Dear friend -
Best wishes to all those celebrating the Lunar New Year in Toronto, across Canada, and abroad.
This has been another very busy month at City Hall, and throughout Ward 20, as the budget process moves along, and the days finally start to get longer.
In the last month, I’ve been to countless community meetings, Lunar New Years celebrations, and other great events, including a great skating party at Scadding Court, and one of the most well-attended community development consultations in the King-Spadina area in our Ward's history.
As always, I encourage you to contact my office about anything going on in the ward – community events, new developments, and the usual transit and traffic woes that we face in the downtown core. And please pass this newsletter along to your friends and family, and encourage them to sign up for future issues at joecressy.com/newsletter.
As well, I am continuing my constituency hours every Saturday at Scadding Court, from 10am-12pm. Call my office at 416-392-4044 to make an appointment.
Honest Ed's Bloor/Bathurst Open House - Tuesday, March 3, 6-9pm, Park Hyatt Hotel, Queens Park Ballroom
Street food vending public consultation, Thursday, March 5, 2015, 6:30-8:30 pm, City Hall, 2nd Floor in Committee Room 1.
For more information or to provide feedback, residents can also visit www.toronto.ca/streetfoodvending
Skating Party at Jean Sibelius Square - Sunday March 8, 12-2pm
Join Joe for skating and hot chocolate as we enjoy the last of our winter weekends!
Kensington Market Community Meeting - NEW DATE Monday March 16, 7-9pm, St. Stephen-in-the-fields (103 Bellevue Avenue)
Join the conversation and hear updates on the Bar and Restaurant Study, the Heritage Conservation District, Community safety and more.
Pre-application Development Consultation - Tuesday March 24, 6-9pm, Metro Hall, 55 John Street
This meeting will present development proposals for 30 Widmer St, 23 Spadina Ave, and 602-620 King St W. There will be an opportunity for questions and comments from the audience.
King-Spadina Community Consultation - Wednesday March 25, 7-9pm, Metro Hall Rotunda
Details to be announced shortly.
Pre-application Development Consultation - Tuesday April 7, 7-8pm, Metro Hall, 55 John Street
This meeting will present a development proposal for 19 Duncan St. There will be an opportunity for questions and comments from the audience.
Frozen pipes and other winter tips
It’s been a long winter, with a lot of snow, butthe end is in sight.City staff have been working hard to keep our streets and sidewalks clear, and traffic moving, but there are always hiccups. If you are having trouble with un-cleared crosswalks, frozen pipes or other winter challenges, please call 311. For information on how to deal with frozen pipes, please see: http://www.joecressy.com/frozen_pipes
It’s time to invest in our City
Over the course of the current budget debate, it’s been proposed that we cut 8 staff from the Heritage Services department. I want you to know that I am strongly opposed to this cut, and am working closely with my colleagues to fix this reckless act. Cutting planning and heritage services undermines good city building, while risking the loss of our city’s valuable history.
As I have said time and time again, it’s time to invest in Toronto. We’ve spent years chasing fictional gravy trains and slicing our services to the bone. Third party reviews of our services have confirmed that we run a very lean city. What that means is that any time you hear politicians talk about finding ‘additional savings,’ it means they are actually talking about making serious cuts to the services we depend on.
To read more about why I think we need to invest, not cut, read my op-ed from February 26, in the Star: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/02/16/joe-cressy-its-time-to-face-torontos-revenue-problem.html
What’s your vision for Toronto’s waterfront?
Toronto is a world-class city that deserves a world-class waterfront. We’re almost there, but it’s important that we don’t allow the hard work that's been done over the past number of years to be derailed, by undermining the great plans already laid out, or by allowing jets at the Island Airport.
Read my op-ed on the future of Toronto's waterfront from the Gleaner News here:http://gleanernews.ca/index.php/2015/02/19/renew-commitment-to-waterfront/#.VOYvP-bF_rQ
Click here for updates on the Island Airport pedestrian tunnel: http://www.portstoronto.com/getattachment/8e953303-ed32-4f2e-983f-c672c583e1f1/BBTCA-PT-Update-March-2015-(2)-ko9.pdf.aspx
This past Monday, my office hosted a budget townhall meeting to discuss the 2015 proposed Operating and Capital Budgets. Residents from across the Ward attended, and raised concerns related to cycling priorities, transit affordability, and City Services. A common theme was the need for increased revenue at the City to properly fund, and expand, the services that residents across Toronto rely on. Those who attended discussed different kinds of revenue options, as well as ways to ensure that programs are funded sustainability and adequately.
The 2015 Operating and Capital Budgets will be discussed at Executive Committee on Monday March 2nd, and approved by City Council on March 10th and 11th.
If you weren’t able to make the meeting, please take the time to fill in my budget survery online: http://www.joecressy.com/2015_budget_survey
February 10-11 Council highlights:
Improving the City's Heritage Preservation
Council approved a motion intended to provide greater protection of heritage buildings. The proposal calls for the Chief Planner to implement an inventory classification that addresses all properties across Toronto, whether or not evaluated for formal heritage protection, to prevent demolition without adequate consideration as to whether they should be preserved. The motion also proposes a project that will advance work on a comprehensive inventory of heritage properties.
