COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - October 29th

Dear friends,

I know we all want to be done with COVID-19 but unfortunately, this virus isn’t done with us.

Each and every one of us still has a role to play in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in our city. We must all continue to do the things we’ve been advised to do time and time again: keep a distance of at least 6 feet from others, wear your mask, wash your hands frequently, and limit close contact to just the people you live with. 

While each of us has a responsibility to do our part, governments also have responsibility to turn emergency responses into permanent solutions in order to tackle inequality in our city and the social determinants of health. 

As your City Councillor I am committed to ensuring that we seize this moment to build a better, more equal and resilient Toronto. 

Sincerely, 

Joe


In this Edition

  1. City Council Approves Health Equity Action Plan to Guide COVID-19 Response
  2. Province Issues Surprise Zoning Orders for Development Sites
  3. Permanent Support for Live Music Venues 
  4. Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health 
  5. Marine Use Strategy Update: Public Consultation on Draft Report
  6. Two New Parkettes Coming to Ossington Avenue 
  7. June Callwood Park Improvements Coming Soon 
  8. Five Reasons to Download the COVID Alert App
  9. Inclusionary Zoning Public Consultations Begin Today
  10. Toronto Heritage Grant Program
  11. City of Toronto COVID-19 Resource Map
  12. COVID-19 Information and Resources

City Council Approves Equity Action Plan to Guide COVID-19 Response


Click to watch video

In my last update I spoke about the Board of Health's recommendation to develop an Equity Action Plan that will guide our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today I’m pleased to share that Council has now approved this recommendation. 

Given the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on low-income and racialized Torontonians, the Equity Action Plan will help to ensure that measures are being taken to protect the most vulnerable in our city. We have also called on the Province of Ontario and the Federal Government to do the same.

The City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health have known since Day 1 that to win our fight against COVID-19, we need to address the inequities that continue to persist in our city and communities. This is why we need an Equity Action Plan to track our progress moving forward.

Click here to view the motion.


Province Issues Surprise Zoning Orders for Development Sites – My Statement with Councillor Wong-Tam

Late on Friday, we learned that the Government of Ontario issued a series of Minister's Zoning Orders (MZOs) affecting three sites in the West Don Lands: 373 Front Street East and 90 Mill Street (Blocks 3, 4 and 7), 125 and 125R Mill Street (Block 20) and 153 to 185 Eastern Avenue (Blocks 17 and 26). These MZOs were issued without notification to City Planning or the local Councillors, and were discovered by chance by a member of City Planning. 

The impact of these MZOs is the shuttering of community input, side stepping of the municipal process, and raises new questions as to how the City can now properly plan these sites. City Planning has raised concerns about discrepancies between the draft bylaws in front of City Council for 373 Front Street East and 90 Mill Street, hampering community input at the 125 Mill Street application that had been submitted only this summer, and potential loss of current and future community benefits. Critically, there is significant risk to heritage assets at Blocks 17 and 26 which contain the Dominion Foundry Complex, the largest concentration of heritage buildings to be preserved within the Precinct. The impact of the MZOs the province has enacted has created more questions than answers.

This move to impose new zoning without consulting the public or the City of Toronto sets a dangerous precedent for the development of other provincial lands in Toronto and across the Greater Toronto Area, including future transit-oriented development above GO stations and subway stations. Provincial zoning orders are final and cannot be appealed. The Provincial Government must commit to working collaboratively with the City and communities on this and all other developments, without exception.

Without a chance for the community or the City's professional planners to review and respond to the development, it is impossible to identify and address the range of issues that need to be considered for every new development, from water and sewer capacity to wind impacts to safe vehicular access points. A good process is critical for good planning, and for building a desirable, equitable and economically dynamic community.                              

Click here to view our emergency motion to City Council calling on the Province to work with the City on all development proposals, which was approved yesterday, and to ensure there are no future surprise zoning orders issued in Toronto.

The previously-scheduled community consultation meeting for the application at 125R Mill Street will go ahead as planned on Monday, November 2nd. Please join me and City Planning staff to learn more about the Province's MZO and discuss next steps together. Click here to register


Permanent Support for Live Music Venues

Part of our responsibility when it comes to COVID-19 is about turning emergency responses into permanent solutions and supports for our city. Live music venues are a part of what makes Toronto so special, and this week City Council voted to make property tax relief permanent for them. 

Live music venues in Toronto have an economic impact of $850M and contribute over 10,000 jobs. The Toronto Music Advisory Committee will continue to push for innovative solutions to help venues and artists during these difficult times, including group insurance options.

Click here to view the motion.


Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health 

Our Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, and other City division leaders have been providing twice-weekly updates on the current situation and response to COVID-19 in Toronto. You can view the press conferences live at 2pm, and access past updates here

Yesterday in her update, Dr. de Villa spoke about the areas of our city that have been hardest hit by COVID-19. These are communities that have been marginalized due to systemic barriers, including racism, discrimination, and neglect. Current data shows that people who identify as non-white and who live in low-income households are significantly more likely to be at risk of COVID-19. 

Toronto Public Health data shows that communities in the northwest part of Toronto have higher rates of COVID-19, lower testing rates, and higher positivity rates in comparison to other parts of our city.

