The Cressy Courier: March Council highlights, cycling improvements, and more!

Dear friend -- 

I hope you've all been able to enjoy the first signs of spring over this past week. I hosted our first compost day events of 2017 this past weekend, and neighbours were out in large numbers to get started on this year's planting season!

In addition to more compost day events to come around our Ward 20 communities (you'll find more information on those below), we continue to be hard at work with residents to build sustainable, supportive, and equitable neighbourhoods.

We're working hard to design new streets that at their heart are places and spaces for people, and to improve safety for cyclists. I couldn't be more proud that the Board of Health recently approved our Toronto Overdose Action Plan, a comprehensive set of actions to work together to address our city's growing overdose crisis. Work continues to create a brand new park and signature public space at 318 Queens Quay, to design Grasset Park at Adelaide and Widmer, and much more.

You'll also find updates below on this and other critical work in our community below. 

Please get in touch with my office any time with any questions or concerns about what you read below, or anything else.

I look forward to seeing you around the community, and at our upcoming Spring compost days!

Take care,

Joe 

March Council Highlights

Standards for apartment buildings  

Council approved the regulation of apartment buildings with the aim of improving the quality of rental housing stock in our city. The resulting apartment bylaw will apply to rental buildings three or more storeys tall and having 10 or more dwelling units available for rent. It will not apply to co-operative housing, long-term-care facilities or licensed retirement homes. If you have any questions about the new by-law, please visit my website.

Rent protection     

Council adopted a motion to encourage the passage and implementation of the provincial Rent Protection for All Tenants Act, 2017 for Ontario. We have an affordable housing crisis in our city, and we must do everything we can – including building affordable housing in all our neighbourhoods – to ensure that residents have access to housing they can afford. We are working hard to build affordable housing units in developments across our neighbourhood – Mirvish Village, 505 Richmond, 25 Leonard Ave, Alexandra Park – but we also need to provincial government to close this loophole that allows landlords to take advantage of tenants in newer buildings.

Council also affirmed its support for changing the current situation so that tenants living in housing built or occupied after 1991 would have legislated protection to control their rent increases. Many Torontonians now spend more than half of their income on rent.

Strategy on chain stores      

Council voted to request a report on creating a retail strategy that addresses the threat chain stores pose to the character of many Toronto neighbourhoods. The motion Council adopted specifies that the envisioned strategy will ensure new retail uses are consistent with the Official Plan's goals and will promote variation in the size and type of new retail spaces on commercial main streets.

Federal investment in affordable housing     

Council supported a motion for the City to ask the Canadian government to implement the commitments to housing funding made in the 2017 federal budget and to establish a housing funding allocation model for investing funds based on housing need. Council agreed to ask the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development to release the government's proposed national housing strategy.

Making meeting rooms accessible   

Council voted to ask staff to pursue interim measures to make sure the council chambers and committee rooms at Toronto City Hall and the civic centres are accessible and comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.


John Street Cultural Corridor - update

Downtown communities like ours face unique challenges and countless opportunities.  Every day, we look for ways to enhance our parks, support our neighbours, build new community facilities and, importantly, to create new public spaces.

Over the years, we've begun to shift our collective attitudes towards the very spaces at the heart of cities – our streets. Once seen as sites only for busy travel, our streets are being reimagined as public spaces in and of themselves. Places where our communities can gather, stop, celebrate, watch and learn…from our city, ourselves and each other.

Designing a new John Street

Almost 10 years ago – when many cities like New York and San Francisco were also beginning to reimagine their streets - Toronto embarked on a quest to transform a central downtown street into a destination for public life, truly recognizing it as a hub of civic and cultural importance. John Street has been officially recognized as a cultural corridor for many years, home to institutions like the Art Gallery of Ontario, CBC Broadcast Centre, the Princess of Wales and Royal Alexandra Theatres, and TIFF Bell Lightbox, to name a few. The project to redefine John as a public cultural space, while making it inviting for pedestrians to truly use and occupy the street, culminated in the John Street Cultural Corridor improvement project.

