The Cressy Courier Sept 23 - Community services in CityPlace, Revitalization updates, and more

Dear Friend,

I hope you'll be able to enjoy these last days of summer weather this weekend, as we get ready for changing leaves and a busy Fall season here at City Hall.

In addition to the implementation of the King Street pilot and other projects like the King-Spadina Heritage Conservation District and Secondary Plan, and the Kensington Market Heritage Conservation District Study nearing completion, we're working hard to build liveable, safe and equitable communities.

Work continues in Bellevue Square park, and we're excited to be celebrating the completion of The Doctors' Parkette and Margaret Fairley Park in the coming weeks. We're looking forward to the installation of the Bellevue-Denison contra-flow bike lane this fall, and to continuing our work to build safe streets for all road users. We've broken ground on our new community centre in CityPlace, we're continuing to advance work on our Alexandra Park and 250 Davenport Revitalizations, and are looking forward to the public meeting on the Rail Deck Official Plan Amendment this Monday.

You'll find updates below on this and so much more.

I look forward to seeing you around the community as we welcome the Fall season.

Take care,

Joe 


Toronto's Overdose Crisis - Our Work Continues

Overdose is a growing crisis in our city. In 2015 - the most recent year for which we have complete data - we lost 258 people to overdose. It’s an overwhelming number — and one I think about every day. Every week more Torontonians are dying and the painful fact is these deaths are preventable.

This summer, the crisis took an alarming turn. The loss is staggering because these are not numbers — they are people. And overwhelmingly they are young people, who are mourned by those they leave behind: our neighbours, our colleagues, our friends. We now lose more young Ontarians to overdose than to traffic accidents, and it’s got to stop.

We've been working hard to try and respond proactively. In 2011, Toronto Public Health became the first health unit in the country to distribute naloxone, a life-saving antidote for opioid overdose. Through our Toronto Drug Strategy, adopted 11 years ago, we established an overdose co-coordinating committee and initiated a number of measures. In partnership with harm reduction agencies we developed prevention tools like the website www.reportbaddrugsTO.ca to provide a forum for people who use drugs to share information about negative drug reactions. We implemented harm reduction training programs within the broader community and supported opioid substitution treatment programs. Perhaps the most recognizable measure was the long fought for decision to open three supervised injection services.

In the last year, as the crisis continued, we worked with people who use drugs and front line experts to develop the Toronto Overdose Action Plan. Endorsed by the Board of Health in March, the 49-point plan calls for expanding the free distribution of naloxone, approving the use of diacetylmorphine (pharmaceutical heroin) as another form of opioid treatment, working with hospital testing labs to develop a drug-testing program, and publishing real-time overdose data.

While I believe we've taken important and proactive steps to stem the tide, and am immensely proud of the response of our committed and talented city staff, the truth is more needs to be done. 

We need to open our supervised injection services right away – our first interim site opened this past August, and our three permanent sites are set to open in the coming weeks. At the same time, we need to update our assessment of need throughout our city, and the next steps for expanding these life-saving services. We've seen front-line workers open an Overdose Prevention site in response to growing local need - this shows us we need to ensure our services are where people need them. Naloxone should be distributed throughout the community, and carried by police and first responders. We need to better fund and support front line community organizations who work daily to keep people alive. We need drug testing programs opened. 

That’s not to say that the city can do it all on its own. Our federal and provincial counterparts need to scale up their own response. Frankly, it should have been scaled up yesterday. But, as the chair of Toronto’s Drug Strategy, I’ll be the first to admit we’re not doing enough. We will continue to work as hard as possible to respond to this crisis, and to safe the lives of our friends and neighbours.


Building Community Services in CityPlace

I couldn't be more excited that construction is now underway on the new multi-use public facility (formerly known as "Block 31") at Canoe Landing Park in CityPlace! It will open in time for the fall 2019 school year.

