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May 19, 2015

  1. Welcome Letter from Councillor Wong-Tam
  2. The Future of the Gardiner Expressway
  3. Councillor Wong-Tam Welcomes Toronto’s New Chief of Police
  4. College Park Update
  5. Yonge Street Parking Update
  6. Upcoming Pan Am Travel Planning Workshops for Area Businesses - Starting Wednesday, May 20
  7. Rail Safety Consultation Meeting - Thursday, May 21
  8. Bike Month - May 25 to June 25
  9. Nominations Deadline for Toronto's Annual Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards - Wednesday, May 27
  10. Salon 27: City Building Conversations - Tuesday, June 2
  11. 11 Wellesley Street West Condominium Ground-Breaking Ceremony - Thursday, June 11
  12. Allan Gardens Ribbon-Cutting and Opening Ceremony - Save the Dates - June 13 & 20
  13. Coordinated Transit Planning in Toronto Consultation – Monday, June 15
  14. Public Tennis Court Operations Consultation – Tuesday, June 16
  15. Neighbourhoods and Apartment Neighbourhoods City Planning Consultation – Tuesday, June 16
  16. Reporting Noise Complaints
  17. Council Highlights - May, 2015
 

1. Welcome Letter from Kristyn Wong-Tam


Dear Constituents,

Spring is here and residents are out to enjoy the warmer weather and our City's many parks and public spaces. It is also a busy time of year with many public consultations and meetings planned ahead of the summer. City Hall has been busy too, with important debates being held about the future of Toronto’s infrastructure and policies impacting our community.

Recently I have heard from many of you regarding the eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway and the future of the land it occupies. It is encouraging to know that the priority for Ward 27 residents is about building a city that connects not only by roadways, but through neighbourhoods that join the downtown with the waterfront, opening new public open spaces, and implementing sustainable planning. To that end, I will be supporting the removal of the Gardiner East. This plan will save significant money and open up new planning options for an under-utilized portion of our city.

I look forward to connecting with the community at many of the events below. We have some special projects in the works, including out first ever Salon 27, an informal political and social space bringing Torontonians together in aspiration and conversations to build a city that we can all be proud of and want to live in.

I remain yours in service,

 
Kristyn Wong-Tam
 

 

2. The Future of the Gardiner Expressway

Following the deputations of over 30 members of the public to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee on May 13th, City Council will debate the future of the Gardiner East on June 10th and 11th.  Built in the 1950s and 1960s, the Gardiner Expressway is reaching the end of its useful life.  The City of Toronto is now exploring two options to address the Gardiner East Expressway: the full removal or the hybrid model, which keeps large portions of it up as is.

Councillor Wong-Tam believes this decision is not just about an aging piece of transportation infrastructure, but more holistically about what type of city we want to build and how we invest our money.

Removing the Gardiner East positions the City of Toronto to better revitalize the waterfront, reconnect the City with the lake, and create a vibrant public realm.  Based on analysis in the Environmental Assessment, removing the Gardiner East would feature significantly lower lifecycle costs, higher forecasted revenues from public land sales and lower greenhouse gas emissions.  It would create an animated Lake Shore Boulevard, additional public realm space and amenities, as well as new linkage to the DVP and better connections to the waterfront.

Councillor Wong-Tam feels the strongest city-building case is with the option to remove the Gardiner East, rather than spend $919 million – almost half a billion dollars more than under the remove option – to keep large portions of it elevated only to be faced with the same expensive dilemma in the future.

Imagine what else we could be doing with this money, whether it be housing, community services, or expanded transit?  The existing and unfunded service needs in the City of Toronto are great.  Let’s invest our money wisely today, rather than confining future generations to another messy and expensive debate in a few short years.

Councillor Wong-Tam looks forward to hearing input from the residents of Ward 27 and from across the City of Toronto on this important decision.  If you are interested in sharing your comments or learning how you can get involved, contact Councillor Wong-Tam at councillor_wongtam@toronto.ca or 416-392-7903.  You can also learn more about the Gardiner East here.

