A Message From Councillor Perks

Posted on April 12, 2012

 

Friends,

 

I wanted to share some good news about City Council and invite you into a longer term conversation about harm reduction. I think each of these issues raises important questions about the kind of government and City we want.

 

At Council this week we reversed the imposition of drastic fee increases on City sports fields being used by community run leagues. The fees were slipped into a several hundred page document on user fee policy which was brought in late  during budget debate earlier this year. When I and some of my colleagues pressed for a presentation on the impacts of the user fee policy during the budget debate, we were refused. Only when community sports leagues spoke up were progressive Councillors able to make the Mayor and Council agree to reopen the City budget and drop the fees for this year and review the impact for future years.

 

The issue of user fees raises an important discussion about what the City government is. Are we to “run like a business” and try to recover the cost of public services through fees? Or, do we raise money through taxation and provide services for everyone to enjoy? While there are some services (building permits for example) which make sense as fee-for-service operations, many other public services (say, traffic lights) do not. I support the idea of providing a wide range of recreation and public space services as public goods. I encourage you to give some thought to where you draw the line, as this kind of debate is bound to emerge increasingly in coming years.

 

Another important issue that came up was the contracting out of cleaning jobs. Again, this issue stems from a decision the Mayor and his Council allies took during the budget. As a cost saving measure they have begun to contract out cleaning jobs in police stations and gave the authority to contract out other cleaning jobs without asking for Council approval. A sustained six month campaign resulted in a strong vote to force any further outsourcing to come before Council. We found that private sector cleaning companies are cheaper principally because they pay very low wages to workers. We also showed that frequently they subcontract to agencies which have been found guilty of illegal employment practices, which result in workers getting less than minimum wage. My sense is that most Torontonians want to treat the people who provide services to the public fairly. Almost no-one wants to save a dollar or two per month on their property taxes by endorsing the illegal treatment of workers.

 

While Council was debating these issues a study, partly funded by a provincial agency, was released recommending that Toronto should consider three supervised consumption sites for people addicted to injection drugs. While this academic research will not by itself lead to such sites appearing in Toronto, it does serve to open a conversation Torontonians will have to have someday.

 

Recently, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled 9 – 0 that the federal government could not close the safe injection site in Vancouver. I urge you to take a quick look at their reasons: the Vancouver facility saves lives and does not cause harm to the community at large: therefore it would be a violation of people rights to deny them treatment: Supreme Court Of Canada Canada – (Attorney General) v. PHS Community Services

 

The new study suggests that three sites operating in Toronto would save lives, reduce health care costs and reduce drug-related harms to communities: TOSCA Report . It also suggests that such facilities should be housed in existing medical facilities. Ultimately, the provincial Ministry of Health and the federal Minister of Health would have to consent. Before achieving such consent any facility would need to have a substantial community consultation. There are no applications pending anywhere in Toronto.

 

So, three big questions: When should government act like a business, and when should it be a tax supported service provider? Can we accept pushing low wage jobs even lower just to save money? How do we confront growing evidence that safe injection sites work?
Lots to think about.

 

-Gord

 

Revue Cinema Fundraiser

Posted on April 12, 2012

 

 

 

On Wednesday, April 18th at 6 pm a fundraiser will be staged at the Revue Cinema.  There will be short films, music, a door prize, a 50/50 draw, and a Silent Auction.

 

Tickets $10 – at Pollocks Home Hardware, revuemovie@gmail.com or at the Revue on the day of the event.  Seating is limited.

 

All attendees who consent will appear in our movie! Dress for stardom!

 

For more information see: Revue Cinema Fundraiser

 

*Reminder* April 26th and 28th Compost Days

Posted on April 12, 2012

 

Get your shovels and containers ready, we will be holding our annual Ward 14 compost days at the end of the month.  Our compost comes from your leaf and yard waste that we collect as partof our waste reduction and recycling program.  The compost is FREE and available as long as the supplies last.

 

The Dates for the events are:

 

Thursday April 26th, 2012 – 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm(or until supplies last)

Masaryk-Cowan Community Center, 220 Cowan Ave.

 

Saturday April 28th, 2012 – 10:00 pm to 8:00 pm(or until supplies last)

Indian Road Crescent Junior Public School, 285 Indian Road Cres.

 

 

For the flyer and more information please see:

April 26th Compost Day Flyer

April 28th Compost Day Flyer

 

 

Congratulations To The Parkdale Village BIA

Posted on April 12, 2012

 

Through their hard work the Parkdale Village BIA has been awarded a 2012 TD Green Streets Grant through the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. Out of the over 70 submissions the Parkdale Village BIA was one of the 21 entries chosen!

 

The TD Green Streets Grant is a national program that supports innovative practices in municipal forestry. Through this program, communities across Canada are eligible to receive matching grants of up to $15,000 to support local forestry projects.

