The Cressy Courier March 28- Community Compost Days, Revitalization Updates, and More!

Dear friend, 

Despite the slow-to-arrive spring season, we’re still hard at work in the post-March Break season at City Hall.

Below, you’ll find updates on our work to build new greenspace and liveable neighbourhoods, expand community services, and much more.

And, we’re excited that community compost days are back! Find information about compost events in your neighbourhood, continuing our tradition of gardening together to ring in the spring season.

As always, don't hesitate to get in touch with questions or concerns at any time.

Take care,

Joe


Scadding Court Community Centre Consultation- Revitalization Feasibility Study

Scadding Court Community Centre (SCC) is an integral part of our community. As a hub that provides programs and services for residents of all ages, with a connection to the Toronto Public Library's Sanderson Branch, it's important to ensure these critical facilities are improved, and expanded, to continue to meet the needs of the community.

As you may know, conversations about redeveloping the community centre, Sanderson Library, and the outdoor pool, have been ongoing for many years. Discussions about principles for the redevelopment have occurred and a feasibility study was previously initiated.

As all of these facilities play a vital role in our community, and have been in operation for more than 40 years, it's time we update the feasibility study and move forward with revitalizing these spaces and enhancing these much needed services. Last week, we held a community consultation to discuss principles as we move forward in the discussion to rebuild the community centre, library and pool, and consider expanding the services at Scadding to further meet the needs of our growing community.

Thanks to everyone who joined me at Scadding Court Community Centre last week to share feedback on how we should improve not only the physical space, but the programs and services at this important community hub.

Stay tuned for updates and details on the next public meeting for this vital community space.


401 Richmond - Celebrating our Work Together

Last week, I was thrilled to join Margie Zeidler, Urbanspace, and tenants of 401 Richmond to celebrate the new Creative Co-Location Tax Class (link to our website piece on this).  

After nearly two years of work, City Council approved a new tax class for Creative Co-location Facilities earlier this year. With this decision, 401 Richmond and other creative hubs in our city will not only be here to stay, but will thrive. I was thrilled that City Council adopted my motion to formally begin the process of establishing Toronto's new Culture and Creative property tax sub-class last fall. Through the 2018 Budget approved in February, the new tax class recommends reducing the tax rate paid by a limited number of creative hubs around the city to 50% of the commercial tax rate, which more accurately reflects the non-profit nature of the organizations that occupy these spaces.

I would like to recognize and thank Margie Zeidler and the urbanspace team, the many tenants of 401 Richmond, Artscape, and the many other creative hubs around our city, and countless Torontonians who wrote letters and emails and signed petitions, for all their work and advocacy. This news would not have been possible without their tireless commitment.


Community Compost Days are back!

Spring has (mostly) sprung and the gardening season is upon us! Throughout April and May, I'll be hosting a series of Community Compost Days to help all the gardeners in the ward prepare for the growing season.  This compost comes from your leaf and yard waste that the City collects as part of the waste reduction and recycling program.

We'll be providing the compost, but please remember to bring your own shovels and containers!

Saturday, April 14th

Central Technical School, 725 Bathurst St
10:00am - 12:00pm
(pick-up: Central Tech parking lot)

Jean Sibelius Square, 50 Kendal Ave
1:00pm - 3:00pm
(pick-up: southwest corner of the park; Brunswick and Wells)

Saturday, April 28th

Vermont Square, 819 Palmerston Ave
10:30am - 12:00pm
(pick-up: Olive Ave and Palmerston Ave, NE Corner on the grass)

Sunday, April 29th

Bellevue Square Park, 5 Bellevue Ave
10:00am - 12:00pm
(pick-up: Corner of Wales and Bellevue Ave)

Ogden Junior Public School, 33 Phoebe St
1:30pm - 3:30pm
(pick-up: Corner of Wales and Bellevue Ave)

Saturday, May 5th

Little Norway Park, 659 Queens Quay W
1:00pm - 3:00pm
(pick-up: paved driveway at 90-degree bend in Little Norway Crescent)


Monsignor Fraser Greening Update

After a well-attended community open house earlier this year with City Parks staff, the Toronto Catholic District School Board, Trustee Jo-Ann Davis and my office, I am excited to share the final design with you! At the open house, we heard great feedback from neighbours that has been incorporated into the design.

After working hard together over the past year and a half, 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.

If you have any further feedback or questions, please reach out to my office to let me know.

Stay tuned for another update in the coming weeks with the construction schedule and more.

View the design here.