 

3. Councillor Wong-Tam Welcomes Toronto's New Chief of Police

Councillor Wong-Tam welcomes Mark Saunders to his new role as Toronto’s Chief of Police.  As one of the most populous and diverse wards in the City of Toronto, the Toronto Police Service plays an important role in Ward 27 by responding to emergency situations, educating members of the public on community safety, building relationships and keeping our neighbourhoods safe.  Chief Saunders brings over 32 years of experience on the Toronto Police Service across a variety of areas, including most recently as Deputy Chief of Specialized Operations Command, whose units support front line officers in the Community Safety Command and work hand in hand with municipal, provincial and federal agencies.  Councillor Wong-Tam looks forward to working with Chief Saunders and the Toronto Police Service to continue to serve the residents of Ward 27.


4. College Park Update

Construction on the multi-million dollar revitalization of College Park is set to commence late in 2015/early 2016. Beginning in 2012, the redesign process involved several community consultations and stakeholder meetings over the course of several months in 2012 and 2013. The design concept for the park can be seen here. Since the last consultation, City Legal staff have been working with the adjacent property owners in an effort to secure leasing agreements to areas contiguous to the park that are privately owned, with the goal of ensuring that these lands remain green space. These negotiations have been difficult, but the City is securing agreements that would allow these parcels of land to be re-designed and maintained with the rest of the park.

 Once these agreements are in hand, construction on the park can begin, in conjunction with necessary work of replacing the waterproofing materials of the parking garage underneath the park. The water proofing and below grade park construction is expected to last for one year, with the rest of the park being completed afterwards. While the elongated construction period is not ideal, it was decided that it would be preferable to completing the park in one year, only to have to tear it up a few years later to do work on the garage.

The future of the Barbara Ann Scott ice rink was one of the main points of discussion during the consultation process, as the current rink and adjacent facility are at the end of their life cycle and need to be replaced. After much discussion, a new ice trail feature has been included in the final design of the park that will allow leisurely skating, but will inhibit ice hockey.


5. Yonge Street Parking Update

After several years of consultation with the Rosedale Main Street BIA and residents in the ABC, Rosedale, and Summerhill neighbourhoods, off peak on-street parking on Yonge Street was implemented in an effort to reduce visitor and commercial parking on residential side streets, and to provide additional parking opportunities for local businesses.

Upon further review of the impacts with local stakeholders, it was decided together that on-street parking on Yonge Street was not feasible, and that additional off street parking opportunities at existing and potential TPA Green “P” parking lots would be explored.  Parking on Yonge Street will be removed, and I look forward to continue working with the local stakeholders and the Toronto Parking Authority in September to review in depth new off street parking options in these neighbourhoods. 


6. Upcoming Pan Am Travel Planning Workshops for Area Businesses – Starting Wednesday, May 20

Toronto is the proud Host City for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games taking place in July and August, 2015.
To help alleviate congestion on our roads and transportation systems during the Games, the City of Toronto and Smart Commute are offering free half-day Travel Planning Workshops for Toronto businesses and organizations with 20 or more employees.

At a workshop, you will receive important information about the Games and get help to create a customized travel plan that will keep your employees and your business moving, including:
 
  • Key travel planning strategies - the four R's: Reduce, Re-time, Re-mode, Reroute
  • Temporary High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes
  • Local Area Transportation Plans including road closures
  • Transit updates & incentives
  • Games venue information 
  • Resources & tools for the Games and beyond

There are three upcoming workshop dates to choose from, as follows:
 
Workshop 1
Date: Wednesday, May 20
Time: 8:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Location: Metro Hall, 55 John St. (Room 304)
 
Workshop 2
Date: Monday, June 1
Time: 8:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Location: Metro Hall, 55 John St. (Room 308/309)
 
Workshop 3
Date: Monday, June 15
Time: 8:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Location: Metro Hall, 55 John St. (Room 304)
You are welcome to send two representatives from your workplace. Please RSVP to scommute@toronto.ca, or by calling 416-338-2856. For more information please click here.  


