Toronto City Council meeting of October 29 and 30, 2019
Council Highlights is an informal summary of selected actions taken by Toronto City Council at its business meetings. The complete, formal documentation for this latest meeting is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Public transit projects
After extensive discussion, Council voted in favour of the City negotiating agreements with the Ontario government on four public transit projects for Toronto. City and TTC staff will work with their provincial counterparts to advance plans for the Ontario Line, the Line 2 East Extension, the Yonge Subway Extension and the Eglinton West LRT. Council supported numerous motions and recommendations as part of this agenda item. Under the City/Ontario partnership, the City retains ownership of Toronto’s existing subway network and the TTC retains its responsibilities for transit network operations.
Planning for automated vehicles
Council approved a plan designed to prepare Toronto for the anticipated use of automated (driverless) vehicles in the near future. A trial project in Scarborough involving an automated shuttle service connecting the West Rouge neighbourhood with nearby Rouge Hill GO Transit station is scheduled to start in late 2020. Toronto’s comprehensive plan for automated vehicles is said to be the first of its kind by a North American city.
Road safety measures
Recommendations involving speed limits and other measures to enhance pedestrian safety were approved by Council. Steps to be taken include asking the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to consult with the City before considering increasing the speed limits on the portions of the 400 series highways that are in Toronto. A separate motion that was supported will result in a pilot project using new technology available to assist pedestrians in safely crossing streets at busy intersections.
Managing the City’s real estate assets
Council adopted a report called ModernTO that sets out a strategy for the City’s real estate portfolio. The strategy aims to optimize City real estate assets in ways that modernize municipal office space and create efficiencies. A related agenda item that Council adopted calls on CreateTO, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, the Toronto Parking Authority and the Toronto Transit Commission, to adopt similar policies for their office portfolios.
Investment in parks and recreation facilities
Council endorsed a strategy for providing parks and recreation facilities across the city over the next 20 years. The strategy, which is based on a commitment to high-quality parks and recreation facilities serving all Toronto residents, provides details for implementing an earlier adopted Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan. Implementing the plan entails investing in community recreation centres, aquatic and ice facilities, sports fields and courts, splash pads and other facilities.
Use of community spaces in City facilities
Council supported a motion calling on City officials to consult with LGBTQ2S+ stakeholders and to review the City’s policies governing third party use of community spaces in City facilities. Staff are to report to Council early in the new year. A focus involves ensuring that the identification of groups contravening the City’s human rights and anti-harassment/discrimination policy, and the denial or revoking of permits to such groups, are done in a timely manner. Part of the motion addresses the Toronto Public Library Board and its policies on the use of community spaces.
Council adopted recommendations intended to strengthen security controls in information technology at the City and at City of Toronto agencies and corporations. The related audit report notes that cyberattacks – unauthorized attempts to gain access to a system and confidential data, modify it in some way or delete or render information in the system unusable – are one of the biggest threats facing organizations today.
Process for selecting shelter locations
A motion concerning shelters, respites and drop-in programs in the east downtown area received Council’s approval. Staff are to provide recommendations to improve public engagement and consultation around locating new shelters, respites and drop-in programs in that area.
Waterfront and island flooding
Council considered a report on flooding experienced along the waterfront and at Toronto Island Park in 2017 and 2019, and on funding for rehabilitation and repair work to waterfront parks damaged by flooding. Related motions that Council adopted address matters such as financial assistance that the City provides for flooded properties.
Environment and health
Progress on a low-carbon fleet
Council adopted a new “green fleet” plan with the goal of moving toward a sustainable, climate-resilient, low-carbon City vehicle fleet. Related objectives include making 45 per cent of the City-owned fleet low-carbon vehicles by 2030. This plan will build on the momentum of the green fleet plan that covered 2014 to 2018 and established the City of Toronto as a Canadian leader in testing and adopting green vehicle technologies and efficient fleet-management practices.
Mental health and addictions
Council adopted a motion that urges the federal government to invest $900,000 a year to help address Toronto’s mental health and addiction crises. The motion calls on the government to commit to funding parity by investing one dollar on mental health for every dollar spent on physical health. According to the motion, this urgently needed federal investment in Toronto should go toward mental health services and new supportive housing.
Sale of vaping products
Council supported amending the Toronto Municipal Code to introduce a new licence requirement for vapour (“vaping”) product retailers effective April 1, 2020. The fee structure is the same as for tobacco retailers. The report before Council documented about 80 specialty retailers of vapour products operating in Toronto and many non-specialty retailers such as convenience stores that carry e-cigarette/vaping products. The report also elaborates on related health concerns.
Child-care in schools
Council authorized proceeding with the joint approval process for 49 school-based child-care capital projects in co-operation with school boards, as well as up to 20 additional school-based capital projects, subject to provincial funding approval. Council voted to call on the province to reverse its funding formula changes to child care in Ontario and maintain previous levels of funding, and to implement multi-year budgets for child care.