Bill Bolton Arena - Renovations in Summer 2018

In order to complete required maintenance and arena upgrades, Bill Bolton Arena will be closed from March 31st to October 1st 2018. Construction staging will not be impacting services in Vermont Square Park, and street parking will also not be impacted. Some staging for the project will take place in small areas of the park adjacent to the area, but will not impact the majority of park uses.

City staff have circulated a flyer to the local neighbourhood, that will also be posted in the park when the work begins. You can also access it here.


OMB Appeals- 193 McCaul Street and 292 Dundas Street West

As you may know, in early August 2017, Lamb Development submitted an application to the City to develop a 19-storey mixed-use building at 193 McCaul Street, and in late August 2017, Tribute Limited submitted an application to develop a 38-storey mixed-use building at 292 Dundas Street West.

Last week, the City hosted the required public meeting on these applications. Like those of you who expressed concerns about the proposed height, density, traffic impacts and other issues, I agree that these proposals are incredibly inappropriate for these sites and do not fit the character of the neighbourhood. I would like to thank everyone who attended the public meetings and wrote to our office to share their concerns about how these developments would impact our community.

Unfortunately, unlike most of the other development applications in Ward 20, these applications were filed without any formal community consultation prior to the submission. In addition to this, both developers have decided to further circumvent community consultation and the City Planning process, and have appealed their applications to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Not coincidentally, these applications were appealed just in time to be considered under the current OMB, which strongly favours developers and will no longer exist later this year.

What this means is that the decisions regarding these developments have been taken out of the hands of the local community. Despite this, I am committed to defending the interests of our community and vigorously opposing these applications at the OMB.

I will continue to work with the community and City Planning to push for revisions to both of these proposals, and keep you updated on the OMB proceedings.  

If you have any further feedback or questions about these applications, do not hesitate to contact my office at councillor_cressy@toronto.ca


King Street Transit Pilot - March Update

The King Street Transit Pilot is about moving people better on King Street, and making the street work for everyone. Working together, we're able to make improvements as we go to continue to build a street that works for all.

Data continues to show the pilot’s success

Our bold move to improve King Street, the year-long King Street Transit Pilot, is now 4 months in. The fourth round of data, collected during the month of February, was released last week, and shows us that the early successes of the pilot are not only continuing, but things are getting better and better.

Last month’s update an a significant increase in overall ridership has jumped to 84,000, from 72,00 before the pilot. Travel times continue to improve, both on average and for the slowest trips. And, reliability remains at 85% - 85% of the time, streetcars are coming on time, and are moving faster across the corridor. Vehicular impacts have been minimal and pedestrian counts are on par with Queen Street just a block north. And, last month’s data showed that business transactions are in line with seasonal spending pattern over the last years.

To continue to build streetcar capacity, the TTC has added 25% more capacity on the street, which is now carrying 12,000 more passengers than before the pilot.

I am also continuing to strongly advocate to bring "two-hour transfers" to King Street as soon as possible, in advance of the city-wide launch later this year. This means that each time you pay your TTC fare, you would be able to hop on and off the streetcar as much as you like within two hours. By getting it on King Street now, transit riders could hop off the streetcar, grab a coffee or run an errand, and hop back on to continue to their final destination. The larger number of riders on King Street will have an easier time patronizing local businesses on King Street.

Click here for full details on all the data that has been released so far. Updated data and additional metrics will be published every month during the Pilot. For more information on past updates and our efforts to continue to build a street for all, click here (link to February King update).

King Street is Open for Business

As I mentioned above, the King Street Transit Pilot must work for everyone. The data released last week, secured by the City from Moneris solutions - who holds the largest market share of debit transactions in the country - shows that business transactions are in line with seasonal spending patterns over the last few years. However, we continue to work together to ensure that this pilot continues to work for everyone.

After hearing some early concerns from local business, we came together to make improvements. After multiple meetings with myself, the Mayor and local businesses, we put in place a number of initiatives to ensure the pilot could work for everyone. We introduced 2 hour free parking adjacent to the pilot area. We launched Everyone is King, the public realm design competition to animate the new public spaces on King. These new public spaces will be launched in the coming weeks, and I’m very excited to see how public realm on King Street will continue to be reimagined.

We've commissioned electronic signage to improve communication, and are continuing to review more improvements. We launched a Toronto-wide advertising campaign, reminding people that King is still accessible to all, and indeed open for business. And, the City is working to secure additional economic data from additional point of sale outlets to continue to inform the review of the pilot.

And, we launched Food is King - a partnership with Ritual, a local King Street business with a high concentration of businesses and customers in the pilot area. The partnership provides a King Street pilot discount to new and existing users visiting a King establishment they’ve never visited before. A two week promotion, you can use the Ritual app to order online and skip the line when you pick up your meal.

