The Cressy Courier: Spring has arrived!

Dear friend -- 

Spring is most definitely in the air in Ward 20!  This year, we got an early start with our Ward 20 Environment Day on April 2.  I'm also excited that our Community Compost Days are beginning this weekend.

This spring and summer I am hosting Compost Days across the Ward from North to South, to help all our gardeners prepare for the growing season.  This compost comes from your leaf and yard waste that the City collects as part of the waste reduction and recycling program. I will also have rubber gloves and garbage bags available for anyone who like to help me collect garbage left over from the winter thaw that has collected on the ground.

Please remember to bring your own shovels and containers to collect your free compost.  For more information about compost, please visit www.toronto.ca/compost

Below, you'll find details for our community compost days in April and May at Vermont Square ParkJean Sibelius SquareBellevue Square ParkOgden Junior PS, and 250 Davenport - as well as other updates from around our busy Ward 20 communities. Stay tuned for confirmed information for our June compost days in St. Andrew's PlaygroundLittle Norway ParkHeydon Park Secondary School and Taddle Creek Park.

As always, please contact my office at any time with questions or concerns.

Take care,

Joe

Getting ready for Spring – Community Compost days, Environment Day recap and Community Clean-up Days

Compost Days


This spring and summer, I am hosting 10 Compost Days to help all of the gardeners in the ward prepare for the growing season. This compost from your leaf and yard waste that the City collects as part of the waste reduction and recycling program.

Please remember to bring your own shovels and containers to collect your free compost. 

Vermont Square (Palmerston Ave and Vermont Ave)
Date: April 16th
Time: 10am-12pm

Jean Sibelius Square (Brunswick Ave and Wells St)
Date: April 16th
Time: 1-3pm

Bellevue Square Park (Denison Sq and Augusta Ave) 
Date: April 17th
Time: 10am-12pm 

Alexandra Park (Dundas St W and Bathurst St)
Date: April 17th
Time: 1-3pm 

Ogden Junior Public School (Phoebe St and Spadina Ave)
Date: May 29th
Time: 10am-12pm 

250 Davenport (Bedford Rd and Davenport Rd)
Date: May 29th
Time: 10am-12pm 

Stay tuned for date confirmations for: St. Andrew's Playground, Little Norway Park, Heydon Park Secondary School, and Taddle Creek Park.

Environment Day

Last Saturday, April 2nd, we had our Community Environment Day at Central Technical School.  We had an early start this year and it was a great way to kick-off the spring season.

It was great to see so many residents come out to pick up free compost, drop off hazardous household waste, and learn more about City services.

Thank you to all the community groups and Residents' Associations, who helped make the Ward 20 Community Environment Day a big success!

And special thanks to Chris McNeil and artists from Open Tuning Festival for amazing musical performances. 

Community Clean-up Days

The City's annual clean-up campaign – Clean Toronto Together (CTT) – returns April 23 and 24.  This spring clean-up brings together thousands of Toronto residents, students, businesses, organizations, and community groups to remove litter and keep our city clean and green.  In 2015, the campaign saw 903 community events and over 160,000 residents participated.

Led by Toronto's Environment and Energy Division (EED), the CTT campaign is a collaborative effort actively support by several City divisions including: Parks, Forestry, and Recreation, Solid Waste management, Transportation Services and more.

Community Clean-up Days will take place on Saturday April 23 and Sunday April 24.

For more information on CTT and to register an event in your community, please visit the website here.


Reminder - Community consultation on supervised injection services in our community



Please join me and Councillor Mike Layton, as well as Toronto Public Health and the Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre, on Thursday April 14, 7-9pm at the Scadding Court Community Centre (707 Dundas St. W), for a community consultation on supervised injection services in our community.

Overdose is a serious public health issue in our City - working together with our community is a critical part of the process to improve public health.  On March 21, Toronto's Board of Health approved recommendations from Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David McKeown, to move forward with next steps to introduce supervised injection services in the City of Toronto.  These services are critical both to save lives and improve community safety.  

One of the three proposed sites seeking to introduce small-scale supervised injection services is located at Bathurst and Richmond, on the border of Wards 19 and 20.  Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre has been a member of our community for 45 years, and has been located at its current site at Bathurst and Richmond for over 20.  It is home to many medical offices, counselling services, community programs and harm reduction services.

