Provincial Cuts Equal $177.65 million download to City of Toronto
Premier Doug Ford has continued his devastating cuts on Toronto. A report from our City Manager at this week’s Council meeting estimated the pressure on the City of Toronto’s already-approved 2019 Budget from Ford’s actions to be $177.65 million. The cuts include:
$84.8 million for Children’s Services (Childcare)
$65 million for Toronto Public Health
$24 million from the cancellation of planned Provincial Gas Tax Funding
$3.85 million for Toronto Paramedic Services
It is important to note that the above figures represent pro-rated reductions in funding for 2019. The province has provided information on the long-term plans for some of the funding. Notably, Toronto’s Public Health Budget will be reduced by $1 Billion over the next 10 years as the province moves to a 50-50 cost-sharing arrangement, making Ontario the only province to not fund 100% of public health costs. Some of the programs that will be at risk due to the public health cuts include:
Over 600 Student Nutrition (school breakfast programs)
Dental clinics and programs that identify dental disease in students
Overdose prevention programs
Sexual health clinics
Clinics that prevent the spread of diseases (like measles and hepatitis)
Outbreak management in care facilities like our long term care homes
Emergency preparation and response to life-threatening outbreaks and hazards (like chemical spills) and detection and response to public health threats (like SARS and H1N1)
Daycare safety inspections
Preschool speech and language programs as well as infant hearing loss programs
Bed bug identification and prevention
Inspection of pools, beaches, and water quality testing
Many of these programs quite literally save lives, and all of them make Toronto a healthier, safer, and more livable city. I commend Mayor Tory and Chair of the Public Health Board, Councillor Joe Cressy for leading the fight against Premier Ford to try and reverse these cuts.
Provincial Legislation will Remove Planning Tools Providing Infrastructure and Social Services
As I wrote to you in a special newsletter last month, the Doug Ford government has introduced a bill that would return the final say in local planning matters to an unaccountable, unelected provincial body as we saw under the OMB. The Province’s stated of goal of introducing Bill 108, the More Homes, More Choice Act was to increase the supply of housing to make the market more affordable. However, Gregg Lintern, Toronto’s Chief Planner, stated in a report at Council earlier this week that the Bill contains “…limited evidence that its central objectives, making it easier to bring housing to market and accelerating local planning decisions, will be achieved,”
As further details have emerged, it appears that the province is also threatening to remove the few tools the City of Toronto had to ensure that development is accompanied by infrastructure and social services that make communities livable.
Section 37, and other measures under the Planning Act have been insufficient to meet the needs of fast-growing areas such as Yonge and Eglinton, but they have allowed our community to provide affordable childcare centres, parks, playgrounds, and allocate funding toward important long-term projects such as the Midtown Hub which will feature a new Aquatic Centre. Eliminating these measures could threaten many projects across Toronto that are currently in the City’s 10 year Capital Plan, including:
12 child-care centres with a cumulative 583 spaces
21 Toronto Public Library expansion and renovation project
106 new or expanded parks
17 community recreation centres, 5 pools, 4 arenas and over 200 playground improvement projects
Developer fees also go toward large infrastructure projects such as subways, trunk sewers, and electricity upgrades. If passed, the Province’s changes would lead to a significant transfer of costs from wealthy developers to local residents.
To learn more and have your voice heard, please join me and my colleagues for a town hall meeting in the Council Chambers at City Hall (100 Queen Street West) on May 27, at 7:00pm. You can also take action with my online campaign, which can be found here.
In 2015, I worked with my fellow Midtown Councillors to initiate the Midtown in Focus review of growth, built form, and infrastructure issues in the Yonge-Eglinton area. After three years of community consultation meetings and intensive study by our dedicated City Planning Staff, Council passed an up-to-date policy that will guide growth in the area and, in combination with necessary improvements identified through the review, support the vitality and quality of life in Midtown Toronto.
Unfortunately, this report has sat on the Minister of Municipal Affairs’ desk since that time. The Minister has until June 6th to approve the plan or it will effectively die.
With approval, we can finally enact a plan that will see social services and infrastructure such as parks, affordable childcare, heritage preservation, senior’s supports, water capacity and recreation space keep pace with growth. The provincial government cannot keep allowing Midtown to be a place for developers to make money building tall buildings without being planned with a focus on our community’s quality of life.
