The Cressy Courier July 13 - Building Safe Streets, Bellevue Square Park opening, and more

Dear Friends,

Here at City Hall, we are quickly approaching the final Council meeting of this term of City Council. 

Over the last 2 weeks, we've made critical strides in building safe streets in our neighbourhoods. We are getting ready to officially celebrate the opening of the newly revitalized Bellevue Square park, we have started a visioning process for our new parks at 666 Spadina and Mirvish Village, and we have received the exciting design proposals for our two new parks on the Waterfront. Revitalization plans for Glasgow Street parkette and Monsignor Fraser are under construction and nearing final approvals.

In this edition of the Cressy Courier you'll find updates on many of these initiatives and more, along with a reminder about communication rules for City Councillors in the context of this fall's Municipal Election. 

As always, please get in touch with any questions or concerns you may have.

Take care,

Joe


Reminder - 2018 Municipal Election Communication Rules for City Councillors

As I mentioned in my last email update, there is a municipal election coming up this fall on October 22, 2018.

The recently amended Municipal Elections Act, 1996 ("Act") now requires municipalities to establish rules and procedures with respect to the use of municipal resources during the election period. To preserve the public trust and integrity of the elections process, the City’s Policy sets out provisions that address: (1) access to City facilities during an election period, (2) access to City resources during an election period, (3) access to City information during an election period, (4) attendance at City events during an election period, and (5) restrictions to services provided to Members of City Council beginning August 1 of an election year.

These rules stipulate that City Councillors are not permitted to send out communications to constituents after August 1st. These rules were recommended by City staff, as required by provincial legislation, and approved by City Council, in order to ensure that City resources are not used for election purposes.

This means that my office is not permitted to send out information in e-newsletters, or print newsletters, after this date. If there is an emergency, my office is permitted to communicate with constituents regarding this emergency. However, after August 1st, regular e-mail newsletters are not permitted.

To ensure that residents are notified of this rule, I will include this reminder in my email newsletters for the next number of weeks.

Here are additional details with respect to these rules:

  • After August 1st, City Councillors are not permitted to:
    • Send out email newsletters or print newsletters
    • Host or organize meetings or events

For more information, click here.


Waterfront Parks Design Competition Entries Shortlist


In February 2018, the City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto launched an innovative design competition for our two new Waterfront parks. We invited talented and creative design teams from around the world to pre-qualify for the competition that would seek bold design proposals for our new  York Street Park and Rees Street Park.

In total, more than 40 design teams from 18 cities submitted proposals outlining their qualifications. We were thrilled to see such a high-level of interest from some of the world’s most innovative and creative design teams, representing a wide range of different landscape and design philosophies. Ten design teams were shortlisted to participate in the six-week international design competition.

Five teams were assigned to each park and their entries can be viewed right now online and in the City Hall rotunda until July 17 at 5 PM. Visit http://yorkreesparkdesign.ca/ to see each entry and provide comments or suggestions to help inform the choice of winner. You can also leave written comments in person at City Hall while the entries are on display.


New AP Dance Pad / Splash Pad Now Open!

Summer is finally here, and to celebrate we officially opened the new Alexandra Park splash pad and dance pad earlier this week. We look forward to seeing kids playing on the splash pad and our seniors practicing tai chi and ballroom dancing on the dance pad throughout the summer!


Connecting Youth to Employment and Training - Youth Resources Fair at 150 Dan Leckie Way

Ensuring that we are building stronger, safer neighbourhoods as a community is a critical part of our focus to address recent incidents in the downtown. Youth employment, strong mentorship, social development plans - all are part of building strong and safe neighbourhoods.

Over the past few months my office has been working with the CityPlace Residents Association (CPRA) and Toronto Employment and Social Services to organize a Youth Resources Fair to connect young people in our communities to development programs, career opportunities, training and apprenticeships.

Please join us at 150 Dan Leckie Way for this open house, with city agencies and employers participating and providing information about the careers and resources they have to offer for local youth. 

Details:

Youth Resources Fair
Wednesday, July 18th, 4:00pm-6:00pm.
150 Dan Leckie Way

If you represent an organization interested in participating at the event to connect with local youth regarding training or employment opportunities, then please email my office at councillor_cressy@toronto.ca to discuss further.


Bellevue Square Park – Opening Celebration July 28th!

Join me for the official opening celebration of the newly revitalized Bellevue Square Park in Kensington Market!

Saturday, July 28th 2018
12-2pm

This beautifully revitalized park in the heart of Kensington Market is an important community gathering space, and will be enjoyed for years to come. I would like to thank all of the community members who put in many hours to bring this project to life.I hope to see you at the ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration!

