The Cressy Courier: new downtown YMCA, support for Syrian refugees and more

Dear Friend,

I'm thrilled that Executive Committee unanimously endorsed our plan to build a brand new YMCA community facility, in partnership with the City, in the heart of downtown Toronto at last week's meeting.  

In 1996, the population of King-Spadina was less than 1,000 residents, and once all the previously approved and proposed developments are constructed, more than 40,000 people will call this area home - in the last four years alone, the population in this neighbourhood has doubled.  The numbers are staggering, and every week I hear from developers with even more proposals.

In a 2013 Community Services and Facilities Study commissioned by the City, it was found that nearby community centres had little or no capacity to accommodate further expected growth and a gap was identified for local aquatic facilities.  Give the pressing needs in the community, I sought early on in the term to work with BUILD Toronto to secure a community facility at 505 Richmond Street.

The proposed YMCA will be located in the Water Works building at 505 Richmond Street West, a designated Heritage property currently owned by BUILD Toronto.  BUILD has worked over the past few years to develop a holistic plan for the property, which will include residential development, heritage restoration, and a link to the neighbouring St. Andrew's park.  The 42,000 square foot YMCA facility, which will include program space and a full-size swimming pool, has been built into BUILD's overall plan for the building.

To help achieve this partnership, I have committed existing and future funds from community benefits levies (Section 37/45) to cover two thirds of the capital costs required for the facility.  This partnership with the City will leverage the YMCA's operating model, which focuses on inclusiveness and accessibility to people of all ages and abilities, and pair it with guaranteed public access.  City staff are working closely with BUILD Toronto on the project, and with the YMCA to design programming that will support and serve the local community.

This proposal will now be considered by City Council this week.  If City Councillors endorse the proposed YMCA facility, it will signal a new direction for our downtown neighbourhoods. It will demonstrate that we are willing to work and invest to ensure we are creating healthy communities, and building a city that supports families both today and in the future.

Yesterday, the Toronto Star published my Op-ed on this new and exciting project - read it here.

The truth is that, although this YMCA is going to make a big difference, it cannot be the end of our efforts. There is a lot more work ahead of us to keep our communities liveable. We need stronger heritage preservation, greater protection of cultural sector jobs, municipal control of planning and urban design, and the acquisition (and if need be expropriation) of land for much-needed parks.

You might have heard me say at a community event, development consultation, or just in and around the neighbourhood that as our City grows we must focus on building liveable neighbourhoods, rather than just adding density. This is a first step towards ensuring that we are not only building a liveable community in King-Spadina, but that we are prioritizing healthy, equitable and well-serviced communities in each and every neighbourhood, and on each and every development, in our Ward.

I look forward to continuing this work together.

Joe 

Dear Friend,

I'm thrilled that Executive Committee unanimously endorsed our plan to build a brand new YMCA community facility, in partnership with the City, in the heart of downtown Toronto at last week's meeting.  

In 1996, the population of King-Spadina was less than 1,000 residents, and once all the previously approved and proposed developments are constructed, more than 40,000 people will call this area home - in the last four years alone, the population in this neighbourhood has doubled.  The numbers are staggering, and every week I hear from developers with even more proposals.

In a 2013 Community Services and Facilities Study commissioned by the City, it was found that nearby community centres had little or no capacity to accommodate further expected growth and a gap was identified for local aquatic facilities.  Give the pressing needs in the community, I sought early on in the term to work with BUILD Toronto to secure a community facility at 505 Richmond Street.

The proposed YMCA will be located in the Water Works building at 505 Richmond Street West, a designated Heritage property currently owned by BUILD Toronto.  BUILD has worked over the past few years to develop a holistic plan for the property, which will include residential development, heritage restoration, and a link to the neighbouring St. Andrew's park.  The 42,000 square foot YMCA facility, which will include program space and a full-size swimming pool, has been built into BUILD's overall plan for the building.

To help achieve this partnership, I have committed existing and future funds from community benefits levies (Section 37/45) to cover two thirds of the capital costs required for the facility.  This partnership with the City will leverage the YMCA's operating model, which focuses on inclusiveness and accessibility to people of all ages and abilities, and pair it with guaranteed public access.  City staff are working closely with BUILD Toronto on the project, and with the YMCA to design programming that will support and serve the local community.

This proposal will now be considered by City Council this week.  If City Councillors endorse the proposed YMCA facility, it will signal a new direction for our downtown neighbourhoods. It will demonstrate that we are willing to work and invest to ensure we are creating healthy communities, and building a city that supports families both today and in the future.

