Several notes and calls have come to me concerning possible cuts to Animal Services in the 2008 budget. I wanted to explain where things are.
Earlier this month the Mayor introduced the draft budget for consideration by the Budget Committee. This draft budget was the result of several months of intensive review by senior City staff and members of the Budget Committee, on which I sit. The Budget committee then held public hearings, and several issues were raised by the community and City Councillors. Two possible cuts to the Animal Services budget were raised: injured animal pick up and voluntary animal surrender. In the first case the City responds to calls about injured animals and collects them. In the second, the City accepts custody of pets that Torontonians can no longer care for. These two programs are a small portion of the overall Animal Services budget.
The Budget Committee is current reviewing these proposals along with a few others in other City departments. We will meet again next week to consider changes. In order to save these programs or maintain them at a lower level of service, we would need to reduce expenditures elsewhere in the City budget.
The final Budget Committee recommendations go to the City’s Executive Committee, and then to City Council for a final vote at the end of March. Personally, I am never happy to cut important public services, and will work hard to identify possible savings elsewhere. Thanks for writing.
Please find attached the flyer for a design “charette” that I and Councillor Giambrone will be holding on Saturday March 1st, 1pm at McCormick Recreation Centre, 66 Sheridan Avenue. We hope to get your feedback, comments and suggestions on the public art installation, decorative elements, heritage attributes and other components as discussed at the November 14th, 2007 meeting.
We will also be following up on questions that arose during that meeting. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Amy Johnston in my office at 416-392-0202.
On Wednesday March 5th, 630pm at the Lithuanian Hall (1573 Bloor St. West) I will again be chairing a public meeting held by the City’s Planning department to develop a community vision for future planning of Bloor Street, between Keele Street and Dundas Street West. I will be posting the flyer with more details of this meeting as soon as it becomes available.
This will be the second in a series of three meetings that the City will be holding to discuss the development of this section of Bloor and the potential impacts on the surrounding neighbourhoods. A big thank you goes out to many of you who came to the first meeting on the 16th of January to share your comments and experience of living in your neighbourhood!
Let’s keep this momentum going. The outcome of the process will be a set of guiding principles and policies for neighbourhood development. This will allow the City’s Planning department to apply these guiding principles when assessing proposed developments and their respective Avenue Segment Studies, as submitted by the developers’ team.
I do hope you will come out and share your comments and views on the 5th at 630pm. For more information on this process, please visit www.dundasandbloor.ca, or feel free to contact my office.
Toronto Police Services is hosting a community consultation to disucss their new facility.
For more information please refer to attached flyer.
Seed Collage Workshop
Join Carolin at Poor John’s CafÃ© (1610 Queen St. W) for a seed collage workshop.
Thursday March 6th, from 6:30-8:30pm Cost: $2 supplied included
To register phone: 416-534-1414
Serving Up Strikes- Charity Bowl-A-Thon
On Monday, March 03, 2008, the restaurants of Bloor West Village and Roncesvalles will be competing in “Serving up Strikes”, a Charity Bowl-A-Thon to benefit the Parkdale Foodbank. In November 2007 the Parkdale Foodbank lost its main source of income and is in need of funding in order to keep serving over 600 needy families. Five servers from Bloor West Village, Jessica Charbonneau, Julie Baelde, Emma Stevenson-Blythe, Joanne Costain and Jessa Sobczyk are organizing this event which is an opportunity for fun and friendly competition between people who work in the foodservice industry; also, it is an opportunity to contribute to other members of the community who are in need of food – food for food! So far, 15 restaurants have committed to participating and the registration packages are being distributed. Funds will be raised through pledges collected by the participants, sponsorship from local businesses, and raffles and games during the event.
For more information or to make a pledge please contact Jessica Charbonneau at 416-333-1612 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Through the generous contributions of Torontonians, and in conjunction with the City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, the field house is in the final stages of construction. The field house will be a hub of activity and will help serve the many clubs that run out of the park.
New kitchen cabinets have been generously donated but there are a few pieces of equipment that are required for the kitchen in order for it to be fully equipped. If you, or if you know of anyone, who would like to donate a new microwave, full sized fridge and new, unused furniture for the field house, please contact Doug Bennet at email@example.com.
I look forward to sharing with you the date for the Grand Opening real soon. Stay tuned!
Today the City will announce plans to remove snow from some of Toronto‘s residential streets.
Removal of the snow in specific areas is required to ensure public safety for pedestrians and the disabled, provide accessibility for emergency and waste collection vehicles, and the proper and safe movement of traffic in areas where narrow roads mean any further snowfall will make roads more difficult to travel. Given the forecast for more snow and continued cold temperatures, the removal of snow in some areas is now required. Snow removal involves the physical removal of snow from the side of the street after plowing has taken place. On residential streets that allow parking on one side of the street, the snow will be removed from the opposite side of the street. Residents are asked to move their vehicles to make the street easier for crews to access. Snow will be removed from the side of the street where parking is permitted if the cars are removed. However, moving cars from these streets is not mandatory and vehicles will not be towed. On residential streets that allow parking on both sides of the street, residents will be asked to move their cars from the street to allow access to snow removal crews. Less than 5% of the streets where snow will be removed have parking on both sides of the street. On these streets, snow will be removed from both sides of the street. Residents will be given 48 hours notice to move their vehicles.
