The Cressy Courier: Council Highlights, Under Gardiner, and more!

Dear friend -- 

The days are getting longer and it appears the snow is beginning to melt. Spring is definitely now on the horizon, which means in Ward 20 many long-planned initiatives are about to kick off.

The proposed design for the Bloor Street pilot bike lane is now public and a meeting is scheduled for this week to review the next steps.  We remain on track to cycle along Bloor together later this summer.

Designs for upcoming improvements to Huron Street Playground are in the works and construction on the long-planned Grange Park revitalization will soon be underway.

In the South-end of the ward, the CityPlace-Fort York BIA, Toronto's newest Business Improvement Association (BIA) in one of Toronto's newest neighbourhoods, has formed. And, the nearby UnderGardiner project has launched a public campaign to solicit your help in choosing a new name.

In Alexandra Park, move-in-day on the first finished townhomes is coming soon. After nearly a decade of community-driven work, residents will begin moving into new townhomes starting in late April. Revitalization is underway! Meanwhile, at 250 Davenport, consultations are ongoing on the TCHC revitalization in the neighbourhood.

And throughout our city, Torontonians continue to welcome thousands of Syrian refugees who have joined our neighbourhoods. For more information on the City's Syrian Refugee Resettlement Program and services available and opportunities to help, visit www.toronto.ca/refugees.

From new bike lanes, to park developments, to the Alexandra Park revitalization, there is much important work taking place in Ward 20 in the months ahead.

Looking forward to continuing this work together,

Joe

February 3 and 4 City Council Highlights

Internet prices in Toronto
Council voted to support the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision of July 2015 directing the large telecommunication companies to make their fibre-optic networks available to small competitors at wholesale prices. Bell has asked the federal government to overrule the CRTC's position. The motion that Council adopted states that the CRTC ruling is consistent with the ideal of competitive, affordable Internet prices for Toronto residents. 

Rail safety    
Council adopted a motion to renew the City's call for the Government of Canada to improve rail safety in Canada. Council is asking for increased government regulation of the transport of dangerous substances by rail, as well as a provision for municipal input into railway risk assessments, among other actions. Documentation with the motion said there have been improvements to rail safety lately but more needs to be done, specifically concerning rail safety in urban areas.

New emergency shelter
Council approved locating a new, 80-bed men's emergency shelter at 29 Leslie St. The shelter, to be operated by the Salvation Army, will replace capacity in the shelter system that was lost when the Salvation Army closed its HOPE shelter last year. A community liaison committee including local stakeholders will be established by the Salvation Army to support the integration of the shelter into the local community and address any issues that arise.

Union Station revitalization
Council authorized funding for design and construction enhancements to help make Union Station a destination for dining, retail, events and culture. The new design will include facilities for special events in the Great Hall and the west wing, as well as improved lighting and finishes, a reconfigured food court and a fresh-food market. The enhancements are intended to contribute to making Union Station a major attraction in the downtown core.

Review of health system
Council adopted recommendations in response to Patients First, a recent working paper from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The paper includes discussion about improving the integration of public health with primary care for a greater prevention focus and to better address inequities. Council's actions include asking the Ministry to maintain the independent governance of the local public health sector by boards of health and to continue the funding of public health units directly funded by the province rather than through local health integration networks. 


Reflections on the 2016 Budget

As I've said throughout the last number of months, the Budget process immediately effects how we live in our City. The 2016 Budget process has come to a close, and we secured some critical investments for our communities year.

When the Budget was launched in December, critical programs were left out – the 24-hour cold weather drop-in program, that so many neighbours and community advocates called and fought for, the Toronto Youth Employment Program, additional Fire Prevention officers to keep our communities safe, investments in childcare spaces, and more.  I was proud to work together with neighbours from across the Ward and around the City to speak up and call for critical and life-saving services to be added back into the Budget.  We worked together, spoke up and we won – funding was approved in the 2016 Budget for the 24-hour winter cold-weather drop-in program, the Toronto Youth Employment Program, and additional Fire Prevention Officers.

