Councillor Josh Matlow

Councillor Matlow’s Community and City Hall Update: Fall I

Councillor Matlow’s Community and City Hall Update: Fall I

2019-11-04T20:16:57+00:00

Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur

To those celebrating in our Jewish community, I wish you a Shanah Tovah and a meaningful fast this Yom Kippur!


Declaration of Climate Emergency a Step in the Right Direction:Last week, many Midtown residents joined thousands of Torontonians in the Climate Strike march downtown. Many of us have been inspired by the dedication, passion and sense of urgency demonstrated by Greta Thunberg and millions of young people across the globe over the past year.

But addressing climate change should never have required youth to rise up to get adults to act. We can’t let future generations down any longer.

That’s why I was pleased to support Mayor Tory and Councillor Layton’s motion declaring a climate emergency on behalf of City Council. The declaration was supported by a number of positive actions that seek to accelerate and enhance the City’s climate action plan (TransformTO), including:

  • The feasibility of establishing interim 2023 and 2027 targets and actions that put Toronto on track to meet its 2030 target, including quick-wins in the transportation and building sectors
  • Strategy for securing dedicated and sustained climate funding to adequately finance climate actions necessary to meet 2030 emission reduction targets;
  • A climate lens that evaluates and considers the climate impacts of all major City of Toronto decisions, including financial decisions;
  •  A plan to measure, monitor and reduce consumption-based (lifecycle) emissions
  • Feasibility of creating a Toronto Carbon Budget to aid in the implementation of TransformTO.

It’s important to note that the above measures are all requests to City Staff to develop plans; no measure to meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions was taken today. Without subsequent action, this emergency declaration will be worthless.

I’ve been proud to advocate for the full funding of TransformTO, the city’s plan to reduce our carbon footprint by 80% by the year 2050. I’m also consistently fighting for better transit and cycling infrastructure, as well as a fully funded ravine strategy to protect our city’s environmental assets.

The first step is for the Mayor and Council to stop making politically-driven decisions such as rebuilding the Gardiner East and sinking all our available transit funding in Scarborough into a subway plan that will get fewer people out of their cars than an LRT network.

The City of Toronto must treat the climate crisis as a priority, and this week’s motion is an important first step. We must continue to fund initiatives and make decisions that will truly address this crisis


Slowing Down to Save Lives:Traffic safety in Midtown and across Toronto has been an increasing concern due to the pressures associated with intensification and reckless driver behavior. The conflict between heavy construction vehicles and crowded streets tragically claimed the life of another pedestrian, Evangeline Lauroza, recently in the Yonge-Eglinton area.

For many years, I have worked with local Councillors and residents to make our neighbourhoods safer by lowering speed limits on local residential streets, and increasing fines for illegal parking in dangerous zones. I’ve also advocated to limit occupancy on roadways for construction, and enhanced enforcement from the Toronto Police Service.

While the Toronto Police Service needs to make traffic safety a priority, no amount of police presence will dissuade all bad drivers. That’s why I moved a motion at Council this week requesting an audit looking at potential road reconfigurations and other traffic safety measures consistent with Vision Zero principles.

The City needs to send a strong message that arriving at a destination a couple minutes faster is never worth putting someone’s life at risk. Instead of viewing pedestrians as obstacles, we need see them as though they could be a friend or family member, and someone who would be missed terribly if they were ever fatally hit by a driver of a vehicle. Let’s all slow down.


Addressing the Roots of Youth Violence:The seminal Roots of Youth Violence report written in 2008 provided a detailed roadmap to curb gun violence amongst vulnerable young people. The report cites inequality, poverty, systemic racism, and a lack of opportunity as primary factors influencing whether a teen picks up a gun or chooses a better path in life. The report concludes that the most effective means of reducing gun violence is by providing at-risk youth with access to supports including job training, education assistance, recreation, counselling, and mentorship.