Through a lengthy public consultation and Environmental Assessment (EA) process during the last term of Council, the vision for John Street emerged. A pedestrian-focused design, John Street will see the elimination of 2 lanes of traffic, narrower lanes, greatly expanded sidewalks and removal of curbs, so there is no barrier between the road and pedestrian realm. These key design components, in addition to upgraded lighting provided by the local Business Improvement Area, new event spaces at intersections along the Corridor, and landscaping and pavement treatments, come together to create a slower, safer space for everyone. As a Cultural Corridor, the design envisions a street regularly closed for events, sustained periods throughout the seasons, cultural events and more, creating the feeling of a new public plaza space along John.

 

Final design of the John Street Cultural Corridor

With a focus on creating a new pedestrian corridor, the overall design of John Street seeks to slow down all road users, including cars and bicycles, to make the street safer for all. Picture some of the unique streets in our very own Kensington Market – Baldwin Street and Kensington Avenue come to mind. These streets are narrower, and by design move much slower than countless other corridors that function to move people at a faster pace through the area. The new design for John Street, with expanded sidewalks, curb elimination and pedestrians as the focus, seeks to slow down the pace of the street itself.

Expanding safe cycling infrastructure

Safe and accessible cycling infrastructure has been a critical priority of mine since the beginning of this term – and, it continues to be. During the Environmental Assessment process in the last term of Council, options for a cycling facility on John Street were indeed considered. The preferred option however, emerged as a pedestrian-focused corridor with corresponding improvements.

However, the concerns regarding North-South cycling facilities remained – and, rightfully so. To address the gap, the Richmond-Adelaide EA recommended cycle tracks on Simcoe Street. We've installed these, and have extended them south to Queen's Quay, enhancing the separation south of Front Street at the same time. We're also working to install a traffic light at Richmond and Simcoe, to create a safe crossing for cyclists travelling in both directions.

Just last year, we also installed brand new separated bike lanes on Peter Street, to connect with the heavily used Richmond-Adelaide cycle tracks. Over the past two years, we've been working hard to address safety at the jogged intersection at Queen and Soho, to provide a safe connection between the new Peter St. lanes, and the Soho-Phoebe-Beverley route. We're happy to announce the design for a two-stage southbound crossing, and that it will be installed next year. Continue reading for more information on this initiative!

A safe and connected cycling grid is critical. It is also equally important that these facilities are always open and undisrupted, to ensure predictability and regular safety for cyclists. I've been pushing hard against bike lane closures for any reason - construction, film events and countless other priorities. My office has a policy of refusing requests for bike lane closures, unless there is a safe detour provided simultaneously. As a critical component of the design on John focuses on regular closures for events and public occupation, installing a cycling facility that would be regularly closed would reduce cyclists' safety and convenience - not a preferred solution. We worked hard together to address gaps in the grid, and this work continues to progress in planning and installation.

Different streets have different priorities. We have to make thoughtful choices about our priorities for each street, and how they support the vibrancy of Toronto, the liveability of our neighbourhoods, and sustainable modes of transportation.

Designing safe streets for all road users is a critical priority, and as we continue to reimagine all our streets, it must be for our entire city. We are building a network of safe cycling streets on Richmond, Adelaide, Simcoe, Peter, and more. Planning is underway to transform King Street into a corridor that works well for public transit. And, with construction starting next year, John Street is poised to become a safe and vibrant space for pedestrians and a new cultural corridor for the entire city.

For more information on the John Street Cultural Corridor, visit the project website or contact my office any time.


Preventing overdose deaths - Toronto Overdose Action Plan approved

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.

This March, the Board of Health approved the Toronto Overdose Action Plan, in response to my motion to develop it late last year. City staff worked hard with community advocates, front-line workers, people who use drugs and more through an online survey, public consultations, and targeted stakeholder conversations to ensure the Plan included a comprehensive set of actions to prevent the deaths of our friends and neighbours. After an update in January requesting urgent resources to provide naloxone training and nursing staff to provide overdose support, the Toronto Overdose Action Plan contains over 25 recommendations, including:

- Expanding the free distribution of naloxone

- Approval to use diacetylmorphine – medical heroin – to treat opiod users not responding to other types of treatment

- Working with hospital testing labs to develop a program that will allow users to test their drugs

- Publishing real-time Overdose data

In addition, the report lays out a number of urgent actions for both the province and federal governments, including providing the approval and confirmed funding for our three supervised injection services approved by City Council in July 2016. We need the other levels of government to act urgently to ensure we can have the sites up and running as soon as possible.