For more information on the 2-hour free parking promotion, public realm competition and more, click here.

Your feedback and comments to my office at councillor_cressy@toronto.ca and to the project team at kingstreetpilot@toronto.ca is important, along with the data we are collecting, for ensuring that we can make the King Street Pilot work for everyone. I appreciate hearing about your experience.


University of Toronto Secondary Plan - consultation

For many months, we have working together with the University of Toronto and members of our Community Liaison Committee (made up of representatives from the Annex Residents' Association, the Huron-Sussex Residents' Association, the Harbord Village Residents' Association and the Grange Community Association) on developing a community-oriented and sustainable Secondary Plan for the future of the St. George Campus of the University of Toronto.

The Secondary Plan will guide and inform the University’s planning and development for the next 15 years as it relates to the St. George Campus. With projected growth in student capacity and the need for more learning space, it is crucial that the plan not only meet the University’s needs, but the surrounding communities’ as well.

Join us for a community consultation on the revised secondary plan:

U of T Consultation  
Thursday, April 5th, 6:30pm - 8:30pm  
Location: Faculty of Social Work Building, 246 Bloor St W. 5th floor, room SK548

The best ideas come when we work together, and in this spirit the University has created a website to ensure that all members of our neighbouring communities can provide ideas and input on the Secondary Plan, and to help create a holistic plan to ensure we are building the University to compliment our neighbourhoods. 


Overnight and late-night construction in downtown neighbourhoods

Last week, a new policy on utility construction work was announced, that would have had serious negative effects on our neighbourhoods. I along, with many local residents, were very concerned about the potential impact of work being pushed into the overnight hours in our local neighbourhoods.

Yesterday, I moved a motion at City Council, seconded by Mayor Tory, re-affirming that non-emergency utility work should not take place overnight in the downtown, and that in any circumstances where overnight work is necessary, that there in consultation with local consultations and local residents and stakeholders.

After working together with downtown Councillors and local Residents’ Associations, we were able to work with Mayor Tory to make changes to the policy to ensure that we found a balance between the need to ensure that people can move in and out of our downtown core, while ensuring that are neighbourhoods remain liveable and are not forced to deal with consistent overnight work.

Thank you for taking the time to contact the Mayor and join in the collective effort to make a difference together and defend the liveability of our downtown neighbourhoods.

250 Davenport – Revitalization Construction Update

Work on the next stages of the 250 Davenport Revitalization are beginning this week. The project team has delivered a construction update to the local neighbourhood, which you can access here.

As a reminder, in August 2013, TCHC approved the sale of approximately 1.6 acres of land at 250 Davenport to Diamond Corp. and Metropia Inc., to help fund the Revitalization of the existing TCHC building. With a budget we increased from $6.2 to $14.7 million, the project includes extensive refurbishment of the 449-unit building, new market housing, local economic opportunities, and more.

The building improvements are now in the final stages. After extensive community consultation, the plans for the new market housing were approved  in 2016. A new market condominium and townhouse units will be built on the space to the west of 250 Davenport, in addition to the creation of a new park, community green spaces including a playground and space for the local food market, and a mid-block connection that will link Pears Avenue to Davenport Road.

Critical to the project is Transition 250, a Social Development Action Plan, which I was proud to work with residents of 250 Davenport to create. The Plan identifies the social and economic priorities – food security, health services, community and capacity building – critical for building residents. Through the Revitalization, I am committed to working to implement the plan, in collaboration with the community.

If you have any questions about the work that is about to begin, please see the notice here for contact information.

As always, you can also contact my office at any time.


Toronto Hydro PeakSmart Pilot Program


Do you live in the green area? If you do, you could be eligible to participate in an innovative Toronto Hydro pilot project called PeakSmart!

Toronto Hydro wants to reward you for using your smart thermostat to conserve electricity when the system needs it most by giving you $150 in gift cards! Eligible customers can combine this offer with the Save on Energy thermostat program and receive an additional $100 toward the purchase of a new thermostat.

The PeakSmart pilot program empowers you to help your local community by using slightly less electricity when demand is highest, such as during the hottest summer afternoons when air conditioners are running at full blast.

Why is Toronto Hydro running this pilot? Because some of the equipment at Cecil Transformer Station (TS), which powers your community, is aging and will soon need to be replaced. If we can reduce local electricity demand during peak times, we can prolong the life of this equipment and defer upgrade costs - it’s a sustainable and practical solution that benefits you, your local community and the environment too.