7. Rail Safety Consultation Meeting – Thursday, May 21

The City of Toronto is looking for public input on rail safety and proposed options for sharing information with the City, the community and railway users on railway issues.

Toronto residents are invited to provide their comments at a public meeting:

Date: Thursday, May 21
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Location: Metro Hall, 55 John St. (Rooms 308 and 309)
 
Registration for the meeting and an open house will begin at 6:30 p.m. The public session will begin at 7 p.m., when staff will make a formal presentation, then take questions and hear remarks from the public, and facilitate discussion on identifying and prioritizing issues. The venue is wheelchair accessible and ASL interpretation will be provided upon request.

Members of the public who want more information about this public meeting or who need ASL interpretation should contact the City of Toronto Office of Emergency Management at oem@toronto.ca or 416-392-4554.

All residents, whether they attend the public session or not, are encouraged to fill out an online feedback form on the City's website. All public input must be received by Monday, May 25.


8. Bike Month – May 25 to June 25

Toronto's Bike Month has evolved from a 1989 Bike to Work Day event to become one of the largest event of its kind in Canada.  Bike Month kicks off in Toronto on May 25th with Bike to Work Day.  Join the Group Commute from start points around the city. At 7:30am participants will converge at Yonge & Charles and ride to Nathan Phillips Square for a free pancake breakfast!
 
Sign up here.


9. Nominations Deadline for Toronto's Annual Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards – Wednesday, May 27

The City of Toronto's Equity, Diversity and Human Rights division has extended the deadline for nominations for the 2015 Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards until May 27.

"We are looking for people or programs that have had a significant impact on the lives of Torontonians by eliminating discrimination and barriers to equality," said Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell. "We want to celebrate the residents and services that are helping to build an inclusive city where everyone can participate fully in the social, cultural, economic, recreational and political life of Toronto."

All recipients must be residents of Toronto, a service provided for city residents, or a building located in the city that serves Toronto residents. Nomination forms and more information can be found here. The revised deadline for nominations is Wednesday, May 27 at 4 p.m. Recipients will be confirmed by City Council in the fall, and the awards will be presented at a ceremony at City Hall on December 2.

Last year's award recipients included David Abbott (Aboriginal Affairs Award); Luke Anderson (Access Award for Disability Issues); Dr. Rosemary Moodie, Anne Rochon Ford and Valerie Mah (Constance E. Hamilton Award on the Status of Women); Keisha Williams (Pride Award for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual and Two Spirited Issues); and Ritu Bhasin (William P. Hubbard Race Relations Award).


10. Salon 27: City Building Conversations – Tuesday, June 2

Before the year ends, Torontonians will respond to several important matters including the future of the Gardiner East, the structure and governance model of Toronto Community Housing, and the role of carding by the Toronto Police Service in our communities.  As we engage in these important discussions, and others, let's come together to discuss how can we build our city in a way that is collaborative, informed and creative. 

Join Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam for a night of lively city building conversations and light refreshments on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015. Everyone is welcome to meet the Councillor and other Ward 27 residents, businesses and communities at Via Vai, a new restaurant in the Ward.

Our special guest speaker is Desmond Cole, a Torontoist journalist and author of Toronto Life cover story, “The Skin I’m In: I’ve been interrogated by police more than 50 times – all because I’m black”.

Date: Tuesday, June 2
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Via Vai, 832 Bay Street (the south-west corner of Grosvenor St. & Bay St.)
Accessibility: The location is fully accessible


11. 11 Wellesley Street West Condominium Ground-Breaking Ceremony –  Thursday, June 11

Councillor Wong-Tam and Lanterra invite local community members to come out to 11 Wellesley Street West for a ceremonial ground-breaking for the new condominium on June 11. The new park at 11 Wellesley Street West has been the subject of years of community organizing and negotiations. Agreements made between the City and Lanterra have resulted in a development application that will open up 1.5 acres of land for new City park space on the site – representing the largest green space acquisition of its kind for downtown Toronto in recent years.

