- Welcome Letter from Councillor Wong-Tam
- November City Council Highlights
- Ramsden Park Revitalization Update
- Shuter Street Update
- Ecumenical Christmas Food Drive – November 19 and 26
- Enbridge Update
- Ontario Municipal Board Review
- Bill 61, Respect for Municipalities Act
- 5, 7 & 9 Dale Avenue Community Consultation
- Old City Hall Future Uses Public Consultation
- Long-Term Fiscal Plan Consultation
- Expo 2025
1. Welcome Letter from Councillor Wong-Tam
Dear Constituents and Friends,
As 2016 draws to a close, we’re busy working on important projects such as the Moss Park Revitalization, while gearing up for consultation on the 2017 city budget. The Ward 27 office continues to rely on the thoughtful input from residents and community organizations to help shape the kind of livable city we are often lauded for internationally!
This fall saw a number of great events in our ward. The third annual Open Streets TO saw the expansion of the event extended across the Bloor Viaduct to Danforth Avenue, drawing thousands of residents to experience what can happen when we welcome people onto our streets. We also held our latest Salon 27, which ended up being one of our biggest to date, bringing four distinguished panelists and over two hundred people together for a thoughtful discussion on what Truth and Reconciliation means for the indigenous people in Toronto.
Two big upcoming issues are of course, the 2017 city budget and an update to the city's long-term fiscal plan. Information about the latter is below.
Our office has received a number of communication regarding the potential privatization of Toronto Hydro, a move I oppose, even in part. The one-time monies from the sale would not fix the long-term fiscal challenges the city faces, forcing us to find the lost annual revenue Toronto Hydro generates for the city each year.
On a further positive note, City Council supported my motion to incorporate a gender equity lens into the design, development, adoption and execution of all budgetary processes. This historic measure will promote equitable, effective and appropriate resource allocation to greater enhance women and girls' access to city services.
Please read on below for more news and upcoming events. Your participation in area planning consultations and policy reviews is vital to Toronto’s success and I look forward to seeing and hearing from you.
I remain yours in community service,
2. November City Council Highlights
Ward Boundary Review
Council voted to adopt recommendations for a new ward boundary plan. This option would see the total number of wards raised to 47, with boundaries to be redrawn to reflect areas of intense population growth. The ward boundary review is a legislated requirement to ensure fair representation.
The 47-ward option will see wards average 61,000 residents. Given the unprecedented population growth in Ward 27, we are currently 90,000 residents strong, the adopted plan will see the existing ward divided into three districts. A map can be seen here. Unless appealed and amended by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), this 47 ward option could be in place for the 2018 municipal election in Toronto.
Hot Weather Response for Vulnerable People
City Council voted to increase funding for cooling centres. The new funds are intended to open cooling centres immediately during heat warning events, rather than three days later. The funds are also intended to provide drinks, better programming, and signage for these facilities during operation.
8 Elm Street Development Application Refusal
City Council voted in support of Councillor Wong-Tam and the decision of Toronto and East York Community Council. The proposal for an 80-storey building on Elm Street was determined by staff to represent an overdevelopment of the site and out of context with the area. Similar concerns had been raised by members of the public at a recent community consultation.
A funding plan for SmartTrack was approved by City Council. Ontario will be contributing $3.7 billion in funding and City Council has approved $2 billion municipal spending for six new stations and an Eglinton West LRT. The controversial funding plan optimistically assumes significant development in the area where the new infrastructure will be built. The municipal revenues for these buildings would be dedicated to paying off the added $2 billion debt. Should the funding plan fall short of revenue assumptions, Toronto residents can expect a significant increase of their property taxes to offset the revenue shortfall.
Smart Serve Training for Sexual Assault
City Council adopted a motion by Councillor Wong-Tam and Councillor Cressy requesting that the Province include training to identify and intervene in cases of sexual assault, harassment, and violence. The Province of Ontario has already made training a priority within the hospitality industry, but has not made this a priority for all servers of alcohol.
