The Cressy Courier: New public space, waterfront revitalization, and more!

Dear neighbour -- 

It has been quite the week for our community as a number of significant initiatives have recently been announced in Ward 20.  It's not every day that I get to write with exciting updates on waterfront revitalizationnew cycling infrastructure, and a new transformational public space project under the Gardiner.

Next week I will send out a full e-newsletter with a complete listing of upcoming events, meetings, and community updates.

In the meantime, here are some important new updates that I wanted to share.

All the best,

Joe

A new dynamic public space in the heart of downtown



Today, the City of Toronto, together with philanthropists Judy and Wil Matthews and Waterfront Toronto, announced a $25 million partnership that will create a new public landscape beneath a section of the Gardiner Expressway in our community.

The generous gift will fund the creation of more than 4 hectares (10 acres) of new public space and 1.75 kilometres of multi-use trail beneath the elevated expressway from Spadina Avenue to just west of Strachan Avenue.

The initiative, temporarily called Project: Under Gardiner, will transform the areas beneath the expressway into vibrant community spaces that will play host to a range of cultural programming – creating a new outdoor living room for the use of the 70,000 residents in nearby neighbourhoods and for visitors who use the many amenities and attractions in the area.

The project envisions a dynamic new public space that creates connections between some of Toronto's newest and most dense neighbourhoods, including Liberty VillageNiagaraFort York NeighbourhoodCityPlaceBathurst Quay and Wellington Place. The project will knit these communities together with innovative programmable spaces that will showcase Toronto's unique cultural and related offerings – music, food, theatre, visual arts, education and civics, dance, sports and recreation.  

The trail will create a new east-west corridor that helps to connect attractions across the waterfront, including Molson AmphitheatreBMO FieldFort YorkToronto Music Garden and the revitalized Queens QuayHarbourfront Centre, the CN TowerRogers CentreToronto Railway MuseumRipley’s Aquarium, the Air Canada Centre and the Toronto Islands via the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal.

For more information on the project, including more initial drawings and upcoming public consultations, please visit the Project: Under Gardiner website and see their special preview video here.


The End of Jets and the Return of Toronto's Waterfront

After years of debate, last week the new Government of Canada in Ottawa officially confirmed that as a signatory of the tripartite agreement, the government will not support amendments that permit jets or the expansion of the existing runway. In other words, jets are done.

To paraphrase Bill Davis, a former Ontario premier who announced the end of another proposed expansion: if we want to build a city to leave from, flying jets out of the island airport would be a great place to start. But, if we want to build a city to live in, flying jets out of the island airport is a great place to stop.

Indeed, this is very good news for Toronto.

The island airport is the ninth largest airport in Canada. It also happens to be located in the heart of downtown, right on the lake. It has nearly 2 million annual passengers, all of whom pass through a neighbourhood with 2,700 residents, a local school, a park and a community centre. And, they all travel on a single three-lane road that is already over-capacity. Over the past year residents, stakeholders, and city staff have been working on a comprehensive Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan. This plan will provide a detailed vision for the future of the area to account for traffic, congestion, livability, and waterfront revitalization. At city hall, it's this plan that will guide future infrastructure investments and changes.

In the history of a city, some debates help to define the times. The decision to stop the Spadina Expressway was one such moment when Toronto made the decision to focus on how we live in our city, rather than simply how we commute through it. The decision on jets is such a moment. It speaks to a broader vision for waterfront revitalization. Toronto began as a waterfront city — and we aim to be one for a long time to come.

Read my op-ed in the Toronto Star on what the next steps are for our City, the Bathurst Quay neighbourhood, and waterfront revitalization: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/11/15/without-jets-torontos-waterfront-can-flourish-again.html


Bloor Street Bike Lane Project - Public Drop-in Event

The City of Toronto is proposing a pilot project to install bike lanes on Bloor Street West between Shaw Street and Avenue Road.  A pilot project will allow us to demonstrate and study the impacts and benefits of bike lanes on Bloor.

The City is working closely with local businessesactive transportation groupsresidents' associations, and many other stakeholders as part of this process…and we need your feedback.

There are various possible design options for bike lanes that are being considered.  Learn more and provide your opinions at an upcoming public drop-in event.  An online survey is also being created and we will share it as soon as it is ready.

Drop-in Event:

Wednesday, December 2. 4-8pm (drop-in)
Trinity-St. Paul's United Church, Gym. (427 Bloor Street West)

To learn more about the longstanding work for Bike lanes on Bloor Street, read my recent joint column with Albert Koehl in the Annex Gleaner


Yonge Street Mission to open new Youth Facility on Spadina Avenue

The Yonge Street Mission Evergreen Centre for Street Youth has announced plans to open a new facility on Spadina Avenue in 2017.  The new Centre will be situated on the east side of Spadina Avenue, south of College Street, between Cecil St. and Baldwin St.

The YSM has been operating as a non-profit organization since 1896, serving many of the city's most vulnerable populations. The new Centre will provide day programs for street-involved youth including counselling, employment and life skills, health services, and more.

The site includes two existing adjacent three-storey buildings with a connected six-storey warehouse behind. All these buildings are proposed to be renovated on the inside and restored on the outside. No additional height is proposed to be added.

In the coming weeks and months, our office will be working with the Yonge Street Missionlocal residentsbusinesses, and existing service providers to arrange consultations to learn more about the work and proposed design.

