The Cressy Courier: Supervised injection services, Bloor Street bike lanes, and more!

Dear friend -- 

As you've heard me say before, preventing overdose deaths should be a top public health priority for our City. Over the last 10 years, we have seen a 77% increase in the number of deaths due to overdose – from 146 in 2004 to 258 in 2014. The numbers are staggering. We must work together as a city to ensure we do everything we can to proactively address this growing crisis in our city.

I couldn't be more proud that earlier today, the Federal Government announced the approval of our three Supervised Injections Services sites in Toronto. This represents a critical and urgent action in combatting our city's growing overdose crisis.

After months of public consultation last year, City Council stood united in response to our growing crisis and voted to implement supervised injection services in our city. I am proud that we joined together with the Board of Health, Mayor John Tory, Chief Mark Saunders and countless others in favour of these life-saving services. After receiving Council approval, the City and staff at Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre, Toronto Public Health-The Works, and South Riverdale Community Health Centre moved quickly to submit formal applications for Exemptions from the Controlled Drug and Substances Act (a requirement for the legal operation of the sites), as well as for the funding required to build and operate these health services from the Province.

The formal approval today by the Federal Government is the culmination of years of work by countless harm reduction activists and health professionals. Overdose deaths are preventable. With this critical life-saving development, we continue our work to improve the health of so many in our city. I couldn't be more proud to be working together with so many to get these services up and running.

A part of the Toronto Overdose Action Plan – a comprehensive plan to combat the Overdose crisis in our city – implementing Supervised Injection Services will save the lives of our friends, our neighbours and our fellow Torontonians.

More updates on our work around our communities can be found below. As always, don't hesitate to contact my office at any time with any questions or concerns you may have.

Take care,

Joe


Bloor Street Bike Lanes - Update consultation reminder

As the 1-year Bloor Street bike lane pilot project continues, join me, Councillor Layton, and City staff this coming Monday June 5th for a mid-pilot public consultation.

The City has been working hard on the extensive monitoring, evaluation, and consultation program since the project's installation. Come out on June 5th to learn about the technical evaluation completed to date, review of summaries of ongoing public feedback, and discuss your experience, feedback and suggestions for the future.

You can find more information on the City's website, or by viewing the meeting flyer here. Earlier this year, the City also released preliminary portions of data that has been collected on the project, that was collected 6 weeks after the installation. You can find more information here


King Street Pilot Study - Phase 2 Online Survey



The King Street Pilot Study is about testing out how to redesign King Street to achieve three broad city-building objectives: moving people on transit more efficiently, improving public space, and supporting business and economic prosperity.

In this online survey, the City wants to hear your feedback about the proposed pilot design being considered between Bathurst Street and Jarvis Street: https://cityoftoronto.fluidsurveys.com/s/Kingstreetpilot2/


 Dupont Corridor Site Plans

On May 4th, Councillor Mike Layton and I hosted a community meeting to discuss the mediated settlements along the north side of Dupont and site plan and public realm considerations for each site. In order to solicit as much community feedback before these site plan applications come to Community Council in the fall, City Planning has compiled the information that was shown and discussed at the May 4th meeting for the community's review.

Please click here to view the details. 


328 Dupont Development Proposal - update

As you read above, I recently held a joint Open House with Councillor Mike Layton to discuss the details of settlements at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) for 4 developments along Dupont, and the Site Plan processes moving forward. As you may know, there remains an outstanding appeal regarding 328 Dupont Street.

Late last year, I wrote to the community with an update, and indicated that a settlement had not been reached on the file. City staff recommended against accepting a settlement offer at the time, and I agree that the offer was not in the best interests of our community. The matter has now progressed to a full hearing at the Ontario Municipal Board.

The City is vigorously opposing the appeal at the OMB, which proposes building 2 mixed use buildings, at 9 and 19 storeys, with residential units planned near the front of the buildings. An office space component of the development, however, is proposed to be directly up against the rail corridor. The lack of setback from the rail corridor (settlements along the corridor include setbacks of 20 metres from the rail corridor) is a serious safety issue for both City staff, my office and the local neighbourhood. It represents an unacceptable risk to those working within those spaces.