Yesterday, the Toronto Star published my Op-ed on this new and exciting project - read it here.

The truth is that, although this YMCA is going to make a big difference, it cannot be the end of our efforts. There is a lot more work ahead of us to keep our communities liveable. We need stronger heritage preservation, greater protection of cultural sector jobs, municipal control of planning and urban design, and the acquisition (and if need be expropriation) of land for much-needed parks.

You might have heard me say at a community event, development consultation, or just in and around the neighbourhood that as our City grows we must focus on building liveable neighbourhoods, rather than just adding density. This is a first step towards ensuring that we are not only building a liveable community in King-Spadina, but that we are prioritizing healthy, equitable and well-serviced communities in each and every neighbourhood, and on each and every development, in our Ward.

I look forward to continuing this work together.



Joe Cressy
City Councillor
Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina


Syrian Refugee Crisis - City of Toronto resettlement program, public information session, and Lifeline Syria

The recent events in Syria and around the world have brought refugee issues to the forefront of the Canadian consciousness.  As this international humanitarian crisis escalates, it is paramount that Canadians come together, as we have in the past, to offer support and assistance.  

City of Toronto refugee resettlement program

I was pleased to see the City's Executive Committee approve my request for the City to develop a City of Toronto resettlement program to assist with the current crisis.  The City has a history of responding to refugee crises when they arise.  After the 2004 Tsunami that devastated nations around the Indian Ocean, our City responded and created a program to directly support refugees connected to the disaster.  After writing a letter to Executive Committee, City staff quickly prepared a report that was considered at this week's meeting.

In the report, staff recommend the creation of an inter-divisional team at the City to lead the project, an inter-agency team (including the Canadian Red Cross), continued support to Lifeline Syria and the exploration of an assurance fund, and a number of post-arrival supports.  To read the full report, click here.

It is clear that the current refugee crisis needs all of our attention and efforts - the creation of the program is a step further towards doing what we can as a City to assist with the crisis.

The report will be considered by City Council at the September 30th meeting, and I hope that we can work quickly to implement it, together, once my Council colleagues join me in supporting it next week.

Public information session

Over 250 residents joined Councillor Mihevc and me, as well as organizers from Lifeline Syria, the Ontario Council of Agencies Services Immigrants, and other refugee settlement agencies at City Hall for a public information meeting on the Syrian refugee crisis this past Sunday September 27.  Organizations setup display tables and presented information on how Torontonians can become more involved in supporting families and individuals through sponsorship and community support.  

If you'd like more information on how you can help, please don't hesitate to contact my office.


Lifeline Syria



Lifeline Syria is a community engagement initiative which will recruit, train and assist sponsor groups to welcome and support 1,000 Syrian refugees coming to Canada as permanent residents to resettle in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) over the next two years.

Between 1979 and 1980, Canada successfully resettled 60,000 Vietnamese “boat people”. Canadians came together by the thousands under an initiative called Operation Lifeline to welcome these refugees and help them settle in their new homes across the country. Tens of thousands were resettled in the GTA in just 18 months. Lifeline Syria aims to mirror this successful initiative for the current refugee crisis.

As they have done in the past, Canadians can sponsor the resettlement of refugees who qualify to come to Canada, by providing financial and emotional support (usually for a year), helping them with housing, clothing, food and daily incidental costs. Lifeline Syria will help throughout the process.

For more information on how to help, please visit Lifeline Syria's website here


Women's Residence Mural Unveiling 

I was proud to join artists and community members recently at the unveiling of the mural at Women's Residence at Dundas and Bathurst. 

A team of artists included Paula “Bomba” Gonzalez, a graffiti artist who led the project, and women from Women's Residence.  They worked together to create the design and, with help from a grant from StreetARToronto (StART) and support from Scadding Court Community Centre, have now completed the mural which wraps around the building.  StART is a pro-active program that aims to develop, support, promote and increase awareness of street art and its indispensable role in adding beauty and character to neighbourhoods across Toronto.  This project was an important opportunity for residents to make their voices heard, and create a piece of art in the very place that many of them come to find rest and support.

Thank you to the incredible residents and artists who came together to create this beautiful project.

Women's residence mural

For more information on the project, read this article in Toronto Life.  To learn more about the StreetART program, click here.


Overdose Prevention in Toronto

At this month's Board of Health meeting, we endorsed important recommendations on overdose prevention in our City.  As the Chair of the Toronto Drug Strategy Implementation Panel and member of the Board of Health, it was important to see our Board consider this crucial public health issues in our City as we work to reduce harm throughout our communities.  