Police presence in Lawrence Heights
A motion calling on Council to ask the Toronto police to establish a community police office in the Lawrence Heights neighbourhood received Council’s approval. The motion noted that the main police headquarters serving that part of the city is 8.4 kilometres away from Lawrence Heights, and said there is a need for a police office within the community, given the problems of persistent gun violence and other criminal activity in the area.
Priorities for cultural investment
A report identifying three strategic priorities to guide the City’s cultural investments over the next five years received Council’s approval. The three priorities involve increasing opportunities for all Torontonians to participate in local cultural activities that reflect the city’s diversity and creativity, maintaining and creating new spaces for the creative sector, and strengthening and increasing the diversity of the cultural workforce.
Changes to cultural grants
Council approved a proposal to realign the City’s cultural grants program, with the intention of providing more equitable access to funding. Two long-established funding programs (Major Cultural Organizations and Grants to Specialized Collections Museums) will be dismantled as the City introduces two new funding programs in 2020 – called Cultural Festivals and Cultural Access and Development.
Appointment of Integrity Commissioner
Council appointed Jonathan Batty as the City’s new Integrity Commissioner, effective November 30. The Integrity Commissioner provides advice, complaint resolution and education to members of City Council and local boards on the application of the City’s codes of conduct, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and other bylaws, policies and legislation governing ethical behaviour. Valerie Jepson, the previous Integrity Commissioner, completed her five-year appointment this year.
Support for challenge to Quebec’s Bill 21
Council adopted a member’s motion calling on Toronto City Council to endorse efforts by several cities to mount a national campaign opposing Quebec’s Bill 21 (“secularism legislation”). Bill 21 prohibits public servants in positions of authority in Quebec from wearing religious symbols. The motion that Council supported also reaffirms Toronto’s commitment to upholding religious freedoms and encourages the federal government to condemn and challenge Quebec’s Bill 21.
Enhancement of University Avenue
Council supported a proposal for implementing the first phase of an initiative that involves illuminating and animating University Avenue with art installations. A group called the Friends of University Avenue plans for a temporary, illuminated art installation to be located at the intersection of University Avenue and Gerrard Street as the first project. University Avenue, known as the most ceremonial street in downtown Toronto, links the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park to Union Station at Front Street.
Gord’s comments on the 2019 Provincial Budget:
Details on this Council item available at – http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?
The Right to Adequate Housing
City Council on May 14 and 15, 2019, adopted the following:
1. City Council request the Director, Affordable Housing Office to consider the presentation from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing when updating Toronto’s 2009 Housing Charter and the Toronto Housing Opportunities Toronto Action Plan 2010-2020.
2. City Council request the Director, Affordable Housing Office, as part of the current public consultation process on Toronto’s housing plan, to include a “rights-based approach” to housing in policy areas that fall within the City’s jurisdiction, and report to the Planning and Housing Committee on November 13, 2019 when the new Toronto Housing Plan 2020-2030 is to be considered
Gord’s comments on the Right to Adequate Housing
Details on this Council item available at http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2019.PH5.1
A report on residential on-street permit parking will be coming to Toronto East York Community Council (TEYCC) on April 24, 2019. This report provides the results of community consultation and a potential implantation plan for the expansion of residential on-street permit parking.
Please note that the results in the staff report were completed prior to the change in ward boundaries.
At the April 24th TEYCC meeting, Councillor Perks will be requesting that all streets within the boundary of the new Ward 4 be included in ongoing work to implement on-street permit parking on streets that currently do not have permit parking.
The TEYCC item and report can be found here: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2019.TE5.72
Our office will continue to update you on this issue. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Toronto Council is gearing up to set its budget for the coming year. Last Monday we got a draft proposed budget from City Staff you can find the overview presentation and the background documents here: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewPublishedReport.do?function=getAgendaReport&meetingId=15450
I have begun to work through the hundreds of pages of details to see what the impacts on all of us will be. So far a few things concern me.
As has happened in previous years revenues from property taxes will fall compared to inflation. On top of that revenues from the Land Transfer Tax fell last year and, I believe, will fall again next year. This means we are forced to tighten and reduce the services we provide. Anyone taking public transit (for example) knows why this is a problem.
The budget also contains $79 million in “holes” – assumptions of finding new savings and revenues which cannot be counted. This puts the services we depend on at risk.
Finally, to keep taxes low, the budget predicts falling further behind on our “state of good repair”. That means things like roads, bridges, and public buildings will not get the investments they should to keep them in good repair, creating risks and future costs.
Particularly alarming is a proposal that Toronto Community Housing will see its state of good repair backlog grow by 80% over the next ten years. This is unacceptable.