Overdose deaths are preventable, and now is the time to act. I look forward to continuing our work together to implement our Overdose Action Plan. For more information, click here.


Community Compost Days continue!



Harbord Village Compost Day at Central Tech

Last weekend, we kicked off this year's Compost Days at Central Tech and Jean Sibelius Square. Great to see so many gardeners out there in the beautiful weather. The fun continues later this month at Bellevue Square Park. See below for a list of locations coming up.

Please remember to bring your own shovels and containers to collect your free compost. 

Bellevue Square Park (corner of Augusta and Denison)

Date: April 29th
Time: 10am-12pm

Vermont Square Park 
Date: May 6th
Time: 10:30am-12:30pm

Ogden Junior Public School
Date: May 6th
Time: 1:30-3:30pm

Little Norway Park
Date: May 13th
Time: 1-3pm

Hope to see you all out there!


Long-Term Financial Plan - Phase 2 consultations

This past fall, the first phase of public consultations in the development of our City's Long-Term Financial Plan began a critical conversation in our communities - a first step in the critical conversation we need to have, together, about the city we want to live in, how to makes the lives of all our friends and neighbours fair, liveable and equitable, and how we get there.

The first phase of the public consultation on Toronto's Long-Term Financial Plan concluded in December 2016. The public told us to find ways to balance priorities and budgets, ensure we protect the most vulnerable, and to keep our social, environmental and economic commitments. They also gave input on a range of expenditure, revenue, and asset options. A summary of the public input we have received so far can be found at http://www.investinginto.ca/join-the-consultation/#phase1.

 On April 22, 2017, we are inviting Toronto to City Hall. This second phase of the consultation seeks input on governance and decision-making. We want to know more about the public's ideas for:

  • Shaping the city we want, and the long-term plan to pay for it
  • Maturing our government – How to make better use of the tools and governance structures we have, and how to get the tools and governance structures we need
  • The relationship between long-term decision-making, long-term plans, long-term finances, and implementation
  • Supporting public participation in long-term planning and decision-making, including further improvements to information and data that helps form public input

The Council Chambers, committee rooms, the Rotunda and Members Lounge are booked from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on April 22, 2017. Residents, community organizations, and staff will debate, collaborate and create solutions to improve governance and decision-making that have financial impacts. The afternoon will be webcast and recorded so residents can follow along and contribute their input online. An online survey will be open from April 22 to May 14, 2017. 

The development of this plan is crucial for the future of our city. It will help address structural financial issues, as expenditures continue to rise faster than revenues, and ensure the City of Toronto continues to provide the services that we, and all our friends and neighbours, rely on to ensure fairness, equity and liveability.

Information about the consultation, including background reports and engagement opportunities, a series of online surveys and two rounds of community meetings, is available at http://www.investinginto.ca/. The public is also invited to participate in the conversation on social media, using the hashtag #InvestinginTO.


Queen/Soho Intersection - New cycling crossing, childcare, and more

You may have noticed that construction has started in the former Green P parking lot at the intersection of Queen and Soho. As discussed in the media, we're delighted that this site will be the new home of Mountain Equipment Co-op, currently located on King Street. This project – a three-storey building with ground floor retail (MEC) – will also house underground Green P parking, and a brand new childcare facility. After working closely with the local community and developer on a design fit for Queen West, we look forward to the completion of the project next year.

Improving cycling infrastructure

Currently, the offset intersection of Queen/Peter/Soho can be difficult to navigate for cyclists traveling in the north-south direction. I have heard loud and clear that changes are needed at this intersection.  As part of this development, we have been working with the developer for almost 2 years to improve the cycling infrastructure at this intersection.

In order to improve the safety of this intersection, we will install a layby/waiting area on the north side of Queen Street for cyclists traveling southbound on Soho; this designated cyclist waiting area will create a safe, two-stage crossing that will connect the Beverley/St.George lane, Phoebe St. lane, and sharrows on Soho with the brand new separate bike lanes on Peter Street. Cyclists traveling south on Soho will soon be able to turn onto Queen Street, wait in the marked cyclist layby, and continue directly south onto Peter Street.