The site is partially located within the Dupont Street Study area, and partially outside of it. City staff are pushing hard to ensure that the principles of the Study were protected within the Study area – appropriate heights, rail setbacks to ensure safety, maximizing the public realm, and more – but also to ensure appropriate development on the portion of the site outside of the study area as well.

As I've said before our planning process is broken. Working together with our neighbours through the development process is critical in ensuring we plan our neighbourhoods for the future. Far too often, appeals to the OMB remove the local development process from the hands of our community. While OMB reforms have been announced, no legislation or details have been released; we are hopeful that some of these concerns will be addressed, but we are still today operating under this flawed system.

I will continue to keep you updated on this critical file as we move forward. Don't hesitate to contact my office at any time if you have any questions.


Approved - Bellevue-Denison Contraflow lanes!

I'm delighted that last week, City Council approved the installation of contraflow bike lanes on Bellevue Avenue and Denison Avenue, from College to Queen. This is very exciting news for Kensington Market residents, and everyone who cycles around our downtown communities, as we work to expand our cycling infrastructure and work towards the goal of creating safe streets for all road users.

Thank you to everyone who came to our Open House last year and who provided their input on the project. City staff have taken your feedback and incorporated community comments into their final report. Transportation staff will also continue to monitor the area after the contraflow lane rollout, to make any necessary tweaks to parking or pavement markings to ensure that everything is running smoothly.

I look forward to riding the safe route on Bellevue/Denison, and continuing to implement the 10-year cycling network plan to expand their further North and South!


Rail Deck Park - Official Plan Amendment public consultation



As our community grows, we must focus on building neighbourhoods and not just condo towers – that's why we've been working hard together to make the critical and worthwhile investments in community facilities in Ward 20, and continuing efforts to secure much-needed parkland downtown.

With Rail Deck Park, we can address this growing need from green space in our community. Last August, Mayor Tory and I announced our plan to create a new 21-acre public park over the rail corridor, from Bathurst Street to Blue Jays Way. Once completed, it will be the size of 16 football fields. This will be a new and critical resource for our neighbourhoods, and a new central park for all of Toronto.

Earlier this year, City Council approved taking the first steps to move this bold and ambitious plan forward. Along with detailed implementation plans, cost estimates and growth-related revenue options, and more, the City has initiated an Official Plan Amendment process to formally review re-designating the space above the rail corridor as park space.

On June 13th, the first public consultation as part of the process is being hosted by City Planning – come out and share your thoughts on this critical and potentially game-changing space for our community:

What: Rail Corridor - Official Plan Amendment public consultation

When: Tuesday June 13th, 6-9pm

Where: Metro Hall Rotunda

Download the meeting information here

Building Rail Deck Park won't happen overnight – it will take years. And, it will represent a significant investment for our City. However, to build the city we want – a city that is equitable, liveable, and sustainable for all our friends and neighbours – we must invest in the services and infrastructure to do it. Affordable housing, libraries, community centres, child care services, and new and creative park spaces.

Rail Deck Park is bold, it is ambitious, and it is exactly the type of big project the City of Toronto is ready for.


College Street Study - approved!



City Council has formally endorsed City Planning's College Street Study, which articulates the City's vision for this important downtown street from McCaul to Bathurst. The plan lays out appropriate built form guidelines, including height, setbacks, and heritage considerations

This is the product of several years of hard work, including extensive community consultation with the residents and businesses along College. Special thanks to the many residents' associations who dedicated much of their time and effort to ensuring that local knowledge was woven into staff's recommendations.

You can find out more about the College Street Study on the City's website here.


Ward 20 Community Environment Day - June 11

Please join me on Sunday June 11th, for our Ward 20 Community Environment Day, from 10am-2pm in the Central Tech parking lot. I'll be out there celebrating the (hopefully) summer weather with the community!

Highlights will include:

  • Musical performances by local artists
  • Free compost pick up
  • Donation of gently used items and safe disposal of household hazardous waste
  • Exchange your damaged green bin for a new one / pick up one if you're a new resident
  • Learning about the City's many green initiatives, and ways to make shrink your environmental footprint

This is one of my favourite days of the year and I hope to see everyone for this fantastic community event.