I was proud to be joined by Trustee Malik, Trustee Davis, and Mayor Tory for the ceremonial ground-breaking last week. This partnership between the school boards and the City of Toronto will include:

Block 31 res

  • Canoe Landing Community Recreation Centre
  • Canoe Landing Child Care Centre
  • Bishop Macdonell Catholic Elementary School, serving 550 children from kindergarten to grade eight
  • Jean Lumb Public School, serving 550 children from kindergarten to grade eight
  • Multi-functional event and market space facing the park, to be operated by a non-profit organization

This integrated multi-use facility will help ensure that families living in CityPlace and the surrounding high-density neighbourhoods will have access to the amenities and services necessary for a thriving, liveable, equitable community. For families in condos and apartments, the park is your back yard, and the community centre is your living room.

Block 31

Through public meetings and working group meetings in 2015 and 2016, the facility was designed in close collaboration with the community in order to respond to the particular needs and desires in a vertical neighbourhood. For example, to make the best use of a compact site, many interior spaces like gyms will be shared between the schools and the community centres, and the rooftop will have space for activities including basketball, planting beds, and a running track. The school playground will be open to the public after hours, on weekends, and during the summer – effectively enlarging Canoe Landing Park.

For more details, please visit www.toronto.ca/canoelanding.


New Regulations for Fraternity and Sorority Houses

While many post-secondary institutions call Toronto home, fraternities and sororities have long been exempt from a framework that would allow for accountability and regulation at a Municipal level. Considering recent incidents in the United States and many ongoing issues in our community, I asked staff earlier this year to look into a licensing framework that would ensure that these houses meet building codes and provide a safe and healthy environment for the students and alumni that live there. My hope is that such a framework will not only reduce the risks for the students living in and attending these homes, but also for the residents in the community in which they reside.

Despite attempts to mitigate issues, reports of problematic behaviour such as issues with garbage, extreme noise and property standards violations persist. I have also recently received disturbing reports regarding the rise of incidents of sexual assault at a number of fraternities – incidents that often, due to the stigma faced by survivors, can go unreported and unsolved. As a city, we must be clear that the prevalence of these incidents at these fraternity houses is unacceptable. 

At Executive Committee on June 19, I presented and successfully passed a motion to include a review of fraternities in Municipal Licensing and Standard's upcoming report on multi-tenant houses – this report is scheduled for the November 29th meeting of Executive Committee. I will continue to work with the local community and post-secondary institutions to responsibly license and regulate fraternities and sororities in our City.

Please see my letter here: http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2017/ex/bgrd/backgroundfile-104729.pdf


Alexandra Park Revitalization - Update

Our work continues to advance and implement the Alexandra Park Revitalization, under the leadership of the Alexandra Park Revitalization working group. Over the last three years, I have been privileged to work with residents, Toronto Community Housing (TCHC), the Atkinson Housing Co-op, and the City to move the Alexandra Park Revitalization forward. 

Keeping access and equity, local economic development, and community-building at the heart of the project, Phase 1b is now under construction. Our focus has now turned to reviewing Phase 2 of the community-led Revitalization, which in addition to continued townhome and apartment replacement and refurbishment, will include: zero displacement of residents, a brand new 1,100 square metre (minimum) community centre, new parks and basketball courts, local social enterprise, bike sharing stations, and more. We are also working hard to implement our Council-approved plan to expands both affordable housing and affordable home ownership in the community, as well as to find opportunities to augment the plan as we move forward. The plan commits funding to affordable home ownership, sets out a plan to expand the footprint of the Atkinson Housing Co-operative, and allocates funding for new units of affordable housing in Phase 2 of the Revitalization.