We were also successful in securing additional investments in our Syrian Resettlement Program.  The City began actively implementing the Syria Refugee Resettlement Program, after I proudly worked with City staff to organize our City's response, last October.  It has included launching http://www.toronto.ca/refugees, hosting information fairs to connect sponsors, refugees and potential sponsors with agencies and other settlement support services, and more.  The Syrian Resettlement Program has been a critical tool as we work together to support our new neighbours as they arrive in Toronto.  I was happy that my motion to approve an additional $220,000 to support for young Syrian Refugees and a public education and anti-rumours campaign, passed Executive Committee and was then approved in the final 2016 Budget.

I was also happy that my motion to reduce the police budget by $220,000and to re-invest this funding into crime prevention programs as part of the implementation of the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy, was approved by City Council.  These programs will be implemented by the City of Toronto, in partnership with Toronto Police Services, Toronto Community Housing, and other community partners, and will focus on working with youth vulnerable to serious violence and crime to provide early supports and intervention before situations that may result in crime develop.

Although we were successful in securing some much needed investments in the 2016 Budget, we still don't have the resources to fund the City we have or build the City we want. Investments in childcare, sustaining our student nutrition program, parks maintenance and other key programs, not to mention future year costs for the critical programs I mentioned above – all of these were still left out of this year's Budget.

Our funding model at the City of Toronto is broken – this year's solution, using unsustainable, one-time funding, only allows us to tread water this year.  At this year's budget townhall (held jointly with Councillor Layton), we heard loud and clear that residents in our neighbourhoods want a City that can support all its community members, that can deliver much needed services, and where we can work together to invest in infrastructure.  We heard loud and clear that our neighbours are ready to come to the table to talk about how we do just that.

Now, we need our Mayor and City Council to commit to working together on a long-term fiscal plan, that includes a discussion on new sources of revenue.  We will make sure to keep you informed as this conversation moves forward.


Public drop-in - Bloor Street Bike Lanes pilot project

I'm very pleased to invite all of you to join me, Councillor Mike Layton, and City staff at the second public drop-in meeting for the Bloor Street bike lane pilot project.  As many of you know by now, we will be welcoming a pilot bike lane project on Bloor Street this coming summer, after years of work.  A pilot project will allow us to study and assess the impacts of a bike lane on the neighbourhood, while expanding cycling infrastructure in our City.

This second public drop-in event will be an opportunity to view the proposed design option presented by City staff, and speak with the project team.  Staff have been collecting feedback through visits to businesses, meetings with BIAsResidents' Associations, stakeholder groups, a previous public drop-in meeting, and others, over the last number of months.  Staff have taken that feedback and the work they have done and will be presenting their proposed design option on March 9th.

Come out on March 9th to view the design, ask questions, and tell me what you think.

Date and Time: Wednesday March 9, 2016, 4-8pm

Location: Trinity-St.Paul's Church, Gym (427 Bloor Street West)

Hope to see you all there!


Reclaim the Name - Under Gardiner

Reclaim the Name is a four-month campaign with an open call for ideas and ends with a new name, as voted on by the public. The campaign is a new way of thinking about how we name public space – perfect for this new kind of public landscape. Like the space under the Gardiner, the name should be unique to Toronto and something that will stand the test of time as the city and the space itself evolve. 

Project: Under Gardiner will transform the areas beneath the expressway into vibrant community spaces that will play host to a range of cultural programming – creating a new outdoor living room for the use of the 70,000 residents in nearby neighbourhoods and for visitors who use the many amenities and attractions in the area.

Here's how Reclaim the Name will unfold:

  • Phase One – March:

Torontonians are invited to send in Name Submissions online at:www.undergardiner.com/name.html

Spacing Store Pop-Up – Get inspired by visiting our pop-up space in the Spacing Store at 401 Richmond St. W. Share your naming suggestions on our brainstorm wall, snap a picture on your phone and share it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtags #reclaimthenameand #undergardiner.

