Seasons greetings, Gardiner construction update, St. Patrick's Market victory, and more

Dear friends,

Happy Holidays from your Ward 10 team!

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season.

All the best,

 

Joe


Current Overnight Work on the Gardiner Expressway - Update

Our downtown is made up of vibrant neighbourhoods. 240,000 people currently live downtown, a number that is expected to reach 500,000 in the next 25 years. It is also the economic engine of our city, home to more than 500,000 jobs, expected to grow to more than 900,000 by 2041. We work hard together to manage the needs of our communities, but also to manage the needs of a diverse downtown core. We work hard to find an appropriate balance.

Over the past few weeks, I have heard from many people in our community along the eastern Waterfront, who have been subjected to consistent, loud, extremely disruptive overnight work being done every night on the Gardiner Expressway. Thousands of residents have not slept in weeks. Currently, this ongoing overnight work is scheduled to continue until 2021.

Conducting continuous, prolonged non-emergency overnight work in residential neighbourhoods is not acceptable. We cannot sacrifice the well-being of residents simply to avoid closing lanes of traffic during the day.

Since I learned of the intention for continuous overnight work earlier this year, I have called for this decision to be reversed. I have held meetings, written formal letters, and more. However, the power to make this decision does not rest with a local Councillor. Earlier this year, I was assured that the noisiest, most disruptive work would be restricted to daytime hours. Clearly, this is not the case.

Over the past three weeks, I have reiterated my call for this work to be limited to daytime hours. I have met with the Mayor's office and senior City staff, and asked for the situation to be addressed.

This morning, senior City staff informed me that the contractor is immediately implementing a new technique – called "coring" – that they believe will address the extreme noise overnight. City staff will be onsite to monitor the impact of this new technique. My office will also be monitoring and assessing the impact of this new technique. I will continue to work with senior staff on adequate mitigation measures, but I will also continue to call for this incredibly disruptive overnight work to be conducted during daytime hours.

Over the holidays, the contractor's overnight schedule is as follows: December 22nd and 23rd, and January 1st. Metrolinx – who is conducting work (outside the City's control) along the rail corridor in a similar area – will be working on the following nights: December 20th to December 23rd, with the slight possibility of work on the 29th. Information on Metrolinx construction dates and types of construction is available through a weekly email update – sign up at unionstationeast@metrolinx.com.

So much of our city's infrastructure finds itself in the downtown. While we must ensure that necessary work on this important infrastructure can take place, we must find a balance to ensure that this can happen without sacrificing the liveability of our downtown neighbourhoods.

Please continue to send your feedback to my office, as well as mayor_tory@toronto.ca, and City staff at gardinerrehab@toronto.ca.


Restoring Public Control of St. Patrick's Market - We Won!

As our downtown grows, it is vitally important that our publicly-owned properties and buildings are used for the public benefit, to provide the vital services and facilities that our vibrant and dense communities need. After decades of neglect, historic St. Patrick's Market in the heart of downtown Toronto on Queen Street West, will be returned to the City of Toronto. I'm thrilled to inform you that last week, the Ontario Superior Court ruled in the City's favour, restoring public control of St. Patrick's Market!

Situated on bustling Queen West at 238 Queen St. W, St. Patrick's Market is a heritage structure visible in the backdrop of television programs produced from the iconic 299 Queen Street West across the street, and broadcast across Canada. Bequeathed to the City of Toronto in 1837 to become a public market benefitting residents of Toronto, St. Patrick's Market has the potential to be an iconic, city-wide and local destination.

Regrettably, St. Patrick's Market has been underutilized since 1989 when a 50-year lease was signed with a private operator. In September 2019, after years of work, the City initiated a legal process to terminate the lease on grounds that the private long-term leaseholder had not complied with key terms that require a publicly-accessible food market to operate in the building, along with grounds related to non-payment of rent, and others.

On December 12th, a decision was issued by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, that formally terminates the lease with the private lease-holder, and permits the City to re-enter and take possession of the Market.

Now, we will begin a robust public process to determine the future use of the Market. This week, we took another step forward in bringing the Market back to life, as Council approved my motion to convene a community working group to plan for its future. Through this process, we must consider its original intention as a public market, our plan to revitalize the adjacent public park, and other community and cultural uses that are critical to support our downtown communities. 

It is unacceptable that St. Patrick's Market has been left derelict by a long-term tenant. The principal lesson of this saga is that public land must be used better. In an increasingly unaffordable city for artists to create, small businesses to thrive, and people to live, we must ensure that we utilize public land for public good.

Please stay tuned for future updates!


New Year's Eve at Nathan Phillips Square

Ring in the New Year at Nathan Phillips Square! The annual celebration takes place against the festive and picturesque backdrop of Toronto’s official Christmas tree and the lights of Nathan Phillips Square. The evening includes live musical performances, a DJ skating party, and a stunning fireworks display to help you usher in 2020.


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