Toronto has sexual assault rates higher than the Province and National averages. Furthermore, bars, nightclubs, and other alcohol-serving establishments report higher rates of assault. This expanded training for Smart Serve has been a long time request of the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres and last week Toronto led the way forward.
Sign Upgrades in Bay-Cloverhill Neighbourhood
After extensive work by the Bay-Cloverhill Community Association, City Council finally had the opportunity to allocate funding for the neighbourhood’s new street sign initiative. This place-making project will improve signage along the Bay Street corridor from Carlton Street to Charles Street.
3. Ramsden Park Revitalization Update
We are excited to relate that Phase 1 of the Ramsden Park Revitalization is nearing completion. Residents passing by the park recently will have noticed that the playground structures are in place and the contractor is performing the finishing work on the paving and masonry. This incredible project - which will be a true community asset when it is finished - is currently on time and on budget. Construction is expected to wrap up by mid-December.
Spring 2017 will see the start of Phase 2, which will involve far less heavy construction. Elements of Phase 2 include upgrades to the Yonge Street frontage, upgrades to the main walkway, improvements to the Dogs Off Leash Area (DOLA), and upgrades to the Hillsboro entry stairway and ramp. The ramp will meet new provincially mandated accessibility standards, making the park more accessible to all. The DOLA will feature a corral-style entrance, and a doggie fountain to ensure that our furry friends can catch a drink after playing in the sun.
Phase 2 will also include extensive planting and landscape restoration, resulting in a truly remarkable green space in the heart of the city. Invasive species and trees in poor condition will be removed – 20 trees in total - while 60 new trees will be planted. In total over 1600 new plants will find a home in Ramsden Park.
The expected completion date for Ramsden Park is Fall 2017. If you have any inquiries, please do not hesitate to be in touch with us.
4. Shuter Street Update
Due to unforseen delays, watermain replacement work and road resurfacing on Shuter Street will likely continue until the end of the year.
While the new watermains have been installed, water testing has taken longer than anticipated. The new schedule will have the street resurfaced in sections, starting at Yonge and working eastward towards Sherbourne.
The new estimated dates of completion are below and subject to the unpredictability of wet weather and cold temperatures. City staff are optimistic that these timelines are achievable, and if conditions are good, the work could be finished ahead of schedule. Officers will be on hand to help direct traffic during the day.
Yonge to Victoria: November 14 to November 18 (Tentative)
As the narrowest part of the street, one lane will be open operating west from Victoria Street. Staff is working with St. Michael’s hospital and paramedic services to minimize the impact on emergency services.
Victoria to Church: November 21 to November 25 (Tentative)
One lane will operate in each direction, with crews restoring the north portion of the road and then switching to the south side once work on the north is complete.
Church to Sherbourne: Work to be completed by December 31 (Tentative)
Our office has been working with the Garden District Resident’s Association to address issues arising from this work, such as garbage not being picked up in a timely manner.
You can contact our office for updates, or contact the project manager, Sinead Canavan, at 416-397-1864 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Ecumenical Christmas Food Drive – November 19 and 26
The communities of Rosedale, Moore Park and Leaside are again supporting a Christmas Food Drive (the 45th consecutive) to assist local food banks and agencies that are in urgent need of help at this time of year. Flyers are delivered to area households on Saturday, November 19 and donations are then picked up on the following Saturday, November 26. There are two locations. The first is Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (OLPH) on St. Clair Avenue East. The other is St. Cuthbert’s Church on Bayview Avenue.
Times on both days are from 9:30 am until around 1 pm. Donations are sorted and packed at OLPH with same-day delivery to recipient food banks and agencies. In 2015 about 18,000 items were collected and it is hoped to better this figure this year as the demand is still great. Financial donations are also welcome and tax receipts are available. About 300 volunteers are required and community hours (generous ones) are available for high school students who require for graduation or other reasons.
