The Cressy Courier May 31- Islands Flood Mitigation, Building Safer Streets, Ontario Place Updates, and more

Dear friends,

I hope you’re enjoying the beginnings of spring weather. While we are celebrating the Raptors and their Game 1 victory, we also have some critical updates to share on our work across the ward, and to protect our city.

In response to a wave of opposition across Ontario, earlier this week Premier Ford reversed retroactive cuts to public health and childcare.

In backing down on these short-sighted 2019 cuts, Premier Ford did the right thing. However, a critical question remains. Is the province still committed to cutting $935 million from Toronto Public Health, and reducing the provincial cost-sharing formula for public health units across Ontario starting next year? Or, are they willing to work with municipalities to review this policy going forward?

In conversations between the Premier’s Office and city officials, the Province has assured us that no future arbitrary changes to public health would be made without consultation. We must hold them to their word.

An indisputable body of evidence and a chorus of critics from across the province and political spectrum clearly demonstrates that cutting public health is both harmful and fiscally irresponsible. In order to build a healthy and prosperous province, governments must invest in public health, not cut it.

To the tens of thousands of people who made phone calls, signed petitions, and knocked on doors, this victory would not have been possible without you. To Mayor Tory, Council colleagues, and municipal leaders across this province, thank you for your leadership.

But our work isn't over yet. In the days, weeks and months ahead, we must all continue to stand up and speak out to ensure future cuts to our vital public services, like public health and child care,  do not proceed.

We have also recently learned that not all cuts to childcare services have been reversed. It is critical that we continue to stand up for these services, and demand the reversal of these cuts.

As the Chair of the Board of Health, I will continue to fight back against any proposed cuts to our vital, life-saving public health programs.

Please continue reading below for local updates on our work to mitigate flooding on Toronto Islands, Community Environment Days, Island Airport Master Plan updates, road safety at Fleet Street, Bathurst Street, and Lake Shore Boulevard West, and much more.

Sincerely,

 

Joe


Toronto Islands Flood Mitigation - Updates and Long-Term Strategies

Our Toronto Islands are a jewel of our city and are treasured by residents both on and off the Islands.

The ongoing flooding challenges have been difficult for Island residents and local businesses, especially those just getting over the flood of 2017. Over the last couple of weeks, I have continued to make trips to the Islands to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect this important park and community.

As expected, Lake levels have continued to rise and have now reached the highest recorded level in Lake Ontario history. Staff are continuing to prepare, respond and monitor, including the expected high winds this afternoon, which may bring significant wave action that may cause breaches in multiple areas.

Yesterday, the rise in Lake levels caused water to breach areas within Algonquin Island. Staff responded immediately, and conducted extensive pumping of about 20-30cm of water on both public and private areas. Ferry service has been halted to Hanlan's Point for vehicles and pedestrians, and water levels have forced the area surrounding Gibraltar Point to be closed off. Toronto Hydro has confirmed that all infrastructure continues to operate safely.

Staff continue to work around the clock to do everything they can to protect all areas of the Islands. 30 pumps continued to operate. 24,000 sand bags have been deployed, along with 30 meter bags in more vulnerable areas, including residential communities. The Islands remain open to the public, and the Island School is open.

This is a difficult time for local residents, who are also working tirelessly to protect the Islands. We are all grateful for volunteer assistance from visitors and the public – all are welcome to assist.

We are committed to doing everything possible to ensure the Islands remain safe & open. We continue to work closely with senior city & Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) staff, & the Island community. However, as I have said before, as the climate crisis accelerates, annual sandbagging cannot be the solution.

The City of Toronto and the TRCA, are in the process of finalizing a report commissioned last year, on long-term mitigation and adaptation measures. TRCA is currently finalizing several reports for this study, including reviewing conditions that led to 2017 high water levels, and evaluation of structural options to adapt for the future. These reports, set to come forward in June, will help facilitate an understanding of the community and infrastructure vulnerabilities, and outline several flood mitigation and adaptation options. Information from this project has been extremely helpful in responding to the current flood situation. To read more about our work on long-term mitigation measures, click here.

I would like to thank our tremendous City staff, and the TRCA who have been working 24/7, as well as our resilient Island residents and businesses. While we work to develop mitigation strategies long-term, I am continuing to monitor the situation on the Islands daily, and will provide updates as conditions evolve.


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. For more information, click here.

I hope to see you there!


The Future of Ontario Place - Update

Ontario Place represents 155 acres of public land in the heart of Toronto.  We only get one chance to revitalize Ontario Place, and it's critical that we get it right.

I'm deeply concerned that yet again the Province is rushing forward with its own plans, despite the City of Toronto's ownership over part of the lands.

The City of Toronto owns land within Ontario Place. While the Province may wish to go it alone, the fact is they cannot. They must work with us. They should work with us.

Last month Toronto City Council unanimously passed a motion requesting the Province to work collaboratively with the City on a joint revitalization plan for Ontario Place and Exhibition Place, according to a set of Council-approved principles. Principles that include public access, integrated transit planning, expanded parkland, heritage preservation, and an open and robust consultation and evaluation framework.