That’s why it’s disheartening to see that our city’s response to yet another summer of gun violence was to invest $4.5 million in enforcement and surveillance, while only spending $300,000 in community supports. Police are certainly a critical component of addressing gun violence, but the benefits are only short-term- new gang members take the place of arrested ones unless we address the systemic factors that make gang life attractive for vulnerable youth.

I’ll continue to fight for programs that have been demonstrated to actually protect communities and save lives.

To learn more, please see my campaign to open new youth hubs that would provide a safe, supportive after-school space within walking distance of every young person in the city, and read this Toronto Star article for information on this week’s Council vote on the issue.


Empowering Toronto: Update on Legal Challenges to Bill 5:

The legal fight against the Ford government’s reckless and undemocratic interference midway through Toronto’s 2018 election continues through the courts. As expected, the Ontario Court of Appeal sided with the provincial government in a decision made public on September 19.

In a 3-2 decision, the Court concluded that Bill 5 was constitutional as “the question before (the) court is not whether the legislation is good or bad policy, was fair or unfair; the question is whether it violates the Charter or is otherwise unconstitutional.”

City Council has already given direction to the City Solicitor to challenge Bill 5 all the way to the Supreme Court. The dissenting conclusion from Justices MacPherson and Nordheimer provides cause for some optimism about the City’s prospects at the next level:

“… the actions taken by Ontario…left a trail of devastation of basic democratic principles in its wake.  By extinguishing almost half of the city’s existing wards midway through an active election, Ontario blew up the efforts, aspirations and campaign materials of hundreds of aspiring candidates, and the reciprocal engagement of many informed voters.  This infringement of s. 2(b) was extensive, profound, and seemingly without precedent in Canadian history.”

It is important to note that the majority also concluded that Bill 5 didn’t violate the principle of effective representation in s. 3 of the Charter dealing with voting rights, not because there wasn’t a flagrant disregard for Torontonians democratic rights but because that portion of the charter “applies to the Federal and Provincial but not municipal governments”.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, yet we have less power than PEI to manage our affairs. This is why the EmpowerTO campaign to secure the rights and resources needed for Toronto thrive is more important than ever. Please visit our webpage  to see how you can stand up for Toronto. 


HAVE YOUR SAY! Planning and Development Updates at Yonge & St. Clair

As many local residents know, there is increasing development pressure in the Yonge and St. Clair area. Over the past year, there have been a number of new development proposals submitted to the City that are currently being reviewed by City Planning staff. This includes sites at 1 Delisle, 1365 Yonge Street and most recently, a new application on the Wittington site in the northeast quadrant of Yonge and St. Clair.

While these current proposals do not conform to our policies and would not be supported by me at City Council, our current Official Plan policies do not go far enough in directing the scale, intensity and character we would like any new development to achieve.

That’s why I moved a motion directing the City to work with local community members and stakeholders in creating a new vision to support the quality of life we all want at Yonge and St. Clair. Preliminary work is already underway through a review of the current built form and open space context. During a walkabout to kick start this study, representatives from Deer Park Residents Group, Summerhill Residents Association & Cycle Toronto Midtown helped priorities in the community to our city Staff conducting the review.


Yonge & St. Clair Walkabout with Local Residents, Community Planning and Urban Design Staff on Alvin Street

Your feedback is very important to me and I hope to see you at these two public meetings to discuss the future of Yonge & St. Clair. If you’re unable to attend, I would still like to hear from you so please feel welcome to share your comments with me at councillor_matlow@toronto.ca or call at (416) 392 7906

Yonge & St. Clair Planning Framework Consultation

Please join me and City Planning staff to hear about and provide feedback on a preliminary planning framework for the area.

