The Cressy Courier: Parks updates, cycling infrastructure, and more!

Dear friend -- 

I hope you're all enjoying the beautiful Fall weather, before the inevitable winter freeze is upon us.

As I've mentioned before, we're a few weeks away from critical conversations on the 2017 City Budget. In addition, you'll find information below about the consultation that the City has begun on its long-term fiscal plan – this process must be a dialogue on how to build a fair and equitable City, to support each and every Torontonian, and the revenue we need to get us there. In the coming weeks, I will be sharing information on both of these processes, budget consultations, and more.

You'll also find updates below on parks projects around our community, new local parkland, upcoming consultations on building our local cycling grid, an invitation to a community holiday party that I'm hosting this year, and more.

Please get in touch with my office any time with any questions or concerns about what you read below, or anything else.

I look forward to seeing you around the community.

Take care,

Continuing our work for new downtown parkland - The Well and 28 Bathurst

This week I was proud to take the next steps on building new local parkland at two sites in our community.

As part of the mixed-use development at Front and Spadina (former Globe and Mail lands, known as The Well) approved by Toronto and East York Community Council this week, I was proud to announce that we will be securing a new downtown park, located at 456 Wellington Street West. The development's parkland contribution will not only include this land offsite, but also space within the development. Rather than following the ways of the past, to accept cash-in-lieu of parkland, we worked hard with City staff and the applicant to push for a real land-dedication. This new park at 456 Wellington will contribute to the work to build the Wellington Greenway, which will also move forward, connecting Clarence Square to Victoria Memorial, and may serve as a connection to future parkland dedications.

I was also proud to join Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina) earlier this week to announce our push for a new park at 28 Bathurst St. We moved a motion requesting Planning staff to examine using the 2.3 acres of city-owned land for parks and open space. I look forward to continuing this work with Councillor Layton, to push for this space to be a new accessible park space downtown.

As our city grows, we must focus on building neighbourhoods rather than just adding density. As we all know too well, parkland development downtown has not kept pace with the level of growth in the population of our communities. I look forward to working collaboratively with our communities on these initiatives in the coming weeks and months, and to continue building our neighbourhoods together.


Free Toronto from the OMB



On November 14, I was proud to join Councillor Mike Layton to support MPP Cheri DiNovo's bill to Free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

For too long, the unaccountable OMB has had final approval over Toronto's growth and development – this has led to decisions that go against the best interests of our communities. It is impossible for the City to manage appropriate neighbourhood growth when developers use the threat of the OMB to circumvent our planning process. Here in Ward 20, we have seen time and again the power of the OMB to approve developments that are strongly opposed by both City Planning staff and the local community.

It is time for the Province to restore planning approval to the City and abolish the OMB. Sign this petition and add your voice to Free Toronto from the OMB.


Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan - Public Meeting #4 



For almost two years now, we have been working hard together to create a new Neighbourhood Plan for Bathurst Quay. There have been more than fifty meetings with dozens of groups, including reaching out directly to every single co-op, condo, and apartment building in the neighbourhood. Public meetings open to the entire community were held in December 2014, April 2015, and December 2015.

Community members have shared excellent comments and feedback with us throughout this process and we have been working on an updated proposal for the Neighbourhood Plan that responds to your input. I am excited to share that update with you at a fourth public meeting coming up later this month.

Date: Monday, November 28, 2016
Drop-in: between 6 pm and 8 pm
Presentation: starts at 7 pm
Location: Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre, Dance Studio

I hope to see you there! If you are not able to make it, please feel welcome to email me at councillor_cressy@toronto.ca or call my office at 416 392 4044 to learn more. The presentation materials will be made available online following the public meeting.


Bellevue-Denison Contraflow Bike Lane - public meeting

As part of the Toronto's Cycling Network Plan, City staff are introducing a contraflow bike lane on Bellevue Avenue / Denison Avenue. They are holding a community consultation on November 21 to explain the proposal and get feedback.

Date: Monday, November 21, 2016
Time: 7-8pm (Open House), 8-9pm (Staff presentation and Q&A)
Location: Ryerson Community School, Gymnasium

For all the details, please see the meeting notice here. Look forward to seeing you there!


Peter Street - now with protected bike lanes!

A new important link in our growing network of cycling routes is now in place: protected bike lanes were installed on Peter Street earlier this month between King Street and Queen Street. The new Peter Street bike lanes are a key connection point between Richmond Street and Adelaide Street, and this is the first step toward connecting the existing St George-Beverley bike lanes south to the waterfront. 

My office and Cycling Infrastructure staff are working, in partnership with the property owner at Queen and Soho, to improve the connection for cyclists between Soho Street and Peter Street. And the Ten Year Cycling Network Plan, approved and funded by City Council, includes an extension of the bike lanes south along Blue Jays Way. 


Waterworks Revitalization Presentation Materials

On October 24, I hosted a community consultation meeting at Metro Hall with Community Planning staff to discuss the re-zoning application for the Waterworks Revitalization. The meeting was exceptionally well-attended with a standing room only crowd.

