The Cressy Courier Dec 18- New Ward Boundaries, 328 Dupont Decision and More!



Dear friend, 

As you have no doubt heard me say at public meetings and community events, our downtown communities are facing unprecedented growth and change. Currently, 90,000 people call Ward 20 home – a number that will balloon to well over 100,00 when all approved development is built. To put this into perspective, other wards in the city have populations of 30,000-60,000. This has resulted in democratic unfairness for downtown residents, when the population and municipal vote is not represented proportionally on City Council.

On Friday, the Ontario Municipal Board issued their decision regarding appeals of the city's Ward Boundary Review, approving the 47 ward option endorsed by City Council earlier this year. Should there be no further legal challenges by the end of the year, the new ward boundaries will be in place for the 2018 municipal election.This is a critical decision for democracy and effective representation in our city. I am pleased to see that the OMB has ruled in favour of our communities, and of ensuring that all residents are represented equally, regardless of the area in which they live.

This decision also has a significant impact on Ward 20 and on the downtown as a whole. Downtown will see the creation of 3 new wards, to accommodate the population growth we have and will continue to see.  Three new wards are created within portions of Ward 20 – new Wards 20, 22, and 24. A portion of the current Ward 20 also joins Ward 19, currently represented by Councillor Mike Layton.

Since the decision was released, many have asked me where I plan to run next year – to be completely honest, I have yet to come to a decision. I am honoured to represent each and every one of our communities, and feel very passionate about projects in the North and South ends of our Ward. In the coming months I will continue to think carefully about the 2018 election. In the mean-time, I remain committed to continuing to build our neighbourhoods over the next year, and to ensuring we are building communities that prioritize liveability, equity and sustainability.

Below you can find more details about how the new ward boundaries will impact Ward 20, as well as many other updates.

If you have any questions about this or anything else, please let me know.


Take care,

Joe

 


Important Update- 328 Dupont OMB Decision

After almost 2 years defending our community's vision for Dupont Street at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), late last week we received a decision on the 328 Dupont Street (Dupont and Kendal) OMB appeal – a decision that is an overwhelming and precedent-setting victory for our community.

In 2010, an application was submitted to the City (and subsequently appealed to the OMB), to redevelop 328-388 Dupont Street. Many tweaks were made to the application over the years, and ultimately the proposal put before the OMB e application included a 9 storey building on the western portion of the site (the area included in the Dupont Street Study area) and a 17/19 storey building on the eastern portion of the site (located outside of the Dupont Street Study area) with the 17 storeys being proposed for office uses and the 19 storey component being proposed for residential uses. Critically, the 9-storey office building and the 17 storey component of the easterly building were proposed to be built out to the rear lot line absent any real setback from the rail corridor.

This application was very concerning with respect to the overall height of the 19 storey building, but importantly also presented serious issues due to the absence of a setback from the rail corridor. The Dupont Street Secondary Plan, as settled at the OMB last year, includes a requirement for at least a 20 metre setback from the rail corridor for buildings containing any high occupancy use as a safety precaution. The application's proposed absence of any building setback between an office use and the rail lot line was unacceptable, and under the leadership of the Annex Residents' Association and our City of Toronto staff, we stood together against the 328 Dupont proposal at the OMB.

I am pleased to inform you that the OMB has ruled that the proposal for 328 Dupont Street does not represent appropriate development for the site. The ruling has set a precedent for development adjacent to the rail corridor, refusing to allow high occupancy office uses within 20 metres of the rail corridor. This is significant - prior to this point, prevailing precedent had focused solely on precluding residential occupancy within 20 metres of a rail corridor. However, as a result of our collective opposition to this application, the ruling refuses to allow busy office uses – like daily occupied offices – within the same 20 metre area. We worked together to defend safety for both residents and office environments, and we won.

Additionally, the OMB found that the 19 storey building proposed for the eastern portion of the site was too tall, and has limited a building here to a maximum of 12 storeys (plus mechanical). This was also an important decision. While the Dupont Street Secondary Plan's height limit is 9 stories, this 12 storey approval is for the area east of the study boundary. The Board further required additional stepbacks on the Dupont frontage above the 3rd floor. It is now up to the developer to decide if they want to proceed with a development on this site, and to advise the OMB within 3 months.