We will also be installing a new bike box for northbound cyclists traveling on Peter Street. This will make it safer for cyclists turning Westbound on Queen Street and travelling northbound from the Peter Street bike lanes. We are also continuing to review additional improvements necessary for the northbound crossing.

 

Construction on these improvements will begin early next year once the development is complete.

We have also been working closely with the familiar local street vendors at Queen/Soho to ensure that they can remain in their locations both during and after construction. I look forward to seeing them return once the weather warms up!


318 Queens Quay park and public space - update



On Saturday, April 1, I hosted an exciting open house about the future of the property at 318 Queens Quay. With this inaugural public consultation, we began the process of transforming a large surface parking lot into a new signature park and public space for the Waterfront.

The meeting was well attended and we received lots of great input. One of the most exciting and consistent pieces of feedback that we heard was the need for a public space that is focused on wintertime uses. In the summer, our waterfront is an extraordinarily popular destination all by itself, with thousands of visitors every day. On the other hand, in the wintertime the waterfront is cold, windy and lacking in places to warm up.

By focusing on a wintertime park program, we will be able to animate the district year-round and provide some much needed space for seasonal markets like the Waterfront Artisan Market in the summertime or a west-end Christmas Market in the winter. This new public space could also be a venue for design installations, like the Ice Breakers Series, or cultural programs in collaboration with the Harbourfront Centre. Through this exciting new park project, we can re-enforce and enhance the network of parks along Queens Quay.

Parks staff will now be synthesizing the feedback we received and putting a call out for design consultants. Stay tuned for more consultations in the future as we get our consultant team on board. 


Safety at Richmond and Simcoe streets

Last week, Toronto and East York Community Council endorsed my request to install a new traffic signal at the intersection of Richmond Street West and Simcoe Street. I have heard from many residents in the area and many cyclists that it is dangerous and unsafe to try to dodge through the gaps in fast traffic on Richmond Street. We need a traffic signal at the intersection of Richmond and Simcoe to provide a dedicated, protected phase for people to cross Richmond Street, particularly people who experience mobility challenges and cannot cross as quickly as some others. Ensuring safety for pedestrians and cyclists in this location must be a top priority here and across our neighbourhoods.

Because Richmond Street West is an arterial road, the final decision on whether to install a traffic signal will be made by City Council later this month, at its meeting on April 26. I need your support to ensure this critical safety improvement is approved! Transportation Services staff have written a report recommending against installing the traffic signal, raising concerns about the potential for vehicular congestion on Richmond Street and University Avenue. I believe strongly that any congestion impact can be mitigated through updated signal timings, turn restrictions, and other common measures. We cannot let fears of modest, manageable delays for vehicles stand in the way of making our streets safe and welcoming for everyone.

If we are serious about creating a safe, liveable, accessible, inclusive Toronto, we need to ensure that our streets are safe for everyone of all abilities, all ages, and all modes of travel. In the long run, the only way to overcome congestion is to make it more attractive for people to choose to walk, cycle, and use public transit. That's why I have been working hard to implement a number of important safety improvements including reconfiguring the Queen-Soho crossing (see more details above), piloting safe bike lanes on Bloor Street, and installing a traffic signal at Dan Leckie Way and Fort York Boulevard.

Please let City Council know that you support adding a traffic signal at Richmond and Simcoe. You can add your comments to the Council agenda by clicking on the button labelled "Submit Comments" at the very top of this page: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2017.TE23.92. The mayor needs to hear your voice too – please email him at mayor_tory@toronto.ca or call 416-397-2489.


Grasset Park - coming soon!



This summer, construction of a wonderful new public space at Widmer and Adelaide, Dr. Robert Grasset Park will begin.

In the year 1847, approximately 40,000 Irish migrants, many of them sick with typhus, came to our shores fleeing the potato famine and persecution in their homeland. At the time, the City of Toronto had a population of roughly 20,000. Dr. Grasset, along with many nurses, orderlies and healthcare providers tended to these new Canadians, helping them back to good health and into their lives here in Toronto. 

