Safe and healthy communities only work when they work for everyone. This is common knowledge for Toronto Centre residents, who share one of Toronto’s most diverse wards with the widest range of neighbours. This is why taking a holistic approach to community safety has been one of my top priorities and will continue to be with new initiatives and work throughout this year.
Changing how policing is done has been a major concern for many in marginalized and racialized communities. However, it has also been a big concern for small business owners and residents across the ward who have asked for a shift in policing from an entirely centralized dispatch-based model to having local police, on foot, who can build individual relationships and better understand community needs. Working with community leaders in the Church-Wellesley Village, we led the City by having 51 Division initiate a community officer program dedicated to the Village and St. James Town. In the last year, a Cabbagetown community officer program has been initiated and we are diligently working towards a third program for Yonge Street that I hope to announce in the near future.
Safe communities also mean those in need having access to essential health services, ensuring that our parks and laneways are clear of hazardous waste like needles, and that Toronto’s own affordable housing buildings protect residents from harm and abuse. These are just a few of the new initiatives the City is beginning to tackle under the 12-month Downtown East Action Plan I introduced last year with Councillor Troisi and that are identified priorities in the upcoming 5-year plan that will be released in May. Please read on to find out more about how you can participate in making this work a success.
I also invite you to several upcoming events, including a Town Hall on Bill 108 and the Doug Ford’s plan to bring back the OMB on May 27, a panel discussion and consultation on the City’s 10-year affordable housing strategy on June 5, and a ribbon cutting for the new St. James Park playground on June 8. Details on these events and other initiatives you can participate in follow below.
Yours in community service,
Table of Contents
1. Town Hall on Bill-108: The OMB is Back: Monday May 27, 2019
Doug Ford’s plan to bring back the OMB, sideline municipalities and marginalize local communities in the planning process is being fast-tracked for approval with almost no time for residents to respond. Cities, and towns across Ontario are grappling to understand the implications of Bill 108 and making their voices heard.
Join myself along with other Toronto East York Councillors Josh Matlow, Gord Perks, Paula Fletcher, Mike Layton, Joe Cressy, Ana Bailão, and Brad Bradford, along with Toronto’s Chief Planner Gregg Lintern, to learn about how Bill 108 will impact your community and how you can have your say before it is too late.
When: Monday, May 27, 2019, at 7:00 PM
Where: City Hall, Council Chambers, 100 Queen Street W.
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/309554903273831
2. Toronto Centre HousingTO 2020-2030 Panel Discussion & Consultation: June 5, 2019
The City of Toronto is consulting the public to help develop a new 10-year housing strategy. HousingTO: 2020-2030 Action Plan should address homelessness and housing affordability today and in the future.
Questions that we need to answer include:
- How to effectively define “affordable” housing in an expensive city like Toronto?
- How can we expand affordable housing today and not 10 years from now?
- What does “housing as a human right” look like in Toronto?
- How can we build more non-profit and co-operative housing?
- How do we get new affordable housing into every new development?
Join us for a presentation, panel discussion and community conversation. We are keen to hear from you. We need your input to consider what is real affordable housing, establish where it should be built, and how we can immediately get the best outcomes to address Toronto’s housing crisis.
When: Wednesday, June 5, 2019, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Where: St Lawrence Hall, 157 King Street East (corner of Lower Jarvis St.)
3. City Council Highlights in May
Impact of the Provincial Budget
Council supported a motion to request the Province of Ontario to reverse its announced retroactive cuts that result in the loss of about $178 million that was included in the City of Toronto’s balanced budget for 2019 as adopted in March. Council will also convey the willingness of City officials to meet with the province to discuss both governments’ budgets and the impact the province's retroactive 2019 funding cuts will have on the residents of Toronto. A series of actions approved with this item includes a public information and education campaign.
Funding of Toronto Public Health
Council voted to express its strong opposition to funding cuts to Toronto Public Health for this year as communicated by the Ontario government, and to urge the province against making the proposed cuts. In addition, Council agreed on using advertising locations to inform Torontonians about the health impacts if the funding cuts to Toronto Public Health proceed.
Ontario Government's Bill 108
Council adopted a series of recommendations and motions addressing the Ontario government's Housing Supply Action Plan and proposed Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choice Act). Council is asking the province to extend the June 1 timeline for comments from municipalities and other stakeholders. An initial assessment indicates that changes associated with Bill 108 would significantly affect the City's finances, its ability to secure parkland and its capacity to provide community facilities, as well as significantly affecting the evaluation process for development applications.
Affordable Housing Opportunities
Council asked staff for a report on whether more affordable housing units should be required in future Toronto Community Housing revitalizations, based on a site-by-site evaluation. That is one of several recommendations adopted as part of an agenda item involving an audit that produced recommendations to help achieve broader city-building objectives and improve accountability in Toronto Community Housing's revitalization projects.