Date: Thursday, May 11
Time: 12:45pm to 1:30 p.m.
Location: 11 Wellesley Street West


12. Allan Gardens Ribbon-Cutting and Opening Ceremony - Hold the Dates June 13 & 20

Located in the heart of Toronto’s Downtown East, Allan Gardens is a centrepiece of our City’s history, culture and green space. Since 2012, Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam in partnership with the local community and Friends of Allan Gardens have led the revitalization and renewal of this beloved park. New features of the park include a new playground and an accessible washrooms.

During the month of June, we invite you to join Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and Ward 27 community members for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the new features of Allan Gardens. We ask that you save the dates for Saturday, June 13 and 20 at 11:30am. Stay tuned for additional details and the date confirmation shortly.


13. Coordinated Transit Planning in Toronto Consultation – Starting Monday, June 15

The public will have the opportunity to learn more about ongoing public transportation studies and provide feedback at public meetings being held across Toronto. Presently, there are five major transit initiatives being planned, including GO Regional Express Rail (RER), SmartTrack concepts, the Yonge Relief Network Study, the Scarborough Subway Extension, and the Relief Line.
 
An integrated assessment of the projects is being carried out through detailed ridership modelling to inform overall planning. Meetings in Toronto-East York will be held at the following dates and times:
 
Meeting 1
Date: Monday, June 15
Time: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Location: Westwood Middle School, 994 Carlaw Avenue

Meeting 2
Date: Saturday, June 20
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Location: Hyatt Regency Hotel, 370 King Street West

Meeting 3
Date: Thursday, June 25
Time: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Location: Riverdale Collegiate Institute, 1094 Gerrard Street East


14. Public Tennis Court Operations Consultation – Tuesday, June 16

Residents invited to provide their opinions on the operation of Toronto's public tennis courts.
 
The City of Toronto is reviewing public tennis court operations and the policy that covers outdoor tennis clubs. Staff will host a series of public meetings in June to obtain input from tennis court users, including members of tennis clubs, as well as interested non-users of Toronto's municipal tennis courts.
 
A meeting for the South District, which includes Ward 27, will be held on the following date:
 
Date: Tuesday, June 16
Time: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Location: East York Community Centre gym (10811/2 Pape Ave.)

Residents who plan to attend are asked to notify/RSVP the City by email at slewis@toronto.ca or by phone at 416-392-0098.
 
ASL interpretation and attendant-care services can be arranged by emailing slewis@toronto.ca (or phoning 416-392-0098) by May 22 for the North and East District meetings, by May 27 for the West District meeting and by May 28 for the South District meeting.
 
There is also an opportunity to provide input through an online survey that will be available from May 20 to August 4 here.


15. Neighbourhoods and Apartment Neighbourhoods City Planning Consultation – Tuesday, June 16

Based on Feedback received during extensive public consultations held in late 2014, City Planning staff have refined the draft Officuial Plan policy changes to the Healthy Neighbourhoods, Neighbourhoods and Apartment Neighbourhoods sections of the Plan. At its May meeting Council endorsed the revised proposed policies as the basis for consultation at an Open House to be held in June. This open house has been scheduled as follows:

Date: Tuesday, June 16
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (staff presentation starts at 7:00 p.m.)
Location: Metro Hall, 55 John Street – Room 308-309

You can access the staff report here. The full Official Plan Review website can be found here.


16. Reporting noise complaints

With the warm spring and summer weather upon us, windows will be open and outdoor spaces will be enjoyed! At the same time, it’s the ideal season for construction and some of you might encounter more disruptions from construction noise and noise. If you do, please keep the following information in mind:

Allowable hours for construction noise are:
Monday to Friday: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sunday: no noise is permitted on Sundays
Statutory Holidays: no noise is permitted on Statutory Holidays

To report an infraction:
Access 311 by calling: "311"; visiting their website: toronto.ca/311, or e-mailing: 311@toronto.ca
Call the non-emergency Toronto Police Services line at: 416-808-2222
Councillor Wong-Tam's office is also available to assist with your questions and concerns.