The Alexandra Park Community Centre is a true hub and centre of support, activity, and innovation for the community . A critical part of Phase 2 is designing and building, from the ground-up, a brand new Community Centre. We are working hard with the Alexandra Park Community Centre Steering Committee – which includes representatives of the Alexandra Park Residents' Association Board, Atkinson Housing co-op, the Revitalization Working Group, Community Centre leadership, Toronto Community Housing, Tridel and my office – to set out a plan for the new centre that will continue to respond to the needs of the community, and provide opportunities for growth and continued community innovation. Once this stage is complete, we will collectively begin working with an architect to design the bricks and mortar building at the centre of the Revitalization project. We are very excited to continue this critical work with our entire community. 

As our review of Phase 2 continues, please stay tuned for opportunities to learn more about this part of the project and the work we are doing together. I look forward to our continued work together as we embark on Phase 2, and remain committed to expanding affordable housing and community facilities opportunities throughout the project.


250 Davenport Road Revitalization

Joe at a 250 Davenport Community BBQ

As I wrote to you earlier this summer, work on the next stages of the 250 Davenport Road Revitalization has now begun. The project team has now distributed a second construction notice, which you can access on the project website here

As a reminder, in August 2013, TCHC approved the sale of approximately 1.6 acres of land at 250 Davenport Rd to Diamond Corp. and Metropia Inc., to help fund the Revitalization of the existing TCHC building. With a budget we increased from $6.2 to $14.7 million, the project includes extensive refurbishment of the 449-unit building, new market housing, local economic opportunities, and more.

The building improvements are now in the final stages. After extensive community consultation, the plans for the new market housing were approved late last year. A new market condominium and townhouse units will be built on the space to the west of 250 Davenport, in addition to the creation of a new park, community green spaces including a playground and space for the local food market, and a mid-block connection that will link Pears Avenue to Davenport Road.

Critical to the project is Transition 250, a Social Development Action Plan, which I was proud to work with residents of 250 Davenport to create. The Plan identifies the social and economic priorities – food security, health services, community, and capacity building – critical for building residents. Through the Revitalization, I am committed to working to implement the plan, in collaboration with the community. 

The latest update, distributed in late August, included the following:

COMPLETED TO DATE:

  • Removal of traffic island in TCHC drop-off area
  • Modifications to surface parking area
  • Construction hoarding installation in the P1 garage level
  • Interior preparation

GARAGE AND BUILDING ACCESS:

  • Current garage access will be maintained to P1 level
  • Walkway from west side of P1 level to building entry and elevators now installed

UPCOMING WORK:

  • Tree removal of several trees on Pears Avenue within the next two weeks
  • Interior renovation of the garage and several townhouse units within the existing garage will start September 5th. This will include the demolition of some internal walls. Measures for noise and dust control will be implemented, though some noise is expected in the parking levels and lower floors of the building.

Also, the latest edition of the 250 Davenport Newsletter has been distributed to building residents - many thanks to resident leaders who worked hard in putting this great update together! To access the newsletter, click here

If you have any questions about the work that is about to begin, please see the notice here for contact information.


Glasgow Street Improvements - Parkette, Streetscape, and Cecil Community Centre 

I am very excited to be hosting a meeting, along with City of Toronto Parks staff, to discuss the exciting proposed improvements in the Glasgow Street area.

We were able to allocate staff resources through the 2017 Budget process, and holding a community stakeholder meeting earlier this year, I'm very pleased into the next phase of the project, which includes improvements to Glasgow Street parkette, streetscape improvements, and new landscape work at the Cecil Street Community Centre.

Join us as staff introduce the projects, present draft concept plans, hear comments, priorities and feedback from the community, and discuss next steps:

Thursday October 5, 2017 
6:30 to 8 p.m. 
Cecil St. Community Centre, 58 Cecil Street

ASL interpreters may be provided, if available. Please contact 311 in advance of this meeting if interpreter is needed.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


Rail Deck Park- Next Steps and Upcoming Meetings

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

rail Deck Park

Last August, Mayor Tory and I announced Rail Deck Park: a new 21-acre public park over the rail corridor. The size of 16 football fields, it will be a new and critical resource for our neighbourhoods, and a new central park for all of Toronto. City Council has already approved taking the first steps to move this bold and ambitious plan forward. Along with detailed implementation plans, cost estimates, and funding options, we have initiated an Official Plan Amendment process to formally review re-designating the space above the rail corridor as parkland.