Adequate Housing as a Right
Council agreed to ask the City's Affordable Housing Office, as part of current public consultation on Toronto's housing plan, to include a rights-based approach to housing (as advocated by the United Nations) in policy areas that fall within the City's jurisdiction. Staff are to report on possibly making "adequate housing" a basic right in the Toronto Housing Plan that is now in the works.
Apartment Building Maintenance
Council approved amending the Toronto Municipal Code to require building owners/operators, under the RentSafeTO program, to develop an electrical maintenance plan with a licensed, certified electrical contractor and to maintain records showing compliance with that plan. Among several other requirements, building owners/operators will now need to maintain a list of volunteered contact information identifying tenants who may need assistance during building evacuations or temporary shutdowns of vital services.
Ontario Place and Exhibition Place
Council directed staff to work with the Ontario government on a strategy for the future of Ontario Place and Exhibition Place. The undertaking is to involve consultation with all stakeholders and focus on the original goal for the two sites – that is, providing attractive settings for festivals and other events for all Ontarians. A series of guiding principles that Council adopted for Ontario Place's revitalization presents the principles in the context of the City's Central Waterfront Secondary Plan. Work already taking place on a master plan for Exhibition Place continues in line with guidelines and a study framework that Council approved.
Rallies Promoting Hate
Council voted to reaffirm its unwavering opposition to hate speech, and directed staff to inform organizers of events that occur in Toronto regularly without a permit of the City's policies on hate speech and hate activities. In addition, where possible, the City is to issue trespass or trespass warning letters to identifiable participants engaged in hate activities at rallies taking place on City property. The response to such activities also involves the police.
Security at Places of Worship
Council voted to ask the Toronto Police Services Board to consider and report back on the feasibility of creating a task force to examine security and public safety in Toronto's places of worship. The report is to include terms of reference for working with City divisions and agencies as well as with the federal government and the Ontario government on this matter.
Tree Planting and Maintenance
Council adopted recommendations aimed at improving contract management, customer service and operational efficiency in the City's tree planting and tree maintenance programs. A recent audit indicates there is room for improvement, notably in overseeing work carried out by contracted tree service companies.
Bike Lanes on Richmond Street
Council directed staff to investigate all options to ensure the safety of cyclists along Richmond Street from John Street to Bathurst Street for the duration of watermain reconstruction work along Richmond. Transportation Services was also asked to investigate safe detour routes and improve alternative cycling routes that parallel Richmond Street.
St. Lawrence Market project
Council approved the awarding of a contract for the construction of the new St. Lawrence Market North building at 92 Front St. The City is redeveloping the property with a new, multi-story building that will include a ground-floor market space, Court Services offices and court rooms, and an underground parking garage. The former one-storey market building at the site has been demolished and an archeological assessment conducted.
4. Upcoming 5-Year Action Plan for the Downtown East
Last year, I worked with City staff and my colleagues on Council to pass a 12-month Downtown East Action Plan to begin addressing the most immediate needs in our community around mental health and addictions, improved service levels for cleaning our parks and laneways, and extending critical services to allow some of the most marginalized in our communities to have dignity and better access to resources. Part of this work included the development of a 5-Year Action Plan to tackle the larger, systemic issues that have impacted the quality of life for our neighbourhoods and the final plan will be brought to the Economic and Community Development Committee on June 26. This will be the best opportunity for us to advocate for, and secure, the services and accountability needed to make the downtown east the safe, healthy, liveable, and equitable community we know it can be.
Your feedback is critical for us as we prepare for the final report. What improvements have you seen in your neighbourhood? What challenges have worsened? I need to know so that we can get the 5-Year Action Plan right from the start. To help gather that feedback, I ask that you please take the time to fill in the following survey, which will be online through June 19, 2019.
I need your support. There will be two opportunities to show your support for the Downtown East Action Plan:
Economic & Community Development Committee
June 26, 2019
July 16 & July 17, 2019
5. 295 Jarvis Street Development Consultation
The City is holding a Community Consultation meeting where you can learn more about this application ask questions and share your comments. Details are as follows:
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 from 7:00PM to 9:00PM
International Living & Learning Centre, Ryerson University
240 Jarvis Street
The Zoning By-law Amendment application proposes to redevelop the site with a 36-storey residential building with a total of 351 residential apartment units and 5 levels of below grade parking. Upon completion, the proposed building would result in a Gross Floor Area of 23,507 square. View a copy of the Preliminary Report along with background information.
To speak to the planner directly, contact Megan Rolph, at 416-392-3479 or [email protected] .
You may mail your comments to:
Toronto and East York District,
100 Queen St W Floor 18 E
Toronto On, M5H 2N2.
Notice to correspondents:
Information will be collected in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. With the exception of personal information, all comments will become part of the public record.