In addition, two area Sobeys stores (St. Clair Avenue just east of Yonge Street and Wicksteed Avenue near Laird Drive) are once more supporting this effort by holding in-store drives throughout the Christmas season. These sources typically add another 10,000 or so to the overall total.
Councillor Wong-Tam has been a proud community participant since 2010 and will continue her involvement this year. It is a fun event for both families and young persons and is in aid of a worthwhile cause to benefit the less fortunate members of our community.
If further information is required, please contact the Campaign Chair, Brian Kearney, at 416-972-0585 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
6. Enbridge Update
Construction season is nearly at an end, however, there are still a few projects nearing completion. Enbridge is continuing their work updating old gas lines servicing consumers on Roxborough Street East and Macpherson Avenue. The current phase of construction will move along Roxborough Street East and end at Cluny Drive. Crews will then return to Yonge Street to complete tie ins, before moving on to the Macpherson laneway.
The overall scope of work will also include an upgrade to the District Station at Jay Macpherson Green. Enbridge will undertake a 5 metre cut that will extend out into the northbound curb lane of Avenue Rd, temporarily affecting traffic. This upgrade will ensure that the surrounding area will continue to receive an adequate supply of energy to support the growing population, renovated homes and new developments.
The entire project is expected to be completed in late January or early February, weather permitting. All affected residents will be notified by Enbridge prior to any work commencing on their street.
Although this is not a City project, our office is prepared to receive related inquiries, and direct them to Enbridge on your behalf. Alternatively, residents may contact the liaison, Mark Wilson, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Ontario Municipal Board Review
The province is in the midst of reviewing the scope and effectiveness of the Ontario Municipal Board. While some changes were made to the Planning Act recently which has served to slightly narrow what and when applications can be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, many of the structural problems remain, including the inequitable resources between a determined developer and resident associations and how much consideration a single board member should give to a decision of City Council.
As many of you know, Councillor Wong-Tam has fought since 2011 to remove Toronto from the purview of the Ontario Municipal Board. Her position has been expressed to the province numerous times, including in a 2012 motion supported by City Council and most recently in a motion from January of this year endorsing a motion from the Town of Aurora to restrict the jurisdiction of the Ontario Municipal Board.
Feedback to the province on their review of the board closes on December 19. If you wish to provide comments to the province, please visit the following page for more information: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page14965.aspx
8. Bill 61, Respect for Municipalities Act
NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo has introduced a Private Member's Bill to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario by known as Bill 61, Respect for Municipalities Act (City of Toronto), 2016. This bill seeks amendments that would eliminate rights of appeal under the Planning Act, City of Toronto Act, and others with respect to decisions of the City of Toronto. The NDP has consistently championed this bill over the years, first introduced under former MPP Rosario Marchese, and now under MPP DiNovo.
The NDP has created a petition for residents to sign in support of Bill 61, which you can find here.
9. 5, 7 & 9 Dale Avenue Community Consultation
The City has received an application to amend the Official Plan and Zoning By-law to permit a 4-storey (14.6 metres plus a 1.5 metre mechanical penthouse) 26-unit residential building with one level of underground parking. Three buildings in the South Rosedale Heritage Conservation District are proposed to be demolished. The southern portion of the site is located in Rosedale Ravine. The application to amend the Official Plan is to allow rear ground floor terraces to encroach into the required 10 metre setback from the top-of-bank of the ravine.
City Planning and the applicant will present the area policies, details of the application, and receive input from the public to assist in the review and assessment of the proposal.
You can view a copy of the Preliminary Report providing background information at: www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2016/te/bgrd/backgroundfile-96639.pdf
Please join us for the upcoming community consultation:
Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Time: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Place: St. Simon-the-Apostle Anglican Church, 525 Bloor Street East, Parish Hall
10. Old City Hall Future Uses Public Consultation
The City of Toronto will host a public consultation on Tuesday, November 22 at Metro Hall (55 John St.) to collect feedback on potential uses for Old City Hall, including a potential City of Toronto museum.