The Waterworks Revitalization will include a new 55,000 sq ft YMCA facility as well as 15 new units of affordable housing managed by Artscape.

Presentation materials from the applicants and partners are available to download on my website: http://www.joecressy.com/presentation_materials_oct_24


King-Spadina HCD Draft Plan

The City is nearing completion of the Heritage Conservation District (HCD) Plan for the King-Spadina area. This will give us a stronger tool to control how the neighbourhood grows and changes over time, ensuring that the unique heritage character is conserved and enhanced.

Before the HCD Plan is presented to City Council for approval, a draft has been posted online for public review. You can find the documents on the City of Toronto's HCD Blog: https://hcdtoronto.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/king-spadina-hcd-plan-draft/, along with presentation materials from past public meetings.

In early 2017, the HCD Plan will be considered for approval by City Council along with a brand new Secondary Plan for King-Spadina. 


Monsignor Fraser Greening Plan

On Wednesday, November 30th, join me, TCDSB Trustee Jo-Ann Davis, TCDSB staff and Monsignor Fraser College Principal Marcello Mancuso at a meeting to discuss the opportunities for the Monsignor Fraser College lot. The meeting will take place from 7-9pm at Monsignor Fraser College - Annex (700 Markham Street).

For years, the community and the school have seen this lot as an opportunity to add green space into Seaton Village. As such, TCDSB has been working with Forest and Field Landscape Architects to develop a Master Plan and phased project timeline to accomplish this goal.

This meeting will be looking at the preliminary steps and design options and to hear feedback from local residents. I look forward to hearing more about the plan and how greening this significant space can add value into the neighbourhood. For more information, see the event flyer here. See you there!


Ward 20 Holiday Party

My office is getting excited for the holidays and we want you to join us for a little gathering and party.

Our inaugural Ward 20 Holiday party is being planned for the evening of December 19 - save the date and keep an eye out for an invite with more details coming soon! As part of this event, we will also be working with the City's Newcomer Office to organize a warm clothing drive to benefit Syrian refugees across our city; we will be looking to gather winter weather gear such as hats, gloves and socks. 

Looking forward to seeing you there!


Rees Street Playground - now complete!



Improvements to Rees Street Park, on the north side of Queens Quay, are now complete! Upgrade were finished at the end of October, and this new pocket playground adds some colour and activities for kids in the neighbourhood. The modest play structure offers a place for kids to run and climb and tucker themselves out, while the remaining park space is available for a lunch break or a quiet stop in the shade.

Parks of all types are necessary to support the residents, families, and businesses who make up our vibrant downtown communities. We're excited for our youngest residents to begin to enjoy the new playground, and to continue to build our robust network of Waterfront parks.


Introducting The Doctor's Parkette...



While construction wraps up on Brunswick College Parkette, I'm happy to announce that the new name, The Doctors' Parkette, has been officially approved and adopted by the Toronto and East York Community Council! Special thanks to the Harbord Village Residents' Association for leading the community consultation process for this new name.

The improvements to the parkette should be complete early in December and I look forward to enjoying the new space with everyone in the community.


Clarence Square



Another great parks project in the ward has reached completion this fall. 

The improvement to Clarence Square are all finished and looking great. The Lady Eaton Fountain is fully installed and the dogs off-leash area is also a fantastic asset for dog owners who live downtown. The pressure on available parks spaces make it hard enough for children to run and play nevermind our four legged friends. Because of these pressures on our parks we have been working to ensure that folks have reasonable access to safe areas for both children and dogs. Clarence Square is a great spot for dogs and dog owners to socialize and play. 


Sally Bird Park



Following a site visit with Parks staff and a few local residents, we're happy that we've found space for additional exercise features in Sally Bird Park. We are looking forward to the installation of a new chin up bar, and rotator cuff wheels alongside the existing machines. 

There had previously been a network of these outdoor exercise stations woven throughout our neighbourhoods, however now only a few remain. One of the original pull up bars can be found in Bellevue Square. These stations can serve as important hubs for community exercise and I look forward to seeing these new additions to Sally Bird Park.


Parks Consultation

The City Parks department is looking for feedback about the state of our parks and recreation facilities, and opportunities for improvements to the parks permitting system for events. The feedback received will inform three long term planning projects: the Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan, the City of Toronto Sports Plan and the Parks Recreation Permit Process.  

The consultation nearest to our ward will be held Sunday, November 20, 1 to 4 p.m., at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, which is located at the foot of Bay St at Queens Quay. If you are unable to attend, more information can be found through the following links:

Facilities Master Plan - http://www.toronto.ca/parks/facilitiesplan or contact facilitiesplan@toronto.ca     

Sport Plan - http://www.toronto.ca/cityofsport or contact cityofsport@toronto.ca

Permit Process Review - http://www.toronto.ca/makingpermittingbetter or contact makingitbetter@toronto.ca


Long-Term Financial Plan - public consultation

The City of Toronto is launching its public consultation on the development of its Long-Term Financial Plan. This is the first step in the critical conversation we need to have, together, about the city we want to live in, how to makes the lives of all our friends and neighbours fair, liveable and equitable, and how we get there.