Please note: a small eastern portion of the park will remain closed off to allow for completion of the deck area. This is expected to be completed in mid-August.

If you have any questions, please contact my office at councillor_cressy@toronto.ca or 416-392-4044.


New Public Park at 666 Spadina and Greening in Harbord Village  - What Are Your Priorities?

Last night I hosted a community meeting with the Harbord Village Residents’ Association (HVRA) and city staff to envision the new park coming to 666 Spadina, and provide input on the next phase of the Harbord Village Green Plan.

As you may know, I worked with the Harbord Village Residents’ Association (HVRA) to develop the Harbord Village Green Plan, a neighbourhood green plan that addresses the needs of our existing green spaces, and identifies opportunities to create new ones. Construction of the first phase, which includes in-street planters at four Harbord Village intersections, is set to begin next month. Last night, we discussed pursuing greening areas on Harbord Street as we look towards selecting our phase 2 priorities.

Another exciting greening improvement coming to Harbord Village is the creation of a new public park at 666 Spadina Avenue. Through our hard work with the HVRA, City of Toronto staff, and the applicants of the infill development at at 666 Spadina Avenue, we have secured a brand new public park on site, that was approved at Council late last year.

We are very early in the planning process for the new park at 666 Spadina, which will be on the southwest corner of Sussex Ave and Spadina Ave. It is important that we have discussions as a community about the broad principles of what we want to see on this site, before moving to the formal design process later in the year.

If you have feedback that you would like to give on your priorities and what you would like to see in the new park, please email my office at councillor_cressy@toronto.ca and we’ll incorporate your thoughts into the initial visioning.


Glasgow Street Parkette - Under Construction

I’m thrilled to let you know that construction on phase 1 of the Glasgow Street Parkette, streetscape and Cecil Community Centre improvements has begun. The first phase will include the parkette and streetscape improvements, and the second phase will include landscaping improvements to the front of the Cecil Community Centre.

I look forward to celebrating the completion of the first phase next month!

Click here to view the full plans, and click here for further construction details.


Slowing down traffic on Spadina Road - Road narrowing, between Bloor and Dupont

Our streets need to be redesigned and reconfigured to provide higher levels of safety for all road users. Tragedies on our streets are preventable and we need to do more to push for change in our neighbourhoods. After conversations with the Annex Residents’ Association to find a way to address narrow sidewalks and high speeds along Spadina Rd between Bloor and Dupont and to make the street safer for pedestrians, we worked hard with Transportation Services staff on the first stages of plans for Spadina Road. 

The long term goal for Spadina Road is to narrow the vehicle lanes and expand sidewalk width, creating more space for pedestrians and public realm improvements. Lane widths on Spadina are larger than the standard - narrowing lanes on the street can bring lower vehicle speeds, wider sidewalks and public realm beautification, while at the same keeping the same number of lanes on the street. In the interim (as we work to identify capital funding for the long term vision), Transportation Services will be adding paint to the street that will lay out the new measurements and lane widths available for vehicles.

To improve the pedestrian experience further, I also passed a motion at Community Council in May to include a new Mid-Block Traffic Control Signal on Spadina Rd between Bloor and Lowther, across from Wigwamen Terrace (14 Spadina): http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2018.TE32.65. This mid-block signal will provide a safe crossing for all users of Spadina Road.


Revitalizating Sgt. Ryan Russell Parkette

I'm delighted that our plan to revitalize Ryan Russell Parkette, at the corner of Dupont and Avenue Rd., continues to move forward. On June 18, we hosted a public consultation to review two design concepts for Sgt Ryan Russell Parkette. We heard from a variety of users on how they envision the new space - from new lighting on the pathway, to fresh playground equipment, we confirmed our collective vision to maintain the playground space, while enhancing the overall parkette experience. Further, the Russell family reviewed the design concepts and is happy the playground will be enhanced, as Sgt Ryan Russell loved spending time with his son in the park, playing.

I will be posting the revised design for review on my website, please feel free to get in touch to share your thoughts!


Dupont Station Easier Access Program - Construction Update

As part of TTC's commitment to provide accessible transit, work is underway at the Dupont and Spadina intersection to install new elevators that will make Dupont Station accessible to all customers. The project was originally scheduled to be completed at the end of this year. However, earlier this year, we learned of a delay of 1 year to the completion date of the project. 

Since I learned of the proposed delay, I have met with Senior staff at the TTC to understand the reasons for the delay and work to do everything possible to reduce the timeline. Let me be clear, the delay for this project is unacceptable.