Public meeting locations are wheelchair/mobility device accessible. Other reasonable accommodation or assistive services for persons with disabilities may be provided with adequate notice. Please contact Megan Rolph, at 416-392-3479, [email protected] with your request. The City of Toronto is committed to taking the necessary steps to insure compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
6. Take the YongeTOmorrow Survey
Downtown Yonge Street is undergoing a renaissance. You can now share your ideas and help create a vision for one of the most recognizable, vibrant and fastest growing communities in our city.
Tell us how you want to experience downtown Yonge Street, now and in the future. Phase 1 will capture your ideas for Yonge St. between Queen St. and College St. Please visit the City of Toronto website to complete the survey by May 24, 2019! Follow the excitement online #YongeTOmorrow
7. Supporting Low-Income Residents' Right to Legal Aid
The recent Ontario provincial budget will have tremendous impacts on our most vulnerable residents, which will include their ability to find justice in the legal system through free legal aid clinics. For low income Torontonians, a lost job due to injury or unfairness, eviction, family breakdown, arrest or health deterioration can derail their life, sending them into a spiral that is difficult to recover from. These residents rely on lawyers, community legal workers and others through legal clinics across Ontario to keep roofs over heads and food on tables.
The Ontario government recently announced a 30% cut to Legal Aid Ontario (“LAO”) with a further 10% cut slated for next year. These cuts are deep and unprecedented. The cuts risk causing more low income residents, immigrants and refugees to fall through the social safety net and into homelessness, leading to family breakdown, incarceration and severely negative health outcomes.
On May 16th, City Council supported my motion to for the City to express its strong support for a robust, provincially-funded legal aid program to assist vulnerable Ontarians, to express its strong opposition to the proposed funding cuts to LAO by the provincial government, and to call on the Province of Ontario to reverse the proposed funding cuts to LAO.
To learn more and to send a message to Premier Ford that legal aid clinics must be properly funded, please visit https://www.stoplegalaidcuts.ca/.
8. College Park is Now Open!
College Park opened on May 10th, and is now welcoming visitors! The new park features a children's playground and skate trail, as well as enhanced lighting and landscaping. I would like to thank the Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff, local stakeholders, and my office team, who worked hard to bring this project to fruition over many years. The City of Toronto will be planning an opening event, in partnership with the Downtown-Yonge BIA. Please watch for updates.
Please note that as a result of the ward boundary realignment, that preceded the last election, College Park is now is Ward 11.
College Park concerns should be directed to Councillor Layton in the Ward 11 office. [email protected]
9. Update: Moss Park
The More Moss Park Project partners will be providing an update on the redevelopment project to City Council in July 2019. This includes information about the community consultation, budget estimates, and the governance and operating model.
The Moss Park team will continue to share news and updates, and are currently targeting the fall for the community consultation on the revised design.
You can also reach out by email at [email protected], or call 416-355-6777.
10. Sheard Parkette Revitalization
Sheard Parkette is now under construction. The revitalization will include such features as new paving, a bottle filling station, and enhanced landscaping. The park will be closed for 14-16 weeks, re-opening in the fall. I would like to thank all the local stakeholders and residents who participated in the community consultations through late 2017, and early 2018. Please reach out to my office for any questions or updates.
11. Update: Don River & Central Waterfront Project
The City of Toronto is currently undergoing a stormwater management program. The program will greatly improve the water quality in the Lower Don River, Taylor Massey Creek and along Toronto's Inner Harbour by eliminating combined sewer overflows and stormwater runoff being released into the Lower Don River, Taylor Massey Creek and along Toronto's Inner Harbour.
Starting Monday May 20 construction will soon begin at another site in the project. This is occurring at Dundas St E and River Street on City-owned property, south of Cornwall Street and Picking Coke Lane to Dundas Street East. The anticipated completion date for construction at this site is November 31, 2019.
There are no service interruptions planned for the construction work. There are no anticipated impacts to nearby properties, residential homes or businesses.
Project Manager: Tatiana Chiesa
For general inquiries, please call or email 311; [email protected].
12. Green Bins in Off-Leash Dog Area
In 2018, Solid Waste Management Services piloted Green Bins next to 21 Dog Off-Leash Areas (DOLAs) to decrease the amount of dog waste being put in Garbage and Recycling Bins.
Upon review of the pilot, it was found that 98% of waste being put in the Green Bins was organic and there was a substantial reduction of organic waste found in the Garbage and Blue Bins. As a result, Green Bins are now being put in all parks with DOLAs. Solid Waste Management Services staff are currently installing the bins and full installation should be completed by the end of June.
