The Cressy Courier February 1 - a path to stable, supportive housing, Quayside project updates, and more
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?
Is this budget truly making things better? Our waiting list for affordable housing has grown to 181,000 people – a number that has steadily grown over the last number of years. This budget does not include the resources to appropriately build an affordable city.
Our public transit system is facing the growing pressure of an increasing population, and those who want to ride the TTC. But, this budget will not address that crowded subway train, the long-wait in the winter for the bus, or other needed improvements. In fact, it includes a $.10 fare hike for TTC riders. Transit-users are paying more, while too many continue to wait for the bus.
The budget process happens quickly this year - but, over the coming weeks, I will continue to share information on what is, and is not, part of the 2019 City Budget.
There are also many ways to get involved to share your views and vision for our city through this budget. Over the coming days, I will be following up to share many of these opportunities with you.
Below you will also find updates on important local, and city-wide issues.
Please contact my office at any time if you have any questions.
Addressing Homelessness - a path to stable, supportive housing
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 have seen four 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.
At City Council this week, City Council supported my motion to scale up our supportive housing efforts to end chronic homelessness. Read the motion here.
Quayside Project - Update
The Waterfront is a unique treasure of our city. It needs a bold vision. And we need to get it right. Waterfront revitalization is a long-term and complex project, so it will not be finished overnight and it does not happen automatically without hard work. We must continually renew our commitment to revitalizing the waterfront.
Quayside is the next area identified for transformation under a strategic plan laid out by Waterfront Toronto. I vow to see that the public’s interests are thoroughly protected as we review all aspects of the proposal for Quayside. Some of what Sidewalk Labs has shown so far is the first of its kind and scale in Toronto and Canada. A new approach of combining urban planning with more detailed data raises issues of privacy in the context of neighbourhood development that we in Toronto have not ever had a public conversation about before. Let’s have and lead that conversation.
Please click here for a fulsome update on what has happened so far, timelines, next steps, and more.
Ontario Place for All
Toronto began as a waterfront city - it truly was our point of origin. Over the years, we lost the waterfront to industry, expressways, and development, but in recent years with hard work and cooperation we have finally started to reclaim it.
Earlier this month, the citizens’ groups Waterfront For All and Parks People held the event “Rally ‘Round Ontario Place”, to bring together people to share memories and stories and organize for what’s next to protect the treasured lands at Ontario Place. I was proud to see the hundreds of people who turned out on a cold Saturday to Rally ‘Round Ontario Place, and many more followed along online with the livestream. You can visit http://www.waterfrontforall.ca/onplace to watch the video recording and review the presentation materials.
From this diverse gathering, a new group called Ontario Place for All has launched to advocate for the future of Ontario Place.
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 proposals Tibollo is looking for threaten to destroy almost all of the award-winning park including the Cinesphere, the islands, and the pods.
Ontario Place is 155 acres in size, making it by a wide margin the last remaining large waterfront site in downtown Toronto. And as land that is already in the hands of the public, its revitalization is a tremendous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create an Ontario Place for all Ontarians. The potential is clear in the incremental but concrete progress already made at Ontario Place the with the opening of Trillium Park on the site of a former parking lot, the reactivation of the Cinesphere with regular movie showtimes, and daily winter festivities.
It is critical that the Province of Ontario works with the people of Ontario and Toronto to ensure that Ontario Place continues to get better, and moreover, any decision about the future of Ontario Place should be made by the people of Ontario -- not by friends of Doug Ford through back-room dealings.
The good news is the public response has been overwhelming. Sign up with Ontario Place for All to join the 1,200 Ontarians who have already pledged their support and find out about all the ways you can help. You can also like Ontario Place for All on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.
Reservations for Winterlicious 2018 are now being accepted at the nearly 200 participating Toronto restaurants. Three-course prix fixe lunch menus priced at $23, $28 and $33, and dinners priced at $33, $43 and $53, will be available from January 25 to February 7. You can make reservations online or by telephone directly with the restaurants. Visit www.toronto.ca/winterlicious to learn more and find participating restaurants.
