The Cressy Courier February 19 - Downtown Budget Town Hall, January City Council Highlights, and more
Over the last number of weeks, conversations at City Hall have continued about the future of our city through the release of the proposed 2019 Budget.
Again this year, the 2019 budget doesn't recommend the investments needed to truly make our city better. This is why we need your help to make it clear that we need a budget – a vision – that invests in the services, infrastructure, and supports that can continue to make our city a supportive and vibrant place to call home.
There are many ways to get involved to share your views and vision for our city through this budget, including attending the Downtown Budget Town Hall that I am hosting with Councillors Wong-Tam and Layton on February 22nd, at City Hall.
Full details on the town hall, as well as updates on other important local and city-wide work, can be found below.
Please contact my office at any time if you have questions.
2019 Downtown Budget Town Hall
Do you live in Ward 10, 11, or 13?
Join Councillors Wong-Tam, Layton, and myself for our 2019 Downtown Budget Town Hall.
Friday, February 22, 6:30-8:00pm
City Hall, 100 Queen St W, Committee Room 1
As we continue to work hard on critically important issues that face our downtown communities, conversations have now begun at City Hall about the future of our city through the release of the proposed 2019 Budget.
At its core, the annual Budget debate is about people. Decisions made during the budget process immediately affect how we live in our city; how we interact with our parks and greenspaces; how we get around – whether on foot, bike, transit or car, and how we support each other. In this budget, we need your help to ask critical questions – are we building a fair and supportive city?
We want to hear from you!
Click here to download the consultation notice.
January City Council Highlights
Supportive housing in Toronto
Council voted to have staff convene an urgent meeting with key providers of supportive housing in Toronto to identify ways to increase supportive-housing options that will help people exit homelessness. In addition, Council will ask the federal and provincial governments to commit funding to support the annual creation of 1,800 new units of supportive housing in Toronto to help reduce homelessness.
Bike Lanes on Richmond and Adelaide
Council supported making bike lanes on Richmond and Adelaide Streets permanent, as well as the bike lanes on Peter and Simcoe Streets. The separated bike lanes were installed between 2014 and 2016. The Richmond-Adelaide bike lanes are the most heavily used in Toronto. During the pilot, the rate of cyclist collisions decreased by 73 per cent and serious motor vehicle collisions decreased by 18 per cent on Richmond and Adelaide, which are key commuter arteries downtown.
Legal challenge to Bill 5
Council gave instructions to the City Solicitor pertaining to legal matters involving the Ontario government's Bill 5, the Better Local Government Act, 2018. That legislation included reducing Toronto's electoral wards to 25 for the 2018 municipal election. The province's appeal of a related Superior Court decision is scheduled to be heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal this June. Council's instructions to the City Solicitor include opposing the province's appeal at the June hearing.
Planning heat relief services for 2019
Council provided direction to staff regarding the City's co-ordinated implementation of heat relief strategies for 2019. A work plan to be developed will include the creation of a bylaw requiring property owners to maintain an up-to-date list that can be used to contact building tenants in extreme weather emergencies. Working with Municipal Licensing and Standards, the work group will consider also consider asking landlords to provide a "cool room" and/or a shade structure on their properties.
Ontario Place Subcommittee Meeting – come out and share your views!
Ontario Place is a critical part of our City. Earlier in January, the Provincial Government’s plans for Ontario Place became clearer. Tourism Minister Michael Tibollo announced a process that will turn almost all of Ontario Place over to the private sector. The Provincial process puts at risk the Cinesphere, the recently completed Trillium Park and the pods.
To ensure our city and our residents have a say on its future, I moved a successful motion to strike a special City of Toronto Ontario Place sub-committee. A subcommittee of Toronto and East York Community Council, members of the public are welcome to attend, submit communications, and register to speak to share their views publicly.
