Mayor Ford has passed his first budget and we now can see that his administration is mean-spirited and reckless.
His budget cuts were principally targeted at people who need public services most.
41 bus routes are losing service often in evenings when working people are coming home. Worse, these routes are often in sub-urban areas far from subway service.
Adults using free recreation programs community centres in low income neighbourhoods will now have to either prove they are needy enough to be subsidized or will have to pay. This will affect many programs in the Masaryk-Cowan Community Centre. If you use one of these programs or know someone who does, please contact my office so we can help you apply for a recreation fee subsidy.
Funding to help tenants fight illegal rent increases at the Landlord Tenant Tribunal is cut.
A Toronto Public Library branch will be closed.
Needed additional funding for student nutrition programs for kids who show up to school hungry and to fight bed-bug infestations was turned down
Even more alarming is the impact this year’s budget will have in future years. Mayor Ford’s 2011 budget is reckless. It creates a huge financial problem for future years.
By cutting the personal vehicle registration fee and freezing taxes Mayor Ford widened the gap between what we bring in and what we spend on public services by over $100 million per year. He also spent over $346 million that the previous council had put away in a tax stabilization reserve to deal with emergencies. When the on-going pressures from downloaded services are added the next budget will start $775 million dollars in the hole.
The City budget has two portions: 1) Our over-all or gross budget that includes provincial programs (which they fund and we administer) such as welfare; 2) Our net budget that includes the programs we pay for ourselves through property taxes and user fees. This is the budget that we control. This year it came to a total of $3.7 billion. To get through next year without major tax increases, the Mayor will have to cut 20% of our services.
To put this in perspective if we close every library and community centre and 1/3rd of the police budget we would almost make up the shortfall.
I wish I had better news to report. Many councillors fought against this terrible budget. We lost by a single vote of some critical budget items. Clearly, those of us who believe in a fiscally and socially sustainable approach to governing are going to have to re-double our efforts in the coming months.
Road Reconfiguration and Reconstruction / Resurfacing , and Streetscaping
Construction on Roncesvalles Avenue between Queen Street West and Dundas Street West is scheduled to re-commence on Monday March 21st, 2011, subject to suitable weather conditions. Construction is anticpatied to continue until the week of July 4th, 2011.
The contractor, Sanscon Construction Ltd., will generally work from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, Monday to Friday, and from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm on most Saturdays. Occasionally, work may need to take place up to 9:00 pm on weekdays.
COMMITTEE OF ADJUSTMENT HEARINGS – Wednesday March 9th, 2011
Committee Room 2, City Hall 100 Queen St. West, Toronto.
1:00 p.m. Parts and Labour, 1568 Queen Street West:
Applied to Committee of Adjustment for approval to construct an outdoor rooftop patio.
Community members have contacted my office in objection to this application.
City of Toronto Community Planning Staff reviewed the proposal and will be recommending that the CofA refuse the application.
3:30 p.m. 36 Spencer Avenue:
Applied to Committee of adjustment for approval to convert the existing eight-storey nursing home facility into a 46-self-contained-unit apartment building.
Deadline for filing your written comments for early distribution to the Committee Members is: 3:00 P.M. THURSDAY, March 3rd, 2011. If you wish to comment, please comment directly to the Committee of Adjustment. Please write to:
Anita M. MacLeod
Manager & Deputy Secretary-Treasurer
Committee of Adjustment
Toronto & East York District
100 Queen St West
Toronto M5H 2N2
You can also contact the Committee of Adjustment office at: 416-392-7565
City Council meeting of February 7 and 8, 2011
Reduced fee for business licences
Council supported making a municipal code amendment reducing the City’s fee for a new business licence application by $25. The reduction comes in response to the Municipal Licensing and Standards division now requiring clients to provide their own documentation of police clearance instead of the City undertaking the police check at an administrative cost of about $25. The City’s fee reduction, which takes effect immediately, is retroactive to January 1, 2011.