Over the last 5 months the City of Toronto undertook proactive work to outline our vision for Ontario Place and Exhibition Place. We hosted public meetings, consulted with stakeholders, and proposed a path forward to revitalize Ontario Place and Exhibition Place, together. Unfortunately, yet again, the Province has chosen to turn its back on the City of Toronto.

We have been clear – the future of Ontario Place must be in the public interest, and discussed and decided in public, not in backrooms.

The Provincial Government's decision to unilaterally release a Request for Expressions of Interest for Ontario Place is not only a missed opportunity, it is not in the best interests of Ontarians.


Island Airport Master Plan Update – Final Public Meeting

The airport has a significant presence in our waterfront communities and – we have seen from experience – community engagement with airport issues is critical for achieving good outcomes.

The Island Airport Master Plan is being updated this year. The third and final public meeting about this process has been scheduled to share information, answer questions, and receive your comments.

Date: Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Location: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building, Room 701A

There will be a presentation on the draft Airport Master Plan by Ports Toronto and their consultants. Following this, City of Toronto staff will describe the inter-divisional process being undertaking to review the draft proposed Master Plan, followed by a public Q&A session.

You can visit http://www.billybishopairportmasterplan2018.com/ to learn more. Presentation materials and the draft 2018 Airport Master Plan will be posted online by June 13 and then a public comment period will be open for 30 days.


Building Safer Streets - Road Safety at Fleet Street, Bathurst Street, and Lake Shore Boulevard West

Over the last number of years, we’ve worked hard together to build safer streets to move people, not just cars. We need to take bolder steps to truly commit to building streets that are safer for all road users. A critical place to do that is the challenging intersection of Fleet, Bathurst and Lake Shore Blvd. West. At the May meeting of Toronto and East York Community Council, I moved a motion to advance our work to do just that.

This massive five-arm intersection doesn't work well for anyone. It is a danger and a barrier for pedestrians, it is confusing for drivers and has a high rate of vehicle collisions, and it delays two streetcar lines. This intersection should tie together the three adjacent neighbourhoods – Bathurst Quay, Fort York, and CityPlace – but instead it separates them from one another. Concern about this intersection was one of the most common themes I heard from community members throughout the consultations for the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan in 2014 and 2015.

Ultimately, this intersection needs to be completely redesigned and rebuilt. Plans for a completely new intersection were approved as part of the Waterfront Transit Network Plan in 2018, but this work is dependent on funding support from the provincial and federal governments so it may be some years before construction.

We can – and we must – make short term improvements without waiting to undertake major construction work. I am currently working with City staff toward "piloting" the pedestrianization of one block of westbound Fleet Street, between Bathurst Street and Iannuzzi Street, starting this summer. Similar to how the King Street Pilot was first implemented, this can be done with fast and temporary installations, and the pedestrianized space can be enhanced with amenities like seating and planters.

Going back to the original designs for the Fort York neighbourhood, this section of Fleet Street was always intended to eventually be closed to vehicles. The block does not provide local vehicular access to the adjacent buildings, there is no parking or loading permitted, it is not a major commuter route, and there are multiple alternatives for access to the local street network.

Pedestrianizing the block of westbound Fleet Street will shorten the crossing distance and time for pedestrians, making it faster, safer, and more comfortable to travel between Fort York, the waterfront, and back. In addition, it will make the intersection much less complex for drivers so there are fewer opportunities for confusion and errors. Reduced driver confusion should mean fewer collisions.

Prior to any final designs being approved or changes being implemented on Fleet Street, City of Toronto staff from Transportation Services and City Planning will be reaching out to all the affected buildings and businesses in the neighbourhood. City staff will be able to share plans, answer questions, and discuss solutions to any issues that are identified. Then, as a "pilot" project, we will be observing how the changes work and coordinating with the local community to  make further improvements as needed.

Planning and investing in our infrastructure to promote the safety of all road users is critical. No number of injuries or deaths on our streets is acceptable.

If you have any question or would like to be added to our contact list for future updates about these safety improvements, please email my office at councillor_cressy@toronto.ca


NBA Finals Information - Go Raptors!

I join with our entire city - and many across the country - in the excitement that the Raptors are playing in the NBA finals.

The City of Toronto has been working closely in recent days with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), Toronto Police, and the TTC to finalize plans ensuring that the Finals series is safe and fun for everyone. In anticipation of many thousands of residents and visitors coming to the neighbourhood to cheer for the Raptors, measures are being put in place to limit impacts to everyday activities in the vicinity of Scotiabank Arena, but residents and businesses should plan ahead for some delay and disruption on game days.

Please visit my website for more details.


Town Hall on the Provincial Government's Planning Changes

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.

On Monday I held a town hall with other downtown Councillors, and the City's Chief Planner Gregg Lintern, on how these changes will impact our communities.

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.

When Premier 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 amenities.

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.

