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Councillor Matlow’s City Hall and Community Update
Councillor Matlow’s City Hall and Community Update
For those that are celebrating Diwali this month, I hope you and your family had a joyous Festival of Lights! I love that this beautiful holiday celebrates the victory of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.
During this difficult time, let’s get together on Zoom to celebrate the victory of light over darkness with Nora and Loft Community Services’ Annual Diwali celebration. Date: November 7th, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.
For the Zoom meeting details contact Nora Shankar email@example.com by email.
CALL TO ACTION: Don’t Let Council Put Safe & Accessible Sidewalk Snow Clearing on Ice
Last winter, City Council called for improved standards for sidewalk snow maintenance due to valid concerns raised by residents that Toronto’s current standards are completely insufficient in the downtown and centre of the City.
It is inequitable that residents in the former cities of North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke receive sidewalk snow clearing while the majority of neighbourhoods in Old Toronto, some areas of York and East York do not. This is especially concerning given that the levels of pedestrian traffic are much higher in these areas. Residents of our City’s inner suburban areas also frequently walk through downtown and midtown, and rightfully expect safe and accessible sidewalks too.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, walking will be more important than ever to our physical and mental health, especially for seniors and people living with mobility challenges. That is why, I moved a motion, seconded by Councillor Mike Layton, at this week’s Council meeting to request that city staff move forward with a plan to provide safe and accessible snow clearing.
While my motion was supported by a few of my colleagues, including the Mayor, it unfortunately did not receive a two-thirds vote for it to pass. It was however referred to an upcoming Infrastructure and Environment Committee. This is deeply concerning, as it further delays the City of Toronto’s ability to deliver harmonized sidewalk clearing standards, commit to clearing all bike lanes and cycle tracks and develop a plan to clear all paved pedestrian and cycling pathways in Toronto’s parks.
I want to thank the board of the Deer Park Residents Group for working with my office on this initiative and continuing to advocate for safe and accessible sidewalk clearing!
Online Public Meeting: Toronto-St. Paul’s Community Safety Forum
There is nothing more important to me and my family than the safety of our community. The safety incidents that have happened locally and city-wide are unacceptable. On Tuesday November 24th at 6:30pm, I will be hosting an online community safety forum to provide an opportunity for residents to ask important questions to the Toronto Police Service and City of Toronto staff from Fire Services, Social, Development, Finance and Administration, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, Community Crisis Response Team, Municipal, Licensing and Standards and Transportation Services to be in attendance, along with Toronto-St. Paul’s elected representatives
In order to make sure that everyone has access to the information and discussion from the meeting, we will be recording the presentation and question and answer session which I will post on my website at www.joshmatlow.ca/communitysafety. An important note for anyone who is attending and is concerned about privacy, the format will not show any of the attendees, only your voice will be recorded if you wish to ask a question or make a comment. If you are not comfortable with participating in this format, you are welcome to observe the meeting and contact my office directly by email or by phone.
Please note that the link to access the forum will appear on this webpage 30 minutes before (at 6:00pm on Tuesday November 24th) the forum commences.
I look forward to our discussion!
Council Fails Torontonians by not Supporting Charter City Motion
Our Country’s 19th century constitution, which constrains municipalities as merely “creatures of the province”, was enacted when Canada was largely an agrarian society. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that Toronto, and other large cities in Canada, needs a new framework to thrive, and in many facets merely function, in a 21st century context.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on our daily routines and altered how we operate and move in the city, the ActiveTO Program has successfully provided alternatives and opportunities for more Torontonians to get around safely and efficiently. We can already see that there has been an incredible growth in cycling numbers in all areas where safe cycling infrastructure was introduced. It is evident that bicycle use is an excellent way to stay active, healthy, and connected to resources and services one needs daily. We have to take this opportunity to further expand our cycling infrastructure and continue facilitating this growth through the provision of additional safety to the thousands of people who use our roads daily.
Province Supporting Developers instead of Livable Communities: Special Davisville Town Hall
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.
Since the Provincial government ripped up the City’s Midtown in Focus plan and put in place their own developer-friendly regime, there has been an unprecedented number of applications for new apartments and condos in the Davisville apartment neighbourhood. Encouraged by Doug Ford’s new rules which allow taller buildings and less community benefits, there has been a high number of applications in this area in 2020.
In addition to my campaign demanding the Province reverse the changes to our Midtown in Focus Plan, I am holding a Town Hall focused specifically on the egregious impacts in Davisville Village and how we can work together on a strategy moving forward.