It is now up to the owner of the site to decide whether to comply with the OMB's ruling and proceed with developing the site. At this time, we do not know if they will proceed.

As I mentioned above, this ruling has set a critical precedent for rail safety in our community, ensuring that adequate safety precautions are part of planning for future high occupancy development. As we continue our advocacy to the Federal Government for improved rail safety measures for our communities, we must also ensure we are doing everything we can to plan with safety in mind. This ruling allows us to continue to do that.

I want to sincerely thank City staff for their tireless work on this file, community members for attending countless meetings, and so many others. Additionally, this result would not have been possible without the unwavering leadership of the Annex Residents' Association (ARA). On this file, the Dupont Street Study and countless others, the ARA continues to set an example for leadership in community building and sustainable development – my sincere thanks.

I will continue to keep you updated with any further developments on the 328 Dupont file. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions on this or anything else.

For more information on the history of the 328 Dupont appeal, click here.

For more information on the Dupont Street Study and mediated settlements, click here.


Ward Boundary Review – further details on the impact of the new 47-ward structure

New Wards

As I mentioned above, the Ontario Municipal Board issued their decision this past Friday regarding appeals of the city's Ward Boundary Review, approving the 47 ward option endorsed by City Council in 2016. Other than one minor change regarding Crothers' Woods in the Don Valley, the ward boundaries were approved as endorsed by Council in 2016. Should there be no further legal challenges by the end of the year, the new ward boundaries will be in place for the 2018 municipal election.

This is a critical decision for democracy and effective representation in our city. I am pleased to see that the OMB has ruled in favour of our communities, and of ensuring that all residents are represented equally, regardless of the area in which they live.

Here is the how Ward 20 will be changed under the new ward boundaries:

NEW Ward 24

Northern boundary – Dupont train tracks (as current in Ward 20)
Western boundary – Bathurst Street
Southern boundary –Queen Street west (north side included in Ward 24)
Eastern boundary – University Avenue

*Under the new ward boundaries, Seaton Village becomes part of Ward 19 (currently represented by Councillor Mike Layton)

NEW Ward 20

Northern boundary –Queen Street West (south side included in new Ward 20)
Western boundary – Bathurst Street, including Coronation park and the western Waterfront as included in Ward 20 today
Southern boundary – Lake Ontario
Eastern boundary – John Street (east side included in new Ward 20)

NEW Ward 22

Northern boundary – College Street
Western Boundary – University Avenue between College and Queen, John Street south of Queen to Lake Ontario
Southern boundary – Lake Ontario

A helpful map showing the new ward boundaries (with the exception of the change in the Don Valley as approved by the OMB), is available here.

For more information on the Ward Boundary Review, click here.


King Street Transit Pilot- Update

King St pilot

Earlier this year, our plan for a bold move on King Street was approved by City Council. Last week, the first round of data – collected over the first 3 weeks of the pilot - was released by the city, and so far we're seeing it's working. Streetcars are more reliable, travel time is down and vehicular impacts have been minimal. For full details on the first round of data released, click here.

Even still, city staff will be looking to make additional operational changes to make even greater improvements. In the coming months, data will be available on streetcar ridership numbers, pedestrian counts, cycling counts, vehicular counts, economic point of sale data, and more. Data will be released on a monthly basis throughout the pilot, so stay tuned for the next round of data in January.

That's not to say that everything is perfect. For many, the adjustment period has led to confusion and traffic tickets. The fact that we launched during the cold winter season has left a feeling of emptiness on the street before the patios re-open. And, far too many businesses - my own local constituents - have expressed concerns. However, as a pilot project we are able to test, measure and refine as we go. Already we're making changes. King Street is open for business and the City is rolling out campaigns to promote as well as new street and pop-up festivals to bring people to King. Traffic signal changes and other tweaks are coming to speed up streetcars and vehicular movement on adjacent streets. And, we're not done yet.

We’re working on measures to animate the street, continue education on the mechanics of the pilot project, support local business, and more.