Please show your support by signing this email petition created by the South Eglinton Residents and Ratepayers Association (SERRA).
For more information on this issue, please read this CBC article.
St. Clair and Bathurst Planning Study Thank you to the City’s planning team and every resident who participated in our second community meeting (along with the first meeting, a Jane’s Walk and Stakeholder Group) for providing thoughtful feedback to support a strong vision for our community.
If you were unable to attend the meeting, you can view the presentation which includes a vision statement and identifies distinct character areas, through the City’s portal here. City Planning Staff will also have a booth set up at the Wychwood Farmer’s Market on Saturday, June 22nd to collect final comments from the community before finishing their final report to community council. Demanding Accountability after Auditor General finds Tree Maintenance Contractors Defraud Toronto Residents
As a member of the Audit Committee, I was disappointed to read a report from Toronto’s Auditor General earlier this month, stating that tree maintenance crews contracted by the City had filed fraudulent work orders that cost taxpayers $2.6 million. In a review of GPS logs, the Auditor found that more than 50% of the tree crews assessed had overstated the amount of time spent maintaining trees. Instead, the GPS showed that the contracted workers spent hours at coffee shops, malls, and other locations not related to their work with the City.
This is an unacceptable abuse of the public’s trust and our money. I support Mayor Tory’s call to look at potential legal action to recoup some of the money that was taken from Toronto residents. For more information, please see this article.
UPDATE: Save Our Subway!
An exclusive new article by Toronto Star Reporter, Ben Spurr has pulled the curtain back on the confidential negotiations between the Province and the City over the proposed takeover of Toronto’s subways. Through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, Spurr found that the Ontario government’s interest has gone well beyond the subways, and is now asking for information regarding Union Station and even operating manuals for TTC streetcars.
Please sign this petition telling Doug Ford to improve our overcrowded subway system rather than dismantle it and sell off its assets.
SAVE THE DATE: Councillor Matlow’s Community Environment Days
On Thursday, June 6th from 4:00pm-8:00pm, I will be hosting my annual Community Environment Day in collaboration with Councillor Mike Colle in the parking lot of North Toronto Memorial Arena (174 Orchard View Blvd). In addition, on Sunday, June 23rd, from 10:00-2:00pm, I will also be hosting a Community Environment Day at Wychwood Barns. Please drop off any unwanted art supplies, books, toys, and used sports equipment. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste, or even replace your damaged green bin.
For more information on Community Environment Days, please click here.
Mother’s Day at Fairbank Community Centre
It was a such a pleasure celebrating some wonderful mothers and grandmothers at the Fairbank Community Centre on Mother’s Day. We discussed parenthood, the future of our city and how we can fight for it together. I love being their councillor.
Oakwood and Vaughan Community Safety Meeting
I’ve heard from local residents about ongoing concerns regarding safety, and the impact on your quality of life, due to the repeated incidents at Paradise Place, located at 571 Vaughan Road. As many of you know, a recent homicide took place here.
Our neighbourhoods deserve to be safe and vibrant. Anything less is unacceptable to me and our community.
That’s why, I’ve requested the Toronto Police Service, Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and City Staff from Social Development, Finance and Administration’s Community Crisis and Response Program and Municipal, Licensing and Standards, to join us to bring immediate attention to this priority. I’m also demanding that substantive action be taken to finally address our concerns and answer our questions about this location and any other local establishments. I’ve invited my colleague, Councillor Mike Colle, to join our discussion, as his neighbouring ward shares our challenges and concerns.
When: 6:30pm on Thursday May 23rd, 2019 Where: Bethel Restoration Ministries (611 Vaughan Road)
If you have any information regarding a criminal matter, please report it directly to the police. You can do so online at: www.torontopolice.on.ca/core or my telephone at 416-808-2222. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477) or online at: www.222tips.com
School Fun Fairs
Spring has finally arrived! Please join me, and my family, Melissa and Molly, at school fun fairs happening throughout our ward over the next month. The first will be at Oriole Park Junior Public School from 11am-3pm on May 25th! A full list of fun fairs in the community can be found on my website here.
HAVE YOUR SAY: Public Consultation Meeting for 155 Wychwood (Wychwood-Davenport Presbyterian Church)
The owner of 155 Wychwood is holding a meeting to discuss their development proposal for the site with local residents.