17. Council Highlights – May, 2015

New Green Bins
City Council has voted to replace the City’s approximately 500,000 green bins which introduced in the early 2000’s. The original bins have been lauded for the amount of waste they diverted from landfills. However, unlike regular garbage and recycling bins, the old models are not compatible with mechanical collection. The new bins have a larger capacity and will be compatible with Toronto’s collection vehicles. The design is also expected to reduce the large number of repetitive injuries suffered by collection staff who have been manually dumping green bin waste into collection trucks.

Speed Limits
With the warmer weather upon us, more of us are out and about strolling and cycling along the streets of Toronto.  It is timely then that City Council just approved a proposal to permit 30km/hour speed limits under certain conditions.  Currently a 30km/hour speed limit is considered on local and collector roads, but only in conjunction with traffic calming measures, such as speed humps, curb "bump-outs", etc.  This month City Council adopted measures to implement a 30km/hour speed limit in the absence of traffic calming measures, conditional on demonstrated support in the community, as well as specific characteristics of the road being met, and other features such as proximity to schools or pedestrian traffic.  Additionally, City Council will seek support from the Toronto Police Service to enforce speed limits, and approval from the Province of Ontario to increase fines for exceeding speed limits.
There are approximately 3,000 pedestrian and cycling collisions reported in the City of Toronto each year.  Research has shown that the risk of pedestrian death greatly increase with impact speeds of 50 km/h or higher. 

Appointment of new City Manager  
Council appointed Peter Wallace as Toronto's City Manager effective July 13. The City Manager, as the most senior official in the City's administration, is accountable to City Council for the policies and programs delivered by the Toronto Public Service. Wallace succeeds Joe Pennachetti, who retired as City Manager on May 8. Deputy City Manager John Livey will act as City Manager between May 9 and July 12. In addition, Council appointed Giuliana Carbone as a Deputy City Manager (one of three in the organization) effective June 1. Carbone, who has been the City's Treasurer since 2008, will lead the cluster of divisions that are responsible social, economic and community services.
 
Toronto's support for entrepreneurs       
Council endorsed a startup strategy to foster the growth of small businesses in Toronto, with the intention of making this city the best place in the world to start and grow a business. This economic development initiative places emphasis on business incubation, which is an established method drawing on the City and other resources to support the growth of small businesses. Toronto already supports business incubation activity for its fashion and food industries and the Toronto Business Development Centre.
 
Confronting youth unemployment      
Council adopted recommendations for actions to address the challenge of youth unemployment in Toronto. The City will pursue opportunities to expand work-based learning initiatives for unemployed youth by leveraging its role as an employer, capitalizing on the City's connections with employer and sector partners, increasing support to youth entrepreneurs, and supporting youth who are outside the labour market.
 
Street vending      
Council approved a new set of permit fees and rules covering mobile food vending (food trucks) and ice cream vending. After a one-year review of the bylaw including stakeholder and public consultation, changes were made to further ease restrictions and provide more opportunities for vendors. This bylaw balances the City's need to manage the competing uses of streets and sidewalks, and improves the public's access to a wide variety of street food. The City will take steps to address illegal vending and environmental impacts such as vehicle emissions.
 
Management of the Scarborough subway project
Council adopted recommendations to have staff review different options for project delivery and project procurement for the Scarborough Subway Extension project. Staff are to report back in early 2016 with recommendations on procurement and for project management, delivery and governance.
 
Development charges to support transit
Council voted to update the City's development charges bylaw to add the Scarborough Subway Extension project to the list of municipal projects that have their capital costs partly paid from development charges.
Revenue from development charges, which are fees collected from new development when the City issues a building permit, are one source of City funding that will be used to pay for the subway project.
 
Child care in Toronto       
Council supported a series of position recommendations the City will make to the Ontario provincial government concerning proposed regulatory amendments under the new Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014. Council specified, for example, that the reforms should address the alignment of school board and child care programs. 
 