Unauthorized business signs
Council supported recommendations aimed at addressing the proliferation of business signs that are displayed in some areas of Toronto without municipal permits. Staff have found that many business owners are not aware of the need for a sign permit, and that most business owners are willing to comply or remove the sign in question once they are aware of the City's requirements. The City's approach will involve better communication with business owners in combination with concerted enforcement.
Wong Association of Ontario plaque unveiling
It was my pleasure to attend a plaque unveiling for the Wong Association of Ontario, alongside many other community leaders.
As the Torontoist explains, “On Chinese New Year’s Day, Heritage Toronto unveiled a new plaque honouring the Wong Association of Ontario. The Chinese family organization has been around for over 100 years and is the first such Canadian organization to have its own coat of arms, which features a panda bear, polar bear, dragon, and phoenix. It’s pretty amazing.”
Subcommittee on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
As a lifelong environmentalist, I've happy to be part of Toronto's new Subcommittee on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.
Recognizing that Climate Change is one of the most important issues of our time, the City of Toronto has established a goal of greenhouse gas emission reductions of 80% by 2050.
I hope you'll join us for our first meeting on Monday, March 2. Get more info here: http://www.joecressy.com/climate_change_subcommittee
Bloor and Bathurst - Honest Ed’s development
There's been a lot of talk about the development coming to the Honest Ed's site at Bloor and Bathurst. Westbank, the developer, will be unveiling their latest plans for the site on Tuesday, March 3, and we hope many community residents will attend.
This proposal is still in the ‘pre-application’ stage, which is a great time for community members to give feedback about the design. This is an early stage of an ongoing process, and we will be sure to update the community as things move forwards.
500 Lake Shore Blvd W – Loblaw’s development
In downtown Toronto we have to ensure that we're building neighbourhoods, rather than just adding density. Here's an interesting new project intended to do just that:
Bloor St developments
In part because of significant public concern about new development proposals in the area, the City has launched a new web ‘portal’ to share information about development applications along the north side of Bloor Street West, between St. George Street and Walmer Road. Our office and City Staff have been working closely with the Annex Residents’ Association’s Planning and Zoning subcommittee, and we intend to work closely with the community moving forwards to protect the character of this unique neighbourhood.
See the new site here: www.toronto.ca/planning/bloorannex
We hope to host a community meeting about two possible developments in the area soon. My office will share details as soon as they are available.
On Tuesday, February 3, I hosted a community consultation about two proposed developments in the King-Spadina area. The event was extremely well attended, easily doubling the capacity of the room. I hope that trend continues as we host more development meetings in the future.
Click the link below to see the two presentations, and notes from the open-floor Q&A session that followed each presentation.
Stopping the sale of TDSB schools
We shouldn't be selling off any public schools without a consideration of the broader impact on the community. For that reason, I was proud to support my colleague Councillor Mike Layton's motion on February 10 that called on the TDSB to reserve any decision on selling off schools without consulting the City first.
Across the city and in our community, schools are often at the heart of our neighbourhoods. They are not only spaces for learning during classroom hours, they are community hubs. Our schools are places for child care, adult learning, community and recreation facilities, access to greenspace, and meeting places in our communities.
Read more: http://www.joecressy.com/school_closures
If you are concerned about school closures in Toronto, please take the time to sign this petition, calling on Premier Wynne to protect schools from closure: http://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/save-our-schools-1
New YMCA in Ward 20
I'm very happy to announce that the first of 10 new Y's being built around Toronto has opened right here in Ward 20.
The new Vanauley Street YMCA will offer high-demand services for street-involved youth (16-24 y.o.) in the Queen and Spadina community.
Get more info here: http://www.joecressy.com/vanauley_street_ywca
Streetcar track reconstruction
Living in Ward 20, we benefit from immediate access to many major transit routes, but that means we also have to deal with occasional repairs and overhauls. This spring, a major streetcar track reconstruction is coming to the intersection of Spadina and College.
Click here for more info: http://www.joecressy.com/track_construction
Downtown relief line
City Planning and the TTC are planning the Downtown Relief Line - a new subway line that would connect downtown to the Bloor-Danforth Subway east of the Don River. This new subway line would address crowding and congestion on the Yonge Subway, at Yonge-Bloor Station, and on the surface transit network to the east of downtown. Public consultations are starting March 3rd in the East End.
Spring and Summer recreation sign-up is coming.
Registration for spring and summer City of Toronto community recreation programs including summer camps begins at 7 a.m. on March 7 in Etobicoke/York, March 8 in Scarborough, March 10 in North York and March 11 in Toronto and East York districts.
See more info here: http://www.joecressy.com/spring_and_summer_recreation
TYC Welcome to City Hall Day Thursday March 19th
The Toronto Youth Cabinet's Community Engagement working group is hosting a Welcome to City Hall Day for youth groups (ages 13-17) throughout the March Break week.
This year's event will be held on Thursday March 19th from 11am – 3:30pm. We would like to invite 120 youth from March Break programs to come to Toronto City Hall for a day to meet and greet with City Councillors, learn about how City Hall works and participate in interactive civics workshops. Participant slots will be provided on a first come first serve basis. TTC tokens and student tickets can be provided for groups if needed. Lunch will be provided for all participants and youth staff. Deadline to book your camp group is Friday March 13th
Interested camp staff should contact P Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org (416) 392-4927.