Date: Thursday, October 24, 2019
Time: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Place: 230 St. Clair Ave W (Timothy Eaton Memorial Church)

City Planning Contacts are:

Kevin.Friedrich@toronto.ca – (416) 338-5740 OR
David.Driedger@toronto.ca – (416) 392-7613

Development Consultation for 1495-1525 Yonge St, 1-31 Heath St E & 30-36 Alvin Ave (Wittington Site)

City Planning is currently reviewing an application to amend the Official Plan and Zoning By-law to permit a new development consisting of three-residential towers at 59, 39 and 34 Storeys in height. They are proposing 1357 residential units (inclusive of 30 rental replacement units) and a mix of non-residential space. For more details on the proposal, and initial comments from the City, you can review the preliminary report here.

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Time: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Place: 230 St. Clair Ave W (Timothy Eaton Memorial Church)


Please contact the City Planner for more information or to provide comments
David.Driedger@toronto.ca – (416) 392-7613


Green Line Master Plan:

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 here.

One of the priority areas identified for a new park is the land between Spadina and Davenport, south of MacPherson (see page 38-39 of the master plan for more detail). In the coming months, a community consultation will be announced, and there will be opportunities to provide input on this new community space!


Shoresh & PJ Library Connectors Midtown Rosh Hashanah Market:

It was a pleasure to visit Shoresh and PJ Library Connectors at their Midtown Rosh Hashanah market on Cedric Avenue a few weeks ago. Their Rosh Hashanah honey and beeswax candles are truly one of a kind!


City-Wide Study on Existing City of Toronto Off-Leash Areas:

Dog Off-Leash Areas (DOLAs) are great assets to our communities. The City of Toronto is conducting a study to find out how the City’s existing DOLAs can be improved to accommodate an increasing human and dog population. Some of the study goals include improving the design, maintenance, and operation of DOLAs, and encouraging healthy relationships between dog owners and non-dog owners.

The study is now in its final stages of consultation. Ten case study sites have been selected for on-site ‘Pup-up’ consultations. The findings from these sites, along with all data and feedback collected so far, will be applied to sites across the city. One of the selected case sites is located in Ward 12: the Wychwood Barns Park DOLA.

As part of this initiative, the City of Toronto is hosting a series of Pup-Up events in October at 10 of the City’s Off-Leash Areas (OLAs) to engage with park users. At the Pup-Ups, the City and its consultant team will share and seek feedback on preliminary City-wide recommendations being developed as part of the study to help improve the City’s existing OLAs. You can also find out more about the study on the project website at www.toronto.ca/olastudy

All the Pup-Ups will take place within or adjacent to the Off-Leash Areas. Please see below for the scheduled dates and times.

Location (Off-Leash Area)DateTime
Bayview Arena ParkThursday, October 17th4:30 – 6:30 pm
Cherry Beach ParkSaturday, October 19th9:00 – 11:00 am
High ParkSaturday, October 19th12:00 – 2:00 pm
Merrill Bridge ParkTuesday, October 22nd8:00 – 10:00 am
Beresford ParkWednesday, October 23rd9:00 – 11:00 am
Allan GardensWednesday, October 23rd4:30 – 6:30 pm
Sunnybrook ParkThursday, October 24th10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Sandy Bruce ParkThursday, October 24th4:30 – 6:30 pm
Wychwood Car Barns ParkSaturday, October 26th9:00 – 11:00 am
L’Amoreaux parkMonday, October 28th4:30 – 6:30 pm

TCHC Restructure to Improve Frontline Services to Tenants:

Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) is restructuring its organization to add more front-line resources and empower staff to deliver better, faster service to its 110,000 tenants.

Building on the City of Toronto’s Tenants First plan, Toronto Community Housing will implement the restructuring over the next six months. The following improvements, approved by the TCHC Board, will redirect resources to frontline teams that will provide services closer to where tenants live.