The TTC have informed me that difficulties with the third-party contractor have caused the current delay. Currently, the TTC is monitoring work on site over the next 6 weeks, requesting a recovery schedule for the lost time and meeting with senior executives at the company to make the difficulties and need for resolution clear.

Again, the delay in construction is unacceptable. I know the impact that this project has had on the local community; from lane reductions, decreased traffic flow and construction noise to inconveniences within Dupont Station itself, impacts are expected during construction projects. However, there is also an expectation that the project will be completed on time and with the local community in mind.

I have been very clear with TTC senior staff that we need to do everything possible to reduce the proposed new timeline. I am committed to working with the TTC on an ongoing basis to identify opportunities to create efficiencies, bundle work and speed up the process on site.

If you have questions or concerns about this, please contact: 

Denise Jayawardene, Senior Community Liaison, TTC 

Denise.Jayawardene@ttc.ca, 416-393-6937

I will be providing updates to the community on a regular basis. 


Monsignor Fraser Greening Project - Update

Late last year, my office confirmed plans to transform the unused concrete space at Monsignor Fraser in Seaton Village into a new community green space. After 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), I was delighted to secure City funding to implement the greening vision, and partner 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.

Final approvals are underway at the TCDSB, and construction is scheduled to begin in September 2018. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this project and for the neighbourhood for providing invaluable feedback at every step.

As an advocate for increased and enhanced green spaces throughout Ward 20, I am excited to inform you that we are very close to finalizing the details on transforming the Monsignor Fraser South parking lot into a new community green space! 


Update - Our Work to Build Safe Streets

As I wrote in my last email update, City Council approved my motion, seconded by Councillor Mike Layton, at the end of June, calling for immediate safety improvements to the Bloor Street West bike lanes, while considering every option for permanent improvements, including separated intersections, physical redesign, greater separation and protection, and more. At that same Council meeting, Councillors Kristyn Wong-Tam, Josh Matlow and I moved a motion to designate Avenue Road, from St. Clair Avenue West to Bloor Street West, a community safety zone.

At our final meeting of Toronto and East York Community Council for this term, we also moved forward on a number of critical road safety initiatives we have been working hard together on over the last 3 years.

At that meeting, I moved motions to take a number of actions to continue to improve road safety in our neighbourhoods - and, they were approved.

Now approved by Community Council (some of which still require City Council approval at the end of the month):

  • Speed humps on Nassau Street, between Augusta and Spadina Avenues, on Robert Street, between Wilcocks and Harbord Streets, and on Sussex Mews;
  • School bus loading zone on Dan Leckie Way, north of Fort York Blvd;
  • Traffic lights at Spadina Crescent and Russell Street;
  • Add the missing pedestrian crossing at the existing traffic lights at Spadina Ave. and Bremner/Fort York Blvd. (south side), at Spadina Ave. and Front St. W (south side), and Fort York Blvd. and Telegram Mews/Brunel Court (east side); and
  • Replace the pedestrian crosswalks with traffic lights, to ensure safety for pedestrians, at Harbord and Robert Streets, and Dupont and Huron Streets.

I also moved to conduct a number of safety reviews, for further improvements,:

  • A safety review of Dupont Street, between Ossington Avenue and Davenport Road, with a report back with recommendations for safety improvements;
  • A safety review of pedestrian signal timings on University Avenue, between College and Front St. W, to implement enhanced timing for safe pedestrian crossings;
  • A safety review of Richmond St. W, between Spadina and Brant, to improve safety for all road users; and
  • Investigate the feasibility of traffic calming (note - this is a first step required by Council policy, that unfortunately has not been removed) on Soho Square, on Phoebe Street, from Spadina Ave. to Beverley St., on Kendal Ave., from Dupont St. to Wells St., and on Walmer Road, from Dupont St. to Kendal Ave.

Over the last 3 years, we’ve worked hard together to build safer streets to move people, not just cars. We’ve lowered speed limits in our communities and installed speed humps and new traffic lights. We’ve also taken critical steps towards a bolder vision of designing our streets for safety - we’ve built bike lanes, expanded the public realm, and narrowed streets across Ward 20.

While the initiatives included in the city's current Vision Zero plan are important, we need to take bolder steps to truly commit to eliminating traffic fatalities. We need to redesign our streets to move people safely, rather than simply to move cars. We need to build protected and expanded spaces for cyclists and pedestrians, narrower lanes and roadways, and slow down traffic overall.


The Grange Green Plan - Approved at Community Council

As development in the downtown core continues, we must ensure that we are creating liveable neighbourhoods – finding opportunities to enhance and create green spaces is an important part of that liveability. Over the last two years, I have been working with the Grange Community Association (GCA) to develop the Grange Green Plan – which aims to enhance existing green spaces in the neighbourhood and identify ways that we can create new ones.

