High Park Stewards Session – Winter Speaker Series – March 8th, 2015

Posted on February 26, 2015

Garry Oak Preserve Restoration, Cowichan, BC
Sunday, March 8 2015/ 10:30am-12:30 pm
Howard Park Tennis Club, 430 Parkside Drive.

Join the High Park Stewards  as Dr. Andrew MacDougall, Associate Professor, University of Guelph  discusses the restoration project of this rare habitat, not unlike our own Black Oak Savannah.
www.highparknature.org

Winter Speaker Series:

Garry Oak Preserve Restoration, Cowichan, BC

Sunday, March 8, 2015
10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Howard Park Tennis Club, 430 Parkside Drive Toronto, M6R 2Z3 Everyone welcome, Free.

Speaker: Dr. Andrew MacDougall, Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph

The first light S. of Bloor from Keele. It’s the brown building in the back. Please enter via the bottom door. Free. HPTC Directions

The Cowichan Valley is widely known as one of the last and best havens of the globally endangered Garry oak ecosystem and its associated biodiversity. Dr. McDougall will discuss the recovery and stewardship programs, prescribed burns and its flora and fauna.

Dr. Andrew MacDougall

Restoring BC’s Garry Oak Ecosystems

 

City of Toronto Budget 2015

Posted on February 25, 2015

First, thanks to everyone who came to our Ward 13/14 budget town hall last month. Here’s an update on where we are now.

After a month’s intensive study we have a clearer picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the 2015 proposed budget.

On the plus side, most of the bus service cut by the previous administration has been restored. Many of the improvements Council approved in our Parks Recreation and Forestry Department have been funded. Some tools to benefit low income Torontonians have seen modest improvements.

However, there are very deep problems. Most concerning is the City Manager’s proposal to borrow from the funds we have set aside for capital projects (buying transit vehicles, repairing roads etc.) in order to cover the Provincial cut to our funding for social housing.

To remind you, we heard in late 2013 that the province was phasing out an annual contribution to our budget which helped with public housing costs.

In total that Provincial decision added $129 million in costs to the City budget. Because of the phasing of that cost we must “find” two-thirds of that money this year and the final third next year.

To simplify a complex financial manoeuver, the City plans to borrow money this year, next year and the year after. The City plans to pay back the principle and interest of these loans by finding cuts to other programs. Proponents of this approach insist that those cuts will not reduce service quality. Instead they say, they will find the money by  doing things more efficiently.

This sounds somewhat plausible until we review the City’s current fiscal context. Part of our budget process forecasts the next year’s budget. For 2016, even before the “self-borrowing” proposal staff are forecasting: a tax increase right up to the rate of inflation; an increase TTC fares; and, $308 million in cuts to the City’s budget.

Altogether the “savings” we are hoping to find next year amount to nearly 10% of our discretionary spending.

My view is we cannot continue to “bet” on finding savings of this magnitude. At some point we have to squarely face the fact that the services we expect from our City government cost more than the taxes we currently collect. I think most people would agree that deep cuts to City services are not the way to go. In fact, in many areas (transit, daycare, housing) I am hearing people want more and better service.

There are some other worrying changes in this budget. I want to highlight four of them.

1. The Budget Committee has reduced the proposed budgets for the Integrity Commissioner and the Ombudsman. Given recent history in Toronto we should be strengthening our public accountability.

2. The budget plan will result in us replacing our current streetcar fleet with fewer vehicles. This will mean longer wait times on most routes, particularly in rush hours. Granted the vehicles will be bigger, but an empty seat isn’t much comfort if you have to wait longer for it to come.

3. The Budget Committee also decided to recommend cutting 8 planning staff positions. This would impact on the amount of heritage conservation work the City can do and the number of community based planning studies.

4. City staff have recommended that we start recovering the full cost of treating polluted water discharges from certain industries. The proposed budget rejects that approach and recommends all of us subsidize these polluters through our water bills.

The budget will reach Council for final approval at a meeting on March.

This link to the City’s budget page might be of interest: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=ce9bbd5e9ef2a410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

I’ll be back in touch after the budget is approved with final thoughts.

Gord

 

Reminder: Dufferin King Parkette Community consultation meeting Thursday February 26, 2015

Posted on February 25, 2015

This is just a reminder about the Dufferin – King Park meeting ( as posted here )

Please share with your neighbours

Councillor Perks invites you to the next community consultation meeting with City of Toronto Parks Staff to provide an update and present the new concept design for the King and Dufferin Park expansion:

 

Thursday, February 26th, 2015
Parkdale United Church, Phoenix Room (Downstairs)
171 Dunn Ave
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Toronto seeks input on sign and billboard regulations

Posted on February 20, 2015

Tuesday, March 3, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen St. W., Committee Room 1

The City of Toronto is looking for input from the public and business owners on potential changes to the City of Toronto Act and the Toronto Sign Bylaw. The proposed changes would increase the City’s ability to implement and enforce the Sign Bylaw.

At the January 8 meeting of the Planning and Growth Management Committee, staff recommended that Council request the Province to amend the City of Toronto Act so that the Toronto Sign Bylaw could apply to signs and billboards that existed prior to the current Sign Bylaw being enacted in 2010.

If approved by the Province of Ontario, the amendment to the City of Toronto Act could restore the level of authority back to similar levels that prior to 1983 existed for municipalities in Ontario, and that currently exist in other large Canadian cities such as Vancouver and Montreal.

In response to the staff recommendations, City Council requested that staff hold public and stakeholder consultations on this request to the Province, and report back to Council in April of this year on how the City should address existing non-conforming signs if the Province amends the City of Toronto Act.

