The Cressy Courier May 15 - Updates on Provincial Funding Cuts, Flood Mitigation, Community Environment Days, and much more
Our work at City Hall to build neighbourhoods that are liveable and equitable for everyone continues, while we also work to stand up for Toronto against callous and short-sighted cuts by our Provincial Government.
Please read below for updates on the Province’s cuts to public health, and local updates on Toronto Islands flood mitigation, CityPlace community building, Trinity Bellwoods Park pathway replacement, Waterfront Toronto revitalization, and much more.
Thanks to all those who made it out to my first Community Environment Day, I hope to see you at our next one on June 15th at David Crombie Park. Find out more below.
As always feel free to reach out to my office at any time.
Provincial Funding Cuts - Public Health
In the almost four weeks since the Provincial Government informed City officials that they are cutting $1 billion to Toronto Public Health over the next 10 years, the opposition to this decision has continued to grow. Almost nine thousand people have signed a petition calling on the Province to stop the massive cuts to public health. Add your name here.
Thus far, in opposition to the provincial cuts:
- 28 mayors of Ontario's large cities, representing 67% of Ontario's population (see below for full list)
- 12 Boards of Health from Windsor to Ottawa to Thunder Bay (see below for full list)
- The Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa) on behalf of all 35 public health units in Ontario.
- Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA), representing 230 thousand Ontarians
- The Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association (OCSTA), representing 29 school boards with 575,000 students.
- The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), representing nearly 139,000 nurses.
- The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), representing more than 65,000 nurses and health-care professionals.
- The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), representing 42,000 nurses and nurse practitioners.
- The Ontario Medical Association (OMA), representing more than 41,000 doctors.
- The Canadian Paediatric Society, representing 3,300 paediatricians, paediatric subspecialists, and other child health providers.
- The Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (Ontario Branch), representing nearly 500 public health inspectors.
- Toronto District School Board, with 250,000 students
- Toronto Catholic District School Board, with 91,000 students
In support of the provincial cuts:
- Premier Ford, Minister Elliott, and their government
Yesterday at City Council, I asked our Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa how these cuts will impact Toronto Public Health's programs. She confirmed that if the cuts are to proceed, all programs and services will be at risk, and as a result, Torontonians lives will be at risk.
The cuts to public health do not only impact Toronto. The Provincial Government has announced cuts to Public Health Units across Ontario, and the opposition to these cuts has continued to spread. From Stratford to Thunder Bay, Haliburton to Ottawa, they have formally registered opposition, written letters, and spoken out publicly, while even more are asking for more information after the sudden cuts to public health funding across the province were unveiled.
Their proposed cuts result in a $64 million funding cut this year, and a cut of $102 million starting in 2021.
Now, the City has been notified of a new and additional $20 million cut to Toronto Public Health effective next year (2020-2021). This cut is a so-called “10% administrative efficient cut”.
Programs impacted by these cuts include disease prevention, water quality testing, immunization monitoring and surveillance, prenatal support, overdose prevention, food safety regulation, infectious disease control, student nutrition, and more.
Public Health services are vital to the health of every single Torontonian and Ontarian. They save lives today, and tomorrow. Evidence has shown that the diseases we prevent today, represent the health care costs we save tomorrow. Research has shown that for every dollar invested in immunization, results in $16 of health care savings. For every dollar invested in tobacco prevention, results in $20 of health care savings. The list goes on and on.
This announcement was made despite an indisputable body of evidence suggesting that the best way to prevent hallway health care and improve the health of Ontarians is to invest more, not less, in public health. The announcement was also made despite a formal Toronto City Council resolution calling on the Province of Ontario to maintain its current funding for Toronto Public Health.
I say this without an ounce of exaggeration – because of these announced cuts, people will die. That's not rhetoric, it's a fact. This cut is callous, it is cruel, and it is short-sighted.
As the Chair of the Board of Health, I will continue to speak out and fight back against these proposed cuts. Join me in showing your opposition to this dangerous proposal - let the Premier and Minister Elliott know that they cannot put the lives of Ontarians at risk:
Premier Doug Ford
Constituency office: 823 Albion Rd., Etobicoke, ON M9V 1A3
Christine Elliott, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
Toll Free: 800-211-1881
Ward 10 Community Environment Day
Reuse, Recycle and Safely Dispose of unwanted items at our Community Environment Day!
Thanks to everyone who came out to my first Community Environment Day at Stanley Park. My second Community Environment Day will be on Saturday June 15th, 10am-2pm at David Crombie Park. I hope to see you there!
Toronto Islands Flood Mitigation Update
The City of Toronto and the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) are prepared for rising water levels on Lake Ontario. Measures have been put in place since the 2017 flooding of the Islands to maintain public access to Islands Park and to defend the homes of Islands residents when water levels are high.
I am monitoring the situation closely and will continue to provide updates as conditions evolve. Lake water level and rain storm conditions over the next two weeks will determine what level of flooding can be expected on the Islands. Toronto Parks, Toronto Region and Conservation Authority, and Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Board staff are continually reviewing lake level reports and updating flooding preparations.