  • Decentralizing decision-making away from head office and into all buildings and communities, and hiring more superintendents, cleaners and support staff. This will ensure the right people can make the right decisions for tenants right away.
  • Creating 134 local service hubs across the city, where the prime point of contact for tenants will be the building superintendent, supported by a local team focused on building services, tenancy management and community supports. This will make sure tenants get help for issues in their unit or building when they need it.
  • Investing $5 million a year to expand hours of service to cover evenings and weekends based on community needs and bring more services into buildings and local hubs. This is about making sure we have strong frontline services.
  • Empowering superintendents to make service decisions at the local level, so that tenants can have meaningful conversations about their homes that don’t get lost in process. This is about cutting red tape and putting our tenants first.

To support these changes, TCHC is creating three new regional offices across the city each led by a General Manager with responsibility for the complete spectrum of tenant services.


Davisville Village Community Festival

During the month of September, I organized an afternoon filled with free barbeque, samosas, ice cream, City of Toronto and local not-for-profits booths, raffle prizes and much more for our Davisville Village community. We had an amazing turn out and couldn’t have done it with our community partners which include, the AGO, GoodLife Fitness at Mount Pleasant and Davisville, Tim Hortons at Yonge and Davisville, The Chesterfield Shop, Tabule, Bosley Real Estate Broker- Patrick Rocca, RMT 360, SERRA, Denistry @ 1881, The Belsize Public House and Motion Fit Rehab and Wellness!

         

         

         


Oriole Park PS Playground Update:

I’m very pleased to announce that $350,000 in local developers’ fees I was able to secure has been transferred to the TDSB to support the construction of an accessible playground at Oriole Park PS.

As Oriole Park students and parents know well, the current playground is too small and inadequate for children with special needs at the school and in the wider community. The new accessible playground equipment will allow children of all abilities to participate, and to be included, in recreational activities with each other. Kids of every ability will have the opportunity to be included in the life of their school and play with all their friends.

I very much look forward to working closely with Trustee Laskin, Principal Quimby, the Parent Council, and local residents to build a wonderful new playground for all of our community’s children. Construction of the walking track, outdoor classrooms, long jump pit and much more is currently underway.


Brown PS Playground Update:

In my recent visit to Brown Public School, I was excited to see the work progressing on the school’s new play space. With the $350,000 funds that I secured through local developers’ fee, this play space will be fully accessible to all children. Fore more details on when the construction will be completed, please feel welcome to contact the school.


Celebrating Latin American Heritage Month:

It was my pleasure to celebrate Latin American Heritage Month by marching in a parade through our Wychwood neighbourhood, enjoying a market at the barns and spending a fun afternoon with my family and the Latin American community.


Toronto HomeShare Website Launch:

Toronto HomeShare, a City of Toronto program and initiative a part of the Toronto Seniors Strategy Version 2.0, matches older adults aged 55 and over wishing to share a spare room in their home with University and College students seeking affordable housing. In exchange for reduced rent of $400-$600 per month, the student provides up to 7 hours of companionship and/or assistance with completing light household tasks such as preparing and sharing meals, tidying up, carrying groceries or walking a pet. As Toronto’s Seniors Advocate, I’m proud to announce that the program has officially launched their webpage. Please click here to learn more about this innovative program.


Toronto- St. Paul’s Live Green Block Party 

Thanks to your exceptional effort in the Take Steps to #TransformTO Walking Challenge in May of this year, our community won a block party hosted by Live Green Toronto! On Saturday, September 21 Toronto St-Paul’s came together for a fun filled afternoon of music, activities and a ceremony where we were presented a trophy for all your hard work.

         


SAVE THE DATE: Oriole Park Association’s AGM

Join me on Thursday, November 7th for the Oriole Park Association Annual General Meeting. The meeting will take place at 7:00pm and will be located in Oriole Park Junior Public School. Hope to see you there!


NIA Centre for the Arts Presents: A Black Art Fair

On Saturday October 19th between 1:00pm-7:00pm at 524 Oakwood Avenue, the NIA Centre welcomes you to attend their Black Art Fair! Meet talented local black artists and find amazing pieces for your art collection. For more details, please check out this flyer here.