Drug overdose is a significant public health issue in Toronto, as it is across North America. Between 2004 and 2013 there was a 41% increase in the reported number of people dying from overdose in Toronto (read the recent article in the Toronto Star on the subject here – from 146 in 2004 to 206 in 2013, the highest annual number to date. Of particular concern is the increasing role of opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl in these deaths. Recent media attention has highlighted the growing number of deaths caused by fentanyl, a highly potent opioid, in communities across Canada.

The risk for overdose is present for many types of drugs, including prescription drugs, alcohol and illicit drugs. Individuals taking prescribed medications can experience an overdose as well as people who use drugs for non-medical reasons. The Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario (OCCO) is the main source for data on drug overdose deaths in Ontario. The Coroner investigates each death and records them as accidental (unintentional), suicide (intentional) or undetermined. The main focus of this report is on accidental deaths, as they comprise the majority of drug overdose deaths. Most of these deaths are preventable.

We endorsed the Municipal Drug Strategy Co-ordinator's Network of Ontario's recommendations to reduce overdose fatalities, which included increasing naxolone access for veterans and in other situations onsite, and also requested the Ministry of Health to develop a comprehensive overdose prevention strategy and to facilitate short-term action on overdose prevention.

To read the report, click here.


Honest Ed's/Mirvish Village - Public Consultation October 7

The City is holding its first Community Consultation meeting on the Honest Ed's/Mirvish Village development proposal, on Wednesday October 7, from 4-8pm at 777 Bloor St. West (Bickford Centre Cafeteria).  The City will be consulting with the public in a number of ways on this application, and this is the first of many opportunities for members of the public to learn more about the application, ask questions of City staff and share comments on the proposal.  For all the meeting details, click here.

On July 10, 2015, City Planning received applications from Westbank to amend the Official Plan and Zoning By-laws to redevelop a number of properties bordered by Bloor Street West, Bathurst Street, Lennox Street, and Markham Street, as well as a number of properties on the west side of Markham Street, also known as the Honest Ed's/Mirvish Village site.

The application includes the proposal for a number of mid-rise and tall buildings, ranging in height from 29-storeys at the southwest corner of Bathurst Street and Bloor Street West, to 6 and 7 storeys to the south and west, respectively. A number of potential heritage buildings fronting both sides of Markham street are proposed to be retained, while others are proposed to be removed.

Given the size of the site and the application, City Planning have developed a detailed website for the application and its materials. On an ongoing basis, information regarding public consultation, related Planning information (Four Corners study, etc.) will be posted to the website, along with the application itself.  The application documents can be found on the website here: www.toronto.ca/planning/mirvishvillage.

City Planning have completed a preliminary report on the application, which will be considered at the October 6 meeting of Toronto and East York Community Council - to report the report, click here.

This proposal is still at an early stage of an ongoing process, which is an important time for community members to give feedback about the design. My office will continue to work closely with Councillor Layton, as the site is in Ward 19, to organize additional community consultation and provide updates.

 

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact my office or the City Planner working on the file:

City Planner
Graig Uens, MCIP, RPP
City Hall, 18th Floor, East Tower
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Tel.: (416) 397-4647
Email: guens@toronto.ca.


Toronto Ward Boundary Review

In 2014Toronto City Council launched an initiative to ensure effective representation within the ward structure of the city. This process involves extensive public consultation to find a way to address the current ward population imbalance. 

The Toronto Ward Boundary Review Options Report was recently released and it presents five options for restructuring ward boundaries across the city. 

Public meetings have been scheduled across the city to present the options and gather feedback. There will be a meeting on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 at Metro Hall (55 John Street; Room 308/309) from 7-9pmClick here for a complete list of public meetings across the city.

There are significiant changes proposed to the boundaries of ward 20 given our large and continually growing population. I am carefully reviewing each of the proposals and will be continuing to consult with all of our neighbourhoods throughout this process. I would encourage each of you to review the report, to attend the meetings, and submit your feedback online. 


University of Toronto Secondary Plan

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.

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.

Please visit the new Secondary Plan website here to add your voice to this crucial process. 


City invites public input on rules/guidelines for responsible dog ownership

The City of Toronto is conducting a review of its Animals Bylaw to determine how the City can effectively balance, manage and address dog behaviour, owner responsibility and public safety.

Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 349, Animals, outlines registration/licensing requirements and the requirement to leash dogs on public property except where permitted, such as in off-leash parks. The bylaw also covers how the City responds to dogs at large (on the loose) or dogs that have bitten people or animals.