The first step in this process is working together to share information, answer questions and address concerns.  Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre has begun holding weekly Open Houses at the Centre, every Wednesday from 5:30-7:30pm.  Councillor Layton and I also want to make sure that we have an opportunity to come together as a community to discuss the services, provide information, and address any concerns you may have.  Please join us on April 14 to do just that.

If you have any questions, please contact my office at any time.  You can also view information that we have distributed in the community here, and go to joecressy.com/public_health for more on supervised injection services. 


Dupont Street - OMB Letter

In December 2013, as a result of the leadership of residents’ associations, our community worked together to create a vision for the future of Dupont Street, between Ossington and Kendal Avenue. Slated as a regeneration area, the Dupont Street Study laid out guiding principles to ensure that future development would respect the local context and vibrancy of our local communities. The Dupont Street Study was approved by City Council in 2014.

Since then, property owners along Dupont appealed the Study to the Ontario Municipal Board. While this highlights a systemic flaw within our planning process, City Legal staff worked hard to defend the principles laid out in the study through an OMB-directed mediation process.

Please read the letter that Councillor Layton and I released with details on the settlements reached through mediation at the OMB. 

Rather than risking it all at the OMB, City planning and legal staff recommended these settlements to respect and support our communities. In doing so, we have ensured that our community’s vision for the neighbourhood is protected. We will see development that is much more appropriate for the community, the creation of a new park, and opportunities to improve public space along Dupont Street. 

We worked together, and we have achieved a significant win for our Dupont Street neighbourhoods.

As we move forward, we will also work with local residents to manage how these buildings will be built. We will work together to develop construction management plans to manage construction activities appropriately for the neighbourhood, to ensure as little impact to the community as possible.


Defending good planning principles in King-Spadina

I am pleased to report that the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) upheld Official Plan Amendment (OPA) 297 at a hearing on March 24. This is a new policy, approved by City Council last November, for the block bounded by John Street, Adelaide Street, Duncan Street, and Pearl Street. Due to several existing and anticipated re-development proposals on the block, the City created OPA 297 to limit the number of tall towers on the block, to place a maximum height on new buildings, and to ensure any towers are appropriately separated from one another to limit impacts on privacy, sky views, and shadows.

Every property owner in downtown Toronto does not get a tower. This OMB decision has helped to ensure that remains so. 

The downtown population has grown by 20% in the past four years and could double by the end of the next decade. It is vitally important that we uphold good planning principles in order to build liveable, equitable, sustainable neighbourhoods. Please read my op-ed in the Toronto Star about building neighbourhoods that stand the test of time for families and vibrant communities. And please join the conversation about our maturing downtown by visiting www.toronto.ca/TOcore


Black Lives Matter

Over the last several weeks, Toronto has seen an outpouring of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Their protest has continued to grow, and their message is clear: something has to change.

It is clear that police interactions with racialized and marginalized communities, in particular the black community, can be unjust and excessive – this must stop.

A new approach to policing must be examined, and reports of police misconduct and mistrust between enforcement and the communities they serve must be addressed.

To aid this discussion, I supported Councillor Layton and Councillor Wong-Tam's motion asking the Province to review how police services are delivered, including the Special Investigations Unit. 

Enforcement and trust within communities they serve must go hand-in-hand. Neither can succeed without the other. If we are to build a safer and fairer city and province, we must openly discuss and confront racism. 

Confronting and challenging racism is the responsibility of all of us, every day, in our institutions, in our Council Chambers, in our police services, and in our homes. Indeed, black lives matter.


OMB Appeal - 203 College Street

In August 2015, Parallax filed an application for an aggressive development at 203 College Street, for a 33 storey mixed-use residential tower at the southeast corner of College Street and Beverley Street.  Like so many in our community, I agreed that the application was inappropriate and out of character for the area. Unlike most of the other development applications in Ward 20, this application was filed without any formal community consultation prior to the submission.

My office organized an initial public meeting in the Fall of 2015. Since then there have been ongoing conversations between my office, residents (including the local Residents' Association), City Planning staff, and the developer regarding the proposal, in an attempt to work towards a more suitable application. Despite this, the developer has decided to circumvent community consultation and the City Planning process, and has appealed their application to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

I am committed to defending the interests of our community and vigorously opposing this application at the OMB.

Please read my full letter on this appeal here.