Also on Sunday June 11th, is the Annual Annex Family Festival, presented by the Bloor Annex BIA and Miles Nadal JCC, from 11am-6pm (see below for more info!). As always, Bloor Street will be closed between Spadina and Bathurst for the Festival. 

So, if you're planning on driving to Environment Day to drop off some heavier items, remember you won't be able to use Bloor Street to get to us – and make sure to plan to attend both great community events on Sunday June 11th!


Annex Family Festival



Once again – the Annex Family Festival is upon us!

Come out on June 11th from 11:00am to 6:00pm and celebrate one of the most vibrant corridors in the City. It's a day of fun, games, music, food and more and it's a great way to ring in the summer.

Bloor Street will be closed to all vehicles from Bathurst to Spadina. 


Spadina Rock Walk



As part our work to support live music venues across our City, we are excited to welcome The El Mocambo back to the Ward 20 community and look forward to its re-opening slated for later this year.

This historic music venue has been an integral part of Toronto's cultural landscape since its opening. As part of its restoration, The El Mocambo would like to honour the many musical artists from around the world that it has hosted during its long and storied history on Spadina Avenue.

The Spadina Rock Walk will be a public art installation that would commemorate Canadian artists who have made a significant contribution to the vitality and growth of the Toronto music scene in venues along Spadina.

Similar to King Street's Walk of Fame, the Spadina Rock Walk would be a series of commemorative plaques embedded in the curb extension on Spadina Avenue, stretching from College Street to Queen Street West.

City Council recently endorsed my motion formalizing discussions between The El Mocambo and City staff on the best way to implement the Spadina Rock Walk. I look forward to continuing these conversations and seeing the re-opening of The ElMo!


Update - Richmond and Simcoe traffic light

Over the last number of weeks, I have been working hard to address safety for all road users at the Richmond and Simcoe intersection. As you know, we need a traffic signal to provide a dedicated, protected crossing for pedestrians and cyclists using Richmond Street and Simcoe streets. I have heard from many in the area that it is currently dangerous and unsafe to try to dodge through the gaps in fast traffic on Richmond. Ensuring safety for pedestrians and cyclists must be a top priority here and across our neighbourhoods.

After City staff issued a new report recommending the installation of the traffic light, thanks to dozens of letters that City Council received from local residents, businesses and organizations, the matter was again considered at the May City Council meeting last week. Unfortunately, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong insisted on blocking the item so that it could not be passed. At the end of the meeting, after repeated attempts to pass the item, we ran out of meeting time. As such all items not completed were deferred to the next City Council meeting.

I am profoundly disappointed that Councillor Minnan-Wong refused to let them item go through, and has consequently delayed the approval and installation of a safe crossing at Richmond and Simcoe streets. We will once again consider the item at the July meeting of City Council, where I sincerely hope the safety of all road users at this intersection can be prioritized.


316 Bloor Street - Joint Letter 

After a long appeal process at the Ontario Municipal Board, representatives from two local Residents' Associations and City staff came to a mediated settlement regarding the 316 Bloor Street West (Bloor and Madison). 

Please see my joint letter with the Annex Residents' Association and the Harbord Village Residents' Association on the process and the settlement that was reached. 


New Green Bin Rollout

The City continues to phase in delivery of the new Green Bins and the neighbourhoods in the southern part of District 2, west of Yonge Street and south of Eglinton Avenue, will start receiving their new bins beginning May 19. It will take about three months to complete this distribution. The City delivers to one collection route per day, which represents approximately 1,500 households.

Don't be alarmed if you see residents in your area with new bins and you have not received one -- yours is coming. On the same day that residents get their new Green Bin, the old one will be taken away and recycled. If your old bin is missed that day, set it out empty on your next collection cycle and it will be picked up then (those who miss this second opportunity may contact 311 to arrange removal).

Here are some of the New Green Bin's key features:

  • It is animal-resistant so it can be stored outside or placed at the curb the night before collection with the lid in the locked position.
  • It is larger and can hold more organics. Plus, it meets automated collection requirements.
  • Set out is important. Place the bin with the dial in the locked position with the arrows on the top of the lid facing the street to receive collection. Please remember to leave space (0.5 metres) between bins for automated collection.