Vehicles that remain on the street when crews arrive will be given a “friendly tow” (tow to a new location without a ticket or tow charge to the vehicle owner). Arrangements have been made with the Toronto Parking Authority to permit free parking from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. in the City’s “Green P” lots in areas where residents are required to move their vehicles.
Starting next week, flyers will be delivered to affected homes to alert residents that they live on a street where snow removal will take place. The City of Toronto website will contain a regularly updated list of streets scheduled for snow removal (www.toronto.ca/snow). The City anticipates this additional snow removal effort will be completed in 10-14 days, weather permitting. Almost 2,000 people and 600 dump trucks will make up 83 crews (up from the usual 20) and will be working 24/7. Should there be a significant snowfall during this additional effort, crews will be redeployed to plow and clear roads and sidewalks and, therefore, snow removal operations announced today will be delayed. The City’s approach to road safety in the winter is focused on plowing and salting roads to allow for safe passage of vehicles and pedestrians. Large-scale snow removal is only used in extreme situations where public safety or the large scale movement of goods and services is compromised. The anticipated cost of this additional snow removal operation is approximately up to $20 million, which will come from the 2008 winter maintenance budget. Also, through an agreement reached with Toronto Parking Enforcement, people with street permit parking will be able to move to a different zone temporarily on the days where snow removal is being done on their street. Toronto Parking Enforcement will use discretion in the issuance of tickets during the times where snow removal operations are taking place.
The public will also be reminded that when shoveling their sidewalks to keep snow off the streets to help snow removal efforts. The public is also asked to clear snow from around fire hydrants.
Please refer to attached map for snow removal areas snow-removal-plan-map.pdf
This spring residents in single family houses in ward 14 and surrounding wards will receive new larger blue bins. They will be similar to the green bins we have. Additionally, apartments will soon be getting better recycling tools. This is all part of the ambitious 70% recycling system adopted in 2007 by City Council. That plan is easily the most ambitious plan of any major North American city. There are three size choices for Blue Bins: Medium, Large and Extra-large.
- Medium Blue Bin = 2 blue boxes
- Large Blue Bin = 4 blue boxes
- Extra-Large Blue Bin = 6 blue boxes
Everyone will receive a large bin unless they order a different size. You have until February 22nd to choose a different size for free.There are three options for placing Blue Bin orders:
- On-line: via the website at toronto.ca/target70
- Automated Telephone Order Line: call 647-288-1088
- Mail: complete the enclosed postage-paid order card that came with your newsletter and mail it back.
If you follow this link you can get more detail on the plan: http://www.toronto.ca/target70/index.htm
I want to talk about some of the bigger issues….To read more please click on the link below:
Family skate day next Monday
Toronto families are invited to take part in a free Family Skate Day on Monday, February 18, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Ricoh Coliseum, 100 Princes’ Blvd. (Exhibition Grounds). Donations of used skates and helmets are welcome. The event is part of Get Your Move On, a Toronto initiative promoting physical activity. http://www.toronto.ca/getyourmoveon/gymo_signature_events.htm
To see poster click on the link microsoft-word-ricoh-family-skate-march-break-2008_2_.pdf
Need help becoming a Canadian Citizen?
PCIC in conjunction with Parkdale Intercultural Association and the United Way are hosting free citizenship classes on February 19th.
To see poster click on the link microsoft-word-citizenship-classes-feb-march-2008.pdf
At the beginning of February, Mayor Miller and Budget Chief Shelley Carroll introduced the draft budget for consideration by City Council. The budget proposal is the first balanced budget introduced since the amalgamation of Toronto. It also addresses several City priorities. There will be improved public transit service. We will begin implementing our 70% waste diversion plan. Key parts of the City climate plan are starting up. Neighborhood beautification projects such as the clean up of orphan spaces will be enhanced. Nuit Blanche will expand the number of locations. The chronic shortage of planning staff has been addressed.
To do this, and maintain core City services we have implemented the Land Transfer tax and Vehicle Registration Fee. This year’s property tax increase will be 3.75 % for homeowners and 1.25 % for non-residential buildings.
The budget is a complex document. I spent 3 months as a member of the budget committee working through detailed reviews of several departmental budgets such as the TTC. In that process we set guidelines for City staff which lead to the draft budget.
There are a few issues outstanding such as the potential fee increases for recreation. As you know I have been publicly opposed to some of these proposals. In the main though, I am very proud of the work of the Budget Committee. We kept the property tax increase well below most municipalities in the region, protected services, and improved in the areas that we heard from the public are very important to them.
In the next few weeks we will be reviewing public feedback on the budget and debating proposed changes. The final budget debate takes place in early March. To find out more direct information on the capital and operating budgets for 2008, you can also visit the City’s new website:http://www.toronto.ca/toronto-budget/index.html