The first meeting of the Subcommittee of Ontario Place will be on Tuesday March 5th at 5:30pm, City Hall, Committee Room 1. We are encouraging members of the public to attend, and to register to speak to share your views on Ontario Place with us. We will also be considering a detailed report from City staff on the history and status of Ontario Place, and more.
For more information on speaking to Committee, click here. To register to speak on March 5th, please email email@example.com.
Proposed Provincial Subway Upload
Doug Ford's plan to take control of our subway system is a political slogan in search of a solution, and we must work together to stop it.
Where we build transit connects directly to how we build and plan our neighbourhoods, and the TTC is central to our ability to create an equitable and liveable city for all. If the Province breaks apart the TTC, they take away our ability to design and build our city.
The TTC is a complex network involving 4 rapid transit lines, 570 bus routes, 10 streetcar routes, wheel-trans, and 570 million annual riders. It's a network that only works if it is owned and operated as one.
As the largest city in this country, as the economic engine of this province and country, our ability to own and operate our transit system is central to our success. The TTC belongs to the residents of Toronto, and it should stay that way.
The solution to improving our transit system is not for the Province to control it. The solution is for the Province to properly fund it.
Speak out and show the Provincial Government that the TTC belongs to Torontonians - attend the Transit Day of Action on February 22nd, or send a message to the Premier and Transportation Minister.
Expanding Supportive Housing in Toronto - moving forward
At City Council in January, City Council supported my motion to scale up our supportive housing efforts to end chronic homelessness. Read the motion here.
Homelessness is a crisis in our city. On any given night, nearly 9,000 people rely on our shelters, emergency respites, overnight drop-ins, and Out of the Cold programs to find a safe place to spend the night.
In the first weeks of 2019, we witnessed 6 Torontonians lose their lives on our streets. Many across our city are calling for a state of emergency on the issues of homelessness. Homelessness is an emergency, it is a crisis.
An emergency response alone will not solve homelessness. The stark reality facing those without adequate homes is a multi-year wait for supportive housing and 181,000 people on the waitlist for affordable housing. We must respond by ensuring that everyone has a safe place to sleep, each and every night. But, we must also create a path out of our shelter system, and into stable and supportive housing for the thousands who need it.
Continuing our Toronto Islands Advisory Committee
At its January meeting, City Council approved my motion to continue its Toronto Islands Advisory Committee during the current term of Council.
The advisory committee, initially created in 2014, has focused on strategic planning for the islands as Toronto's centrepiece park, with the goal of enhancing the islands attractiveness as an accessible, year-round destination.
Lunar New Year Celebrations
As always, I had a wonderful time at the University Settlement Lunar New Year celebrations. Wishing everyone a healthy, joyful, and prosperous year!
King Street Winter Warm-Up
Visit the King Street Pilot corridor for a series of free community pop-up events located in the new public space at David Pecaut Square! Enjoy warm treats, hot drinks, live music, a cozy warming station, and more.
Weekly on Wednesday evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.until March 13.
Gardiner Expressway Rehabilitation - Jarvis to Cherry
The City of Toronto is beginning work to rehabilitate the Gardiner Expressway between Jarvis Street and Cherry Street. For the first phase of preparatory work, crews will install access platforms on the underside of the Gardiner between February 19 and March 7, 2019. There will be intermittent 15-minute rolling lane closures overnight along Lake Shore Boulevard to accommodate this work.
Please visit the project website here to learn more and to download a copy of the construction notice flyer.
Additional phases of construction to rehabilitate this section of the Gardiner will follow, and continue until early 2021.
To be clear, I do not support overnight construction work and this work does not have my approval. I have said many times and advocated loudly that this kind of construction activity should be limited to daytime hours because it often affects thousands of people who 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 as a whole 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 (which would prohibit 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. 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.
Toronto Light Festival
The Toronto Light Festival is on now in the Distillery District until March 3rd. The Festival, now in its third year exhibits local and international light artists. Attendance is free. Visit torontolightfest.com for more information.
