The Cressy Courier Oct 13- Bloor Bike Lanes, Park Openings & More

Dear Friend,

Making our streets safe for all must be a critical priority for us. If we want to build a 21st century city – a city that moves people safely – we must make the Bloor bike lane permanent. With the release of the final report today by City staff, we see that the data is clear – bike lanes on Bloor Street work.

The City's monitoring and evaluation of this pilot project was unparalleled. It was the most comprehensively studied transportation project in Toronto's history. It measured the effect on cycling, vehicles, curbside demands, and economic impact.  The City went so far as to obtain official Moneris data, which monitors debit and credit transactions, to understand the real impact on local business.

In just one year we've seen the number of cyclists using Bloor increase dramatically, making it the second most-used cycling facility in the entire City. We've created an environment where people feel safer – not just cyclists, but motorists and pedestrians. We've seen a real decrease in collisions, and we've successfully made improvements to vehicle travel time, impacts now reduced by 50% since the first data collection during the pilot. And, we've seen that based on debit and credit transactions, business went up by nearly 5% on Bloor.

We know there is more work to be done to continue to improve the lanes. Pilot projects allow us to test changes, see what's working, and make improvements. But by making the bike lanes permanent, we can make improvements that will continue to make this bike lane a resounding success.

If we want to continue to build safer streets, to build a city that attracts 21st century investment and moves more people safely, the Bloor Street pilot project must be made permanent. Councillor Layton and I talked more about the success of the pilot in our op-ed earlier this week in the Toronto Star.

We need your help to ensure that these lanes are made permanent. Public Works and Infrastructure Committee will consider the report on Wednesday October 18th, followed by City Council consideration on November 7th and 8th. Help us ensure that City Council votes "Yes" to making this project permanent – email the Mayor at mayor_tory@toronto.ca, and the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee at pwic@toronto.ca, and sign on to the pledge to make the Bloor bike lanes permanent today.

More exciting updates below on 401 Richmond, the Waterworks Revitalization and more.


Take care,


Joe 


Official Opening- Doctors' Parkette and Margaret Fairley Park

Join me in celebrating the completion of the recent renovations of these two wonderful neighbourhood parks!

Saturday, October 14th, 2017
2:00pm - Meet at The Doctors' Parkette (Brunswick-College Parkette, at College St and Brunswick Ave)
2:30pm - Walk to Margaret Fairley Park (at Ulster St and Brunswick Ave)

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony, brief remarks, and light refreshments.

Thank you to all the members of our community who worked so hard to bring these projects to life.

View the event flyer here.


401 Richmond- Here to Stay!

Cities are more than bricks and mortar and places where people live. Great cities are vibrant and dynamic. And, great cities contribute to this by investing in arts and culture, not because they are a 'nice to have' but because they make our cities liveable.

The recent announcement that the Province will work with the City to develop a new property tax sub class for arts and cultural hubs like 401 Richmond is a welcome and critical step in our work to build a vibrant 21st Century city.  I would like to thank the Province of Ontario, the Minister of Finance, and the Premier's Office for their hard work on this file. I would also like to recognize and thank Margie Zeidler and the urbanspace team, the many tenants of 401 Richmond, and countless Torontonians who wrote letters and emails and signed petitions, for all their work and advocacy. Today's news would not have been possible without their tireless commitment.

After more than a year of work on 401 Richmond, we know that the issues faced by this critical hub in our city are not unique. Arts and cultural organizations across Toronto are dealing with skyrocketing property assessments based on the flawed 'highest and best use' assessment model that make continuing to operate in our communities less and less viable. Today's news will change that.

Last week, I was thrilled that City Council adopted my motion to formally begin the process of establishing Toronto's new Culture and Creative property tax sub-class. The details of this class are already under discussion. Now, the work begins to put them in place.

Investing in arts and culture builds a stronger economy and more liveable city. Today 174,000 Torontonians work in the culture sector, including nearly 25,000 working artists who call Toronto home. These artists build skills for the new economy, support local businesses, and add dynamism to our City. With this work, their work will continue. 

 


Toronto Community Housing- Protecting our Units from Closure

As you've heard me say at countless community meetings and events, and as you've undoubtedly read in a previous e-newsletters, ensuring access to safe and affordable housing is a critical priority of mine. It must also be a critical priority of our city. It is the demonstration of the true health of a community, and of how we must truly take care of one another.

For many years now, we've also been in the midst of a growing social housing crisis. Thousands of our friends and neighbours call Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) home. More than 171,000 people are currently on the waiting list for affordable housing, merely to gain access to a unit suitable for them and their family. Units are increasingly unavailable – we don't have enough, and as you'll see below, funds for critical repairs is running out. We are now at the most severe point in this crisis to date. In 2018, money for capital repairs, to address the over $2 billion backlog at TCHC, will run out. These are repairs to the homes of thousands of our neighbours, repairs that make their homes liveable. 