I have invited the Midtown Section City Planning staff who are responsible for reviewing development applications and working on strategic planning policy for the Davisville Apartment Neighbourhood. They will be there to explain the planning process and provincial changes in greater detail, answer your questions, and most importantly, it’s an opportunity for you to share your priorities directly to the City. The South Eglinton Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association, who undertake a tremendous amount of advocacy to support a strong quality of life for Midtown residents, will also be joining the panel discussion.
Please join me on Tuesday, December 8th at 6:30pm for an online Town Hall Meeting.
Update on the Regent TheatreSince the 1920s, the Regent Theatre (once known as the Belsize and then the Crest) has been an iconic theatre on Mount Pleasant Road in the heart of Toronto. Over two years ago the community and I were concerned to learn that this historic theatre was for sale and there was potential it could be bought for the purpose of redevelopment.
As the City Councillor at the time, I put out a call inviting members of our community, arts and culture industry leaders, city staff, and other creative thinkers to come together for a conversation on how best to preserve the Regent’s built form and purpose. I also initiated a Regent Theatre Steering Committee who thought of creative ways to do outreach. Not only did this packed meeting at Greenwood College catch the attention of the local media, but also lead to serious conversations from different arts and culture organizations about repurposing the Regent Theatre.
Unfortunately for reasons beyond our control, these serious inquiries did not result in the theatre being purchased by a group that could feasibly repurpose it for their organization’s new home.
While I’m no longer the City Councillor for the Regent, preserving its historical and cultural place in our community is deeply important to me. I’ve been informed that there is a conditional buyer and I’m monitoring it closely. I have no further information at this point, but will provide you with an update once we learn more.
UPCOMING: Toronto’s Seniors Advocate’s Public Forum on the Challenges and Opportunities for Long Term Care During (and After) COVID-19The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been particularly devastating to our elder population, especially in long term care homes where, in too many cases, it has been running rampant.
As Toronto’s Seniors Advocate, I’ve been calling on the Provincial government and Ministry of Long Term Care to adopt an emotion-centred approach to care into Ontario’s Long Term Care Homes Act, 2007 (LTCHA) and Ontario Regulation 79/10, implement immediate changes to the level and quality of care in long term care homes, with respect to pandemic relief and lastly, request that the Province initiate an independent, objective and impartial Inquiry into Ontario’s long term care homes, as opposed to a Commission.
While I will continue to advocate on behalf of seniors, I’ve spoken to far too many long term care residents, caregivers, concerned sons and daughters that have questions relating to staffing, data collection, coordination and collaboration between local hospitals and public health units, quality of life impacts due to visitation restrictions and the stark difference between death rates and outbreaks in long term care homes owned by for-profit corporations as compared to non-profit and public homes.
That’s why, I’m hosting a public forum with Ontario’s Seniors Advocate and Director of Geriatrics at Mt. Sinai Health System and University Health Network, Dr. Samir Sinha, Geriatric/Internal Medicine at Mt.Sinai Health System and union representatives from CUPE Local 79 and SEIU Health care Union to have an open discussion about the above topics and hold a question and answer session between the panelists and attendees.
DONATION REQUEST: Used Electronics for Clients at the Roehampton Residence
As the temperatures begin to lower and our public health experts continue to recommend that we stay a part, the importance of connecting either by phone or computer will be even greater. That is why, I’m reaching out to ask if you have any used, but working electronics to donate to the clients at the Roehampton Residence (808 Mt.Pleasant). This will help clients be able to connect with friends and family, but also access any virtual social service supports. Please feel welcome to drop-off any used electronics (cellphones, laptops, tablets, etc.) with the corresponding cords, chargers, adaptors, etc. at the front desk of the Roehampton Residence. Kindly ensure these electronics are able to connect with wifi.
The Green Line
The City of Toronto has an exciting plan to develop a linear park system, building on existing parks, along the Hydro Corridor from Davenport Rd and MacPherson Ave to Earlscourt Park. Dubbed the “Green Line”, the project will include new pedestrian connections, new parks, and enhancements of existing parks along this corridor, much of which is located within Ward 12.
A final Master Plan for the project was published in July 2019, and can be viewed online.
One of the priority areas identified for a new park is the land between Spadina and Davenport, on the south side of MacPherson Avenue (see page 38-39 of the master plan for more detail). This fall an online community consultation will be held to get feedback on the design of this new community park.
Date: November 17th, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Location: WebEx – visit the Green Line website at www.toronto.ca/greenline for further information and for a link to the meeting.