Salary freeze for Mayor and Councillors
Council decided to cancel a Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase to salaries that was scheduled for the Mayor and Councillors for 2011. The rationale for the decision is to set a good example in helping the City address its current financial challenges. The CPI increase would have totalled about $110,000 for the year. A motion asking that the $110,000 be allocated to the City’s student nutrition program was referred to the Budget Committee for consideration.
Improving the City’s responsiveness
Council adopted the City Ombudsman’s annual report for 2010 and directed the City Manager to implement six recommendations for the Toronto Public Service. The recommendations include, for example, ensuring that any City divisions without complaint systems in place complete them immediately and post them on their divisional websites no later than March 1, 2011. Another requirement is that the Toronto Public Service set standards for record-keeping in every area of its operations by this fall.
Preparing to host the Pan Am Games
Council took steps to continue the City’s efforts preparing for the Pan American Games and Parapan American Games that Toronto and surrounding municipalities will host in 2015. Among actions taken, Council approved using the City-operated track at York University for the games as well as creating a bicycle motocross/BMX course in Etobicoke Centennial Park – the latter requiring local community consultation. Council granted authority for the City to move ahead with partner the University of Toronto (subject to conditions) to build an aquatic centre in Scarborough that will serve the games and leave a beneficial legacy for the community.
Extension of stimulus projects
Council authorized the extension of work on City stimulus projects that have experienced delays, and gave City officials authority to amend intergovernmental agreements to take advantage of an extension of deadlines for federal and provincial funding of local stimulus projects. The flow of funds was originally going to end March 31 but the funding will now remain available for qualified projects until October 31, 2011.
Support for City job fairs
Council directed City staff to continue to build connections between employers and job seekers by hosting, participating in and supporting job fairs across Toronto. Job fairs bring together a large number of employers and job seekers. Council directed the Employment & Social Services and Human Resources divisions, along with other divisional and community partners, to plan and host a Toronto job fair later this year.
Green roofs for industrial buildings
Council authorized extending the City’s exemption period for industrial buildings for meeting green roof requirements that were set to take effect January 31, 2011. The extension to April 30, 2012, made by amending the Toronto Green Roof Bylaw, will allow for further consultation with stakeholders on the issue of green roofs on industrial buildings.
Bikes on sidewalks, cars in bike lanes
Council wants Toronto’s police to crack down on prohibited cycling on local sidewalks. Council decided to ask the police chief (through the police board) to create a strategy to enforce City bylaws covering cycling on sidewalks and to review ticketing procedures for infractions. The police chief will also be asked to look into options to step up enforcement efforts that will help to discourage drivers from blocking cyclists by stopping or parking motor vehicles in bike lanes.
During March break I will be hosting a FREE Community Skate at RICOH Coliseum on:
Thursday March 17th, 2011.
12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
-No entry fee required for the Ricoh Coliseum but waivers must be signed upon arrival.
-Skating sessions are first come first serve. No more than 250 people on the ice at a time.
-Ricoh Coliseum Helmet Policy: Children 12 yrs and under are required to wear a CSA approved helmet.
-Ricoh Coliseum is attached to the Direct Energy Centre located on the grounds of the Exhibition Place. (Entrance on Nunavut Road.)
Please invite your neighbours.
PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN SKATES. RICOH COLISEUM DOES NOT HAVE SKATE RENTALS
For more information contact Parks, Forestr y and Recreation at 416-392-6867
Click here for flyer: Ward 14 Community Skate Day RICOH
Masaryk Park Wading Pool Improvements
Improvements coming to Masaryk Park wading pool:
Pending approval of the 2011 budget, construction is scheduled to commence in spring and is anticipated to be completed prior to the opening of the 2011 swimming season.
Scope of work to include:
-Concrete turret at the centre of the pool will be removed to provide better sight-lines for the lifeguards.
-Cracked concrete panels within the pool basin will be removed and replaced.
-Existing weeds around the perimeter of the pool will be removed and all concrete expansion joints will receive new caulking.
-New nozzles to fill the wading pool will be provided.
-Existing heavier chamber lids will be replaced with hydraulic assisted lids that will be easier for staff to lift
-Existing ladder and other worn apparatus within underground chamber will be removed and replaced.