In 2018, the money runs out – and units are in danger of closing. This is not acceptable. We cannot let it happen. So, at the most recent meeting of the Toronto Community Housing Board, we passed a Budget that does not include any more permanent unit closures. We passed a budget that protects the units we have, and acknowledges the need to improve our crumbling housing stock. But, to make this a reality, the City must step up to provide the additional funding needed to keep our units open. As the sole shareholder in TCHC, it is now the City's responsibility to answer the request of TCHC for the additional resources required to do what is needed to keep our housing units open and liveable.  If you'd like to help, please consider writing to your MP and MPP to advocate for the desperately needed funds for our social housing system and to Mayor Tory to let him know that closing TCHC units is 2018 is unacceptable.

Let me be clear. All levels of government have a responsibility to invest in our social housing system to ensure units are safe, affordable, and liveable. All levels of government have a responsibility to ensure that all residents of Toronto, regardless of income, can access a safe place to live. Closing units, with more families being denied access to safe housing, is unacceptable.

What are the other levels of government doing? The Federal Government has promised funds, but details are yet to be confirmed. And the Provincial Government is absent – they have made no commitment to provide any funding for these desperately needed repairs within TCHC. They must come to the table and fulfill their obligation to all residents of Toronto.

Even without the partnership of the Federal and Provincial governments, we cannot let a single TCHC unit close in 2018. We must do more as a City if our government counterparts don't step up. The situation is too serious, the safety of our friends and neighbours too important. Investing additional resources to ensure we do this is critical, and a step we must take.

I will continue to advocate strongly and loudly to push the Federal and Provincial governments to help TCHC. I will also fight to ensure that not a single unit is closed in 2018.


Approved: Heritage Conservation District Plan for King-Spadina

King Spadina is special in Toronto because it was originally inside the range of canon fire from Fort York, so no development was allowed. But after the Great Fire of 1904 destroyed a huge swath of manufacturing buildings in the centre of the city, these businesses rapidly established new homes in state of the art buildings to the west, in what is now the King-Spadina neighbourhood. Today the area is still characterized by this stock of solid, flexible structures reflecting an important moment in our history.

Last week, after several years of hard work by the community and City staff, City Council approved the King-Spadina Heritage Conservation District (HCD) Plan. The Plan will protect our valuable and unique stock of heritage buildings constructed between 1880 and 1940, and make sure that new buildings reinforce the prevailing heritage character of King-Spadina. It will also protect the public parks and network of streets and lanes that were designed at the beginning of this period.

An HCD does not freeze a neighbourhood in time and it has flexibility to allow growth and change. But it also protects against any further loss of our heritage under the pressure of King-Spadina's desirability and rising property values. With the HCD in place, the character and qualities that make King-Spadina special will still be recognizable and valued in another hundred years.


Waterworks Revitalization- 505 Richmond YMCA Ground-Breaking


Last week, I was privileged to join the YMCA, community members, Mayor Tory and countless others as we broke ground on our new YMCA at 505 Richmond Street West in King-Spadina. A brand new 54,000 sq/f facility built with two-thirds of the cost through Section 37 funds, it will be a new centre of community for downtown Toronto.

I couldn't be prouder of the many, many partners who helped make this happen.


The Waterworks Revitalization includes a brand new 54,000 sq. ft YMCA, built in partnership with the City of Toronto, 15 new affordable housing units administered by Artscape, residential market housing, an expanded Saint Andrew's Playground to reclaim the west parking lot, extensive heritage restoration and conservation, a dynamic food hall and new commercial uses that will animate and bring life back to the Waterworks Building. In addition, a 50-bed youth shelter (Eva's Phoenix) is already operating at the Brant Street end of the building.

 For more information, visit my website.

 


Dupont and Palmerston Mid-Block Pedestrian Signal

I'm very excited that last week, City Council approved a mid-block pedestrian signal on Dupont St, just east of Palmerston Ave.

One of my top priorities as your local City Councillor is to ensure that our neighbourhood is safe and livable for everyone. By lowering speed limits to 30km/hour on local streets in the Toronto East York District and working closely as a part of the SVRA Traffic & Transportation Committee, we are establishing a vision for improving traffic safety in the neighbourhood.

After many months, working with the Seaton Village Residents' Association, residents on Palmerston Ave, City staff and the developers at 500 Dupont (Lifetime Developments), we have secured a safe pedestrian crossing on Dupont, across from the future development at 500 Dupont St.

This crossing will ensure that current and future residents in Seaton Village can safely navigate Dupont St and will enhance the pedestrian experience of the area as new developments and residents join the community.

I want to extend a thank you and congratulations to the SVRA, engaged neighbours, City staff and Lifetime Developments for working hard to make this a reality.

 


The Bentway Skating Trail- Under Construction!

Launched in November 2015, The Bentway is an exciting partnership that aims to create a new public landscape under the section of the Gardiner Expressway from Strachan to Spadina. The project will transform more than 10 acres into vibrant community spaces that will host cultural programming, a 1.75 kilometre multi-use trail, a pedestrian and cycling bridge over Fort York Boulevard, an ice skating plaza, and more.

 I'm excited that The Bentway Skating trail is now under construction, to be ready to enjoy this winter – stay tuned for further updates in the coming weeks!