Parking map and Toronto Parking Authority discount code

Local business and economic prosperity is a key priority of the pilot project. To further support local business and customers that travel to King Street by car, the city has created an easy to use parking map, that identifies all surrounding Green P parking in the vicinity of King Street. City of Toronto staff will be hand delivering copies of the parking map to all businesses along King Street in the pilot area, to be easily handed out to customers for their use.

In addition, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Parking Authority are together offering up to $5 off parking in the area around the King Street Transit Pilot, when the Green P app is used to pay for parking. The parking promotion, good for one use, and valid until November 2018, encourages visits to local businesses, restaurants, and theatres in the King Street area.

Drivers who wish to access the parking promotion can:

  • Download the Green P app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store
  • Create an account
  • Tap "Initiate parking session"
  • Park and pay
  • Enter Promo Code GCTG4A5 into the Discount Section in Session Options and receive up to $5 off your next parking session

The parking promotion is valid at locations that are within an approximate five-minute walk of King Street – specific locations where the promo code is valid can be found on the King Street Transit Pilot webpage http://www.toronto.ca/kingstreetpilot.

The promo code is only redeemable via the Green P App and is valid through to November 12, 2018.

Public realm enhancement and activation

The City is working with local businesses, and BIAs will implement temporary winter enhancements and activations in these spaces. This may include public art, live music, and café seating. It will be tailored to the local character, needs, and opportunities.

The City will be launching a public campaign very soon to solicit ideas and proposals for high-quality, semi-permanent improvements to some of the public realm areas such as "parklets" like the one that was installed on Elm Street by the Downtown Yonge BIA last year. These improvements will be installed in the spring. During the period of proposal review, the city will be working with local stakeholder to animate the area and install examples of what will be in the following months.

Local Business is King

King Street is home to a large number of cafes and restaurants, major destinations for visitors, and places of work. The Pilot was designed in close collaboration with local businesses and attractions, and their BIAs, to facilitate business operations. There are now dedicated 24-hour zones right on King Street for commercial deliveries, passenger pick-up and drop-off, and taxi stands. Before the Pilot, these activities had to complete with on-street parking or were prohibited during rush hour.

The City is developing additional communications and materials to help promote local businesses and attractions while the Pilot is new and people are getting used to it, such as drivers who may not know that there are still thousands of public parking spaces available within a very short walk of King Street.

Maximizing streetcar capacity

Based on the first round of data released last week, we know that streetcars are more reliable, and are moving quicker now on King Street. The TTC has made some adjustments to increase the practical capacity of transit service on King Street. It helps a lot that streetcars are spaced out more evenly with the Pilot, so there are fewer instances of one full streetcar followed shortly behind by a nearly empty one. We are filling up those streetcars that were formerly underutilized, and moving more riders.

Since the Pilot started, the TTC has also been running some additional old streetcars on King Street above and beyond the regular scheduled service. It's normal practice to have some spare cars out to fill any gaps in service, but the TTC has been running these extra cars full time on the route due to high ridership.

Unfortunately, there is a City-wide shortage of streetcars and buses, so a major increase in service is dependent on the rate at which Bombardier delivers additional new streetcars. All of the next batch of new streetcars will be assigned to King Street.

Observations and comments from people who live and work around King Street are also vitally important to understanding how the Pilot is working and what kinds of additional improvements are needed. Please email your feedback to me at councillor_cressy@toronto.ca and the project team at kingstreetpilot@toronto.ca.

For continued updates on the King Street Transit pilot, visit www.toronto.ca/kingstreetpilot.


Review of Regulations on Fraternities and Sororities – Update

Earlier this year, I presented and successfully passed a motion to include a review of fraternities in Municipal Licensing and Standard's upcoming report on multi-tenant houses. As part of this work, City staff have been conducting consultations with stakeholder groups and the public, most recently through a public meeting on November 29th – you can review the meeting materials here.

However, there is still an opportunity to submit your feedback as part of this important review. If you could not attend the public meeting or attended and have additional feedback, you are encouraged to complete the "Public Feedback Form on Fraternity and Sorority Houses" document, available here. It summarizes the solutions that were discussed and includes a summary of strengths/weaknesses of each solution identified at separate stakeholder meetings as well as comments from the public meeting. You are encouraged to complete the "Provide your input on the solution" section as well as provide any additional solutions at the bottom of the document.