Toronto Police 53 Division Open House Event:

The Officers and staff of Toronto Police’s 53 Division invite you to their annual open house at 75 Eglinton Avenue W on Saturday October 12th from 11am until 3pm. The event will include a tour of the station, a display of various police units, a barbeque, face painting, prizes and much more! Stop by and have your picture taken with some police horses and dogs!


Toronto Council on Aging Volunteer Call Out:

The Age-Friendly Ambassadors Project (funded through New Horizons for Seniors Program) encourages civic engagement and volunteerism among older adults’ communities across Toronto by working with local businesses to become more age-inclusive in their business practices (including both customer service and built environment).

The Toronto Council on Aging invites older adult volunteers or “Ambassadors” to a 2-hour training session on the importance of age-friendly practices, as well as how to use the evaluation to assess businesses that they frequent regularly. Refreshments will be provided and each location requires about 10-15. Ambassadors will work in pairs to evaluate these businesses and provide a written report to businesses, with the hopes that changes will be made to make their businesses accessible to people with varying levels of cognitive and physical capacities – including those living with dementia.

The training dates are as follows:
– October 24th – Sprint Senior Care – 2-4pm
– October 25th – West Neighbourhood House – 2-4pm (TBC)
– October 31st – Malvern Family Resource Centre (TBC)
– November 1st – 721 Broadview – Woodgreen Community Centre – 2-4pm

For more information, please check-out this flyer.


Frankel Lambert’s Annual Community Garden Harvest Party:

Molly and I had an amazing time with our Frankel Lambert community at their annual Community Garden Harvest Party. I look forward to attending next year’s event!


Sarah and Claire’s Food Drive:

Sarah and Claire’s Food Drive has been supporting neighbours experiencing hunger in the GTA since 2008. Thanks to community support, the Food Drive has raised over 500,000 pounds of food in the last 11 years and empowered over 100,000 youth to engage with their community. If you would like to donate to help with the Food Drive this Thanksgiving, please click here. 


Hanson Road BBQ & Street Party Event:

I was thrilled to join the Police Community Partnership at 13 Division, Oakwood Pizzeria and the Oakwood Village BIA for their annual street party on Hanson Road in September. I look forward to attending next year’s!


Public Consultations on Environmental Initiatives in Toronto:

The public is being invited to consultations regarding two environmental initiatives in the coming month. First, the City of Toronto is inviting residents to share their ideas on actions and priorities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Toronto. Four public meetings will take place in October. For more information on the times and locations, as well as to register to attend, please click here.  The city is also holding consultations on reducing single-use and takeaway items in Toronto. For more information on how you can participate, and to fill out an online survey, please click here. 


Oakwood Vaughan Library & Arts Centre Presents: Swallowing Clouds Arts Program

Swallowing Clouds Arts Program is a free community arts program offered to children ages 9-12, after school on Wednesdays, between October 2 – November 6, 4-5:30, with a final show for parents on November 9. To reserve your spot, I welcome you to call Oakwood Library or come in to sign there form. This is an excellent and inclusive free arts program offered after school with experienced art facilitators. For more details, please click here.


Toronto-St.Paul’s Federal Election Debate:

With the federal election taking place on Monday October 21st, I welcome you attend the following debate to learn more about the candidates running in our community:

All Candidates Forum at Christie Gardens:
Date: Tuesday, October 15th
Time: 7:00 pm – 9:15 pm
Location: Christie Gardens Auditorium (600 Melita Cres., on our Lower Level)


Toronto-St Paul’s Farmer’s Markets:

Ward 12 is lucky to have a variety of wonderful farmer’s markets across our neighbourhoods. Join me at the markets listed below to see friends, neighbours and buy fresh produce and other food. See you there!

Davisville Farmer’s Market: Every Tuesday between 3:00pm and 7:00pm at June Rowlands Park.

The Stop Farmer’s Market at Wychwood Barns: Every Saturday from 8:00am to 12:30pm at 601 Christie Street (Wychwood Barns)

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