HAVE YOUR SAY! Development Consultation Meetings
In November, I will be hosting a second consultation meeting for each of these two active development proposals:
What would a community-based crisis response look like? The City of Toronto is looking to re-imagine ways of responding to crisis calls that are collaborative, innovative and grounded in community needs and desires. To do this, the City wants to understand your priorities for what a community-based crisis response could look like. Complete this online survey before November 9th, 2020. For more details, please visit this website.
Hodgson and Cedarvale Park Outdoor Skating Rinks Open November 28th!
Get ready to sharpen those skates, Toronto-St. Paul’s. The outdoor rinks located at Hodgson PS (Mt.Pleasant and Davisville) and Cedarvale Park (443 Arlington Avenue) will be open starting on November 28th. To check out a full list of outdoor rinks across our City, please click here.
Hillcrest Playground Update
I am pleased to announce that the improvements we’ve made to the playground at Hillcrest Park are almost completed! While the construction activities have ended, the site fencing is still up to allow newly installed sod to establish. The fence will be removed by the end of next week and the playground will be open for our community to enjoy.
Traffic Agents Program
This month, the Toronto Police Services Board designated six City of Toronto Traffic Agents as Special Constables. This is part of the City’s Traffic Agents Program, which is a congestion management strategy that will place Traffic Agents, employed by the City of Toronto, at key intersections during morning and afternoon peak periods. This designation gives the Agents the power to manage traffic at signalized intersections in our city – something that only police officers were able to do thus far. The Toronto Police Services Board, the City and the Toronto Police Service worked with the Province to ensure Traffic Agents could receive special constable designation and make this program possible.
I am very happy to finally see the Traffic Agents program starting after years of advocacy and work through the bureaucracy of the City, Province and the Police Services Board. As a member of the Council’s Audit Committee in my first term, I set a process in motion to reduce the number of paid-duty police officers the City needs to hire at construction and work sites. This helped pave the way for the subsequent work on the traffic wardens program in 2017 that became the Traffic Agents program that we see today. There are many more improvements that we need to see, but this is a good step forward. I will continue my advocacy on this front and keep pressure on the Toronto Police Services Board to provide necessary resources to adequately enforce the Highway Traffic Act in our city’s neighbourhoods.
Farm Boy Opens at Yonge and Soudan!
I’m proud to announce that a Farm Boy has opened its doors in our Midtown Yonge community. Although home delivery isn’t an option at this location, I’ve been informed that the Dupont Sobeys offers this service and should anyone require this service, please feel welcome to call 416-534-3588 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jollibee Opens at Yonge and Broadway!
Last week, I was thrilled for our local Filipino community and many other Jolly Crispy Chicken fans when I heard that a Jollibee will be opening in our Yonge and Eglinton community. I hope to see you there!
Beltline “Lost Stations” Update:
I initiated the Beltline “Lost Stations” to enhance our community’s experience as we walk through Midtown’s neighborhoods, to create a sense of place and to share the stories of our beloved linear park. Enjoy!
Inclusionary Zoning Policy Consultation
While this may be a surprise to many of our residents, the City of Toronto does not have the power to require affordable housing as part of new development proposals. This power can be given to municipalities only by the Province, which was done by the previous government back in 2018. Before the City can implement inclusionary zoning, City staff must complete required background work, including preparing an Assessment Report, undertaking public consultations, and drafting Official Plan policies.
You can learn more about the City’s inclusionary zoning policy that is in the works at the link here. The next virtual public meetings on the policy will be on October 29th (6pm to 8pm), November 5th (noon to 2pm) and November 10th (7pm to 9pm). You can register for any of the meetings and learn more about the consultation process at this link here. The lack of affordable housing is a real problem in our city and I hope that many of you will engage with the consultation process to share your insights and questions with City Planning.
Virtual Public Open House: High Level Pumping Station Standby Power Facility
The High Level Pumping Station, located on Cottingham Street, ensures that safe drinking water is pumped to three separate districts in mid-town Toronto for distribution to homes and businesses. In 2016, a City-wide study identified the need for a standby power facility to be installed at the pumping station to ensure that drinking water could continue to be pumped during a utility outage, such as an electrical blackout. The pumping station currently operates without backup power. We invite you to attend a virtual Public Open House to learn more and review the options for the High Level Pumping Station Standby Power Facility. City staff will be available to answer your questions and receive your comments.
It was such a pleasure to visit the new Mural by Marg in our very own Mt. Pleasant Village BIA. This new addition truly animates the street. I welcome you to check it out.