City Planning will be holding a public meeting on this development on April 25th. Please contact City Planner, Michelle Knieriem at mknieri@toronto.ca for more details on this meeting.


Huron Street Playground Revitalization

On March 1st, I held a public meeting with staff from Parks, Forestry and Recreation to discuss the revitalization of the Huron Street Playground. A lively conversation between residents, City staff and the contracted landscape architects covered the vision for the playground and how it should relate to the local neighbourhood. 

Staff have compiled the comments and the landscape architects at Forest and Field are currently working on the design options, which we will send out for your comments in the next few weeks.

I am also excited to be visiting students at Huron Street Junior Public School next week to hear their thoughts on what kind of play equipment they would like to see included in the playground redesign. What’s more important than getting feedback from the very kids who will be using the playground!

Stay tuned – I will be sending along the proposed designs shortly!


TCHC Consultations

Toronto Community Housing is seeking input on the Mayor's Task Force recommendations. Come out to one of the public meetings to share your thoughts and offer feedback.

For more information, including the Task Force's final report, visit www.toronto.ca/tch-taskforce.


Building liveable neighbourhoods – Planning for family-friendly communities

The City of Toronto has initiated a study entitled Growing Up: Planning for Children in New Vertical Communities. The study examines how new multi-unit housing in high-density communities can better accommodate the needs of households with children and youth. 

The study, being undertaken by the City Planning division, will give direction on how new mid- and high-rise developments can better function for growing families. The study will look at how the condo unit, the building, and the neighbourhood can be improved to better suit a growing family.

Some examples of the issues that will be looked at as part of the study include condo unit size and layout, building amenities, the design of the public space around the building, and amenities in the surrounding neighbourhood. 

Seven areas across the city have been selected for study. These areas include the Downtown and Centres (Etobicoke, North York, Yonge Eglinton, and Scarborough Civic Centres), Sheppard Corridor (from Bayview Avenue to Leslie Street) and Humber Bay Shores.

In 2011, 11% of Toronto's downtown population were children and youth aged 19 years and under. That same year, 66% of households with children were living in buildings five storeys or taller, while the majority (59%) of units proposed or constructed are one-bedroom units. 

As part of the first phase of the study, City Planning has launched public consultation activities that will provide insight into the experiences of families with children currently living in high-rise buildings.  An online survey, available at http://ow.ly/10buWW, will determine the most important elements that make raising children in higher density communities easier. Interviews and workshops with industry stakeholders (architects and developers) will be used to identify the design and market related challenges facing family friendly housing.

This work follows up on the 2014 Condominium Consultations and the Chief Planner's Roundtable on Planning Cities for Families. More information about the 2014 consultations and the roundtable is available at http://ow.ly/10bvoG and http://ow.ly/10bvt7.

As we grow as a City, we must ensure we are building neighbourhoods rather than just adding density.  Ensuring that our communities are welcoming and supportive of children and families is a critical part of this work.


Bloor Annex BIA Streetscape Project Open House and Drop-in

Please join me, the Bloor Annex BIA, and City staff at an Open House to review plans to create a more vibrant and green Bloor Street!

Date: Monday, April 18th
Time: 4:00 – 8:00pm
Location: Markham House – 610 Markham Street

See the event flyer for more information.


New bus route for City Place

At its meeting on March 23, the TTC Board approved the creation of a new bus route benefitting CityPlace and to increase streetcar service on King Street.  After writing to the TTC Board urging their approval of the report for its importance in our community, I was glad to see this decision.

The new 121 Fort York-Esplanade bus would operate from Strachan Avenue in the west to the Distillery District in the east, via Fort York Boulevard, Front Street, and The Esplanade with a connection to Union Station.

The new 514 Cherry streetcar would run from Cherry Street to Dufferin Street, along King Street.

Providing reliable transit service with adequate capacity to carry everyone who wants to use it is an important part of ensuring that our newest downtown communities can mature into complete neighbourhoods that are sustainable, liveable, and attractive to a diverse range of households including families with children.


Annex Residents' Association Development Portal

I am extremely lucky to work so closely with the Annex Residents’ Association on many initiatives in our community and they never fail to impress all of us with their ability to represent local interests. 

Recently the ARA’s Planning and Zoning Committee released their Development Portal, which tracks and provides updated information on development in the Annex. This is an invaluable tool that will make it easier for local residents to stay up to date with growth in the neighbourhood. 

