City Council Approves Expansion of Sidewalk Snow Clearing
As many of you know, I’ve been advocating for the harmonization of sidewalk snow clearing services across all City of Toronto neighbourhoods for many years. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing us all to be outdoors, I’ve been urging my colleagues on Council since September to get this done once and for all.
While I would’ve liked this to come sooner, and faster, I’m very pleased to announce that at last week’s City Council meeting my colleagues approved my motion which asked City Staff to expand the sidewalk snow clearing pilot for this winter and finally provide a path forward towards full harmonization for the 2021-2022 winter season!
My gratitude to Mayor Tory, Councillor Layton the Deer Park Residents Group and so many other local neighborhood groups and residents for their steadfast support.
I will continue to provide you with timely updates on this item. We are finally making real progress on creating a more equitable, safe and accessible city. To read more, please see the Toronto Star article here and the BlogTO article here.
Make Your Voice Heard: Activating Community Space in Our Oakwood-Vaughan Neighbourhood and Supporting Our Youth
The repeated acts of violence committed over many years in our Oakwood-Vaughan neighbourhood is extremely upsetting and unacceptable. The most important initiative we can take is to invest in addressing the root causes of violence. While we need to support the police to respond when gun violence occurs and ensure that those responsible are no longer a threat to our community, enforcement alone is a short-term and reactive response that doesn’t address deeper issues that lead to the violence in the first place. We also have a responsibility to provide opportunities that support our youth which also contribute to community safety.
That’s why I’m pleased to announce that City Staff have finally released their report with recommendations on activating a new community space for youth in our Oakwood-Vaughan neighbourhood! This report responds to my motion directing City Staff to assess service needs, and in particular supporting our youth, in the Oakwood-Vaughan area and identify opportunities for creating a vibrant and sustainable community hub.
On Monday, December 7th, this report will be tabled at the Economic and Community Development Committee. This is why I need your help. To show Committee Members that the community fully supports this report, I encourage you to depute at Committee and/or submit a letter of support. To learn how to do both, I welcome you to click this link. Please feel welcome to reach out to my office for guidance on this and don’t forget to encourage your family, friends and neighbours to do so, too.
Thank you to the community groups such as OVCO and OVNAP for their steadfast support and I am so grateful for the dedicated City Staff from Social Development, Finance and Adminstration- Lauralyn Johnston, Aderonke Akande and Aina-Nia Grant for their work on this.
This major step that we’ve taken will be life-changing for our youth and I couldn’t be more proud of this work.
1801 Eglinton West Community Meeting
Please join me for the first public consultation meeting for a proposed 30-storey residential building (106.5 metre height). The proposed development would include 284 dwelling units.
Virtual Public Meeting Date: Thursday December 3; 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
How to Participate:
BY WEB: https://toronto.webex.com/ec3300/eventcenter/enroll/join.do?siteurl=toronto&confId=178441503294661310
WebEx Phone-in Information (no prompt for registration info – must email planner):
|Call 416-915-6530 and enter the Event number (access code): 177 067 1151|
Additional Information: Click here for preliminary staff report presented at Community Council or full application documentation click here.
City Planning Contact: Sipo.Maphangoh@toronto.ca / 416-338-2478
Davisville Village Planning Town Hall: How the Province’s Rule Changes Could Impact Our community
The Davisville apartment neighbourhood between Davisville and Merton, and Yonge to Mt. Pleasant was originally designed as a classic tower-in-the-park community. The high density slab buildings were buffered by generous green spaces. That vision is unfortunately now under threat.
Please join me for a special town hall meeting on Tuesday, December 8th at 6:30pm. More details about this event can be found by clicking here.
Additional Support for the Yonge-Eglinton Hub and Update Regarding St. Clair and Winona Hub
In December 2019, two months after my motion for a road safety audit and action plan for the area of Yonge-Eglinton got approved by City Council, the City started the Construction Hub Coordination Pilot Project. The aim of the pilot was to coordinate the various projects happening in this extremely busy area – LRT construction, condominium developments, utility works, capital infrastructure improvements, etc. – while ensuring improved pedestrian, cyclist and motorist safety in the area. Please click here to read more about this important project, including my motion to suggest a similar approach at St. Clair and Winona.
Sir Winston Churchill Dog Park Completion
I’m pleased to announce that the improvements to Sir Winston Churchill Park Off-Leash Area are complete! These improvements include benches, armour stones, and plantings.
Reviewing Options to Expand the Deer Park Library and Update on the Wittington Proposal
The Deer Park Library is a vital community hub that has served the neighbourhood—albeit in many different locations—for over a century. Earlier this summer I was approached by the Toronto Public Library (TPL), CreateTO (the City’s real estate management branch) and City Planning staff to learn more about a potential opportunity to once again expand and modernize the branch through a nearby development proposal. Please click here for an update on this proposal and to read about our efforts to ensure that this vital piece of the community is preserved.