School Outreach – To ensure that Torontonians of all ages get a chance to participate in a meaningful way, the Project: Under Gardiner team will be running four workshops at local schools to engage kids and teens in naming this space and inspiring them to shape their city.

Brainstorm Parties – The Project: Under Gardiner team will run three special first-come, first-served sessions, based on the same material as the DIY Brainstorming Toolkit, to engage local residents, city builders and social entrepreneurs in this landmark campaign. Find links to event details at:http://www.undergardiner.com/connect.html

Submissions for names will be accepted until April 1, 2016.

  • Phase Two – April:
    Members of a Naming Jury will meet and select a shortlist of three to five names for public voting. The jury will consist of accomplished and respected Torontonians from across the design, cultural, artistic, civic engagement and social activism fields. The members of our Naming Jury will be announced in early April.
  • Phase Three – May:
    During this final phase members of the public can vote for the name of their choice on the project website. The public’s favourite name will be presented to the Toronto City Council for review and adopted as the official name of the project. Public voting details will be announced in late April.
  • Phase Four – June:
    The winning name will be confirmed and the project's logo and look will be updated accordingly. All of this will be announced in late June or early July.

Check out the Reclaim the Name website to get involved!


New City website allows residents to see when streets get plowed and salted

The City of Toronto has created a webpage that enables residents to see the location of plows, sidewalk plows and salt trucks and when their street was serviced by the City's winter operations crews.

The new webpage uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) installed on plows and salt trucks to determine when a road was serviced by using a colour coded system. If a road was serviced within the last four hours, the road will be shown with a green line. If a road was serviced within the last four to 12 hours, the road will be shown with a blue line and if serviced between 12 to 24 hours, the road will be coloured red. The webpage is available at http://www.toronto.ca/plowTO.

At this time, information on exactly when plows or salt trucks will service specific streets is not available. Varying amounts of snow received during any snow episode and potential route changes make it difficult to predict exactly when vehicles will attend to certain roads.

Some winter operations equipment including bus stop plows, hand crews and supervisory and support vehicles is not displayed on the webpage.


Pride Toronto - You Can Sit With Us!



I was proud to be part of this year's Pride Toronto Campaign, You Can Sit With Us.  I joined with other City Councillors, Ministers of Parliament, our Mayor and Prime Minister, community leaders, our Chief of Police, Trans activists, and artists to show our Pride for this year's market campaign, which will be used to publicize Toronto's first ever Pride Month.  

I look forward to June 2016, when we can all come together for 4 beautiful weeks of community, love, and Pride!

To check out the rest of the campaign, and to learn more about Pride Toronto, click here.


Celebrating Lunar New Year



In the last few weeks, I had the pleasure of visiting seniors in a number of Toronto Community Housing (TCH) buildings in the ward, providing them updates on community projects and extending Lunar New Year greetings to many of the Chinese-Canadian seniors.

While many senior residents are active and live independently, some of them spoke about the challenges as they age. About 27,500 (or 25%) of TCH residents are over the age of 59. Over the next 10 years, 12,000 more TCH residents will turn 59.

The City of Toronto is preparing for this demographic shift and Toronto Community Housing will be leading the way to improve how service is delivered to this highly diverse group of seniors. 

As a member of the TCHC Board, I look forward to working with seniors across the Ward to implement improvements that will enhance the quality of living for everyone in TCH communities.


College Street Construction



This summer, the City will be undergoing construction on College Street between Bathurst and Lansdowne. These improvements are for TTC Streetcar accommodations, streetscape improvements, and watermain upgrades, among others.

For more information on the construction, please see the City's website on the project at www.toronto.ca/collegest.