The goal of the review is to address City Council's direction to provide recommendations on how the City can effectively respond to incidents of dog bites and dogs that may pose a risk to public safety.

The City will hold the consultation meetings to obtain public input. All meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Thursday, September 24: Scarborough Civic Centre (Committee Room 2)
  • Monday, September 28City Hall (Committee Room 4)
  • Thursday, October 1: North York Civic Centre (Committee Room 3)
  • Monday, October 5: Etobicoke Civic Centre (Main Boardroom)
  • Tuesday October 6: East York Civic Centre (Committee Room A) 

For more information, and to participate in the public survey, click here.  


Upcoming Road Resurfacing 

The City is planning to resurface areas on a number of streets in Ward 20 this fall.  Staff have found that the following areas require resurfacing and will be starting this work in September:

Wellington St. W, from Bathurst St. to Portland St.

Portland St., from Front St. W to Wellington St. W.

Front St. W, from Bathurst St. to Spadina Ave.

Baldwin St., from Spadina Ave. to Henry St.

This work is part of the City's comprehensive and coordinated strategy to rehabilitate and upgrade our roads for current and future needs.  The project is part of the Council-approved 2015 Capital Works Program.

For future updates on upcoming road work, please visit my website


Cycling Network Plan - Bloor St. pilot project

I'm thrilled that the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee adopted the update report on the City's Ten Year Cycling Network Plan and 2016 Implementation Program at their meeting last week.  

Although the Ten Year Network Plan is not yet complete, this report provided an update for projects to be included in the upcoming 2016 Capital Budget.  The Implementation Plan included initiation in 2016 of the Bloor-Dupont Corridor Study, between Keele Street and Sherbourne Street, which will include a bike lane pilot project to be installed next year! Bloor Street has been identified as an ideal eastwest cycling route in the City’s bike plan. It is a flat route, unencumbered by streetcar tracks, and already heavily used by cyclists travelling east or west throughout the City. Students at neighbouring schools, local residents, and local businesses have continued their call for bike lanes on Bloor for many years. 

I have been working very closely with City staff and our local communities and businesses on the proposed Bloor St. pilot.  A key component of this pilot will be extensive community consultation with residents and businesses along Bloor Street, to consider possible locations of a pilot, lane design option and other central components of the study.  Starting this fall, City of Toronto cycling staff will begin holding community consultations to provide multiple opportunities for comments and feedback. 

If we are committed to alleviating congestion and building a more active, healthy, and liveable City, we must invest in cycling infrastructure.  I am happy that a pilot bike lane project on Bloor St. is now one-step closer.

To read the full report consider at Committee last week, click here.


Hydro Block Playground Improvements 

As part of my office's commitment to working with residents of TCHC buildings in Ward 20, a Section 37 participatory budgeting process has led to a plan for new playground commitment in Hyrdo Block.  Residents of Hydro Block, including many kids from the neighbourhood, recently participated in a planning meeting to design new junior and senior playground features. A final design has been approved and new slides and climbing equipment will be coming soon. 

For more information, please contact my office. 


Dupont Station TTC Upgrades

You are invited to an Open House to learn more about progress for the Easier Access Program at Dupont Station. In order to make every TTC station accessible for everyone, Dupont Station will be undergoing significant upgrades, including: three elevators, accessible fare gates, improved signage and CCTV security cameras.

For more information, contact Diego Sinagoga, Community Liaison at the TTC - 416-393-2197 (diego.sinagoga@ttc.ca).


Spadina Station TTC Upgrades

Structural rehabilitation at Spadina Station is continuing with Phase 2 work, which started on August 17.

Phase 2 involves concrete repairs, expansion joint repairs, waterproofing and bus roadway repaving.  In order to complete this work, northbound lanes on Spadina Road, north of Bloor, will be reduced and the station bus loop will be closed. Vehicular traffic will be shifted to the west side of the road, and 127 Davenport buses will head south towards Spadina Crescent to make its northbound trip. All station entrances and sidewalks will be maintained during Phase 2.

Please click here for further details and maps, or view the online construction advisory here: http://www.ttc.ca/Service_Advisories/Construction/SpadinaRd_north_Bloo.jsp

The majority of Phase 1, which consists of work on the west side of Spadina Road, north of Bloor, as well as the west station entrance, has been rescheduled to begin after Phase 2 is completed.

For more information, contact Diego Sinagoga, Community Liaison at the TTC - 416-393-2197 (diego.sinagoga@ttc.ca). 