To learn more, please read the letter to the community from the Yonge Street Mission.


Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan

Although it has always been a fundamental principle of the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan that the island airport should not be served by jet aircraft, now that this threat to the neighbourhood is gone, we have the opportunity to re-focus our energy on working together to build the neighbourhood we want. It is time to finally bring waterfront revitalization, which has proven so tremendously successful east of Spadina, westward to include Bathurst Quay.

Over the past year, there have been dozens of meetings with Bathurst Quay residents and stakeholders to come up with our collective vision for the neighbourhood. I have been hearing consistently that the existing airport operations are not working well for the community. Airport traffic accesses the ferry and tunnel by a single local road past the park, school, and community centre, which is causing traffic congestion, aggressive driving, illegal parking and idling, and safety concerns. This is a significant challenge that we have to work to resolve.

I have also been hearing from community members that there is a desire for high-quality parks and public spaces that are attractive, vibrant, and that residents can be proud of. And while there are diverse opinions about conserving the heritage silos, everyone agrees that this corner of Bathurst Quay has the potential to be a unique and transformative asset for the neighbourhood. The silos and the public land around them require special care and attention to become an integral part of our community again.

City Planning staff are currently working on a draft plan that responds to the priorities and desires expressed by community members. Ultimately this plan will guide how the neighbourhood should grow and change over time, and it will be my blueprint for which public investments to advocate for – such as a new public pool, which has been raised by many residents.

I will be holding a public open house meeting in December to provide an update on the work so far on the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan. Please email my office at councillor_cressy@toronto.ca if you would like to be added to the contact list to receive notice when a date and location is confirmed.

I will also be hosting a full public update with City Planning staff in early 2016 to present the latest draft of the Neighbourhood Plan for your questions and feedback.


The Davenport Triangle

In recent months, I have been meeting with residents in the area known as the Davenport Triangle. Bounded by Davenport Road, Dupont Street and Bedford Road, the area is facing development pressures on all sides. The residents are working together and with my office to affect the future of their neighbourhood.

In conjunction with a Traffic Study of the Designer’s Walk LanewayCity Planning Staff will be reviewing the area to assess and update planning guidelines to ensure that coming developments are sustainable and fitting with the neighbourhood.

Ward 20 is one of the largest and fastest growing wards in the City and with that, we look to our neighbours, community members and residents’ associations to help guide coming developments and projects. I look forward to continuing our work with the Davenport Triangle residents and want to thank them for their ongoing efforts and their engagement in these important processes.


Stay in touch with Trustee Malik

Sign-up to Trustee Ausma Malik's e-newsletter for regular updates from her: http://eepurl.com/9xckn


Upcoming Development Consultations

40-58 Widmer Street (re-zoning application)
Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Time: 6pm
Location: Metro Hall (Room 308)

This is an application to build a new condo tower on Widmer between Richmond and Adelaide. The application was originally submitted in June 2012 and a community consultation meeting was held in December 2012. A revised application was submitted this May.

49-51 Camden Street (re-zoning application)
Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Time: 7pm
Location: Metro Hall (Room 308)

This is an application to build a new hotel on the corner of Camden and Brant. I hosted a pre-application meeting in April 2015. Now that an official application has been submitted, City Planning staff will make a presentation about the proposal, followed by another presentation from the applicant.

234 Simcoe Street (re-zoning application)
Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Time: 6:30pm
Location: TBD

This is an application for a mixed use development with three buildings containing office, retails, and residential uses. The proposal will include a 54-storey tower, a 24-storey tower, and a 17-storey tower. 


Upcoming events

November 25th, 2015

52 Division Community-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) Town Hall Meeting (7:00-9:00pm)
OCADU, Auditorium (100 McCaul Street)

Join 52 Division's CPLC for a meeting on crime prevention & safety, demographic changes in 52 Division neighbourhoods, an update on local crime statistics, and more. For more information, please call the 52 Division Community Response Unit at 416-808-5286.

November 26th, 2015

TalkTransformation!: Transportation-Low Carbon Mobility in Toronto (7:00-8:30pm)
Scarborough Civic Centre, Council Chambers (150 Borough Drive)

This is the third event in the City's TalkTransformation! series. The topic of this event will be low-carbon transportation, with expert panelists discussing how we can reduce our emissions from transportation, the largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Toronto.

November 28th, 2015

Bathurst-Bloor Special Study (Four Corners) Community Consultation (1:00pm & 2:30pm)
Bickford Centre Cafeteria (777 Bloor St W)

This meeting is an opportunity to provide your input into draft policy on built form, heritage, the public realm, movement, and land use in this area. There will be an open house, followed by a presentation by staff and questions from the community. Please find more information on the meeting flyer here.

December 2nd, 2015

Bikes on Bloor Public Meeting (4:00-8:00pm)
Trinity - St. Paul's Church, Gym (427 Bloor St W)

The City of Toronto is proposing a pilot project to install bike lanes on Bloor Street West between Shaw Street (east of Ossington Avenue) and Avenue Road. A pilot project will allow us to demonstrate and study the impacts and benefits of bike lanes on Bloor Street.

There are various possible design options for bike lanes that are being considered. Learn more and provide your opinions at this public drop-in event.


Constituency Hours!

A reminder that I hold constituency hours every Saturday from 12pm-2pm at the Scadding Court Community Centre (707 Dundas St. West).

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