In light of the ongoing success of the Harbord Village Green Plan, which was adopted by Toronto and East York Community Council in 2016 and is currently entering Phase 2 of implementation, the Grange Green Plan sets out a similar vision for using flankage spaces, existing parks, and innovative ideas to focus on sustainability and greening as we continue to improve our community.

This is why I am thrilled that my motion directing staff to work with community partners to implement the Grange Green Plan was approved at Community Council last week.

Later this month, we will be bringing this plan to the wider Grange community, to discuss the principles and proposals, and to finalize our vision for greening in the neighbourhood. Stay tuned for details on a community open house.

You can view the Grange Green Plan here.


Kensington Community School Playground - Under Construction!

At the December City Council meeting, my motion to allocate Section 37 community benefit funds to the Toronto District School Board for improvements to the Kensington Community School grounds was passed. The Section 37 funds were secured through the development at 297 College St, and will allocate $80,000 towards the Kensington Community School grounds to allow them to enhance their green space and expand public access.

Work on the schoolyard is underway and will include new trees, additional planters, seating, landscape features, and more. The new play structure that the students selected will be installed this month.

As part of these improvements to the grounds, public access outside of school hours will be secured for the local neighbourhood.

I look forward to celebrating the completion of the revitalization later this year with the community!

View the revitalization plans here.


St. Andrew’s Playground Revitalization - Funding update

It was fantastic to see so many community members turn out for the public meeting about the future of St. Andrew’s Playground on June 4. We had a great conversation about principles for improving the park, expanding it to include the adjacent parking lot, and how we might arrange the different components within the park in relation to one another. Based on what we heard at the meeting, Parks staff will be hiring a consultant to start working on a design, which will be brought back to another public meeting in draft form next year.

At City Council a couple of weeks ago, I introduced a motion to increase the budget for improvements to St. Andrew’s Playground to $3.39 million. This value reflects the kind of upgrades and enhancements that were discussed at the public meeting in June, as well as the new reality that downtown parks need to be designed and built to a very high quality in order to withstand the wear and tear of high use, and to accommodate a wide diversity of activities. We want St. Andrew’s Playground to be the next “Grange” or “Berczy” -- a park that sets the new standard for quality and sophistication in Toronto.

To sign up for updates about the revitalization of St. Andrew’s Playground, please email Lori Ellis, Senior Project Manager, at Lori.Ellis@toronto.ca or get connected with the Garment District Neighbourhood Association (GDNA) at https://www.gdnatoronto.org/.


Unveiling Harriet Boulton Smith Way

This week I joined Grange community leaders and representatives from the AGO for the official unveiling of sign on the newly renamed Harriet Boulton Smith Way!

A philanthropist and city-builder, Harriet Boulton Smith’s donation of her home near Grange Park to the organization now known as the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) helped to ensure downtown would forever be a place for arts and culture. Thank you to the Grange community who worked so hard to make this possible!


Visioning for the Bellevue Avenue TPA Lot in Kensington Market

Located just north of Bellevue Square Park and in-between the residential and commercial areas of the market, the TPA parking lot at 25 Bellevue Ave. acts as a pathway within the neighbourhood. In the always welcoming spirit of Kensington Market, it has long been discussed as a potential site for critical city-building opportunities to be explored. In imagining the potential of this land, the focus has always been increasing inclusivity and further fostering a sense of community. Local residents and stakeholders have expressed that a surface parking lot is not the best use of this space, and that it would be better utilized in a way that benefits the community.

Last week at Community Council, I passed a motion directing staff to undertake a visioning process, in consultation with the local community, and the Kensington Market Land Trust around potential city-building opportunities for the 25 Bellevue Avenue Toronto Parking Authority Parking Lot.

The Kensington Market Land Trust, a resident-led organization, has held meetings and a visioning session with my office to imagine the possibilities for this underutilized land. While maintaining connectivity and the pathway through the neighbourhood, some potential ideas for the space have included affordable housing, community gathering space, neighbourhood gardens, an incubator for small businesses, and much more.

Stay tuned for updates on future visioning sessions for the Bellevue TPA lot.


Public Meetings

Huron Street Playground DOLA Design Consultation
Monday, July 16th 7pm - 9pm
Friends House, 70 Lowther Ave
In 2016, we worked with the local community, the Annex Residents’ Association and grades 1 & 2 classes at Huron Street Public School to revitalize the Huron Street Playground. Understanding the budget restrictions for the playground revitalization, I promised to initiate a Phase 2 process to design the addition of a small Dogs Off Leash Area in the western side of the park. This meeting will be the first opportunity to hear from City staff and offer feedback on this phase. See you there!