Avenue Road Watermain Replacement

The City of Toronto will conducting necessary watermain replacement work on Avenue Road from September until December

This project is part of the Council-approved 2015 Capital Works Program that will improve water distribution and the City's aging infrastructure while reducing the risk of watermain breaks and improving water distribution to properties in larger diameter pipes.

You can view the Pre-Construction Notice here and important information on replacing lead water pipes here


Markets around the Ward

CityPlace Urban Market

Relocated to an exciting new location at Spadina and Bremner, this partnership between Concord CityPlaceCityPlace Residents’ AssociationScadding Court Community Centre and my office is a great location for this exciting neighbourhood market.  The market runs every Wednesday from 3pm-8pm and on Saturdays from 10am-5pm and is a great way to support local food and retail businesses.

250 Davenport Good Neighbours Food Market

Join the Good Neighbours Food Market, every Wednesday from 3-7pm, at 250 Davenport Road.  The Church of the Messiah, in partnership with residents at 250 DavenportToronto Community Housing Corporation, and Food Share host this weekly market, featuring fresh fruit and vegetables at an affordable price.  The Market takes place outside 250 Davenport during the spring and summer season, and moves indoors during the winter months.

Market 707 @ Scadding Court Community Centre

Housed in retrofitted shipping containers, Market 707 is a unique streetfood and retail market, located outside Scadding Court Community Centre (707 Dundas Street West).  This space brings together local entrepreneurs that serve more than 10 types of international street food and offer unique goods and services, like the latest addition of a barbershop.  Hours are: Tuesday to Saturday, 11:30am-7pm in Spring and SummerTuesday to Saturday 11:30am-5pm in Fall, and vary during winter months.

Waterfront Good Food Market 

Come out to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, hot gourmet soups, delicious dinners, baked goods, and friendly faces at the Waterfront Good Food Market! Located at 25 Bishop Tutu Blvd (near Bathurst and Lakeshore), this market operates year round every Tuesday from 4:30-7pm. To be added to their email list and to receive weekly prices and market events, please email waterfrontgoodfood@gmail.com.

Bloor Borden Market

The Bloor Borden Market is a certified locally produced farmer's market located at the corner of Bloor St W and Borden St. This market happens every Wednesday from 3-7pm. Check out their Twitter account here!

Scadding Court Community Centre Westside Market

Open daily 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the corner of Bathurst and Front. 


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

102-118 Peter St. & 350-354 Adelaide St. W
Date: Monday, October 5, 2015
Time: 6pm
Location: Metro Hall (Room 308)

122-128 Peter St. & 357 Richmond St. W 
Date: Monday, October 5, 2015
Time: 7pm
Location: Metro Hall (Room 308)

217 Adelaide St. W 
Date: Monday, October 5, 2015
Time: 8pm
Location: Metro Hall (Room 308)

Mirvish Village Community Consultation 
Date: Wednesday October 7, 2015
Time: 4-8pm
Location: 777 Bloor St. West (Bickford Centre - Cafeteria)


Upcoming events

Friday October 2, 6-8pm
Koreatown Tiger Lighting Ceremony - 750 Bloor St. West (near Christie Pits Park)

Check out the return of Open Streets TO and experience what Toronto's streets are like car-free! Enjoy activity hubs and fun events planned throughout the day.

Saturday October 3, 6:55pm-Sunrise Sunday October 4
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2015 is this weekend!  Click here for more information on enjoying the Festival, and on getting around on Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesday October 7, 7-9pm
Ward Boundary Review Public Meeting - Metro Hall (55 John St.), Rm 308/309

There are significiant changes proposed to the boundaries of ward 20 given our large and continually growing population. I am carefully reviewing each of the proposals and will be continuing to consult with all of our neighbourhoods throughout this process. I would encourage each of you to review the report, to attend the meetings, and submit your feedback online. 

Click here for a complete list of public meetings across the city.

Wednesday October 14
Waterfront Toronto Queen's Quay Community Update Meeting

On the evening of October 14, Waterfront Toronto will be holding a Queens Quay Community Update Meeting. This is an opportunity for neighbours to share feedback about how the new revitalized street is working, ask questions, and learn about changes that have been made over the summer or are underway.

The time and location will be confirmed soon. Please check the Waterfront Toronto calendar or contact my office nearer to the date for these details.

Sunday October 25
Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington Market


Join local businesses and residents in celebrating a car-free Kensington Market during the last Sunday of the month from May - October! Check out more information here.


Constituency Hours!

A reminder that I hold constituency hours every Saturday morning from 10am-12pm at the Scadding Court Community Centre (707 Dundas St. West).

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


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