To submit the completed form – or if you would rather email your feedback – please email Mohamed Shuriye (contact information below). The deadline for comment submission is Friday, December 22nd.

Mail to:
Mohamed Shuriye, Senior Policy and Research Officer
Municipal Licensing and Standards
City Hall, 16th Floor, West Tower
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Mohamed.Shuriye@toronto.ca

While many post-secondary institutions call Toronto home, fraternities and sororities have long been exempt from a framework that would allow for accountability and regulation at a Municipal level. Considering recent incidents in the United States and many ongoing issues in our community, I asked staff to look into a licensing framework that would ensure that these houses meet building codes and provide a safe and healthy environment for the students and alumni that live there. My hope is that such a framework will not only reduce the risks for the students living in and attending these homes, but also for the residents in the community in which they reside.

Please see my letter here.


Permitting Short-Term Rental Regulations and Protecting our rental housing stock

Over the past year, our city has continued to struggle with a growing housing crisis - not only in affordability, but in the availability of safe rental housing. Across our city, many have been renting rooms in their homes for years, participating in a small-scale home-sharing economy. However, platforms like AirBnB changed the situation completely.

Since the advent of these home-sharing technology platforms, we have begun to witness entire units being taken off the rental market to make way for more profitable short term stays. This is problematic on many fronts. As a business, these investor driven short-term rentals are not taxed fairly. As a rental location, few (if any) protections are in place to ensure safety and security for users or neighbours. And, most importantly, this model is strangling an already strained rental housing market in our city. During one month earlier this year in Kensington Market, there were 12 rental units on the rental market, and more than 100 units listed on AirBnB.

To address this growing crisis, at its December meeting, City Council passed a new regulatory framework to permit home-sharing in a principal residence, simultaneously creating a legal framework to allow the service and protecting our city's fragile rental housing stock. At the same time, City Council also approved a reasonable licensing and compliance framework to promote safety and security for those renting their principal residence, those staying within it, and the wider community. These new regulations will come into effect on July 1, 2018. 

These new regulations are a critical part in ensuring we are building a city where people can afford to live and where we have a mix of housing options in all our communities. Over the coming months, staff will be developing an implementation plan and finalizing details of the new by-law. As more information becomes available, I will continue to share updates with you.

For more information, click here


Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Park and Public Realm Improvements Update

Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Park

Earlier this year, City Council approved the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan. It is a huge win for the community's visions instead of outside interests. The Neighbourhood Plan protects Bathurst Quay and it formally set in motion the steps necessary to achieve our long term goals for the neighbourhood:

1. Creating new high-quality parks and improving our existing public spaces;

2. Enhancing our community facilities including building a new public aquatic centre;

3. Re-energizing the Canada Malting Silos with a focus on arts, culture, open space, and community uses; and

4. Shifting airport traffic to public transit, walking, and cycling while relocating the remaining vehicle traffic to an underground drop-off loop.

On November 25, 2017, I hosting a community consultation meeting with City staff to provide updates and discuss parks and public realm improvements in Bathurst Quay. It included an update about the ongoing work to improve Coronation Park, a discussion of evolving plans for the Stadium Road Parks (north and south), and sharing the latest detailed designs for the new public space surrounding the Canada Malting Silos.

In case you couldn't join us, you can download an update on Coronation Park here and the presentation panels for the Public Realm Improvements here.


Establishing an Indigenous Affairs Office at the City of Toronto

Our collective work in advancing true reconciliation in our communities is a critical task. At Toronto City Council, we took the next step in that journey earlier this month – a result of the work done by the Aboriginal Affairs Advisory Committee. For decades, the Committee has been asking for a distinct and independent Aboriginal-led office at City Hall dedicated to reconciliation and Aboriginal issues. After decades of inaction, at our December meeting of City Council, I was proud to stand in favour of the proposal, which was passed overwhelmingly.

The City Manager arrived at the recommendation to form this office by speaking with members of Toronto’s Indigenous community, and by hiring a consultant experienced in Aboriginal affairs and organizations. The City Manager proposed that the new Indigenous Affairs Office report directly to him — the top bureaucrat in the City of Toronto — giving this office the broadest possible reach and influence.