Noise Bylaw Review
The City of Toronto is reviewing the Noise Bylaw (Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 591), and wants to hear from you. The current bylaw provides standards for noise, and applies to all properties in Toronto.
The City will be hosting public consultations until February 06, 2019. Residents are also encouraged to send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 28, 2019.
Click here for more information on the review, as well as the full consultation schedule.
Skate Exchange Event - Harry Gairey Outdoor Ice Rink
Visit one of the City's Skate Exchange events to donate, exchange or get a pair of skates at no cost.
Date: Saturday, February 2nd, 2019
Time: 12:00PM – 2:00PM
Location: Harry Gairey Rink
Address: 275 Bathurst St.
For other skate exchange dates and locations, go to Toronto.ca/skate or call 311.
Skates available for pick up are on a first come, first serve basis. Sizes and quantities will vary.
Visit Ice Breakers on Queens Quay
Huge interactive public art installations are back on Queens Quay for another winter season with the Waterfront BIA’s Ice Breakers exhibition. It was my privilege to welcome everyone to the grand opening of the 2019 exhibition. Toronto is a waterfront city and we are also a winter city -- even if we try to forget about that fact for part of the year. Ice Breakers is the perfect excuse to get outside and embrace our winter waterfront. Check out http://www.waterfrontbia.com/event/ice-breakers/ for locations and more information.
Waste Reduction Community Grants
Grants of up to $25,000 are available to support innovative community-based efforts to reduce residential waste and increase participation in the City of Toronto’s waste diversion programs. Expressions of Interest are due by March 1, 2019, at 5 pm. Please visit the Waste Reduction Community Grants web page to learn more and apply.
The Fife and Drum - new issue
The Fife and Drum is the newsletter of the Friends of Fort York and Garrison Common. Click here to download the latest issue.
Contents include articles and photos about the CityPlace Schooner, new interpretive plaques in Victoria Memorial Square park, and a recipe for deviled eggs from 1915.
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/.
Upcoming Public Appointment Opportunities in 2019
The City of Toronto delivers some of its key services through boards, committees and tribunals. The Board of Directors for these agencies include members of the public who apply and are appointed by City Council.
The Public Appointments Secretariat is currently recruiting over 300 public members across 50 boards of City boards, committees and tribunals. A full list with the number of potential vacancies is here.
Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2019
Saturday, February 2, 11:30 to 2:30pm
Alexander the Great Parkette, Logan Ave & Danforth Ave
Join Cycle Toronto for their annual Coldest Day of the Year Ride on Saturday, February 2! This relaxed, family-friendly ride will be about an hour, followed by social where you can warm up, chat with other riders, and enjoy some food and drink. It’s a great chance to meet fellow riders and give winter biking a try. For more information, please visit their website at https://www.cycleto.ca/coldestday2019
City of Toronto Skate Exchange Event
Saturday, February 2, 12 to 2pm
Harry Gairey Rink, 275 Bathurst St.
Need skates? Visit one of our Skate Exchange events to donate, exchange or get a pair of skates at no cost! The skate Exchange Event will also include music, hot chocolate, coffee, cookies and basic skate lessons. For more information, please visit toronto.ca/skate
University Settlement 2019 Lunar New Year Celebration
Saturday, February 9, 11 to 1pm
23 Grange Road
Lunar New Year is on February 5th this year and University Settlement would like to invite you to their fun-filled 2019 Lunar New Year Celebration on Saturday, February 9th. Entertainment will include a Lion Dance, Kung Fu demonstrations, Traditional Korean Dance, and a visit by the God of Wealth. For more information, please see attached flyer.
The Bentway: Free Skate Thursdays
Thursdays until February 14, 5-9 pm
The Bentway (250 Fort York Blvd)
Want to skate but don’t have skates? The Bentway’s figure-eight skate trail is back this winter, and skate rentals are free on Thursday evenings. There are also free drop-in skating lessons 6-8 pm. Website.
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