The scope of work was determined as a result of a condition audit and from various on-site meetings with City of Toronto Parks Aquatic, Technical and Maintenance staff.
Notice of Public Open House
Date: Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
Time: 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Location: Liberty Noodle, 171 East Liberty St. (at Hanna Ave)
This open house will present on the following three projects:
- Dufferin Street Bridges
This study will determine how the bridges over the Gardiner Expressway and the Metrolinx/GO Transit railway corridor at Dufferin Street should be replaced. The preferred design will be presented at this second and final open house. The design follows the existing road alignment and will provide for the needs of all bridge users including pedestrians, cyclists, TTC, and motorists, in addition to GO Transit’s planned expansion of the existing rail corridor.
- King-Liberty Pedestrian Cyclist Link
This study will determine the location and design for a pedestrian/cyclist link across the CN/CP railway corridor between Atlantic Avenue and Strachan Avenue. Current design alternatives will be presented at this second open house.
- Liberty Village New Road
This study will investigate the feasibility of constructing a new east-west street along the south end of Liberty Village. The new roadway would improve traffic circulation and provide community building opportunities in the area. This open house will present an introduction to the project.
Each study is being carried out separately as a Schedule C Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA). This includes identifying the problem/opportunity to be addressed, developing and evaluating a reasonable range of alternative solutions, and providing opportunities for public input at key stages.
Public consultation is an important part of each study. You are invited to view project materials and speak one-on-one with members of the project teams and to share your insights and opinions at this combined public open house.
Public Consultation Coordinators:
Jason Diceman: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maogosha Pyjor: email@example.com
For the project webpages please visit: www.toronto.ca/liberty3ea
Click here for the flyer: PkdLbrtyMETRO12pgadv2
Hydro One’s Lakeshore Infrastructure Renewal Project: PUBLIC INFORMATION CENTRE
This is a Class Environmental Assessment that involves replacing the two 115 kilovolt (kV) underground cables that connect Strachan Transformer Station, located at Strachan Avenue and Manitoba Drive, and Riverside Junction, located at The Queensway and Windermere Avenue. Hydro One is proposing to replace these cables with two 230 kV circuits, to ensure a continued safe and reliable electricity supply to Toronto Hydro customers.
A Public Information Centre (PIC) has been scheduled to present the recommended route, information on construction and tree preservation program. Following the PIC, an Environmental Study Report will be available for a public and stakeholder review period.
Thursday February 17, 2011
5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Four Points Sheraton Hotel, Ontario Room 1926 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Toronto
If you have any questions or wish to be added to the project mailing list, please contact:
Hydro One Networks Inc.
Tel: 416-345-6799 or 1-877-345-6799
Project Website: www.HydroOne.com/projects
Click here for the flyer: HydroOne PIC
Personal Vehicle Tax Refund
The City is working with the Ministry of Transportation to obtain the names of those individuals that pre-paid the PVT for the 2011 year and on. We expect to refund those individuals by the end of April 2011, the refund process will be automated and so we are not required to obtain any info from those that paid the tax.
Parkdale Project Read
Parkdale Project Read is actively seeking dedicated Volunteer Tutors to join the Project Read Community.
“Volunteer Tutors would ideally have an understanding of anti-racist and anti-oppressive frameworks, a strong desire to not only teach but learn, and be representative of the diverse backgrounds of the learners we service.”
If you or someone you know is interested, please visit the website here: http://parkdaleprojectread.org/volunteers/volunteer-tutor-application/ for more information and to download an application.
The next round of tutor training begins Thursday, February 24. Please spread the word!
Parkdale Project Read is located at 1209 King St. West, Unit 2, Toronto, ON M6K 1G2
Community Grants Program 2011-02-11
The Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation is pleased to announce its 9th Annual Community Grants Program. In 2003 the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation launched the Community Grants Program, an initiative to support charitable community organizations that are actively involved in sustaining and enhancing Toronto’s public parkland. The Foundation makes small grants for a diversity of park-based projects and community group undertakings.
Grant applications are being accepted up to March 31st, 2011.
For more information please call 416-397-5178 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org