Why is an Indigenous Office important in Toronto? An office gives distinction, independence, and resourced action. Distinction raises the profile among the public service, giving it a stronger voice. Independence provides an undiluted voice so other priorities don’t take away from their important work, and resources allow for action that wasn’t possible before. The implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action in the City of Toronto and the fulfilment of the city’s own Statement of Commitment create the basis on which the Indigenous Affairs Office will operate.

We thank the Aboriginal Affairs Advisory Committee for its continued activism to make this office a reality and we are proud to have participated in bringing this proposal to City Council.


The Bentway Update – Skating Trail Opening and Phase One Extension

The Bentway

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. Phase one of the project, including a destination skating trail recently completed, includes the area between Shaw and Bathurst, with future phases continuing east into Ward 20.

Over the last number of weeks, we have been working closely with The Bentway to find ways to extend the first phases of work into Ward 20. I am delighted that my motion to allocate $500,000 in available Ward 20 parkland improvement funds (Section 42 funds) was approved at City Council on December 6th, and we are now working on plans to extend Phase one into our community!

To celebrate the inaugural winter season of The Bentway, come celebrate the opening of The Bentway Skate Trail on January 6th, 2018 and 11am.


Building Community Greenspace - Monsignor Fraser Greening Project

Greening Space

As an advocate for increased and enhanced green spaces throughout Ward 20, I am excited to invite you to a public open house on January 9, 2018 to discuss improving the Monsignor Fraser parking lot to facilitate expanded student programming and additional community green space for Seaton Village.

Over the past number of months, I have been working closely with the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB), Trustee Jo-Ann Davis, Parks, Forestry & Recreation staff, and the Seaton Village Residents' Association (SVRA) to revitalize this underutilized space into a brand new community green space. Last year the TCDSB hosted a meeting to discuss initial design concepts and preliminary budget estimates with the SVRA and local residents. There was a lot of excitement for the project and for more green space within the community. However, the proposed budget went far beyond what the TCDSB had available for implementation.

I am happy to report that I have secured City funding to implement the greening vision, and we have partnered with the TCDSB to make the project happen! As a condition of the use of city funds the TCDSB will be agreeing to a long-term lease of the space to the City, creating a new public space open to the community at large. 

Please join us at the meeting on January 9, 2018 from 6:30 – 8:00pm at Monsignor Fraser College, Annex Campus (Gymnasium) at 700 Markham St. The meeting will be jointly facilitated by City staff, myself and TCDSB Trustee Jo-Ann Davis. Please see the meeting flyer here.

Hope to see you there!


Supporting Arts and Culture - Our New Culture and Creative Property Tax Sub-Class

401 Richmond

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.

Earlier this fall, after more than a year of work together, I was very pleased that the Province announced they were willing to work with the City to develop a new property tax sub class for arts and cultural hubs like 401 Richmond. Council then adopted motion to formally begin the process of establishing the new property tax sub-class, and work has continued throughout the late fall. I am delighted that at its December meeting, City Council endorsed developing the sub-class in time for the 2018 tax season. This will provide critical and needed support and assistance to the co-located creative hubs like 401 Richmond, facing ever-dire circumstances as the year's pass.

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.


Protecting Heritage in King-Spadina

15 Duncan St

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.

In October, 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.

We know that some property owners have concerns about the HCD Plan and as a result we anticipate that it will be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), a provincial body that hears appeals on HCD Plans and other planning matters in Ontario. This means that the HCD Plan will not come into force until the OMB hearing is concluded, necessitating measures to protect the heritage buildings in the interim. To that end, last week City Council approved adding 94 properties to the Heritage Register that contribute to the Heritage Conservation District. For any property on the Heritage Register, the owner must provide advance notice to the City in writing before applying for a demolition permit, so we can take appropriate action to conserve the buildings if necessary before the HCD Plan is in force.


Overnight Construction Noise in the King-Spadina Area

Recently, I have been hearing from many residents in the King-Spadina area that they are being disturbed by persistent overnight construction noise. In most cases this noise is being caused by an ongoing City of Toronto project to repair sidewalks and roadways across the downtown core before winter weather arrives. The contractor was granted permission to work overnight in order to limit congestion on commuter routes.