To view the City's preliminary comments on the changes, click here. You can also access information on how to submit your comments to the Province.


Staying Healthy in Hot Weather

Hot weather can put your health at risk. Heat-related illnesses are preventable, and include heat stroke, heat  exhaustion, heat fainting, heat rash and muscle cramps.

Finding and spending time in a cool space can help protect against the effects of hot weather. Visit www.toronto.ca/keepcool for resources including an interactive map of air-conditioned public spaces near you. There are approximately 270 locations across Toronto participating in the Heat Relief Network.

When the temperature rises, please call or visit family, friends, and neighbours. Groups at higher risk of heat-related illnesses include:

  • Isolated seniors
  • people with chronic and pre-existing illnesses
  • infants and young children
  • people on certain medications
  • people who are marginally housed or experiencing homelessness

Public Meetings & Community Events

64-86 Bathurst Street - Community Consultation Meeting
Monday, June 3rd, 2019
Times: 5:30pm – 6:30pm: Open House
6:30pm – 8pm: Presentations and Q & A
Fort York Visitor Centre – 250 Fort York Boulevard

The City is holding a Community Consultation meeting where you can learn more about the development application for 64-86 Bathurst St, ask questions and share your comments. Learn more here.

East Bayfront Community Open House Meeting
Tuesday, June 11th, 2019
Times: 6:00pm-8:00pm Open House
St. Lawrence Temporary Market, 125 The Esplanade

Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto invite you to an East Bayfront Community Open House meeting on Tuesday, June 11th. This meeting will provide updates on a number of ongoing projects in the area including parks and public spaces, Bayside development, stormwater and sanitary sewer infrastructure, Queens Quay East transit, upcoming road construction, future community services, and more.

This meeting will be an informal, drop-in format where community members are invited to visit a series of information boards and speak with project subject matter experts to learn more. No formal presentations will be held.

East Bayfront is the emerging community located between Lower Jarvis St. and Parliament St., from Lake Shore Blvd E. to Lake Ontario. For additional information, call (416) 214-1344 x301, email info@waterfrontoronto.ca, or click here.


"Union Summer" returns to Union Station
Daily from May 31 to August 3, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Friday and Weekend hours may vary).

Union Summer returns in front of Union Station (65 Front St.) from Friday, May 31 to August 3. The event brings some of Toronto’s top chefs, musicians, film screenings and live performances to Union Station. For more details on programming and special events, visit: www.torontounion.ca/tdunionsummer.


Courtyard Farmer’s Market
Every Tuesday until October, 8am - 2pm
190 Simcoe Street courtyard (near University & Queen)

Nathan Phillips Square Farmer’s Market
Every Wednesday until October, 8am - 2pm
Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen St W)

Trinity Bellwoods Farmers’ Market
Every Tuesday, rain or shine, 3pm to 7pm.
Trinity Bellwoods Park
Please visit their website for more info! www.tbfm.ca  

Indulge at David Pecaut Square
Every Thursday until October, 8am - 2:30pm
David Pecaut Square (215 King St W)

Indulge features live music from Toronto-based musicians, fresh food and international flavours from a diverse group of food vendors, and locally grown produce from southern Ontario farmers. For a full list of vendors and performers, visit the Indulge web page.

“Dérives” at The Bentway
June 7 & 8 at 6:00pm and 7:30pm
The Bentway (250 Fort York Blvd)

Visit The Bentway for a free dance performance featuring 60 performers and the public. This is a new work by choreographer Noémie Lafrance, who has worked with artists such as David Bryne, Feist, Justin Timberlake, and many others. Titled "Dérives", this dance was created specifically for The Bentway site, and explores how we navigate architecture, urban infrastructure, and public spaces.

Give Me Liberty Street Party
June 13th, 4pm - 10pm
Fraser Ave

Fraser Avenue will be transformed into an outdoor patio with vendors from local businesses Be treated to live entertainment, a Pet Fashion Show, and free-family friendly activities! Food, drink, music and fun for everyone.

Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association AGM
Thursday, June 13th, 7pm
Arcadia Housing Co-op, Main Floor

The BQNA is pleased to be screening the Nature of Things documentary “Something in the Air” followed by a Q & A with Dr. Marianne Hatzopoulous, who leads the Transportation Research and Air Quality group at the University of Toronto. Marianne and her research team are featured in the documentary.

“I Am Me” by JAMII
Thursday, June 20th - 7pm
Toronto Public Library - St. Lawrence Branch (171 Front Street E)

Three Indigenous artists from different parts of Ontario discuss the importance of language when they explore the deeper meaning of “I Am Me”. Registration link: https://iammeatlibrary.eventbrite.ca

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.


Construction Map

To view an interactive map of current and upcoming construction projects throughout the city, please click here.


Get in Touch with Trustee Donaldson

Municipal Ward 10 (Spadina-Fort York) is now part of TDSB Ward 9, Davenport and Spadina-Fort York. Stephanie Donaldson is the School Board Trustee for TDSB Ward 9. Get in touch with her here.


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