Preventing Freezing Pipes
There are steps that you can take to help prevent drinker water pipes from freezing in your home, as well as if you have no water and suspect your pipes are already frozen.
Tips to avoid frozen water pipes in the home
- Consider leaving a tap open enough for a pencil-thin stream of flowing water, so there is some movement of water in pipes that might be vulnerable to freezing. Leave a pencil-thin stream flowing 24 hours a day until daytime and nighttime temperatures have returned to normal seasonal averages.
- Open kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around plumbing.
- Outdoor faucets are the first to freeze. Unscrew any hoses, turn off the outdoor water supply and let those taps drain.
- Insulate pipes most prone to freezing, especially near outside walls and in crawl spaces, attic and garage.
- If your pipes are prone to freezing, consider contacting a plumber for advice on how best to protect your home.
Steps to thaw frozen pipes
- Turn on a tap in the basement, preferably the cold water faucet in the laundry room.
- Use a blow dryer to warm the suspected frozen pipe for one to two hours. Check the blow dryer regularly to ensure it does not overheat.
- Place a warm towel or rag around the suspected frozen pipe.
- Depending on the outside temperature and the extent of freezing within the pipe, the thawing process could take between one and six hours.
Learn more about frozen pipes by clicking here. If the steps above do not resolve the issue, call 311 or submit a service request online at www.toronto.ca/311 and someone from the City will investigate.
Park People Grants
Park People will provide $2000 to groups to help make community events happen in our green spaces, including public parks, open space around social housing, and school grounds. Applications for 2019 are open until March 4. To learn more and apply, please visit www.parkpeople.ca/parkgrants/.
2019 Budget Town Hall
Friday, February 22, 6:30-8:00pm
City Hall, 100 Queen St W, Committee Room 1
Do you live in Ward 10, 11, or 13? Join Councillors Wong-Tam, Layton, and myself for our 2019 Downtown Budget Town Hall. As we continue to work hard on critically important issues that face our downtown communities, conversations have now begun at City Hall about the future of our city through the release of the proposed 2019 Budget. We want to hear from you. View the meeting notice here.
Hydro One- Major Infrastructure and Tunnel Project Open House
Hydro One is making important upgrades to an underground transmission cable that serves Toronto’s downtown core. Originally built in the 1950s, the cable is reaching its end of life and must be replaced through a major infrastructure project in the east downtown. There will be two open house dates:
Tuesday, February 26, 6:30 pm-8:30 pm - Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre, 525 Bay Street
Thursday, February 28, 6:30 pm-8:30 pm - St. Lawrence Community Recreation Center, 230 The Esplanade
Click here to view the pdf notice.
Union Station to Queens Quay Link Public Meeting
Monday March 4, 6:30-8:30pm (presentation at 7pm)
Brigantine Room and Marilyn Brewer Community Space, Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West)
The City of Toronto, in partnership with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and Waterfront Toronto, are inviting members of trhe public to provide feedback on transit options between Untion Station and Queens Quay. For more information, please visit toronto.ca/waterfronttransit
Ontario Place Subcommittee Meeting
Tuesday March 5th at 5:30pm
City Hall, Committee Room 1
We are encouraging members of the public to attend the first subcommittee meeting, and to register to speak to share your views on Ontario Place with us. We will also be considering a detailed report from City staff on the history and status of Ontario Place, and more. For more information on speaking to Committee, click here. To register to speak on March 5th, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
545 Lake Shore Blvd W redevelopment consultation
Tuesday, March 19, 6:30 pm
Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre, Dance Studio (627 Queens Quay West)
A re-zoning application has been submitted that proposes a mixed-use development with heights of 10, 15, and 39 storeys. Retail and commercial are proposed to occupy the ground floor and lower storeys with 508 residential units above. This is an opportunity to learn more and make your voice heard. View the meeting flyer for more information and links to resources.