Dr. de Villa shared that Toronto Public Health’s work in northwest Toronto – and in any part of Toronto where the pandemic has or may yet hit hard – breaks into three categories: providing information, direct interaction, as well as access to health services and health services promotion.

One part of this work is Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Outreach Rapid Response Team, which works with the Ontario Government to support community pop-up testing sites and collaborates with community agencies to help develop education and information materials in over 30 languages. In the past two months, the Team has helped raise awareness and connect people to 17 pop-up testing sites and clinics. 

The COVID-19 Outreach Rapid Response Team is just one element of Toronto Public Health’s response in our city’s hardest hit areas. Click here to read Dr. de Villa’s full update


Marine Use Strategy Update: Public Consultation on Draft Report

Toronto's Harbour is one of our most cherished resources. It provides a mix of active and diverse uses, including recreational boating, water-based transportation, tour boats, and industrial shipping. This dynamic and busy area requires good planning to maintain a balance of uses as waterfront revitalization progresses.

Waterfront Toronto, in collaboration with the City of Toronto, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, and Ports Toronto is updating the Strategy to align with current trends in marine uses, and to determine priorities for implementation.

The new update is focused on three themes:

Management: Who does what? The update is preparing a comprehensive ownership map of dock walls, water lots, and adjacent lands. Responsibility for maintenance, security, development parameters and dealing with high water levels are all being addressed.

Mooring: Where do the boats go? How do we support future growth? Allocation of dockwall space, storage facilities and industrial port use are being considered.

Movement: How do we get from land to water, on and over the water? Routes and destinations for existing and potential new ferry and water taxi operations are being reviewed. New public spaces in the waterfront offer more opportunities to let people connect to the water.

The second Public Information Centre for the Marine Use Strategy is being held now until November 9 and is focused on getting feedback on the recommendations for each of these three themes.

You can find a pre-recorded presentation reviewing the draft report, a questionnaire and other supporting materials here.


Two New Parkettes Coming to Ossington Avenue 

The Ossington Business Improvement Area (Ossington BIA) and the City of Toronto will be creating new public spaces on City-owned land at two flankages along Ossington Avenue, including at Argyle Avenue, and Foxley Avenue. The locations were identified as areas for improvement in the BIA's Streetscape Master Plan.  

Each of these new public spaces will have seating, plantings, trees, and public art, and will incorporate green standards and high quality surface treatment. The parkettes will complement one another, thereby visually unifying the BIA.  

This project is jointly funded by the Ossington BIA and the City of Toronto. Construction of the parkettes will begin in 2021 by City-approved contractors, and once completed, maintained by the BIA. This City and BIA partnership is focused on reimagining the public realm, and is a critical element of building livable neighbourhoods and supporting a vibrant local economy.  

Click here to view the concept design for both parkettes.

For more information and to share feedback contact:
Antonella Nicaso, Streetscape Designer + Capital Projects Coordinator, City of Toronto
Antonella.Nicaso@toronto.ca 


June Callwood Park Improvements Coming Soon 

Designed through an award-winning international design competition, June Callwood Park was inspired by June’s famous words, “I believe in kindness.” With this in mind, additional park improvements will soon be implemented for a refresh as a fitting monument to June Callwood, and to enhance the space for children and families in our Fort York neighbourhood.

City staff anticipate construction of the improvements to begin in the spring of 2021, with construction completed in fall 2021. Click here to view the improvement plan



Inclusionary Zoning - Public Consultations Begin Today

The development of an Inclusionary Zoning policy that would require new residential developments to include affordable housing units, creating mixed-income housing is integral to help address our housing needs. The city is growing and we must ensure that new housing is affordable for those who call Toronto home. 

City Planning staff will be hosting three virtual public meetings to consult on draft inclusionary zoning policy and zoning requirements and a proposed definition of affordable rental housing. These meetings will provide an opportunity for you to learn more about inclusionary zoning and share ideas and feedback on how this new affordable housing tool should apply in Toronto.

Details:

For further information you can read the public consultation notice here.


Toronto Heritage Grant Program

Do you own property designated under Part IV or V of the Ontario Heritage Act?

Apply to the Toronto Heritage Grant Program by November 6, 2020 for work that repairs and retains defining heritage attributes like masonry, windows, doors, wood detailing and slate roofs.

More information is available at the Heritage Grant Program website.


City of Toronto COVID-19 Resource Map

The City of Toronto has created a COVID-19 Essential Service Mapping Tool

This tool has up-to-date service listings across Toronto, including food banks, meal delivery programs, community health services and more. Additional layers and details are being updated daily by 211 Toronto. 


COVID-19 Information and Resources

It is important to stay informed through credible sources, and to follow the advice of our public health professionals. Together we can limit the spread of COVID-19. 

Please visit the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 website for the up-to-date information and resources: toronto.ca/covid-19

Government COVID-19 websites

City of Toronto
Province of Ontario
Government of Canada

Telehealth Ontario
Call if you develop symptoms.
Telephone: 1-866-797-0000

Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Telephone: 416-338-7600
TTY: 416-392-0658
Email: PublicHealth@toronto.ca

311 Toronto
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services.
Telephone: 311
TTY: 416-338-0889