City and TRCA staff have organized preventative measures on the Islands including:
- Existing pre-built sump-pump locations are being pre-pumped to dry wet and low lying areas with existing pumps.
- Additional industrial pumps have been purchased and rented to be deployed to additional vulnerable locations on the Islands. This brings the pump total to over 20.
- Both meter (large) and regular sand bags are being filled and pre-positioned for quick deployment.
- 200 feet of aqua-dam is being installed.
- In 2017, Island ferries could not run due to the high water levels preventing the ferry ramps from being deployed safely. The ramp deployment has been modified so the boats can continue operations throughout 2019.
City Council has approved $24,706,000 in flooding and windstorm mitigation projects for the broader Toronto waterfront. This funding is implementing repairs from previous events as well as new erosion control, shoreline infrastructure, and planning management for new flood mitigation measures.
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board
CityPlace Community Building Updates
As our community grows, we must focus on building neighbourhoods and not just condo towers. CityPlace was master-planned back in 1994, but as the neighbourhood has rapidly developed and grown to near completion in recent years, we have seen how everything is working in practice and, like any other living community, where there is room for improvement. There is a lot of work underway to ensure CityPlace is a thriving, liveable, desirable neighbourhood and a strong community, and I want to provide updates on many of the projects and issues that people ask about frequently, including the new community centre, schools, and child care facility under construction, Rail Deck Park, The Bentway, traffic safety, and parkland improvements.
Trinity Bellwoods Park Pathway Replacement
Parks, Forestry & Recreation will be carrying out park improvements including the replacement of Trinity Circle and the fire access route from Crawford Street.
During the paving work, no access through Trinity Circle will be permitted. We ask that cyclists please use side streets.
We appreciate your patience while we work to improve one of our City's most beloved parks.
Anticipated Construction Schedule (weather permitting)
Start: May 2019 (as soon as weather permits)
Completion: June 2019
Click here to view the construction notice.
Doug Ford's Planning Changes - For the Developers, Not the People
Doug Ford's changes to the Planning Act turn back the clock on good local planning and take away the City's ability to create healthy and livable communities with adequate parkland and community services. These changes will give benefits to developers while doing nothing to make housing more affordable for Torontonians. For our downtown communities that are experiencing infrastructure pressures from rapid intensification, the consequences will be disastrous.
When Ford talks about cutting red tape he is talking about plans to cap and reduce the funds that pay for new parks, playgrounds, community spaces, and other needed infrastructure. He even talks of allowing for heritage designations to be overturned. This amounts to selling off our neighbourhoods and making cuts that will effectively starve cities of the funds they need to balance growth with desperately needed community services.
If Doug Ford's government was serious about making affordable housing work for people in our city, they would not be completely absent from the National Housing Strategy and missing in action in the development of Toronto's Housing Now 10-year plan. They would be introducing real rent control instead of scrapping it and they would bring in real inclusionary zoning to build new affordable units in all new developments.
Residents and municipalities across Ontario fought for years to repeal the undemocratic, unelected Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), which has consistently approved poor planning despite the objections of neighbours and local governments. The creation of a Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) had begun to change that and now that progress is being stripped away with the Province bringing back the old OMB rules. Everyday residents, who fight tooth-and-nail to be heard by developers, will be completely abandoned. They know this, because they already live in the shade of the poorly planned projects the OMB approved in the past.
Now is the time to mobilize, before this disastrous legislation is introduced. We need to visit, call, and write to the Premier and local Conservative MPPs and tell them to stop this legislation before it is tabled. Public pressure will be critical in fighting back against Doug Ford and local Conservative MPPs' reckless approach to planning in our neighbourhoods.
Please call or email them today and encourage everyone you know to act too.
Premier Doug Ford
Constituency office: 823 Albion Rd., Etobicoke, ON M9V 1A3
Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Constituency office: Suite 101 - 100 Strowger Blvd., Brockville, ON K6V 5J9
Toll Free: 1-800-267-4408
Provincial Funding Cuts - Child Care
The Provincial Government has announced it will be making deep cuts to child care funding in Ontario - over $80 million - with increasing costs being downloaded onto municipalities.
This will lead to the loss of thousands of fee subsidies, putting 6,166 subsidized child care spots at risk in Toronto, and the risk of closure to local child care programs. Many parents will be having to choose between keeping their jobs, paying rent, buying groceries, or putting their child into a licensed and safe child care facility.
This is not how we build liveable and equitable communities.
Based on the most recent information, if your family makes $45,500 a year and is currently receiving a subsidy for child care, your current yearly costs are approximately $3650. With the proposed cuts, your family will now have to pay $26,630 in child care costs per year - more than half your gross pay - just for one child to attend a licensed day care.
Across the board, Toronto City Councillors have taken a united stand against these cuts because they put extreme pressure on families and communities that are already trying their hardest to makes ends meet.
The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care has created a petition that calls on Premier Ford and his government to stop these disastrous plans and restore child care funding.
Please sign on and share the petition to join voices from across the province who are demanding that the Ford government to stop the cuts to child care now. A single lost subsidy could have drastic impacts on our neighbours and we must stand and demand better.