Local Issues at Community Council in November
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.
Supporting the Canadian Mothercraft Society
I’m pleased to report that at yesterday’s General Government and Licensing Committee, my colleagues supported my motion to support the Canadian Mothercraft Society to deliver non-profit child care and programming for infants, toddlers and preschoolers for our Yonge and Eglinton families. Check out my motion here.
Midtown Tiny Tots Activity Centre
I enjoyed visiting the new Midtown Tiny Tots Children’s Activity Centre today at 745 Mount Pleasant Rd (just south of Eglinton). Run by the owners of Midtown Tiny Tots Daycare, it provides parents a place to work, or drop off, while their kids play safely. https://midtownstinytots.com/dropin
Calling All Youth: Wychwood Barns Park Design Thinking Challenge
One thing we know for sure is that our love for Wychwood Barns runs deep. The Park, however, is in desperate need of some changes in order to make things more inclusive and accessible to all users. The Friends of Wychwood Barns Park and I are in the preliminary stages of looking to revitalize the playground and we want to hear from YOU!
WHO: ALL youth are invited to submit for our Wychwood Barns Park Design Thinking Challenge. All ideas will be reviewed and compiled by the Friends of Wychwood Barns Park Committee. Youth participants will then be invited to a Google Meet when the Design Thinking Challenge wraps. Together, we will share, ask questions and co-create some core priorities for the newly envisioned Park. WHAT: Using materials of your choice, please consider brainstorming some possible solutions that speak to the following problems: ⇨How might we re-think Wychwood Barns Park to be a more inclusive and accessible playground and outdoor gathering space for ALL (e.g., think intergenerational equipment, ground cover, safety considerations, shade) ⇨How might we make the space more considerate, intentional and innovative? (e.g., opportunities to make it greener, sustainable materials, inclusion of outdoor art murals, etc?) HOW/WHEN: Please take a photo or scan your idea(s) and send it to email@example.com, cc: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Wychwood Barns Park Design Thinking Challenge. The deadline for submissions is 12:00 noon on November 30, 2020.
*Please note, submissions might also be highlighted on social media accounts.
We look forward to your ideas, interest, and commitment to making this a more inclusive space for our entire community!
For more information, please visit facebook.com/playatthebarns
Mosaic Home Care Services November 2020 Program Line-Up
My friends at Mosaic Home Care Services have taken some of their program online during the COVID-19 pandemic. I welcome you to visit this link to check out their November 2020 activity calendar.
Oakwood Village BIA: A Common Thread
Neighborhoods are like a quilting pattern of the various people and events that come together in a place over time. A Common Thread is an initiative led by our very own Oakwood Village BIA to collect your memories and stories of the neighbourhood, as one might collect patches of fabric for a quilt. These stories of Oakwood Village will be shared through the Oakwood Village BIA’s social media, web based platforms and incorporated into the mural unveiling. To enter your story, please fill out this form.
As you may have noticed, the BIA re-painted the benches on the Oakwood and Vaughan traffic island as part of this project. Check out the new benches below!
AGO Zooms into Classrooms with Free Virtual Art Education for Students in JK to Grade 12
This fall, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is proving that just because field trips are on pause, art education doesn’t have to be. Beginning Tuesday, October 13, the AGO invites students in the classroom or at home, to connect via Zoom for a new series of free guided art conversations, happening every weekday, Monday to Friday, in real time.
Designed to bring the AGO to students, each 30-minute conversation will be led by a trained art educator and will highlight artwork and artists from the AGO’s Collection, include a mini creative exercise and feature opportunities for discussion. These curriculum-based conversations will emphasize the role of art in promoting wellness and connect to contemporary subjects including the art of the African Diaspora, art and the senses, and Indigenous Art.
Registration for each or all of these conversations is always free of charge. Teachers, parents and caregivers are invited to register and share with one child or a classroom of students. To see a full schedule of upcoming conversations and to register, visit https://ago.ca/visit/group-visits/virtual-school-programs
Good Neighbour Project Volunteer Recruitment
City of Toronto launches MoveTO action plan to help manage congestion and build a more resilient and safer transportation system
The City of Toronto launched a City staff action plan to help manage congestion and build a more resilient, modern and safe transportation system.
The plan, which will be considered at the Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting on Thursday, November 5, proposes five key measures that will help make the City’s transportation system more resilient in response to the effects of COVID-19 on Toronto’s overall transportation network.
The five key proposed actions that can launch starting next year include:
‘Smart’ traffic signals – automatically adjusted signal timing based on actual traffic demand. Staff are proposing 500 locations over the next five years.