The corner of Widmer and Adelaide, the location of one of the city's earliest brick hospitals, will soon be transformed into Dr. Grasset Park, in honour of his tremendous contributions. As a monument to the dedication and sacrifice of those healthcare professionals, this will be a striking addition to the public realm in the heart of our city. The story of Dr. Grasset is a testament to the principles of inclusion and acceptance that are core to our collective civic identity. This new park will provide an opportunity for reflection and introspection amidst the bustle of downtown. 

Now, as ever, it is important that we cherish and care for each other, regardless of where we come from or what brought us to the shores of these great lakes. 


Supporting 401 Richmond - update

As I have mentioned before, 401 Richmond is a vital part of our community. We have been working hard at the city over the past number of months to address the recent MPAC property re-assessment that threatens the creative and unique nature of 401 and its tenants.

I wrote to MPAC, along with City staff, to express the City's support for a fair assessment of 401 Richmond to sustain the critical creative nature of its operation. I also recently moved a motion, passed by City Council, to ask the provincial government to work with municipalities to examine new ways of assessing heritage properties and non-profit arts and culture organizations. At the City we're hard at work to move this forward.

However, many tenants cannot wait. Because of this, Government Management Committee has unanimously approved my request to review 401 Richmond for partial designation as a Municipal Capital Facility "community centre". City staff will conduct a review of determine which of the spaces within 401 function as community spaces, and therefore should be granted property tax exemption. This review process is now underway, and I am hopeful that this can be another tool to support the tenants of 401 Richmond as we move forward.  

To continue to show your support in advocating for a permanent and effective change to the Province's assessment rules, contact your local MPP, the Minister of Finance, and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport to let them know we need action. 


Community Clean Up Day - April 22



Last year's Clean Up Day in Chinatown

Each spring, local community groups organize clean up days to help clean up our streets and park spaces. This is a great way to meet your neighbours and beautify your community together! The City supports these efforts by providing garbage and recycling bags, as well as special pick ups for registered Clean Up Day events.

See below for a list of Clean Up Day activities in the ward:

Saturday, April 22

  • Vermont Square Park organized by the Seaton Village Residents' Association (10am)
  • St. Andrew's Playground organized by the Garment District Neighbourhood Association (10am)
  • Canoe Landing Park organized by the CityPlace Residents' Association (10am)
  • Clarence Square organized by the Toronto Entertainment District Residents' Association (10am)
  • Litter and Glitter in Harbord Village organized by the Litter and Glitter Organizing Committee (10am at Piano Piano - 88 Harbord St)
  • Chinatown - Spadina and Dundas intersection organized by the Chinatown BIA (10:30am)

For events organized by the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association and the Koreatown BIA, contact our office for more details.


Bathurst Quay - Neighbourhood Plan Progress



For more than two years now, we have been working hard together to create a new Neighbourhood Plan for Bathurst Quay. There have been more than fifty meetings with dozens of groups, including reaching out directly to every single co-op, condo, and apartment building in the neighbourhood. Public meetings open to the entire community were held in December 2014, April 2015, December 2015, and November 2016. Presentation materials from November 2016 are available here:

Bathurst Quay is a neighbourhood with great attributes. It has a wonderful diversity of people and housing options, the ambitious and inclusive Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre, first class parks like Little Norway Park and Coronation Park, a unique monument to Toronto's history at the Canada Malting Silos, and an enviable waterfront setting. We can build on these positive qualities to improve the neighbourhood and bring Waterfront Revitalizations west to Bathurst Quay.

The Neighbourhood Plan lays out an action plan for a successful Bathurst Quay, and identifies four important Big Moves to undertake in the short term, and see through for the next generation:

1. Creating a Remarkable Public Realm

We can stitch together the existing parks and open spaces with better streetscaping and by repairing all the crumbling portions of dock wall. There are also a few significant opportunities to create new public parks, such as the surface parking lot at the foot of Stadium Road. The City will construct improvements that are "Quick Wins" later this year.