Parks Pandemic Year Winter Plan
While it is important to stay home during these unprecedented times, I also recognize that folks are advised to exercise outside with members of their household to maintain their physical and mental health. The Welcome T.O. Winter plan provides safe ways for people to get outside in Toronto’s parks, including ice rinks, the new Walk Fit programs, and increased snow maintenance on 60km of paved recreational trails and pathways. Please click here for an update on skating rinks and park washrooms that will be open in Toronto-St. Paul’s this winter.
NEW: Oriole Park Ping Pong Table
I am happy to announce that we are adding a new cement ping pong table to Oriole Park, east of our community garden, between the two walking paths. This wonderful addition has been graciously donated by Dianne Moore on behalf of the Rotary Club of Toronto Eglinton. I want to extend my deep gratitude towards Dianne for making this possible. The cement pad was poured November 20th and the table will be installed as soon as possible, weather permitting.
Take Action: Stop Excessive Construction Noise
I have heard from many tenants that construction noise has become an even larger problem during the pandemic, with people staying home for longer hours than ever. Between the hours of construction being lengthened to 6am to 10pm every day of the week by the provincial government (Limitation 2 to Ontario Regulation 130/20 of the City of Toronto Act) and with multi-residential buildings having increased renovations, excessive construction noise has taken a toll on our quality of life. I have started a campaign to push the provincial government to put tenants’ health and wellbeing first.
Please participate in our campaign on this important issue by signing our petition below. Make sure to click on the resulting link as well to ensure your voice is heard by the provincial government on this important matter.
Sign our petition: https://joshmatlow.ca/construction-noise/
Local Issues at Community Council in December
Toronto and East York Community Council’s responsibilities include making recommendations and decisions on local planning and development, as well as neighbourhood matters including traffic plans and parking regulations. Community Council reports to City Council but they also have final decision-making power on certain items, such as fence by-law exemptions and appointments to local boards and Business Improvement Areas. To check out what’s happening at community council, please visit my website here.
Cowbell Lane Safety Audit
Prior to Toronto entering into the Provincial lockdown, I led a safety audit with City Staff from Community Crisis Response, METRAC, which is an agency that completes neighborhood safety audits and assessments and community leaders from Yonge and Eglinton’s Quantum Towers for a safety walk along Yonge Street and Cowbell Lane. Together, we’re taking action to bring safe environmental design improvements to our midtown communities.
Province Launching Recruitment Program to Support Long Term Care Sector
Ontario is seeking individuals interested in new opportunities – specifically those who are unemployed or have been displaced from the retail and hospitality industries or administrative roles as well as students in education programs – to re-enter the workforce and make a difference by helping seniors living in long-term care homes. Please click here to read more about this important program.
On December 5ᵗʰ at 10am, residents of Toronto are invited to leave a non-perishable food item on their doorstep (clearly marked for Toronto Miracle). Volunteers will collect these donations and redistribute to those in need in the community.
These unique times we have been going through in this pandemic are the most difficult that many of us have ever faced. Now is the time to find the hero in each of us and protect the most vulnerable in our community. This is our moment. For more details, please click here.
Beltline “Lost Stations” Update
I initiated the Beltline “Lost Stations” to enhance our community’s experience as we walk through midtown’s neighborhoods to contribute opportunities to rest and reflect, to create a sense of place and to share the stories of our beloved linear park. The Yonge and Upper Canada College Lost Stations are now complete! All minor deficiency work has been done and Heritage Toronto will be installing a plaque at each location when possible. Construction for the Eglinton Lost Station started on November 2nd. We anticipate the Eglinton Lost Station will be completed in December and should be open to the public over the winter!
The Stop Wychwood Barns’ Farmer’s Market
It’s an amazing feeling to be back with my family and community at our beloved The Stop Wychwood Barns Farmers’ Market! Honey sticks, fresh produce, delicious food, and so much more. I look forward to seeing you there on Saturdays from 8:00am-1:00pm at 601 Christie Street! Thank you to the Wychwood Barns’ Community Association, Artscape Wychwood Barns, Market Vendors and community members for working together to ensure public safety measures have been put in place to allow the Market to operate safely during this winter season.
City of Toronto Launches COVID-19 Immunization Task Force to Prepare for Arrival of COVID-19 Vaccine
The City of Toronto has formed a COVID-19 Immunization Task Force as part of its pandemic response and recovery efforts.
While it is not yet clear when a safe and effective vaccine will be available, this Task Force will ensure that the City is ready to play its role in helping Torontonians get vaccinated. This Task Force will be led by Chief Matthew Pegg in his role as the City’s COVID-19 Incident Commander and will use the COVID-19 incident management system that the City has developed. Please click here to read more about plans for the COVID-19 Immunization Task Force.
Yonge + St. Clair BIA Events:
Windows of Glam Scavenger Hunt:
The Windows of Glam is a socially distanced, winter time scavenger hunt happening at Yonge + St. Clair, running Nov 27 to Jan 2. Participants are asked to visit local winter storefront displays and complete 13 scavenger hunt questions for a chance to win weekly prizes, with up to $500 in raffle items to be won. To enter, visit https://yongestclair.ca/WinGlam2020/!