Join me and Mayor Tory for the second public meeting on the Official Plan Amendment, where the city will review the draft recommendations for the future of this critical corridor:

Date: Monday, September 25, 2017
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: City Hall – Council Chambers (100 Queen Street West)

Please attend and speak out in support of Rail Deck Park. We desperately need this major new park today and it will be a legacy we leave for future generations.

After the plans for Rail Deck Park were announced, the City of Toronto received a private application to change the Official Plan to allow a large new development above the rail corridor, including a parking structure for 1,225 vehicles and 9 buildings up to 59 storeys tall. On September 12th, the City held a public meeting on this application to hear feedback from our community. 

The Ontario Planning Act legally requires the City to review, hold public meetings, and make a decision on every private development application, no matter how obviously inappropriate it is, which is why a meeting was required to take place on the application. And we also have to be prepared to defend that decision if it is appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), which has the power to overturn any of City Council's planning decisions.

Rail Deck Park 2

To be very clear, I completely oppose any private development over the rail corridor because it would diminish the size and usefulness of Rail Deck Park. We have plenty of other sites downtown for more towers, but there are no other sites for a new 21-acre downtown park.
In the coming months this fall, city staff will be bringing forward their recommendations for use in the corridor, as well as the next steps in the implementation plan for Rail Deck Park. I look forward to continuing to advance work on this critical project for our community, and our city.


Bloor Street United Church Development Proposal - Public Consultation

The Bloor Street United Church at 300 Bloor St West is inviting local residents to a public consultation, hosted by the Church, on Wednesday, September 27th from 7-9pm to discuss a development proposal on their site. This is a pre-application meeting, as no formal application as been received by the City.

Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 
Time: 7 – 9 PM (Presentation at 7:30 PM) 
Location: Bloor Street United Church - 300 Bloor Street West 
Please enter through the red doors on Bloor Street West


If you would like to learn about the proposal, ask questions or provide feedback, please see this meeting notice for details. 


Waterfront Transit Reset

The Waterfront Transit Reset is reviewing, updating, and tying together several past transit plans between Long Branch and Woodbine Avenue that have unfortunately never been implemented. The goal of this work is to better serve travel along the entire waterfront, provide faster and more reliable service, and actually build the improvements that are long overdue.

A public meeting was held on Monday at Harbourfront Centre to share the latest information on Phase 2 of the "Waterfront Transit Reset" and hear comments from the community. The presentation materials have been posted online. To view them, please visit: www.toronto.ca/waterfronttransitreset. You can submit feedback by email to nangelis@lura.ca.

The public meeting will also be repeated at The Assembly Hall (1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive) in Etobicoke on Tuesday, September 26, 6:00 to 8:30 pm.


The 2017 Invictus Games

Between September 23 and 30, 2017, the City of Toronto is hosting the 2017 Invictus Games.

550 competitors from 17 nations will compete in 12 adaptive sports. More information can be found here: http://www.invictusgames2017.com


TTC Fare Gate Construction Update

As part of the TTC’s continuing modernization efforts, the turnstiles at Museum, St Andrew, Osgoode, and Queen's Park Stations will be replaced with new paddle-style fare gates.

Museum Station

  • Construction is scheduled to start on Oct. 27. It will take until the end of next January to complete.
  • The station will close at 10 p.m. Nov. 1-2 and again Nov. 6-7.
  • During the early closure subway trains will not stop at the station. Riders should use St George or Queen’s Park stations to access the subway.

St Andrew Station

  • Construction is scheduled to start on Nov. 8. It will take until the beginning of next February complete.
  • The station will be closed from 10 p.m. Nov. 10 until 6 a.m. Nov. 13.
  • During this weekend closure subway trains will not stop at the station. Riders should use Osgoode or Union stations to access the subway.