I do not support the overnight work and did not approve it.

I have said many times that this kind of construction activity should be limited to daytime hours because it often affects thousands of people who live on the block under construction and even more that live nearby. In order to ensure that our downtown communities remain liveable, we have to be careful to manage noise and ensure that people are able to sleep through the night. It is unfair and unreasonable to burden local neighbours with overnight construction noise just because daytime work might cause slight delays to commuters. Drivers can always find a new route around a work zone, but neighbours can't find a temporary new home.

Unfortunately, I do not have the power to directly determine the hours of construction. City Council, comprised of 44 members, granted this decision-making power to City staff years ago, and they are now managing the project. This is a systemic issue with every City construction project. The normal rules under the Noise By-law (no construction activity outside the hours of 7 am to 7 pm from Monday to Friday, and 9 am to 7 pm on Saturday) do not apply.

With the decision in the hands of City staff who take a Toronto-wide perspective, facing political pressure from the elected representatives of those commuting drivers, it is vitally important that your voice and your valid complaints are heard by City staff and Mayor Tory. If they aren't hearing from downtown residents, they won't understand the serious negative impact that overnight work can have on so many thousands of homes. So please be sure to share this complaint and any future complaints about overnight noise with both mayor_tory@toronto.ca and 311@toronto.ca. I urge you to encourage your neighbours to do the same. Emailing a noise complaint to 311 in this case will create a formal record with the City, which we have seen make a difference in the past on similar projects.

It is also a problem, in my view, that no advance notice or information has been provided to those of you who have been affected. If overnight work is going to happen, residents deserve to receive advance notice so they can make appropriate plans or at least know what to expect. Due to the nature of the work contract, with multiple separate repair projects taking place on any given block, it has been difficult to get accurate information about when to expect work and when current work will be completed. But my team and I continue to work on this issue and we will share any details we get with neighbours.


Rail Deck Park – One Step Closer

Rail Deck Park Rendering

As our community grows, we must focus on building neighbourhoods and not just condo towers – that's why we've been working hard together to make critical and worthwhile investments in community facilities in Ward 20, and continuing efforts to secure much-needed parkland downtown. Earlier this December, City Council endorsed moving ahead on Rail Deck Park, our bold and ambitious plan to build a signature park in the downtown, and to begin the next stage of work over the next year. City Council also approved an Official Plan Amendment that formally re-designates the space above the rail corridor as parkland.

Late last fall, City Council approved taking the first steps on Rail Deck Park, and work has progressed throughout the year. A new 21-acre public park over the rail corridor, City Council has now approved continuing to move ahead in early December, and work will now continue with detailed design, implementation plans.

For more information on Rail Deck Park, visit the city's website.



Home Energy Loan Program

HELP Program

Tired of a cold, drafty home and high energy bills - HELP is here!
Through the City of Toronto's Home Energy Loan Program (HELP), you can get a low-interest loan to cover the cost of a new high-efficiency furnace, new windows, doors, insulation and more. And if you want to go the extra mile, the loan can also cover the cost of solar rooftop panels, solar hot water heaters, and geothermal heating and cooling!

The great thing about Toronto's Home Energy Loan Program, is that at the same time that you make your home more comfortable and reduce your energy bills, you'll also be reducing the emissions that contribute to climate change.

Low-interest rates and great terms

In addition to offering low-interest rates (starting at 2%), and repayment terms of up to 15 years, you can repay the loan at any time without penalty. And if you sell your home and don't want to pay off the loan, the new homeowner can assume the payments. Sound too good to be true? It's not!

Save energy, money and more!
The results are impressive. On average, HELP participants:

  • reduce their home energy use by 30%;
  • save over $560 per year on their energy bills; and
  • receive additional incentives of up to $2,250 from utility companies such as Enbridge Gas and IESO.

You can get a loan of up to $75,000 for your improvements. The process begins with an easy online application. The HELP team will then connect you with a Registered Energy Advisor, help you access the incentives provided by the utility companies, and do what they can to make the process smooth and seamless.

The City's HELP team is available to support you throughout the process. Ready to get started? Have a few questions? We'd love to hear from you. Contact us at 416-392-1826 or learn more at toronto.ca/home-energy-loan.