To be eligible for PeakSmart, you must:

  •         Be a Toronto Hydro customer
  •         Own a house in the Cecil TS service area (condos and apartments aren’t eligible); if you’re a tenant, you must have the owner’s permission (see green area on map)
  •         Have a working home central air conditioning or heat pump system
  •         Register an eligible ecobee thermostat and allow Toronto Hydro to send a wireless message to your thermostat signalling it to cycle down in periods of peak demand

On hot summer afternoons when electricity demand peaks, your ecobee may be adjusted by a few degrees. This will happen automatically and you won’t need to do a thing. By conserving electricity, you’ll not only ease strain on the electricity grid, you’ll also directly contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

How to participate:

  1.     Ensure you’re registered on Toronto Hydro’s PowerLens portal
  2.     Receive $150 in points to apply to gift cards of your choice

Sign up today at ecobee.com/torontohydro and get rewarded for saving more.

Learn more at torontohydro.com/peaksmart


Central Tech Stadium Community Day

The Central Tech Stadium Community Day is free for all community members who would like to drop by the dome to enjoy a bouncy castle, egg hunt, toys, games, and other activities.

The Community Day will be Monday April 2nd and run from 9:00am to 12:00pm. View the flyer here for full details.


City Hall Security Survey

In December 2017, Toronto City Council approved a number of enhanced security measures and directed the Deputy City Manager, Internal Corporate Services, to survey members of the public and City employees on the use of patron screening (metal detectors) a the main entrance of City Hall. This important survey to ask for your perspective on proposed enhanced security at City Hall is now open, and I would encourage you all to share your thoughts.

Share your thoughts on patron and visitor screening at Toronto City Hall by filling out this short, anonymous survey here: https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/venues-facilities-bookings/booking-city-facilities/civic-centres/city-hall/city-hall-security/


Public Meetings

St. Stephen’s Overdose Prevention Site - Open House
Thursday, March 29th 4pm - 8pm  
Location: St. Stephen’s, 260 Augusta Ave


"Changing Lanes"- Review of Laneway Suites Community Consultation Meeting
Thursday, March 29th 6:30pm - 9pm
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 222 Bremner Bl. Room 203
View the meeting notice here.


U of T Consultation  
Thursday, April 5th, 6:30pm - 8:30pm  
Location: Faculty of Social Work Building, 246 Bloor St W. 5th floor, room SK548


Kensington Market Community Land Trust- Bellevue Avenue Parking Lot Visioning Session
Saturday, April 7th 2pm - 5pm
Location: St. Stephen-in-the-fields Church, 103 Bellevue Ave

If the parking went elsewhere, what would you like to see in its place? Come and join our dreaming session, where we’ll brainstorm ideas of how this space could be reinvented with the local community in mind. Everyone welcome! View the flyer here.


Fort York Food Bank Open House 
Monday, April 9th  6:30pm - 7:30pm  
Location: Fort York Food Bank, 380 College St


Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market (PSK) Public Meeting
Wednesday, April 11th, 6:30pm   
St Stephens-In-The-Fields Church (103 Bellevue Ave)

Come and hear a presentation on the 2018 events proposal by PSK organizers. The meeting will be facilitated by Councillor Cressy with a comment, question and answer period at the end of the meeting.

Huron St Public School - Schoolyard Revitalization community meeting
Tuesday, April 17th, 6pm   
Location: Huron St PS, 541 Huron St, Gym


Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Public Meeting
Tuesday, April 17th, 6pm   
Location: Huron St PS, 541 Huron St, Gym


Proposed Downtown Secondary Plan -  Open House
Monday, April 23rd, 6:00 to 8:30 pm
Presentation at 6:30 pm
Metro Hall, Rotunda (55 John St)


Construction Updates

Christie Station - roof rehabilitation  
March-July 2018

The TTC will be conducting roof repairs at Christie Station. During this project, the station will remain open and service will be maintained.

Starting the week of March 26, work crews will create a safe work zone and start installing guard rails along the perimeter of the roof in preparation of roof rehabilitation. The work will include the removal and installation of new roof flashings along the roof wall, removal of the old roof material and application of new roof material.

For the safety of customers using Christie Station, material deliveries from TTC’s roof supplier will be conducted between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. multiple times during the course of the project. Some supplies will be stored on the roof.

Noise will be kept to a minimum as best as possible.

More details here: http://www.ttc.ca/Service_Advisories/Construction/Christie_roof.jsp


Sewer Works in April
Click here to view a list of scheduled sewer works in Ward 20 for the month of April.


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.