Osgoode Station

  • Construction is scheduled to start on Nov. 15. It will take until the beginning of next January to complete.
  • The station will be closed from 10 p.m. Nov. 17 until 6 a.m. Nov. 20.
  • During this weekend closure subway trains will not stop at the station. Riders should use St Patrick or St Andrew stations to access the subway.

Queen's Park Station

  • Construction is scheduled to start on Dec. 4. It will take until the end of next March to complete.
  • The station will close at 10 p.m. Dec. 6-7 and again Dec. 11-12.
  • During the early closure subway trains will not stop at the station. Riders should use Museum or St Patrick stations to access the subway.


During operating hours, riders will enter stations through a temporary station collector or through the collector booth aisle.

A PRESTO card reader will be available beside the station collector during the construction.

Customer service representatives will be available during the construction.

To purchase a PRESTO card visit the Gateway Newstand inside the station or visit prestocard.ca.

To learn more about PRESTO visit ttc.ca/presto.


Economic Development and Culture (EDC) Divisional Strategy

The Economic Development and Culture Division is developing a new, integrated Divisional Strategy to further the vision and goals of the City. The two current strategies, Collaborating for Competitiveness (2013) and Creative Capital Gains (2011) have guided EDC's strategic focus over the last six years. During that time, EDC has made great progress implementing the recommended actions and identifying lessons learned.

The Division is now undertaking a review of current activities – consulting key stakeholders as part of the process – to develop a new, integrated Economic Development and Culture Divisional Strategy to further the vision and goals of the City as set out in the above strategies.

The purpose of the new Divisional Strategy is to develop a framework of focus and establish Divisional priorities over the next five years (2018-2022), drawing a link between culture and economic development. It will include actionable recommendations for the EDC Division and will seek to advance inclusive economic and cultural opportunities across Toronto.

Public Consultations for the new Strategy begin next week and will be held across multiple locations.

Full details and registration information are available here.

Wednesday September 27

9 am – 11 am,
Toronto Reference Library, Bram & Bluma Appel Salon,
789 Yonge Street

As mentioned earlier, the Division has created a Conversation Guide that highlights key emerging economic and cultural trends and challenges facing Toronto and is now posted online. Members of the public are encouraged to respond to the Conversation Guide by completing an online survey or providing a written submission by October 9, 2017.

The Conversation Guide and survey are available here.

The final Strategy will be presented to the Economic Development Committee in November of this year. This staff report will include a high level implementation plan that outlines any resource implications. If this Strategy is approved by Committee, the implementation of recommended actions will be accommodated within EDC's existing budget beginning in 2018.


TTC Track Work - Queen St West and McCaul St 

This fall, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Transit Commission will replace the streetcar tracks at the intersection of Queen Street West and McCaul Street as shown below. The intersection at Queen Street West and McCaul Street will be closed to through traffic during construction. Sidewalks on Queen Street West will remain accessible and pedestrians will be detoured around the work area. To accommodate this work, the intersection will be completely closed for three weeks.

This work is required to bring the track infrastructure to a state of good repair and will improve sidewalks for Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) compliance. This project is part of the Council-approved 2017 Capital Works Program.

Queen McCaul

Additional details including the work times and project-relevant communication can be found in the City Pre-Construction Notice.


Celebrating our Literary City - the New Toronto Book Garden

I am very excited for the official opening of the newly completed Toronto Book Garden this Sunday, September 24th.

Commemorating the winners of the Toronto Book Award, this serene garden along the Queen's Quay is complete with engravings of every past winner of the award, along with their book titles, in paving stones within the garden. A welcome addition to the budding literary hub on the Waterfront – now home to the Word on the Street Festival (also this coming Sunday), the International Festival of Authors, and more – this new green space commemorates our city's culture, and the stories that make our city what it is.