Central Tech Stadium - Community Hours

The Central Tech Stadium holds regular community hours, as part of the settlement reached in 2015 at the Ontario Municipal Board. These are hours where the stadium is open to the community to use, outside of school hours, free of charge. The track is also available for community use at different times of the day, outside of school hours.

Helpful community updates, including information on track availability are available on the Central Tech Stadium website here.

Community hours for December can be found here.


Winter Holiday Meal List

Click here to view and download the 2017/2018 Winter Holiday Meal List list of Toronto Drop-In services.

The information at the link above is provided to the Toronto Drop-In Network by its members and by the Daily Bread Food Bank.

While every effort is made to ensure the information is accurate, service changes happen on an ongoing basis, and we recommend calling ahead to verify hours and meal times.


Public Meetings

Monsignor Fraser Greening Project Public Meeting
January 9 2018, 6:30-8:00pm
Monsignor Fraser College, Annex Campus (Gymnasium), 700 Markham St.

We have secured City funding to implement the greening vision at Monsignor Fraser in partnership with the TCDSB. As a condition of the use of city funds, the TCDSB will be agreeing to a long-term lease of the space to the City, creating a new public space open to the community at large. See the public meeting flyer here.

University of Toronto Schools Redevelopment Community Meeting
January 11 2018, 6:30-8:30pm
University of Toronto Schools (371 Bloor St W), Room 137

The University of Toronto Schools at 371 Bloor St W will be hosting a community meeting to discuss their redevelopment plans. This is a pre-application meeting to discuss their redevelopment plans that include a restoration of the historical façade of the heritage structure of the building, a renovation of the interior and the addition of expanded classroom space, an auditorium, double gymnasium and a redesign of the park and playground at Washington and Huron. 


Community Events


GDNA Holiday Party
December 19 2017, 5:00-7:00pm
Rodney's, 469 King Street West

For more information on the Garment District Neighbourhood Association Holiday Party, view the flyer here.

The 28th Annual Kensington Market Winter Solstice
December 21
2017
Meet at the corner of Oxford and Augusta - 6:30pm
Parade departs at 7:00pm

Come celebrate the return to warmth and light in the heart of Kensington Market over the Winter Solstice. Support our local merchants and unique culture of Toronto's beloved neighbourhood over the holidays.


The Bentway Skate Trail Opening
January 6 2018, 11:00am

Enjoy the Bentway Skate Trail Winter Season from January 6 to mid-March (weather permitting). Enjoy performances, music, and art, on opening weekend. More details here: www.thebentway.ca/skate-trail-opening/


Construction Updates


Lower Simcoe Ramp Construction

The project to build the new Simcoe Ramp and reconstruct Harbour Street is advancing, on schedule to open in January 2018.

Starting on Saturday, December 16, work on Harbour Street will shift from the south side to the north side between York Street and Bay Street. Two lanes on the south side of Harbour Street will be open to vehicles. Access to buildings will be maintained.

Work is scheduled to take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. including weekends, weather permitting. Demolition of the existing road will be noisy (hydraulic breakers smashing concrete) but the remainder of work is not expected to be noisy. Harbour Street should re-open with four lanes by the end of the day on Friday, December 22.

The full construction update notice can be downloaded here. You can visit www.toronto.ca/simcoe-ramp to sign up to receive direct email updates on this project.

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.

 
Metrolinx Construction - Union Station Rail Corridor

The Union Station Rail Corridor, which runs through our communities just south of Front Street, is owned and operated by Metrolinx, the Province of Ontario's transit agency which runs GO Trains and the UP Express. Work often occurs overnight and nearby residents may be affected by the associated noise and light. 

To sign up for regular email updates about construction from Metrolinx, please contact Michael Paolucci at 416-202-4425 or michael.paolucci@metrolinx.com


Watermain Replacement on Bedford Road- From Machperson Avenue to Bernard Avenue

Crews will still be onsite, restoring work areas and trenches until December 22. This work is weather dependent and may be subject to change. Due to temperature dependent asphalt work, if required, crews will return in the spring for a few days for permanent road restoration and to lay new sod. View the full construction notice here.


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.