2. Enhancing Community Services and Facilities

We need to be sure that the existing community facilities have the resources they need to serve the neighbourhood today, and in the future. A Facility Needs Assessment of the Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre is almost complete. And we are starting planning now for a new public aquatic centre in Bathurst Quay that will serve the waterfront communities.

3. Re-energizing the Silos Site

The Canada Malting Silos have sat unused, behind a locked fence, for too long. We will open up public access to the land around the Silos this year, and we will launch a process to find a partner organization who can bring the community vision for the Silos to life, which is focussed on arts, culture, open space, and community uses.

4. A New Focus on Movement

Today, airport traffic is a source of congestion, safety concerns, and parking problems in Bathurst Quay. Work is ongoing to resolve safety trouble spots, to appropriately manage the volume of vehicles, and to shift more and more airport traffic away from taxis and private vehicles, and toward walking, cycling, and public transit. The City is studying how to change Lake Shore-Bathurst-Fleet with a focus on pedestrian safety. In the long-term, the intention is to relocate the reduced volume of airport pick-up and drop-off traffic to an underground loop, reducing safety conflicts and freeing up space on the surface for the public.

What's next?

We are already hard at work on implementation of the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan. You will being to see improvements this year and we are setting in motion the long-term projects that are vital to the future of Bathurst Quay, including securing full funding from the City for the new aquatic centre. Later this spring, City Council will formally endorse the principles in the Neighbourhood Plan, so these are on the books to guide all future City decisions affecting Bathurst Quay.

You will be hearing from my office and the City, beginning very shortly, for your comments and participation on many aspects of implementing the Neighbourhood Plan. There are still many details to work on together such as the design of parkland improvements. Please watch for updates in future issues of the Cressy Courier or stay involved with the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association (BQNA).


TTC work - Queen Street

From May 7 to September 2, buses will replace streetcars on the entire length of the 501/301 Queen route; between Long Branch Loop to Neville Park Loop.

A number of planned construction projects along the Queen streetcar route make it difficult to provide continuous uninterrupted streetcar service during the work.

The projects on the 501/301 Queen route from May 7 to September 2 include:

  • City/TTC track work on the Lake Shore and track and bridge work on The Queensway, and major work at TTC’s Humber Loop – January 2017 to end of year
  • City streetscaping/sidewalk improvement work between Bathurst and Spadina – Spring 2017
  • Eaton Centre/Hudson’s Bay pedestrian bridge re-construction – May to September 2017
  • City watermain work at Queen/Coxwell – prior to Labour Day 2017 (this is followed by TTC track reconstruction in the fall)
  • Various short-term TTC track/concrete repairs on Queen Street
    • i.e. Queen/James, Queen/Simcoe, Queen/Bay, etc.

A full bus replacement will maintain service along the route, providing the most efficient travel during construction, and will help avoid major diversions that streetcars would otherwise be required to use. For example, when the Eaton Centre conducts their pedestrian bridge work, streetcar overhead wiring along that section will have to be removed (Queen/Yonge area).  If operated with streetcars, the diversion would re-route customers via:  Queen – Church – King – Spadina – Queen, with a bus service operating between Church and Spadina.  TTC’s bus replacement plan therefore avoids both a large streetcar diversion and a transfer.

On September 3, streetcars will return on the Queen route east of Roncesvalles Avenue. Buses will continue operating west of Roncesvalles Avenue due to ongoing construction along The Queensway/Humber Loop/Lake Shore.

For more information, see the construction notice here.


RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Registration and Inspection Program

RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Registration and Inspection Program was approved by City Council at its March 28 meeting. The program takes effect on July 1, 2017 and applies to 30% of Toronto's residents living in approximately 3,500 apartment buildings across the city.

The new program is part of an audit and enforcement system that imposes new standards on how building owners operate their buildings and communicate with their tenants. The existing bylaws that govern how building owners are to maintain their properties still apply. These bylaws include Property Standards, Littering, and Dumping and Graffiti.

This new bylaw enables the City to impose standards for building owners and operators to:

  • Ensure tenants are informed of repairs/maintenance that have an impact on their homes
  • Clearly lay out property owner obligations
  • Help inform the public and prospective tenants on information concerning a building's maintenance and upkeep

The new requirements apply to rental properties that are three or more stories high and have 10 or more units.