13. Toronto Centre Cyclists presents History Ride & Talk
Join Toronto Centre Cyclists on June 9 as we ride from Corktown Common up the Don Valley Trail to Taylor Creek Park and back to meet at 3 PM at C’est What (67 Front St East). Our route was chosen because it was a favourite of some of Toronto's cycling icons. Find out who when we meet at C'est What where our fascinating presenters will talk about biking in Toronto through the generations.
14. Toronto Centre Parents for Public Education
Join the Toronto Centre Parents for Public Education and Chris Moise, School Trustee for TDSB, for an important discussion on how to deal with current cuts to our public education system! Come out May 27th and support your students, teachers, and community members!
15. Meet, Play, Love at St. James Park Playground Open House!
Join Councillor Wong-Tam, the Friends of St. James Park, City Staff at the new playground at St. James Park!
Bring your children to enjoy the new food-theme playground and enjoy activities organized by the Friends of St. James Park, including bubble stations, a kid’s monopoly market, photo-booth and more!
St. James Park Playground Open House
Saturday, June 8, 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
St. James Park, 120 King Street East (adjacent to Jarvis Street)
Open House begins at 10:00 a.m., with remarks and ribbon cutting at 10:30 a.m.
16. Community Spotlight: Trillium Gift of Life Network
In Ontario today, there are over 1,600 people waiting for a life-saving transplant, one of whom will die every three days. A single donor can save the lives of up to 8 people through the gift of organ donation and significantly enhance the lives of 75 others through the gift of tissue.
While 33% of Ontarians have already registered their consent to donate, that number drops to just 24% in Toronto. I am proud that the City of Toronto is home to some of the best transplant hospitals in the world and I know we can do better.
I encourage everyone to register their consent to donate, and to take a moment to talk to your loved ones about this important, life-saving decision. You can quickly and easily register your consent to donate online at www.BeADonor.Ca or in person at any ServiceOntario location.
17. In the Community
Representation Matters. I'm so proud to be joining PFlag for the flag raising on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
Big thanks to Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and Pontiac Group and the dedicated Toronto staff from the Indigenous Affairs Office and Economic Development + Culture for organizing another excellent consultation on the Indigenous Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Another step closer!
Thank you Artscape for the tour of your new 35,0000 sq foot Launchpad on Queens Quay. Extraordinary entrepreneurial hub with cultural innovation at its heart. I look forward to future collaborations with you.
On May 6, 2019, hundreds came out to Church & Wellesley to denounce violence and homophobic street preachers. Hate has no place in Toronto. Community love and support is our response to the hate speech. Our message is true and simple, LOVE is stronger than hate.
Despite the rain & cold weather we had a blast at YongeTOmorrow study launch! Let us know your vision for Yonge Street by completing this online survey by May 24.
18. Report to 311
311 provides residents, businesses and visitors with easy access to non-emergency City services, programs and information 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can offer assistance in more than 180 languages. 311 investigates issues related to waste collection, graffiti removal, litter, road issues, sidewalks, water problems, trees, animals, property issues, winter maintenance, and more! Report an issue by calling 311 or emailing [email protected] to submit a service request. To learn more, visit the 311 website here.
19. TDSB Trustee Update from Chris Moise
In the past few weeks, the TDSB and my fellow Trustees have been coming to grips with ministry grant reductions that pose difficulties for our Board, teachers, and students. The numbers have been debated, but TDSB staff have thoroughly reviewed the Province’s cuts and it is clear that the Board is looking at a $67.8 million shortfall, which includes $42 million in Provincial reductions. This will hurt the quality of education of our students and the working conditions of our teachers. To summarize, these cuts and announced program changes will cost students and teachers and include the following impacts:
- Class sizes will increase in grades 4-8, which will result in 216 fewer elementary school teachers, and in grades 9-12, resulting in 800 fewer high school teachers, over the next four years.
- It has been stated that 4 of the 30 credits required by secondary students to obtain their OSSD will take place in an e-learning environment.
- There will be a funding reduction for early childhood educators, with no specific parameters of how this may affect student development and curriculum.
- Many classrooms will have more students, per teacher, resulting in less time available to individual students to understand material and keep pace with the curriculum.
The Province’s decisions will severely impact the learning curriculum and nurturing environment of our classrooms, and have a negative impact on our teachers, students, and parents. We will be working hard in the coming months to continue fighting for the betterment of our students and I urge our provincial government and Ministry of Education to understand these budgetary cuts set a dangerous precedent for the future of the Toronto public school system.
If you are concerned about the increase in class sizes, full-day kindergarten, supports for students with special needs, and a shift to online learning, I ask you to join me in taking action for public education. Toronto Centre Parents for Public Education and I will be hosting a meeting to stop the cuts to public education and build a campaign for a full funded, quality public education system.
Meeting to Take Action on Public Education Cuts
Monday, May 27, 2019, 7:00PM to 9:00PM
Hugh Garner Co-Op (Party Room)
550 Ontario Street
RSVP to: [email protected]