‘Intelligent’ intersections – helps to improve safety at intersections for pedestrians and cyclists. Staff are proposing 100 locations over the next two years.
Advanced Transit Signal Priority (ATSP) – detects buses running behind schedule and extends green times when necessary. Staff are proposing the first 100 priority locations be installed over the next two years and eventually grow to approximately 500 signals along key TTC corridors across the city.
Continue and grow the Construction Hub Pilot Program – a program that helps manage traffic and reduce congestion caused by construction around work zones, improves communication with the local community, and keeps people safe. The next step is a focus on working with developers to do more to reduce the amount of time the right-of-way is closed to construction.
Transportation Demand Management Strategy – a set of measures to help avoid congestion at specific times, locations, and on certain modes of transportation. Staff propose building on the existing Smart Commute program with local employers to provide additional supports for commuters, while developing strategies to address more localized instances of congestion.
As the report states, these five recommended strategies aim to reduce travel times and improve travel reliability for vehicles, improve safety and optimize movement for pedestrians and cyclists at intersections, improve transit operations, coordinate construction activities to minimize impacts to the transportation network and improve safety, and help employers to reduce travel demand and greenhouse gas emissions.
The MoveTO plan builds on the work the City of Toronto has done to positively impact congestion, while also considering safer streets, improved equity, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions as they relate to Toronto’s larger transportation network. Some of these strategies include the recently approved Freight and Goods Movement Strategy, the upcoming Traffic Agents program and the Vision Zero Road Safety Plan.
The Stop Wychwood Barns’ Farmer’s Market
It’s an amazing feeling to be back with my family and community at our beloved Thee 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 indoors during this winter season.
SERRA and OPA AGMs
Please join me at two virtual neighbourhood association AGMs this month. The South Eglinton Residents and Ratepayers Association AGM and Town Hall will take place on November 19th from 6:30pm until 9:00pm. Zoom details can be found online at www.southeglinton.ca. The Oriole Park Association AGM will be held on November 18th at 7:00pm. Zoom details for the OPA meeting can be found on the OPA’s website here. Hope to see you there!
2020 EcoFair Toronto
EcoFair at the Barns has gone online as EcoFair Toronto – help celebrate the start of a green new decade!
FREE and exciting events organized by EcoFair Toronto are happening online Thursday to Sunday every week up to the finale on Nov 8. Visit ecofairtoronto.org for event details and registration.
Different themes each week. Something for everyone!
* Carbon Countdown Oct 15-18 – including inspiring film 2040
* Waste Not Oct 22-25 – including fun film MICROPLASTIC MADNESS
* Active & Healthy Oct 29-Nov 1 – including engaging film BICYCLE
* EcoEconomy Nov 5-8 – including uplifting film KISS THE GROUND
On the website, explore the Event Schedule, Exhibitor Showcase, neighbourhood EcoTours, and family-friendly Fun & Games at ecofairtoronto.org.
A Special Message from our Friends at the Hospital Workers Housing Co-op
We want to start off by thanking everyone who came out to Kensington Flea Market on October 18th to support our first Surprise Book n’ Play event! Because of everyone’s generous donations we were able to raise $433 that will go directly towards our mission of building a playground for the Hospital Workers Housing Coop!
If you were unable to make it to the event, don’t stress- this was simply the first of a series of farmers market events we will be participating in. So be sure to stay tuned by following us on Twitter or subscribing to our newsletters so you don’t miss a beat!
For those of you who are unaware of our local grassroots initiative, we are the Play4AllMertonProject, and our mission is to break down barriers to play and make outdoor recreation free and accessible for everyone!
Did you know that 60% of people who come from low income housing face some type of barrier when trying to attempt physical activity or access outdoor recreational spaces?
98% of Canadians are in agreement that parks and outdoor recreational spaces benefit communities and are essential for a good quality of life.
Play is not a luxury, it’s a necessity for healthy child development, and It has also consistently proven to help boost levels of healthy mental and physical health.
60% of those who reside in the Hospital Workers Housing Coop are from minority, newcomer, or low income backgrounds. Therefore, we are going to improve their access to play and build a playground and outdoor recreational space in the HWHC courtyard. Everyone has a right to play.
If you agree and want to learn how you can get involved in our mission, you can visit our website mentioned above or send us an email at: email@example.com
Development Proposals in Ward 12
To ensure you are informed and engaged about development proposals being proposed for sites near your neighbourhood, I’ve created an interactive webpage.