More tips on using your new bin will be delivered with the bin. It is important to start using your new bin on your next collection day because the City will no longer be able to collect from the old one. If you are currently an approved garbage and recycling bag-only customer, City staff will contact you to determine if the new Green Bin is suitable for your property.

For more information, please see the City's website at www.toronto.ca/greenbin. You can also learn more by reading the City's information sheet here.


Public consultations - City's Multi-year Accessibility Plan

The City of Toronto is updating its Multi-year Accessibility Plan and wants input from the public. Public consultations will take place on June 12, 14, 22 and 28. You can also have your say by completing an online survey by June 30, 2017. The City wants to hear your stories and experiences about barriers faced by people with disabilities. We also want to learn about what the City could do to reduce the impact of barriers. 

More information including registration can be found here


Waterfront Toronto Spring Walking Tours

This spring, Waterfront Toronto is leading walking tours of our shared waterfront on a variety of important project and topics.

A Walk Along the Revitalized Queens Quay: June 8 and June 13

Designing the Natural World: Corktown Common: June 10

Public Art in the West Don Lands: June 15

A History of the Central Waterfront: June 17

For full details and to RSVP, please visit: http://mailchi.mp/waterfrontoronto/waterfront-toronto-spring-walking-tours.


Stay in touch with Trustee Malik

Sign-up to Trustee Ausma Malik's e-newsletter for regular updates from her: http://eepurl.com/9xckn


Development Meetings

Rail Deck Park - Official Plan Amendment consultation

Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Metro Hall, Rotunda

520 Richmond Street W - Rezoning Application

Date: Thursday, June 15, 2017
Time: 6:30pm
Location: Hyatt Regency (370 King Street W), Regency BC Room, Mezzanine

663 King Street W - Rezoning Application

Date: Thursday, June 15, 2017
Time: 7:30pm
Location: Hyatt Regency (370 King Street W), Regency BC Room, Mezzanine

King-Spadina Secondary Plan update 

Date: Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Time: TBD
Location: TBD

Please contact my office if you'd like to be notified when details on this meeting are available.


Upcoming events

June 7, 2017

York Quay Neighbourhood Association Meeting (7:00-9:00pm)
Radisson Admiral Hotel (249 Queens Quay West)

Join me at the next York Quay Neighbourhood Association meeting where I will be providing an update on neigbhourhood initiatives and issues.

June 10, 2017


Alice and Dan Heap Plaque Presentation (3:00-4:00pm)
29 Wales Avenue

Join me, Heritage Toronto and the Heap family for the presentation of plaque honouring the legacy of life-long community organizers, trade unionists, socialists, and peace-activists  Alice and Dan Heap. For more information and to register your attendance, please click here.

June 11, 2017

Ward 20 Community Environment Day (10:00am-2:00pm)
Central Tech

Join me at our Community Environment Day on June 11 at Central Tech! There will be musical performances by local artists, free compost pick up, and a drop-off for gently used donations. For more information, see our event flyer here.

June 15, 2017


52 Division Annual Community Event (11:00am-3:00pm)
255 Dundas Street W.

On Thursday, June 15, from 11 am to 3 pm, join Toronto Police 52 Division at their annual community event, this year celebrating the completion of extensive renovations to their building. There will be free food and entertainment for the community, and speakers will be at noon. 52 Division is located at Dundas St W and Simcoe St. More information can be found on the event flyer here.

June 24, 2017

Karma Co-op Laneway Crawl (2:00-6:00pm)
Karma Co-op (739 Palmerston Ave), along Karma Lane and in the store parking lot

Karma Co-op is hosting a Laneway Crawl to celebrate their 45-year Anniversary! Come out for an afternoon of local beer, organic wine, fun activities and free bike tune-ups, courtesy of Urbane Cyclist. For more information, please click here.


Constituency Hours!

A reminder that I hold constituency hours every Friday at the Scadding Court Community Centre (707 Dundas St. West).

Please call 416-392-4044 or email councillor_cressy@toronto.ca for an appointment.