Mirvish Village Update - Construction Schedule

Our community’s involvement in the Mirvish Village redevelopment is continuing through a process of committee discussions between Westbank (the developer), Councillor Layton and myself, the City, four local residents associations, as well as local businesses and other stakeholders.

City Council’s approval of the development included ongoing community input on construction management and planning, site plan, park space, public realm and a new business plan.

The mandate of the Construction Management Committee (CMC) is to provide community input and advice throughout the construction of Westbank’s redevelopment of Mirvish Village and the former Honest Ed’s store. The CMC is an advisory committee and not a formal commenting or decision-making body. The CMC will take a productive and proactive approach to problem solving by reviewing, highlighting potential concerns and working to solve those concerns before they take place.

For more information about the CMC and for an anticipated construction schedule please visit the Mirvish Village Task Group’s website here.


Development Meetings 

September 25, 2017

Rail Deck Park Public Meeting (6:00pm)
City Hall – Council Chambers (100 Queen St W)

Join me and Mayor Tory for the second public meeting on the Official Plan Amendment, where the city will review the draft recommendations for the future of this critical corridor. Please attend and speak out in support of Rail Deck Park. We desperately need this major new park, it will be a legacy we leave for future generations.

September 26, 2017

Waterfront Transit Reset Meeting (6:00-8:30pm)
The Assembly Hall (1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Dr) in Etobicoke

The Waterfront Transit Reset is reviewing, updating, and tying together several past transit plans between Long Branch and Woodbine Avenue that have unfortunately never been implemented. The goal of this work is to better serve travel along the entire waterfront, provide faster and more reliable service, and actually build the improvements that are long overdue.

September 27, 2017

Bloor Street United Church (7:00-9:00pm)
Bloor St United Church (300 Bloor St W)

The Bloor Street United Church is inviting local residents to a public consultation to discuss a development proposal on their site.

Economic Development and Culture (EDC) Divisional Strategy Meeting (9:00-11:00am)
Toronto Reference Library, Bram & Bluma Appel Salon (789 Yonge St)

The Economic Development and Culture Division is developing a new, integrated Divisional Strategy to further the vision and goals of the City. The purpose of the new Divisional Strategy is to develop a framework of focus and establish Divisional priorities over the next five years (2018-2022), drawing a link between culture and economic development.

October 5, 2017

Glasgow Street Parkette Community Meeting (6:30-8:00pm)
Cecil St. Community Centre (58 Cecil St)

The City of Toronto invites you to learn more about proposed improvements for Glasgow Street Parkette and streetscape and Cecil Community Centre landscape improvements.


Community Events 

 

September 27, 2017

UTS Building the Future Campaign (6:45-7:30)
John and Margaret Winthrow Hall (UTS Auditorium) (371 Bloor St W)

Building the Future is the capital campaign to provide the necessary resources for the renewal of the building at 371 Bloor St. The renewal will allow future generations to receive the highest calibre of education from this wonderful school.

September 29, 2017

TRANZAC Mural Launch (4:00-7:00pm)
The TRANZAC (292 Brunswick Ave)

Join in for a mural launch as part of the StreetARToronto Partnership Program with non-profit organization The Toronto Australia New Zealand Club (TRANZAC). The launch is part of a neighbourhood improvement project, entitled “Space in Community" lead by the Tranzac and artist Jabari “Elicser” Elliott. The initiative also includes the transformation of the David French & Barbara Barrett Laneways and features over 30 works of art created by local graffiti and mural artists lead by the Tranzac, Team Spudbomb and StreetARToronto.

October 1, 2017

Brunswick-College Parkette Opening & Margaret Fairley Park Opening (1:00pm-2:00pm)
15 Brunswick Ave & 100 Brunswick Ave, respectively

Come celebrate with us as we unveil the new improvements that have been made to these two neighbourhood parks!


Stay in touch with Trustee Malik

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


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.