All residents, property owners, businesses and members of the public are invited to attend one of the following workshops from 7 to 9 p.m. to speak with City staff about their thoughts and ideas on this subject. A brief presentation will start at 7:15 p.m.

Tuesday, March 3, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen St. W., Committee Room 1

Specific issues being considered as part of this consultation include:
to which signs and billboards should the current Sign Bylaw apply?
to what extent should the current Sign Bylaw apply to lawfully existing signs and billboards that dont meet the current requirements of the Sign Bylaw (because they existed prior to the current bylaw being enacted), if at all?
if existing signs and billboards dont comply with the current Sign Bylaw and are required to comply, how should the City go about achieving compliance?

For those unable to attend in person, comments can be sent directly to signbylawunit@toronto.ca.

More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/signs.

Georgetown South (GTS) Project Update (Feb 19)

Posted on February 19, 2015

My office was just informed by GO/Metrolinx earlier this afternoon of track work to commence this evening.

If you have any questions during this time please contact:
Manuel Pedrosa
Manager, Community Relations
Georgetown South Project

GO Transit, a division of Metrolinx
20 Bay Street, Suite 600
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2W3

E-mail: manuel.pedrosa@gotransit.com
twitter.com/GTS_Project
Tel: 416-869-3600 ext. 6719
Cell: 416-996-9213

Continuous Working Hours February 19 – 21
What GO/Metrolinx are doing
• Realigning tracks into their final position between Sterling Ave. and Dupont St.
• Work will take place from Thursday February 19 at 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. on Saturday February 21.
• GO/Metrolinx apologize for the short notice. This is critical work and can only be completed when trains are not operating.

How this will affect you

• Residents living nearby can expect some noise associated with construction equipment including excavators, trucks, etc.
• Lights will be used overnight to ensure safe working conditions. However, they will be focused away from nearby residences as much as possible.

gotransit.com/gts

20150219-Bloor_overnightwork-page-001

Dufferin – King Parkette Expansion Community Meeting – February 26th, 2015

Posted on February 18, 2015

Please share with your neighbours

Councillor Perks invites you to the next community consultation meeting with City of Toronto Parks Staff to provide an update and present the new concept design for the King and Dufferin Park expansion:

 

Thursday, February 26th

Parkdale United Church, Phoenix Room (Downstairs)
171 Dunn Ave

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

 

Dufferin King Park Meeting Feb 26-page-001

Roncesvalles Historical Society – Historical Origins of Local Streets

Posted on February 18, 2015

Wednesday February 25, 6:30 – 8:00pm
High Park Library,  228 Roncesvalles

The Roncesvalles Village Historical Association shares stories about Colonel Walter O’Hara, John Howard, James Macdonnell, and Robert Jameson, and how they shape our current landscape.

StreetOriginsPoster-page-001

Tonight (Wed Feb 18): Poverty Reduction Meeting Strategy

Posted on February 18, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.,
Masaryk-Cowan Community Centre, 220 Cowan Avenue

Poverty Reduction Days of Dialogues

The City of Toronto is developing a poverty reduction strategy and Torontonians are playing an in creating an effective strategy. Many of your resident groups and stakeholders recently participated in community conversations or completed the online survey as part of the City’s development of a Poverty Reduction Strategy.

We are hosting 8 Days of Dialogue (community conversations) across the city from February 17-28 as part of the next phase of engagement. The focus of these dialogues is with people with lived experience of poverty. It is an opportunity for the City (including the Deputy Mayor for Poverty Reduction, and Councillors) to hear from residents about the most important things the City can do to help them secure better lives for themselves and their families, to better understand the impact of poverty in different communities, and to hear their ideas for creating and sharing greater wealth in Toronto.

The City of Toronto is encouraging residents with lived experience of poverty to contribute to this discussion.

Downtown: Wednesday, February 18, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.,
Masaryk-Cowan Community Centre, 220 Cowan Avenue

• ASL, child minding and refreshments will be provided.

For more information please visit the City’s website at:www.toronto.ca/toprosperity.

Please share this information widely.

Reminder: Pan Am and Para Pan Am road closures

Posted on February 18, 2015

Once again, thank you to the Roncesvalles Macdonell Residents’ Association for compiling this guide to the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am and Para Pan Am road closures. If you haven’t seen this yet, more information available below.
http://www.rmra-to.org/Downloads/RoadClosures2014-12-19.pdf

Pan and Para Pan Am Games Temporary Road Closures
Temporary road closures will be taking place in Ward 14 and throughout the city, on certain days this summer which will be needed to support various Pan Am Games road events. Please take note of the following updates and information resources:

1. TO2015 and the City jointly issued the following news release:
http://www.toronto2015.org/…/toronto-2015-pan-am-parap…/1032
2. Maps of the various road race events in the Lakeshore / High Park / Exhibition Place area can now be viewed on TO2015’s website at:
http://www.toronto2015.org/venue/ontario-place-west-channel
3. A detailed list of day-by-day road opening and closure times for roadways affected by the road race events can now be viewed on TO2015’s website at: http://images.toronto2015.org/…/orig…/Road-Race-Closures.pdf

For more information regarding traffic and transit changes, temporary HOV lanes, and a guide to help businesses plan ahead, businesses can be advised to visit: http://ontario.ca/games2015

Businesses seeking more information from the Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) itself about how the Games will affect their business can contact TO2015 by email at the following dedicated email account: businessinfo@Toronto2015.org

In addition to all of the resources now available on the TO2015 and Ontario websites indicated above, I will share dates and locations for information sessions for area residents who may be affected by the road race events that I understand will be organized soon. Further details should be available shortly.

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