Hydro One “Power Downtown Toronto” Class Environmental Assessment
Online now, Open House in November TBC
Hydro One has identified a need to replace an underground cable located between the Esplanade Transformer Station (TS) and Terauley TS that was installed in the 1950s and is critical in supplying power to the downtown core.Replacing the cables is subject to a Class Environmental Assessment (EA) process to study potential effects and alternative routes. A public open house will be held in the fall of 2019. To sign up for updates, learn more about the proposal, and provide early feedback please visit https://www.talkpowerdowntownto.ca/. You can download the EA Notice of Commencement here. [link to Final-Power Downtown Notice of commencement.pdf]


Community Events

Summer Music in the Garden concert series
June 28 - September 16, opening performance June 28th at 7pm
Toronto Music Garden, 479 Queens Quay West
The popular Summer Music in the Garden concert series returns for its 19th season by the shores of Lake Ontario. Treat yourself to 18 free concerts this summer, featuring outstanding artists and a wide range of musical styles. Concerts take place in the Toronto Music Garden on most Thursdays at 7pm and Sundays at 4pm, and are approximately one hour in length. Bench seating is limited, so feel free to bring a blanket or lawn chair – and don't forget your hat or umbrella and sunscreen as shade is also limited.

CITE: A Celebration of Skateboard Arts & Culture
June 30 – August 12, 2018 (Opening Celebration June 30th & July 1st, 10 AM – 11 PM))
The Bentway (beneath the Gardiner Expressway from Strachan Ave to Bathurst Ave)
Starting this weekend, The Bentway will transform our beloved ice skating trail into a pop-up skateboard park as part of CITE: a 6-week celebration of skateboard arts and culture.

Running from June 30 to August 12, CITE will include:

  • Launch weekend celebrations (June 30 & July 1) featuring live music, a marketplace of local vendors, food & beverage delights, trick contests, and meet-the-pros opportunities
  • A sculpture garden of "skate-able" public art sculptures on The Bentway Skate Trail, open daily for public free skate
  • Recurring learn-to-skateboard clinics and creative workshops targeting youth
    And much more!

Arts in the Park: Porch View Dances in Vermont Square Park  
July 18th to 22nd
Vermont Square Park
Arts in the Parks has begun its 2018 season, returning to neighbourhoods throughout Toronto once again. In collaboration with PFR, Toronto Arts Council, and Park People, Toronto Arts Foundation is supporting free theatre, dance, music and community arts performances, and workshops in parks outside the downtown-core.

Between July 18th-22nd, Kaeja d’Dance will present Porch View Dances in Vermont Square Park. The audience of this event will travel from house to house to see new dance works created with professional choreographers and performed by residents on their own properties.

The performance ends at the park where all audience members are invited to participate in the dance. Porch View Dances celebrates the stories of everyday people and makes professional art accessible to all - encouraging community building, enjoyment of local parks, and offering arts events for residents and tourists of all ages. We look forward to seeing you there!

Bellevue Square Park Opening Celebration
July 28th 12p.m. -  2p.m.
Bellevue Square Park
Join me for the official opening celebration of the newly revitalized Bellevue Square Park! I would like to thank all of the community members who put in many hours to bring this project to life. Hope to see you at the ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration!

City Fest
August 18th
Canoe Landing Park
For more Information, please visit their website: https://www.parcrose.com

CityPlace Movie Nights in Canoe Landing Park
Ongoing in July to September:
July 14th 8pm, August 11th 8pm, September 15th 8pm
Canoe Landing Park
For more information, please contact cityplacera@gmail.com or vist their website at cityplacera.com

Waterfront Artisan Market
Until October 6th
Every Saturday (11am-8pm) and Sunday (11am-5pm)
HTO Park, 339 Queens Quay West
The Waterfront Artisan Market brings together a carefully curated mix of artisans, crafters, chefs and bakers at a unique, open-air market on Toronto’s Waterfront. It’s a great event to grab a bite to eat and shop from local vendors.


Farmers Markets are Back!

Please see below details for more information

Bloor-Borden MyMarket
June 3rd to October 28th
Every Wednesday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: Parking lot at Bloor and Lippincott

John Street Farmers’ Market
June to October
Every Wednesdays 3:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Location: St. George-the-Martyr Anglican Church (on Grange Park)

Metro Hall "Indulge" Farmers' Market, David Pecaut Square
May 24 to October 11
Every Thursday 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Location: David Pecaut Square/ Metro Hall, 55 John Street


Constituency Hours!

A reminder that I hold constituency hours every week.

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