Public participation is an important part of the process to determine the appropriate future uses for Old City Hall. The public consultation will consist of information panels by the consultant team and Ryerson University, presentations by the consultant team, and a panel discussion followed by a question and answer session.
Currently, Old City Hall is occupied by Provincial and Municipal Courts that are scheduled to vacate by 2021. New uses are required for the building that allow greater public access, celebrate the heritage of the building, and meet a number of civic objectives.
Further details about the consultation can be found on the City's website: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=61f1c4de41e26510VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&projectID=61
Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Place: Metro Hall (55 John St.), 3rd floor room 308/309
11. Long-Term Fiscal Plan consultation
The City has deferred major capital expenditures and relied on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax to achieve balanced budgets on an annual basis, despite underlying concerns regarding sustainability. A recent staff report reviewed the expense and revenue patterns of recent budgets, and provided early forecasts of future expense pressures and revenue performances. Staff are cautioning that these trends, "do not form a reliable basis for future fiscal planning."
In December, additional information about the City's finances including the 2017 Preliminary Budget, expenditure management strategies, possible revenue options, and asset management optimization options will be presented to Executive Committee and City Council.
The City will be launching online surveys and holding public meetings to solicit public feedbcak. In November, a survey will focus on the information needs of participants and their opinion on the City's capacity to manage expenses and achieve its goals. In December, a second survey and series of public meetings will focus on specific expense, revenue and asset options needed to achieve long-term financial stability for the City.
The main consultation for Ward 27 will be held at the Toronto Reference Library on December 8. People need to register though Eventbrite, and we expect space to fill up quickly!
Date: Thursday, December 8, 2016
Time: Open House begins at 6 p.m., presentation at 7 p.m.
Place: Toronto Reference Library, Epic Hall, 789 Yonge St.
Please register at: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/the-city-of-toronto-consultation-on-long-term-financial-plan-tickets-29112511305
You can also join in this conversation on expenditure management, revenue options, and city assets by visiting http://www.investinginto.ca/
12. Expo 2025
Mayor John Tory and his Executive Committee voted on October 26 to “not support the development of a bid to host Expo 2025 in Toronto” but to consider an Expo 2030 bid. Their decision was made after hearing five hours of deputations where each and every speaker spoke intelligently, urgently and passionately on how Expo 2025 would be an accelerating and exceptional city-building pursuit for Toronto.
The effort to bring Expo 2025 to Toronto brought together an incredibly diverse coalition—leaders from the arts and business, community groups and the labour movement. Truly we had the widest group of thought leaders join the pro-Expo movement–from the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation to the entire board of the Toronto Stock Exchange, 30 start-up companies including youth entrepreneurs in Rexdale, as well as social innovators and immigration settlement services in Scarborough and the arts communities of North York. It was breathtaking. It was the face of Toronto.
City staff stated in their Expo 2025 Feasibility Considerations report: “Expo 2025 has the potential to be the largest and most impactful economic and cultural event held in Canada since Expo ’67.” Despite building a solid business case with tangible benefits that are irrefutable and convening an energized and diverse citizen coalition for Expo 2025, the stark reality remains that a bid from Toronto is not winnable without the active support of the Mayor.
A Mayor’s enthusiasm, soft power and tenacity has to be on full display when securing Expo support and funding from the other orders of government. The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the organization that sanctions the Expo, has made it clear that unwavering political leadership and support from the host city’s Mayor is most important when competing internationally for member nation votes.
Councillor Wong-Tam, a leading proponent of bringing the World Expo back to Canada in the future remains committed to working with Mayor Tory to consider the feasibility of an Expo 2030 bid.
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, Ward 27 · 100 Queen St W, Suite A5, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2, Canada