I would like to extend a special thanks to the Planning and Zoning Committee Chair, Edward Leman, for his ongoing efforts – amazing work.


Bill Bolton Arena Public Consultation

The Bill Bolton Arena Board of Directors is conducting public consultations on ice utilization and arena programming in advance of their April 21st Board Meeting. If you would like to speak directly with Board members or pass along your comments to them, you can do so by:

1. Meeting with Board members on April 16th from 5-6pm at Bill Bolton Arena or

2. By providing your comments to board.billboltonarena@gmail.com by Sunday, April 17, 2016

I look forward to seeing the results of these consultations.


Have your say on Toronto's Draft Waste Strategy

The Long Term Waste Management Strategy project team, with input from the public and key stakeholders, has created a Draft Waste Strategy. Now you can learn about the recommended options and provide your comments. 



To view the most recent Project Updates, including the Draft Waste Strategy, and to complete the online survey, visit www.toronto.ca/wastestrategy.


Jane at Home

Visit Urbanspace Gallery at 401 Richmond to see "Jane at Home" from April 29 to May 8

Featuring rare and never-before-seen items from her estate, the exhibit celebrates the life and personal history of Jane Jacobs – the ordinary life of an extraordinary woman. The exhibit sheds light on the personal interactions that were essential to her work, and highlights the many facets of her life, creating a three-dimensional portrait of the great writer. Visit http://www.urbanspacegallery.ca/exhibits/jane-home for more information.


GO Transit construction

On Friday, April 1, GO Transit began installing conduit (cable) at various locations in the area between Bathurst Street and Simcoe Street. Tracks must be taken out of service to complete this work and as a result this work can only be carried out during off-peak times, when there is less train traffic.

This work is scheduled to take place between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. The work is scheduled to take place until the end of May.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Loretta Allen at loretta.allen@metrolinx.com or 416-202-4736.


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

203 College Street
Date: Monday, April 25th, 2016
Time and Location: TBD (please reach out to my office to be contacted when these details are finalized)

Come to the meeting to hear from the applicant and City Planning, and to offer your feedback on the proposal. This application was recently appealed to the OMB.

Canoe Landing (Block 31) Community Centre and Schools

Date: April 27, 2016
Time: early evening (please reach out to my office to be contacted when the time has been finalized)
Location: Fort York Visitor Centre, 250 Fort York Boulevard

The City of Toronto is collaborating with the TDSB and TCDSB school boards to build a community facility on "Block 31," the empty lot immediately east of Canoe Landing Park. There will be a new community centre, a new childcare centre, and two new schools with a combined capacity of about 1,100 students. Since our last community meeting in June 2015, work has proceeding well and we are quickly approaching the start of construction! But first it is necessary to re-zone the site for the new building, which makes this an important milestone to check in and provide an update to the neighbourhood.

RESCHEDULED! King-Spadina Heritage Conservation District and Secondary Plan meetings

Last month I asked you to watch this space for a finalized details of community meetings about two important projects in King-Spadina: the new Heritage Conservation District Plan and the updated East Precinct Secondary Plan. Unfortunately, we were a little ambitious in announcing that meetings would be held at the end of April. Instead, we expect to hold both of these meetings in June. Thank you for understanding!


Upcoming events

April 14th, 2016

Supervised Injection Services Public Consultation (7:00 - 9:00pm)

Scadding Court Community Centre (707 Dundas St W)

Please join Councillor Mike Layton and myself, as well as Toronto Public Health and the Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre for a community consultation on supervised injection services in our community.

April 23rd, 2016

Toronto Community Housing - Public Consultation on Mayor's Task Force Recommendations (2:00 - 5:00pm)
The 519 Community Centre (519 Church St), Ballroom

Toronto Community Housing is seeking feedback on the Final Report from the Mayor's Task Force. For more information, and to view the Final Report, visit: www.toronto.ca/tch-taskforce.

April 29th, 2016

Jane at Home Exhibit (11:00am - 6:30pm)
Urbanspace Gallery (401 Richmond Street W)

An exhibit celebrating the life and personal history of Jane Jacobs, featuring rare and never-before-seen items from her estate. The exhibit opens on April 29th and runs til May 8th. For more information, visit www.urbanspacegallery.ca.


Constituency Hours!

A reminder that I hold constituency hours every Friday afternoon at the Scadding Court Community Centre (707 Dundas St. West).

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