Community Open House - Huron Street Public Square



The City of Toronto and the Chinatown Business Improvement Area (BIA) are working in collaboration to construct a public square on Huron Street, north of Dundas Street West.

Join members of the BIA, City staff and myself at an Open House to review the plans in detail and learn additional information about the Huron Street Square improvements that will be taking place in 2017.

The square, including seating, lighting, a bronze Qilin and decorative pavers, will be constructed by City-approved contractors and maintained by the BIA. The design has been approved by the BIA board and is supported by various City departments. 

Huron Street Public Square Community Open House
Date: Monday, March 21st, 2016
Location: Dim Sum King Restaurant (421 Dundas St W), 2nd Floor
Time: 6:30-8:30pm


Celebrate March Break with a visit to the Sugar Beach Sugar Shack

Waterfront Toronto is throwing a free winter party! On March 12 and 13Sugar Beach will be transformed into a Quebec-style sugar shack complete with maple taffy and traditional French Canadian music and food.

This is a free event for families, visitors, and anyone who loves maple syrup. Enjoy live performances, including a special sing-along led by Choir! Choir! Choir! and a traditional French Canadian folk dance led by local ensemble Mur Du Son. All weekend long food trucks will also be serving Quebecois favourites like tourtière and poutine.

When:

Saturday, March 12, 12pm to 10pm

Sunday, March 13, 11am to 5pm

Where:

Canada’s Sugar Beach – Jarvis and Queens Quay

The full schedule of activities and performances, and information on getting to the event is available at www.SugarShackTO.ca.


City of Toronto Spring/Summer Programming 

The City of Toronto offers a variety of recreation programs for all ages, skill levels and interests. Registration for spring and some summer recreation programs, including summer camps, starts March 9 for the Toronto and East York District.

Registration start dates by program district:

Etobicoke York: Saturday, March 5

Scarborough: Sunday, March 6

North York: Tuesday, March 8

Toronto and East York: Wednesday, March 9

Registration starts at 7 a.m. on each of the above dates.

How to register:

Step 1: Get family and client numbers

To sign up for recreation programs, Toronto residents need a family number and client number for each member of the family. Before registration day, call 416-338-4386 or speak with staff at a City community centre to get these numbers. 

Step 2: Choose programs

To find out about and choose programs, visit http:www.toronto.ca/torontofun or look for the Spring/Summer FUN Guide available at City Hall, civic centres, community centres and libraries. Residents are encouraged to have a few program choices for each person in case the preferred program is full.

Step 3: Register
Registration starts at 7 a.m. Many programs fill up quickly. Registering online is the quickest and easiest way to sign up for programs. Be sure to have all information and payment options ready.

There are four ways to register:

1. Online: Register online at http://efun.toronto.ca.

2. By phone: Touch Tone Registration (TTR) is available at 416-338-0000.

3. Operator assisted phone call: Call 416-338-4386 to register through a customer service representative

4. In person: Register in person at select locations. For a list of these locations, visit http://www.toronto.ca/parks/registration, call 311 or speak to staff at a City community centre.

Parks, Forestry and Recreation programs are popular and many have waiting lists. If it turns out that you are unable to attend the program you registered for, contact your local community centre or call 416-338-4386 so the spot can be offered to someone else.


Kick-off Meeting for the Kensington Market Heritage Conservation District Study

I am happy to announce that on Tuesday, March 15th, I will be hosting a kick-off meeting to introduce the Kensington Market Heritage Conservation District (HCD) StudyHeritage Preservation Services staff will provide an overview of the HCD process and steps for moving forward.

This is also an opportunity for the community to provide initial input into the Study.

I am very excited to begin the process to make Kensington Market a designated HCD. Along with other City projects, including the Kensington Market Bar and Restaurant Study, this is an important step in preserving the unique history and character of the Market.

Kensington Market HCD Kick-off Meeting
Date: Tuesday, March 15th, 2016
Location: St. Stephen-in-the-Field's Church (103 Bellevue Ave)
Time: 6:30-8:00pm

Hope to see many of you there.