The grant encourages and supports the adoption of leading-edge practices in municipal forestry
including:

  • Innovative urban forest planning
  • Single tree and forest stand innovation demonstration projects
  • Policy and best management practices workshops
  • Outreach and educational activities on innovative practices including arboricultural practices
  • Innovative management tools to protect and maintain the urban forest
  • Innovative urban design which showcases “green infrastructure”
  • Innovative planting techniques

 

For more information on the program please see: Green Streets 2012

To learn more about the Parkdale Village BIA and their great initiatives please visit: Parkdale Village BIA

 

Roncesvalles Village Makes The Short List For The Greatest Places In Canada Contest

Posted on April 12, 2012

 

 

Great news!  Roncevalles Village has made the short list for the Canadian Institute of Planners Greatest Places In Canada Contest in the Great Neighbourhoods category.

More than 200,000 votes were received in the second Great Places in Canada contest. From a field of 90 nominations, an expert panel of professional planners has now short-listed 21, with Roncesvalles Village being the only remaining Toronto nomination.

A judging panel will now select the winners. Canada’s Great Places, along with the People’s Choice awards, will be announced at the end of April.

 

For more information please see: Greatest Places In Canada Contest Short List

 

High Park Zoo Update

Posted on April 12, 2012

 

Councillor Sarah Doucette announced some great news this week regarding the ongoing funding initiative for the High Park Zoo.

Through the Toronto Community Foundation, The Honey FamilyFoundation has agreed to make a multi-year funding commitment. Starting today April 9, 2012 the Honey Family Foundation has generously committed to match, dollar-for-dollar, and to a maximum of $50,000 any funds raised until June 15, 2012. Not only that, but they have agreed to offer thesame funds for 2013 and 2014!

Unfortunately, the 2012 City of Toronto Budget did not include the High Park Zoo, so it is relying on public and corporate donations to ensure its survival. With a deadline of this June, the zoo must reach$114,000 to remain in operation for 2012. Through their awareness campaign and holidayevents, the Friends of High Park Zoo have raised over $40,000 to-date.

If you would like to learn more about the Friends of High Park Zoo please visit: Friends of High Park Zoo

To Donate to help save the zoo please see:  Donate To Save The High Park Zoo

Sorauren Town Square Campaign

Posted on April 12, 2012

 

The Sorauren Town Square Campaign has reached the half-way mark after 4 months of campaigning!

“Toronto residents continue to show their generosity and desire to expand the park, with donations to the Sorauren Park Town Square community fund now at $20,000.

Construction of the new Town Square is expected to begin in 2013. The “town square”will occupy the now vacant land between the Fieldhouse and the abandoned linseed oil factory along Wabash Avenue, and will add new green space, 31 more trees, gardens, picnic tables, performance space, and a pizza/bake oven.

 

You can Donate Online and all donations over $10 receive a charitable tax receipt. The community fund will leverage funding from other sources… every dollar counts!”

 

 

Toronto Hydro Spring Coupon Event

Posted on April 12, 2012

 

Through to April 29th, the saveONenergy “spring coupon event” program will be taking place at participating retailers for customer discounts on eligible energy-efficient products for the home.

The saveONenergy spring coupon event is funded by the Ontario Power Authority and offered by Toronto Hydro.

Attached you will find the list of participating retailers by ward.

More details and a list of participating retailers and eligible products/discounts can be found at torontohydro.com/coupons

Also, Toronto Hydro will be at all The Home Depot stores across the city on April 14th and 15th, providing product and program education to customers.

To see a list of participating locations please view: Toronto Hydro Spring Coupon Event – Retailers and Councilor Listing

 

Finally, The saveONenergy “Exchange Event” will be held at all Canadian Tire stores on June 16 & 17, 2012 only.  Customers can swap their old, inefficient window/room air conditioners and dehumidifiers for a $50 coupon to redeem against a new, efficient model. More information will be available at torontohydro.com/exchange in the coming weeks.

 

Reminder: Tonight (April 12th) – Toronto Youth Cabinet – Youth Town Hall

Posted on April 12, 2012

 

 

Just a reminder that tonight is the Toronto Youth Cabinet’s ‘Youth Town Hall’.  This evening at 7PM the Youth Town Hall will be held on keeping young people involved in community conversations. The event is at the auditorium of Bishop Morocco/Thomas Merton Catholic School, which is located at the corner of Bloor St. West and Dundas West, on the second floor.
Young residents of High Park and Parkdale area (Wards 13 and 14) are invited to attend a Youth Town Hall on Thursday April 12th, at Bishop Morocco Catholic School. This event will give youth the opportunity to discuss Community issues- including High Park fire, High Park Zoo, the TTC, vandalism, etc. City Councillors Sarah Doucette & Gord Perks along with representatives from local organizations will be present, and available to listen and comment about YOUR concerns. Because it’s OUR community too! Presented by the Toronto Youth Cabinet.”

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