Some of the new requirements include:

  • Annual registration with the City, including a $10.60 per unit fee (fees will be waived for Toronto Community Housing and other social housing providers; however all other rules still apply)
  • Process for tracking and responding to tenant service requests
  • Regular inspections by building management in common areas for cleanliness and pests
  • Developing and making available to Bylaw Officers, an operational plan for cleaning, waste management, and capital planning
  • New and substantially increased fines for not complying with the bylaw

New Lower Simcoe Ramp Project



Over the upcoming construction season, the City of Toronto will be demolishing the old York-Bay-Yonge off ramp from the Gardiner Expressway to make way for an urbanized Harbour Street with sidewalks and a multi-use path, a new public park at York Street, and a new shorter off ramp ending at Lower Simcoe Street. The old ramp is nearing the end of its life and would need to be rebuilt anyway, so this is an ideal time to improve the street network and expand the public realm. When work is finished, the streets in this area will be safer and more convenient for everyone.

This is the second and final phase of the Lower Simcoe Ramp project. Last summer, the foundations for the new ramp were constructed underneath the old ramp, reducing the duration or work required this year.

The York-Bay-Yonge off ramp will be closed for demolition on April 17. Work will take place during the day as much as possible, between 7 am and 7 pm, to minimize negative effects on neighbours. Some weekend and overnight work will be required at times, including to safely demolish the old ramp where it bridges over Lower Simcoe Street and York Street, but advance notice will be provided to neighbours before these dates. For thousands of residents, this work will be taking place in their back yard, so I will be actively working to ensure that unnecessary noisy activities do not take place outside the planned daytime hours of work. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any concerns or complaints during construction.

A Construction Liaison Committee has been established for area residents and other stakeholders, with representation from each building directly affected by construction. If you live in a condo building in the area, your Board of Directors or property management has received an invitation to send a representative to these meetings on behalf of your building.

Residents in neighbourhoods east and west of this area will see changes to the traffic flows from the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard when the old ramp is closed in April as drivers seek new routes into downtown from the west. Signage will be posted in advance so drivers can make alternative arrangements. A gate will be opened at the Spadina Avenue off ramp to permit drivers to access Lake Shore Boulevard eastbound at this point, which is not normally possible. Transportation Services staff will be monitoring traffic impacts closely and adjustments will be made to traffic signal timings as needed.

The City is hosted a drop-in event for community members to learn more about the upcoming construction and speak individually to project staff on February 28. Please click here to review the presentation slides.

For full details and to sign up to receive regular construction updates, please visit www.toronto.ca/simcoe-ramp. You can also email the project team at simcoe-ramp@toronto.ca


Union Station Rail Corridor 2017 Construction

Over the coming year, construction activities are planned in the Union Station Rail Corridor (south of Front Street) for preventative maintenance and to facilitate improvements to public transit service. Please click here for an overview of the major construction projects that will take place in the rail corridor in 2017.

The rail corridor is owned and maintained by Metrolinx, an agency of the Province of Ontario. The City of Toronto does not have jurisdiction over construction activities in the rail corridor, so please sign up directly with Metrolinx to receive regular construction notices and updates by emailing UnionStation@metrolinx.com


Stay in touch with Trustee Malik

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


Upcoming events

April 19, 2017

88 Days Out - Countdown to the North American Indigenous Games (11am-3pm)
Nathan Phillips Square 

Celebrate the countdown to the North American Indigenous Games at Nathan Phillips Square! Join us for activities from 11am-3pm and the formal announcement at 12:30pm. For more information, see the event poster here.

April 27, 2017


Annex Residents' Association - Annual General Meeting (7:00-9:00pm)
Friends House (60 Lowther Avenue)

June 24, 2017

Karma Co-op 45th Anniversary Celebration (2:00-6:00pm)
Karma Lane (Follis Ave between Palmerston and Markham)

Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 24 from 2 to 6 pm to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Karma Food Co-op! Karma Co-op is partnering with the Laneway Project to transform Karma’s parking lot and Karma Lane into a celebratory space filled with activities, food, and drink! This is a rain or shine event. Look forward to seeing you there!


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.