Huron Street Playground - Tell us what you think!

On March 1st, Parks, Forestry and Recreation hosted a public meeting to discuss the revitalization of Huron Street Playground with the community. 

We talked about how the playground will relate to the neighbourhood, current and future use and even received some feedback from a local 6-year-old on what type of play equipment he would like to see in the playground! 

Please check out the presentation slides here and let me know what you think! Also, stay tuned for a future message with design options from the landscape architects.


University of Toronto Secondary Plan - February 24 presentation

On February 24th, I attended a meeting hosted by the University of Toronto to discuss and get feedback on their proposed Secondary Plan for St. George Campus, which will govern the principles of growth on campus for the next 15 years. 

I have been proudly working alongside the University, Urban Strategies, the Harbord Village Residents' Association, the Annex Residents' Association, the Grange Community Association and the Huron Sussex Residents' Organization to ensure that the plan considers future growth in the context of how the University fits into the fabric of the City around it. 

Please review the presentation here and send us your feedback.


Learn about managing and reducing waste - 2 Free movie screenings!

Solid Waste Management is developing a Long Term Waste Management Strategy, to guide decisions on how we manage the City's waste of the next 30 to 50 years.  As a lead up to upcoming public consultations, Solid Waste Management Services is hosting 2 free, waste-themed movie screenings, to spread the word about waste management and ways we can all reduce our City's waste.

Here are the details:

Movie: Just Eat It
      

March 15, 2016  
6:30 pm
              OISE, Auditorium                    
252 Bloor St. W.

 

Movie: Waste Land



March 22, 2016

6:30 pm
OISE, Auditorium
252 Bloor St. W.


For links to the movie trailers and to RSVP, please visit: http://torontowastestrategy.eventbrite.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 Development Consultations

342-346 Davenport Road - Public Meeting
Date: Wednesday, March 9th, 2016
Time: 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Park-Hyatt Hotel (4 Avenue Road)

Join me at a Public Meeting to discuss a development application at 342-346 Davenport Road. There will be a presentation by City Planning and the applicant, and an opportunity to provide comments and feedback. For more information, please see the event flyer here.

Kensington Market Heritage Conservation District - Kick-off Meeting
Date: Tuesday, March 15th, 2016
Time: 6:30-8:00pm
Location: St. Stephen-in-the-Fields Church (103 Bellevue Avenue)

Please join me for our kick-off meeting to discuss the Kensington Market Heritage Conservation District (HCD)! Heritage Preservation Services staff will explain the basics of HCDs and the process moving forward. This is your first opportunity to provide input into the project and I hope you'll be able to join us.

University of Toronto Secondary Plan Meeting, Part Two
Date: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016
Time: 5:00-8:00pm (drop in anytime)
Location: Hart House, East Common Room (7 Hart House Circle)

Join me at the next University of Toronto St. George Campus Secondary Plan Meeting. The University and Urban Design Strategies will be presenting the second phase of the plan and looking for feedback from the community.


Upcoming events

March 9th, 2016

Bloor Street Bike Lanes Drop-in Meeting (4:00 - 8:00pm)
Trinity-St. Paul's Church, Gym (427 Bloor Street W)

This second public drop-in event will be an opportunity to view the proposed design option presented by City staff, and speak with the project team. For more information, please see the event flyer here.

March 21st, 2016

Huron Street Square Open House (6:00 - 8:00pm)
Dim Sum King Restaurant, 2nd Floor (421 Dundas St W)

Join members of the BIA, City staff and myself at an Open House to review the Huron Street Square proposal and learn additional information about the planned improvements that will be taking place in 2017.


Constituency Hours!

A reminder that I hold constituency hours every Friday afternoon at the Scadding Court Community Centre (707 Dundas St. West).

Please call 416-392-4044 or email councillor_cressy@toronto.ca for an appointment.