For more information, visit my website


New Thomson Reuters Technology Hub Coming to Adelaide and Peter

In our rapidly-growing downtown communities like King-Spadina, new residential developments are very visible and often the focus of attention. But if we are building a true mixed-use community where people can work where they live, we have to make space for employment growth to keep pace with all these new homes. That's why I have been a strong supporter of projects like the new mixed-use redevelopment of the old Southam Press Building at Adelaide Street West and Duncan Street. It will add several new storeys of office space all while maintaining the three-dimensional integrity of the heritage building. The tenant, Thomson Reuters, will have their new Toronto technology hub here, with 400 jobs.

 More jobs in a neighbourhood like King-Spadina means that more people will be able to walk, cycle, or take public transit to work. These employees will also bring activity and vibrancy to the neighbourhood during the workday, supporting an increased variety and diversity of shops, restaurants, and other amenities that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors too. In addition, commercial landlords are long-term neighbours who become active in the community and contribute to the local Business Improvement Area (BIA).


Toronto Water- Not Down the Drain Campaign



Every day many items are flushed down toilets or poured down drains that should not be. These items, such as fat, oil, grease, wipes and dental floss, can cause:
• Damage or blockages to home plumbing, which could lead to basement flooding
• Damage or blockages to the City's sewer pipes located under the streets, which could lead to basement flooding
• Damage to pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants
• Harm to the environment and aquatic habitat in the Lake, local streams and rivers

For some, putting these items down the drain is simply a habit that is done only because they are not aware of the consequences. To help combat this Toronto Water has launched a new public awareness campaign that will run throughout the month of October. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness and change behaviour.

Find out more at toronto.ca/notdownthedrain


Public Meetings

Bloor Street West Study Community Meeting
October 16th, 2017,
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm (Drop-in Session from 7:30 – 8:00 pm)
485 Montrose Avenue - Bob Abate Community Recreation Centre - Gymnasium

Creating a shared vision for our community is some of our most important work together in Ward 20. We are happy that the Bloor Street West Planning Study, reviewing the area from Palmerston Avenue to Lansdowne Avenue, is moving forward. Join us for the second community consultation on Monday October 16th.

Earlier this year, the study began engaging residents and business owners to discuss the character of Bloor Street West and develop principles to help guide future development and street improvements. At the second community consultation, City Planning will be presenting draft Guiding Principles for the study for feedback from the community, and continuing this important conversation.

14 Duncan Street – Rezoning Application
October 24th, 2017, 6:30 pm
Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Room 310

You are invited to a community consultation meeting that I am hosting to discuss a development proposal in your neighbourhood. This is an opportunity to learn more and make your voice heard. A re-zoning application has been submitted to build a 48-storey mixed-use building with commercial space in the podium and residential units above.

Community Planning staff will make a presentation, followed by a presentation from the applicant, and then there will be an open Q&A session when you can ask questions and give comments.


9 Madison Avenue Community Consultation
October 30th, 2017, 7:00 pm
Tartu College, 310 Bloor Street West

You are invited to a community consultation meeting that the Estonian Centre and Build Toronto are hosting to discuss a development proposal in the Annex. This is an opportunity to learn more and make your voice heard. This is a pre-application meeting to discuss a proposal for a new building for the Estonian Centre, a non-profit community centre and events venue.


Community Events

Public Space for Public Life: Re-imagining Downtown Parks and Streets
October 21st 2017, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles Street West

How is the City of Toronto planning to transform our public spaces to support a growing and intensifying Downtown over the next 25 years? What are the essential ingredients for fostering public life? Why is investment in a high quality public realm so important to quality of life? Moderated by Acting Chief Planner Gregg Lintern, this event is organized by City of Toronto in partnership with Park People and the University of Toronto. More information here.

Alexandra Park / KCLC Community Movie Night
October 21st 2017, 1:30 pm
186 Spadina Avenue

Free community movie viewing with the Kingsway Community Life Centre: Mr. Peabody & Sherman. View the event flyer here.

Waterfront Summit- Workshops
October 27th-28th 2017
Queens Quay campus of George Brown College, 51 Dockside Drive

Toronto's first Waterfront Summit will bring together stakeholders from across our city's waterfront - from Etobicoke to Scarborough. It will include thought-provoking speakers and work on solutions to urgent issues facing our waterfront. More information here.

Homeless Connect Toronto Event
October 29th 2017, 11:00 am- 4:00 pm
Mattamy Athletic Centre, 50 Carlton Street

For more information, please feel free to visit their website at www.hctoronto.org


Construction Updates

TTC Track Reconstruction at Queen Street West & McCaul Street
Expected Start Date: October 16th
Expected End Date: November 6th

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.



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

Lower Simcoe Ramp Construction

The project to build the new Simcoe Ramp and reconstruct Harbour Street is advancing and is expected to continue until January 2018. Residents should receive advance notice of any non-emergency work outside of regular hours, 7am-7pm. You can visit www.toronto.ca/simcoe-ramp to sign up for direct email notification.

When all the work is completed by January 2018, we will have a new 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. These changes will expand the public space available to our growing population, and make the streets in the neighbourhood safer and more convenient for everyone.

 


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.