has final say over local planning decisions. This motion will be debated at the November 8th meeting of the Planning and Growth Committee. At this meeting, there will be an opportunity for you to provide input to that committee by making a deputation or, if you cannot attend, email or letter. To sign up to make a deputation, or for further information, you can contact the clerk on the committee's website. It is time to protect the fabric and character of our local neighbourhoods and allow our elected representatives to have the final say on the future of Toronto's neighbourhoods. This is your opportunity to make your voice heard!
If you cannot make it out to the meeting in person please email the Planning and Growth Committee members - tell them to support the motion to abolish the OMB.
3. City Council Moving Forward to Protect Animals - Shark Fins and Elephants
I’m happy to report to you that Council passed a ban on shark fin products in the City of Toronto. We have now joined other cities such as Brantford and Missisauga, along with jurisdictions around the world, in taking a stand to protect an endangered species and our ocean ecosystems. It is estimated that 100 million sharks are killed every year for their fins. This is an unsustainable practice, as sharks are not able to reproduce quickly enough to replenish their population. Conservationists estimate that at this rate, most species of sharks will be extinct within a decade. When and if this happens, the stability of the entire marine ecosystem would disrupted, as sharks stabilize fish populations. Moreover, the practice of obtaining shark fins is unethical. Once the fins are removed, a shark is thrown back into the ocean unable to swim. This is an important reason why I believe shark fins should be banned in other cities as well. Toronto city council has made a strong statement by not accepting this unethical practice within our jurisdiction.
Council also approved a motion to direct the Toronto Zoo to send its elephants to a wildlife sanctuary in California. I believe this was a humane and ethical position which crossed the typical right vs. left divide, and is a decision we can all be proud of.
4. Macpherson "Ecopark" Proposal
For the past 10 months I have been working with community members on an exciting proposal to transform the hydro corridor on Macpherson (between Spadina Ave. and Davenport Rd.) from a derelict eyesore into a usable public space. After a very positive local meeting in August, I am happy to support a local resident's application for a City of Toronto grant to build a demonstration "Ecopark" with solar panels, community gardens, native plants and an electric car. This is an opportunity for the City to demonstrate its commitment to renewable energy, environmental stewardship and innovative public spaces. The new green space would also provide an educational experience for local schoolchildren from the Waldorf School, Huron Public School and Cottingham Public School.
5. New waste collection model
On Monday, City Council decided to pursue a split-model waste collection trial. Starting next August, residents living west of Yonge Street will have their waste collected by a contractor. Residents east of Yonge Street will continue being served by public sector workers. Green for Life, the successful bidder for the contract was selected using the criteria set out in my motions passed by Council in May. These motions helped to ensure that the environment, public service, transparency and taxpayer protection are respected by the new operator. City staff believe this model will create a competition between the contracted and public sectors that will keep our fees lower, promote good customer service, save the City of Toronto over 80 million dollars during the next seven years and avoid labour disruption. Ultimately, I don't expect us to experience any dramatic change in service- our garbage and recycling will continue to be collected at the curb.
6. Margery Winkler Memorial Bench at Hodgson Senior Public School
Earlier today I had the privilege of participating in the official dedication of the Margery Winkler Memorial Bench at Hodgson. It was a very moving ceremony and celebration of a community member who left us too soon. Margery Winkler, a former Hodgson parent and Professor of Landscape Architecture at Ryerson University. Margery's life was cut short after a courageous battle with cancer in 2009. She was committed to the creation of sustainable open spaces and used her expertise to help local schools transform their grounds.
The Hodgson and South Eglinton/ Davisville Village community and I are grateful for the support of my Council colleagues who unanimously supported my motion to provide an additional $500 for the new bench through development benefits .The bench will be available for public use as part of a sitting and garden area adjacent to the sidewalk on Davisville Avenue just east of Mount Pleasant.
7. Relieving Gridlock and traffic congestion
I strongly believe that curbing gridlock must be a priority for this term of council. Gridlock has an adverse effect on our economy, our quality of life and our ability to move people and goods around our city. My motion to have the City Manager work with the Police to increase enforcement for motorists that stop, stand, park illegally or otherwise obstruct traffic on arterial roads during rush hour was approved by Council. The motion also directed the Deputy City Manager look at other ways of deterring curb lane "hogs", including increasing fines. The question of exactly how much that fine will be is yet to be determined.
8. Spadina Museum Salon – Persona: Politics and Private Lives in 20th-Century Canada
Date: Tuesday, November 8
Time: 7 to 9 pm
Location: Spadina Museum, 285 Spadina Rd (paid parking next door at Casa Loma)
Speakers: Author Allan Levine and Toronto City Councillor Josh Matlow.
William Lyon Mackenzie King has often been thought of as Canada's greatest prime minister and its most peculiar. He was insecure, craved flattery, and was prone to fantasy - especially about the Tory conspiracy against him. What would the modern media have made of King's eccentric personality? What kind of balancing act did politicians of the 1920s have to do in contrast to politicians today? Allan Levine is the author of KING: William Lyon Mackenzie King: A Life Guided by the Hand of Destiny, a biography based on 57 years of the personal diaries of Canada's longest serving prime minister. He is joined by Toronto city Councillor, columnist and radio show host Josh Matlow. They will lead the discussion on the public versus private life of a politician – how these two faces have changed over the years due to our increasingly invasive media machine.
9. Parks Plan – Public Consultation
In 2010, City Council approved the development of a City-wide Parks Plan based on seven guiding principles: parks and trails as city infrastructure, equitable access for all residents, supporting a diversity of uses, nature in the city, environmental stewardship, place making and community engagement. The Parks Plan will guide acquisition, development, management and operation of the system of public parkland in the City of Toronto over a five-year period.
The City of Toronto is looking for your input on Park Plans. Attend one of four public consultation meetings or fill out our online survey!
Public consultation meeting dates and locations:
• Scarborough - November 7, 2011, 7 pm to 9 pm at Warden Hilltop CC
• North York - November 16, 2011, 7 pm to 9 pm at Mitchell Field CC
• Toronto East York - November 24, 2011, 7 pm to 9 pm at Wellesley CC
• Etobicoke York - December 1, 2011, 7 pm to 9 pm at Amesbury CC