I will report more as I learn more. Find out how you can get involved here: https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/budget-finances/city-budget/how-to-get-involved-in-the-budget/
Finally, I will host a budget town hall on February 28. I urge you to find time for this. It will help me learn what is important to you, and helps you better understand the choices we are considering at Council.
The City of Toronto’s Budget Committee will hear public presentations on the staff-recommended 2019 budget beginning next week. Members of the public can make a deputation at budget sub-committee meetings on February 7 and 11 at four locations across the city.
Torontonians who want to share their views on the budget are asked to register by emailing email@example.com or by calling 416-392-4666, indicating the location, date and time when they want to speak. Individuals may make only one presentation at any one of the consultation sessions.
Thursday, February 7:
Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Dr.
3 to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. onwards
Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen St. W.
9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. onwards
Monday, February 11:
Etobicoke Civic Centre, 399 The West Mall
3 to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. onwards
North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge St.
3 to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. onwards
Residents who are not able to attend a presentation have the option of writing to the Budget Committee by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, fax at 416-392-2980 or mail at 100 Queen St. W., Toronto City Hall, 10th floor, West Tower, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2, marked to “Attention: Budget Committee”.
More information about the 2019 budget and the budget process is available at http://www.toronto.ca/budget.
Notice: If you write or make a presentation to the Budget Committee, the City will collect and use personal information in accordance with applicable laws. Many Committee, Board, and Advisory Body meetings are broadcast live over the internet for the public to view. If you speak at the meeting you will appear in the video broadcast. Video broadcasts are archived and continue to be publicly available. More information about the collection and use of personal information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/privacy.htm.
Public consultation on Toronto sidewalk cafés and marketing displays
The City of Toronto is hosting a public consultation to obtain input on the Sidewalk Cafés and Marketing Displays Bylaw Review. The review aims to harmonize existing bylaws so that consistent standards are applied across the city.
The public is invited to attend the consultation on Thursday, January 31 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Committee Room 4 at Toronto City Hall (100 Queen St. W.).
At the consultation, participants will have the opportunity to provide their input on proposed regulations, including updated fees, accessibility issues and new standards for marketing displays and sidewalk cafés (for example, curbside and parklet cafés).
The proposed regulations have been informed by earlier, extensive consultations with the public and stakeholders. Since 2014, input has been collected from more than 30 consultations and public meetings, two online surveys, and an on-site survey that collected information at sidewalk cafés and marketing display locations.
Input obtained from this final consultation will be used to inform the harmonized bylaw that City Council will consider this spring.
More information about the Sidewalk Cafés and Marketing Displays Review is available at https://bit.ly/2WaQc8z.
I am running as candidate in the upcoming municipal election on October 22, 2018. As per the Office of Integrity Commissioner’s Code of Conduct, starting August 1st, 2018, I will not be able to send out councillor related newsletters or updates.
This is my last councillor e-newsletter.
As usual, my office is here to assist with any concerns or issues you may have. If you have any questions or concerns, please continue to email email@example.com or call the office at 416-392-7919. You can also visit my website at gordperks.ca
At the July 2018 Toronto City Council approved directing City Staff to settle the 6 Noble OMB appeal and accept the revised 8-storey building containing 101 units, ground floor non-residential space and two levels of below-grade parking on the lands located at 6 Noble Street.
Although I understand the significance of the Pia Bouman Dance Studio and the positive impact that it has on many lives, the 6 Noble Development revised application did not leave room for the dance studio.
I met with the developer and representatives of the dance school many times to encourage a space within this application for the dance school. Unfortunately no agreement was reached.
There are some community wins in this Staff Report. The applicant has decreased the height of the building from 51 m to 32 m by using 24 Noble as a guide. Additionally, there is a $350,000 financial contribution towards affordable housing within Ward 14.
The full report is available on-line at https://bit.ly/2N2nvq7 .
I am happy to announce that City Council supported my motion to make it possible for a non-profit housing provider to buy a rooming house in Parkdale. Here is a link to that motion http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2018.MM41.8 .
The motion directs the Director, Affordable Housing Office to report to the June 25th Affordable Housing Committee meeting on the due diligence process necessary to support the purchase, renovation and future operation of an existing rooming house in Ward 14, by an experienced non-profit organization through leveraging $1.5 million in available Ward 14 Section 37 funds and other federal and provincial funding sources, and to seek authority to undertake a pilot project through a competitive proposal call process in 2018.
This is great news.
I will be sending a further update as this important work makes its way through the Affordable Housing Committee.
Fair Pass Discount Program was approved by Toronto City Council in 2016 as a poverty reduction initiative to make transit more affordable for low income residents. Other initiatives include making transit free for children 12 years of age and under and implementing a universal two-hour transfer.
The Fair Pass Discount Program addresses this gap for the many low income residents who rely on public transit to carry out basic daily activities, attend necessary appointments and benefit from opportunities and resources available to them in this great city.
Details of this program are in the document below.fair pass launch qa council and dcm