Lower Simcoe Underpass Flood Protection Study
The City of Toronto has initiated a study to address flooding issues at the Lower Simcoe underpass, and to develop a plan to:
- Prevent the combined sewage overflow in the Lower Simcoe underpass during rainfall events
- Identify a location for a storm pumping station to drain rainwater from the underpass area
- Modify the existing Lower Simcoe sanitary pumping station
In addition, the City will be initiating a study of basement flooding issues affecting homes, condos, and businesses in the wider downtown and waterfront area later this year. This is the local phase of the multi-year, City-wide Basement Flooding Protection Program looking at the sewer system and above-ground areas, which will result in recommendations to minimize the risk of future flooding. Stay tuned for more information. I will share information about public consultation meetings when it is available.
Waterfront Toronto Five-Year Strategic Plan
Waterfront Toronto is the development lead and steward of Toronto’s waterfront revitalization, created by three orders of government of Toronto, Canada, and Ontario.
They recently released their Five-Year Strategic Plan for 2019-2023. This plan describes the exciting progress that has been made in transforming the lands by the lake into a vibrant and connected community, highlights what's to come over the next five years and talks about new goals and aspirations. You can read the full plan on their website here.
They have also launched a series of blog posts to outline the history of the waterfront and Waterfront Toronto’s primary goals for the next five years here.
Waterfront Toronto - New Information Pages
Waterfront Toronto has launched an information website for the Quayside project. Background resources and information on past and upcoming public engagement sessions are provided to inform the public discussion around this proposal.
The new York Park also has been given a dedicated webpage. Information on the international competition design and future consultation is posted here.
Jack Layton Ferry Terminal Phase 1 improvements are being completed in time for the busy Ferry season. A new granite promenade, new lighting, and a double row of trees are the first step in creating a beautiful and functional facility for this critical gateway.
You can sign up to receive these updates and more from Waterfront Toronto on their website here.
Trustee Donaldson’s Ward Forum
Cherry blossoms are here!
Every year thousands of people flock to parks across the city to view cherry trees in blossom.
These trees can be found in parks and public spaces across Toronto in many communities, including Trinity Bellwoods Park and the Toronto Islands.
You can view a map of cherry trees on the City’s website here.
Trinity Bellwoods Farmers’ Market
The Trinity Bellwoods Farmers’ Market happens every Tuesday, rain or shine, 3pm to 7pm.
Please visit their website for more info! Follow them on social media for the latest market news.
Public Meetings & Community Events
The Bentway and Fort York Joint Open House
Thursday, May 16, 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Fort York Visitor Centre (250 Fort York Blvd)
Join The Bentway and Fort York National Historic Site for presentations about upcoming events this summer, updates on development, and answers to questions from the community.
Junior: Toronto’s International Children’s Festival
Saturday, May 18 to Friday, May 24
Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay W)
Harbourfront Centre’s international children’s festival heads into its second year, bringing leading contemporary artists together to animate young minds. Have fun with your family all long weekend with free activities that include circus acts, dress-up, storytelling, live concerts and more. Visit Harboufront Centre’s website to learn more.
Public Consultation on Digital Technologies & Digital Literacy in Cities
May 22, 2019
Westin Harbour Castle Conference Centre (11 Bay St), Metropolitan East room
Entrance is on the north side of Queens Quay W., just east of Bay St.
Waterfront Toronto and the Toronto Public Library are co-hosting a public meeting on Digital Neighbourhoods and Digital Literacy. They will be joined by Digital Justice Lab, Tech Reset Canada, and other groups involved in digital issues in cities. The purpose of theis meeting is to share and discuss information on how digital technologies are influencing how cities work. Head over to the Eventbrite page for more details including the agenda. Registration is not required but does help organizers anticipate attendance and prepare. Entrance to event space is located on the north side of Queens Quay West just east of Bay Street
Redpath Waterfront Festival
Saturday, June 29 to Monday, July 1
HTO Park and Harbour Square Park (Queens Quay)
Mark your calendar: the tall ships return to Toronto’s waterfront Canada Day weekend. There will also be buckets of nautical fun to be had ashore with a Maritime Market, sail-training activities and live entertainment. Visit towaterfrontfest.com for more information.
New Monuments for New Cities exhibition
Ongoing to August 30
The Bentway (250 Fort York Blvd)
Five urban reuse projects that are part of the High Line Network have invited five of their local artists or artist groups to create proposals (in the form of posters) for new monuments. Each participating location is producing an exhibition of the resulting 25 artworks that is specific to their site. The Toronto exhibition at The Bentway runs until August 30. More information is available at The Bentway’s website.
Doors Open Toronto
The 20th annual Doors Open Toronto provides an opportunity to see inside more than 150 of the most architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city. This year’s theme – 20 Something – focuses on the event’s past and future, celebrating the first 20 years of Doors Open Toronto while looking forward to the next 20 years. See a list a venues and walking tours here.
To view an interactive map of current and upcoming construction projects throughout the city, please click here.