This is not a community meeting hosted by the City of Toronto, but one organized by the property owner. However, I will be joining our community at this meeting to learn more about this proposal and provide feedback.
When: Tuesday, May 21st 6pm-8:30pm Where: Peter MacKendrick Gallery, Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie st. (east end Barn 1)
Oriole Parkway Traffic Safety Meeting
Join me and the Oriole Park Association for a community meeting regarding traffic safety on Oriole Parkway. We will review the all-way stop pilot at Tranmer Ave and options for safety improvements at College View Ave requested by local residents.
Where: Oriole Park PS (80 Braemar Ave)
When: Monday, June 3rd – 6:30 to 8:30
Wychwood Barns 10th Anniversary
It was my pleasure to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Wychwood Barns with Carolyn Bennett, Joe Mihevc and others. The barns are truly a special place that bring all of us together.
Sharon Lois & Bram Playground Improvement Updates
Last year, the Davisville community around June Rowlands Park and I had many thoughtful and productive conversations about some needed additions and improvements to the new Sharon, Lois, and Bram playground. Following the meeting, Parks and Recreation Staff made ongoing commitments to implement more toddler-friendly play equipment and retrofits to enjoy for this spring.
Along with the spring riders and teeter totter installed in the fall of last year, the most recent addition is a new junior play structure, installed this month. A play kitchen for the sand box is coming soon and I’m working with Parks, Forestry, and Recreation staff to secure a timeline for the last few additions.
It’s been a pleasure to work with you to make sure this playground is fun, exciting, and safe for community members of all ages, and I hope to see you in the park soon!
HAVE YOUR SAY: Public Consultation Meeting for 65-83 Raglan Ave
A rezoning application has been submitted to permit a 33-storey residential building on Raglan Avenue. The proposed development would include three of levels below grade parking and 347 residential units. The site is currently occupied by a row of single and semi-detached residential dwellings that would be demolished to accommodate the proposed development.
When: Wednesday May 29th at 6:30pm Where: Forest Hill Jewish Centre (360 Spadina Road)
Please join me to learn more about this development proposal and share your comments and feedback with City Planning Staff and the developer.
If you have any questions or comments in advance, please contact Sipo Maphangoh, Senior Planner, at:
Sipo.Maphangoh@toronto.ca (416) 338-2478
Brentwood Towers Tenants’ Association Annual General Meeting
I look forward to participating in the upcoming Brentwood Towers Tenants’ Association (BTTA) Annual General Meeting at 7:30pm on Thursday, June 13 at the Brentwood Towers amenity room, 19 Lascelles Blvd. to update members on local and city-wide issues and developments. You can learn more about the association through their website here
Community Garage Sales
On Saturday June 1, 2019 The Oriole Park Ratepayers Association will be holding their annual Garage Sale throughout Chaplin Estates from 8:00AM to 2:00PM. The Sale area is bounded by Eglinton Avenue West / Yonge Street and Chaplin Crescent (The Belt Line).
The 12th Annual Casa Loma Yard Sale is being held this month. This year’s date it Saturday, June 1st from 10am until 2pm.
Low Income Retirement Planning Information Session
Maria A. Schuka Library will be hosting a free information session on low income retirement planning. Learn how to get the most from income security programs such as Old Age Security, Guaranteed income Supplement, Canada Pension Plan and Ontario Disability Support. John Stapleton of Open Policy Ontario will help you understand how these programs interact with each other and other financial products such as RRSPs and Tax Free Savings Accounts.
When: Thursday, May 30th, 6:00-8:00pm Where: Maria A. Schuka Branch (1745 Eglinton Ave. W)
Cedervale Ravine Cleanup
It was a cold but very productive morning cleaning the Cedarvale ravine with Friends of Cedarvale Park and Carolyn Bennett! In a very Canadian way, a hockey stick was used to pick up waste.
AGO Admission Fee Reduction
Starting May 25th, the Art Gallery of Ontario is making admission free for people 25 years and younger, and their annual unlimited-admission passes will be only $35 for everyone else. Thank you to the AGO for this meaningful contribution to the quality of life in our city. See you at the gallery!
Doors Open Toronto
Doors Open Toronto celebrates their 20th year this month by giving free public access to over 150 buildings around the city. Spend the weekend of the 25th and 26th of May exploring sites around Toronto, including the City Hall observation deck on the 27th floor! Full details can be found on the city’s website here.