The City is asking for the public's input on some challenging questions about how the City can manage expenses and raise revenue. People can share input, ideas and solutions at a series of public meetings or by participating online.

The consultation process is being conducted in two phases:

Phase 1 – fall

  • November: The first of three online surveys is open from November 9 to 20 for the public to provide input on what the City should consider as it makes decisions about long-term financial sustainability.
  • December: A second online survey – open from December 5 to 23 will gather input on long-term financial options and strategies.
  • A series of in-person community meetings will be held (schedule and details below). For all meetings, the open house will begin at 6 p.m., followed by a presentation at 7 p.m. Visit http://www.investinginto.ca/ to register to attend, request accommodations or attend via webcast.
  • Monday, December 5
    Etobicoke Olympium, 590 Rathburn Rd.
  • Tuesday, December 6
    Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, 5183 Sheppard Ave. E.
  • Wednesday, December 7
    Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Ave.
  • Thursday, December 8
    Toronto Reference Library, Epic Hall, 789 Yonge St.

Consultation toolkits will be available online in early December for groups and organizations who wish to conduct their own meetings.

Phase 2 – winter/spring

  • A final online survey and a second series of in-person community meetings is planned to gather input on the governance and financial management required for long-term financial sustainability.

The findings from the consultation will provide advice for Council and the City Manager as the City sets out to develop its Long-Term Financial Plan.

I hope that this Plan will guide financial decision-making over the long term, and put Toronto on a path to financial sustainability.

It will also help address structural financial issues, as expenditures continue to rise faster than revenues, and ensure the City of Toronto continues to provide the services that we, and all our friends and neighbours, rely on to ensure fairness, equity and liveability.

Information about the consultation, including background reports and engagement opportunities, a series of online surveys and two rounds of community meetings, is available at http://www.investinginto.ca/. You are also invited to participate in the conversation on social media, using the hashtag #InvestinginTO.


Ice Breakers: Winter Stations Temporary Art Exhibition



From January 21st to February 26th the waterfront will be host to a new and exciting public art exhibition – Ice Breakers. The name itself is a double entendre which is at once referencing the industrial heritage of our harbour while also referring to the moment when strangers become new friends. The idea is that through the power of design and public art, Ice Breakers will create a venue for folks to meet and get to chatting in the spirit of warmth and comradery to help us to get to through the cold winter months.

Building off of the annual Winter Station art competition over by the east end beaches, this design-driven exhibit will locate a series of interactive installations in parks along Queens Quay that will animate our urban waterfront and encourage opportunities for exploration and spontaneous conversation.

Ice Breakers is the result of a partnership between the Waterfront BIAPorts Toronto, and Waterfront Toronto. The inaugural exhibition will feature contributions from Toronto design team Polymetis, architect firm RAW, landscape architects Ferris + Associates, public art consultancy Curio, along with international contributions from Danish design studio Platant. The installations will run for nearly 6 weeks between Yonge and Bathurst St.


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

666 Spadina Avenue - Re-zoning application

Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Time: 6 pm
Location: Knox Presbyterian Church (630 Spadina Avenue)

See the meeting notice here.

663 King Street West - Pre-application meeting

Date: Monday, December 5, 2016
Time: 6 pm
Location: Metro Hall, Room 310 (55 John St)

422-424 Wellington Street West - Re-zoning application

Date: Monday, December 5, 2016
Time: 7 pm
Location: Metro Hall, Room 310 (55 John St)

149-157 Bathurst Street - Re-zoning application

Date: Monday, December 5, 2016
Time: 8 pm
Location: Metro Hall, Room 310 (55 John St)


Upcoming events

November 20th, 2016

Parks Facilities Master Plan public consultation (1-4pm)
Jack Layton Ferry Terminal 

Join Parks staff for a consultation on the Parks Facilities Master Plan. For more information, visit http://www.toronto.ca/parks/facilitiesplan.

November 21st, 2016

Bellevue-Denison Contraflow Bike Lane Public Meeting (7-9pm)
Ryerson Community School, Gymnasium

You are invited to join me and City Cycling staff to hear plans for a contraflow bike lane on Bellevue Ave / Denison Ave. For more information, please see the event flyer here.

November 25th, 2016

Bloor-Annex BIA Streetscape Plan Open House (5-8pm)
Markham House (610 Markham Street)

Join me, members of the Bloor Annex BIA, and City staff at our 2nd Open House to review the designs for the streetscape improvements and four new parkettes that will be completed in 2018. DTAH landscape architects James Roche, Robin Mosseri and artist Robert Cram will be on hand to walk you through the designs. For more information, see the event flyer here.

November 30th, 2016

Monsignor Fraser Greening Plan - public meeting (7-9pm)
Monsignor Fraser College - Annex (700 Markham Street)

Join me, TCDSB Trustee Jo-Ann Davis, TCDSB staff and Monsignor Fraser College Principal Marcello Mancuso at a meeting to discuss the opportunities for the Monsignor Fraser College lot. For more information, see the event flyer here.


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.