Hidden Histories at Yonge + St. Clair:
Hidden Histories at Yonge + St. Clair”, the 3-part digital livestream tour around the Yonge + St. Clair neighbourhood that explores local historical anecdotes and factual trivia, which will be broadcast on location via Facebook Live on the Yonge + St. Clair Facebook page and led by a local historian tour guide.
City of Toronto Invites Applications for PollinateTO Community Grants
The City of Toronto is now accepting applications for its PollinateTO Community Grants. Grants of up to $5,000 are available to support community-led initiatives that result in the creation or expansion of pollinator habitat on public and private lands in Toronto. A priority will be placed on funding projects in Toronto’s Neighbourhood Improvement Areas. Please click here to learn more about the PollinateTO Grants and to learn about how you can apply!
Oakwood-Vaughan Drop-In Youth Counselling
Based on data collected by Toronto Public Health over the course of the pandemic, the City has worked to develop an enhanced plan to provide targeted support to neighbourhoods experiencing higher COVID-19 case rates – many of these neighbourhoods are in the northwest and northeast of the city.
These targeted COVID-19 equity measures, which build on protections already implemented, include sharing public health information, improving access to COVID-19 testing, and providing critical supports to individuals and their families during this lockdown. These new initiatives include:
- Measures to expand testing sites – Increasing testing in neighbourhoods experiencing higher COVID-19 case rates, expanding the number of provincial testing sites using City facilities, using buses for mobile testing, providing more transportation to testing sites and extending testing site hours.
- Measures to intensify community outreach and engagement – Targeting outreach, case management and providing support to residents who face multiple barriers (i.e. food support, income services, etc.), and providing relevant public education to residents and employers. Residents will also receive masks to support their efforts to stay safe. Strong community partners, trusted by residents in neighbourhoods experiencing higher COVID-19 case rates, are critical to ensuring that these measures are implemented effectively.
- Measures for those who test positive and are unable to work due to mandatory isolation – Addressing the threat of eviction and improving access to emergency assistance is important and this includes advocating for residential eviction protection, income supports, and newcomer access to COVID-19 services and supports.
The pandemic has exacerbated long-standing, systemic health inequities related to poverty, racism and other forms of discrimination. This has created the conditions for COVID-19 to spread with disproportionate impacts on Torontonians who are: Indigenous, Black or racialized, precariously employed or live on a low income, living in multigenerational or crowded housing, or experience challenges taking time off from work when ill or to isolate from others.
In March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, the City began taking action to support vulnerable residents, families and communities under its guiding framework, TO Supports: COVID-19 Equity Action Plan. This work is constantly evolving and improving to address new information, new partnerships and new public health conditions. In May, Toronto Public Health became one of the first public health units in the country to collect and release detailed COVID-19 data based on neighbourhood, race and income.
City staff will begin implementing parts of this plan this week while City officials continue to reach out to the provincial and federal governments about additional resources and support for expanding testing sites, education and engagement, and resources for eviction and emergency services. Education and outreach activities, food access, mental health support, engaging community partners on their role in this plan, and the purchase of masks for distribution is now underway.
A backgrounder is available for more information: https://www.toronto.ca/news/enhanced-covid-19-supports-for-targeted-neighbourhoods/.
A Message From Play4All Merton Project:
It’s been a busy and progressive month for us here at Play4All.MertonProject! Firstly, we are excited to announce our next event happening on January 10, 2021, Cooking 4 A Cause! By participating in this event, you will receive a home delivered bundle of ready to make ingredients. You can then join our virtual cooking class and make Sweet & Sour Stirfry. At the checkout you will be able to choose an option for protein or simply use your own if preferred! Our early bird prices are just a $50 donation, so hurry before tickets run out! However, don’t stress if you can’t make the deadline of December 27th, 2021, after this date the tickets will go for $75. All donations will go directly towards building a playground for the Hospital Workers Housing Coop.
Be sure to follow us on our social media pages, or subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with all our event information as it gets released!
Secondly, with all of that being said, we are actively searching for volunteers to donate some of their time to help us with packing these baskets, curbside pickups, deliveries and more! We are taking the steps to ensure everyone’s safety during this event preparation and want to make everyone feel as comfortable and safe as possible. For more information on volunteer opportunities with our project, follow our social media pages or newsletter listed above!
For those of you who are just now being introduced to our local project, we are the Play4All.MertonProject, and our mission is to break down the barriers to play, making outdoor recreation free and accessible for everyone!
Time and time again, play has been proven to be essential for healthy childhood development, and has numerous mental and physical health benefits for every individual at every age!
Tis the season for giving, and we want to make sure that the Hospital Workers Housing Coop gets the opportunity to play and actively participate in their community! 60% of our residents come from minority backgrounds, are survivors of gender based violence, are rehabilitating addicts, or have some type of disability. We would love your help and support to break down the barriers these individuals and families face. Afterall, play and outdoor recreation is a right for everyone, not a privilege!
Check Out My Past E-Newsletters:
To read my past city hall and community updates on on a wide array of issues and topics, please click here.