Children's services plan  
Council approved a five-year plan for the City's children's services, which include child care, family-support programs, special-needs services and middle-childhood programs. The 2015-2019 Service Plan, which positions the Children's Services division to respond to the transformation of Ontario's early-learning system, has the overall goal of providing a cohesive system of services responding to the needs of Toronto's children and families.
 
Review of City's real estate operations     
Council adopted recommendations to study options for co-ordinating and/or consolidating the City's real estate operations and portfolios across City agencies, corporations and divisions, including activities such as property acquisition and sales for municipal purposes.
 
Red Door Shelter project     
Council approved the City's investment of funds for a 94-bed shelter to be built at 875 Queen St. E. and operated by the Woodgreen Red Door Family Shelter to provide services to homeless families. The shelter, which will be part of a larger development at the Riverdale site, previously operated in an older building at the same location. The Red Door's future had been in question as a result of the recent sale and planned development of the property.
 
Next year's budget process            
Council approved a schedule for the City's 2016 budget process. The schedule calls for adoption of the 2016 rate-supported budgets (Toronto Water, Solid Waste Management and Toronto Parking Authority) in December
2015 and the tax-supported budgets in February 2016. Council's approval includes the implementation of multi-year, service-based planning and budgeting, with opportunities for public deputations at the civic centres and information sessions about user fees.
 
Support for long-form census    
As part of its consideration of the Toronto's Social Development Dashboard, Council agreed to ask the federal government to restore the long-form census for 2016 and beyond. The long-form census has traditionally provided robust, reliable data about the people and communities served by municipalities and their partners. Council joins the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Big City Mayors Committee and the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association, among other organizations, in advocating for restoration of the long-form census.
 
Taxicab regulations   
Council deferred consideration of Toronto's taxicab regulations until Council has an opportunity to consider a report from the City Solicitor following a court decision about Uber in Toronto.
 
Security at City Hall   
Council adopted a report from the Ombudsman on an investigation into security operations at Toronto City Hall from 2010 to 2014. The Ombudsman's recommendations will be implemented by the Toronto Public Service, addressing matters such as policies, procedures, staff resources and training.
 
Centenary of Armenian Genocide     
Council supported the City of Toronto recognizing this year's 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, which took place between 1915 and 1917, to honour the memory of the men, women and children who died.
 
Drones over Toronto    
Council asked staff to report back on a strategy to govern the use of drones – unmanned aerial vehicles – in Toronto's outdoor spaces. The strategy will address matters such as public safety and possible restrictions on drone-based photography at parks and other outdoor recreational facilities.
 
Municipalities and climate change     
Council authorized renewing the City's membership in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group – a network of the world's largest cities.
Toronto, which has seen its greenhouse gas emissions drop by 25 per cent against 1990 levels, is considered a leading city in the C40 network.
The participating cities share information as part of the effort to help address global climate change.
 
Plastic microbeads      
Council voted to support banning the use of microbeads in personal-care products by asking the provincial (Ontario) and federal governments to establish legislation for such a ban. The tiny plastic bits, or microspheres, are used as exfoliating agents in some cosmetic products, for example. When those products are washed down household drains, the microbeads are small enough to pass through sewage treatment, entering rivers and lakes, including Lake Ontario.
 
Bottle-return system    
Council agreed to ask staff to report on the possible impact of changes to the bottle-return system in Toronto if Ontario decides to permit the sale of liquor, wine and beer in grocery stores. The City wants to ensure that the bottle-return system now in place for LCBO outlets and beer stores will also operate in any other stores authorized to sell beer, wine and liquor.
 
Craft beer in Toronto    
Council supported undertaking an initiative to support the growth of the craft beer sector in Toronto. The City will work to reduce impediments to establishing new craft breweries. Staff and the working group on culinary tourism will consult with small breweries, craft-beer bars and restaurants to create a brewery culinary trail in Toronto.
Culinary trails/tours are a current trend in tourism.
 
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