Public Consultations on the Vacant Home Tax

Posted on August 17, 2017

The City has launched an online survey and will be hosting a public consultation at City Hall about a potential implementation of a tax on vacant residential units.

As part of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan, the Province of Ontario introduced legislation that would empower the City of Toronto to introduce a tax on vacant residential units in order to encourage property owners to sell unoccupied units or rent them out, and address concerns about residential units potentially being left vacant.

Vancouver, facing a similar issue with housing affordability, adopted an Empty Home Tax in late 2016.

City staff presented the report EX 26.4: Implementing a Vacant Home Tax in Toronto to Council at its meeting of July 4-7, 2017. The report was adopted and Council requested City staff to undertake public consultation about:

  • Whether Toronto should implement a tax on vacant residential units
  • Potential public policy benefits of a property tax on vacant residential units
  • Potential implementation of a tax on vacant residential units in Toronto

Privacy rights prevent the use of personal or private information, such as water or hydro meter data, from being used as a means of identifying potentially vacant units. Therefore, the City is considering three options that could be used to identify vacant homes for taxation:

  • Mandatory declaration of occupancy status by all property owners
  • Self-Reporting Model
  • Complaints Basis

Decisions when Council considered EX 26.4: Implementing a Vacant Home Tax in Toronto can be found at: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2017.EX26.4

In response, staff have prepared the following:

Website and Online Survey
Residents are encouraged to visit toronto.ca/VHT to take the online survey that will be available until September 5. Results of the survey will be summarized in a report to Council in the fall.

Link to website: http://www.toronto.ca/VHT
Link to survey: http://cityoftoronto.fluidsurveys.com/s/vacant-tax-home/

Public Consultation
Residents can share their views at a public meeting:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017
6 – 8 p.m.
Toronto City Hall, Committee Room 1
100 Queen St. W.

Opinion Poll
The City has also engaged a private firm to conduct a poll on the proposed vacant home tax of which results will be summarized in the fall in a report to Council.

MyWaterToronto – Online Water Use Tool

Posted on August 1, 2017

Track your water use online – anytime, anywhere!

Summer is finally here and warmer temperatures mean your water use can increase by 20 per cent around the house. MyWaterToronto is an online tool that can help you become more aware of your water use habits and identify any water leaks. View your total and average water use by day, week, month or year in an easy-to-read graph or chart format.

Look for ways to save water and money in three easy steps.

Step 1: Get your utility bill

Step 2: Locate on your bill:

  • Account Number and Client Number
  • Last name or business name
  • Postal code and payment method

Step 3: Visit toronto.ca/mywatertoronto

Toronto Island Park to Reopen on Monday, July 31

Posted on July 27, 2017

Toronto Island Park, including Centre Island, Centreville Theme Park, Ward’s Island and Hanlan’s Point, will reopen to the public on Monday, July 31.

The regular summer ferry schedule will resume on Monday, with the first ferry departing from the mainland for Ward’s Island at 6:30 a.m. and the first ferry departing from the mainland for Centre Island at 8 a.m. City of Toronto recreation programs will also resume on Monday.

All beaches on the island will be open with lifeguards on duty, however, portions of some beaches will be in a reduced state. Signs will clearly indicate areas that are closed to the public. Olympic Island remains closed to the public due to high water levels.

“I know that for many Torontonians summer isn’t complete without a visit to the Toronto Islands, which is why I’m so pleased that the park is being reopened for residents and visitors to enjoy,” said Mayor John Tory. “I want to thank City staff for their tireless and ongoing commitment to preserving and restoring the island park and to residents for their patience throughout this unprecedented event.”

Online ticket sales for the ferry will resume on Friday, July 28 at http://www.toronto.ca/ferry. Island visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to avoid ticket kiosk lines. Staffing levels will be increased at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal to provide quicker service and help visitors navigate their way from ticketing to boarding. Visitors are encouraged to check @TorontoPFR on Twitter throughout opening weekend for updates on wait times and ferry schedules. The peak period for lineups is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Businesses on the island are expected to resume normal business operations on Monday. Centreville Theme Park will be open. Details are available at http://www.centreisland.ca/centreville.

Island park permits will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. City staff are working with permit holders to provide any available options for rescheduling or relocating their events if affected by the parts of the park that remain closed. Permits that cannot be rescheduled or relocated will be refunded through the usual processes. Permit holders should call 311 for assistance.

Further information about the flooding and status of other waterfront areas, including the Scarborough Bluffs and mainland beaches, is available at http://bit.ly/2tzD0fC.

Members of the public are reminded that other areas of the city continue to experience flooding impacts and are asked to remain cautious in areas with flooding. People should pay close attention to all safety information and to updates on flooding conditions along the city’s waterfront areas.

Significant erosion in the Scarborough Bluffs area has resulted in numerous landslides and an increased risk to public safety in this area. Access to the shoreline is absolutely restricted.

An Update on the RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Standards Program

Posted on July 25, 2017

The RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Standard Program took effect on July 1, 2017 and applies to all residential rental apartment buildings that are three or more storeys tall and have 10 or more apartment units.

The online registration system for building owners is live, as of July 21, 2017.

Next week, building owners will begin to receive a letter, with a unique Login and password that will allow them to set up an account, and register their buildings with the City. They will also receive a copy of the RentSafeTO: Building Owner Handbook that walks them through the new program.

If residents or building owners have questions, concerns or comments, they can go to: www.toronto.ca/RentSafeTO, e-mail RentSafeTO@toronto.ca or call 416-396-7228, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Short-Term Rental Survey Available Online

Posted on July 25, 2017

Municipal Licensing and Standards and City Planning divisions are inviting residents to have their say about proposed rules and regulations for short-term rentals (such as Airbnb) via an online survey.

The survey can be found at www.toronto.ca/mlshaveyoursay and is available until August 18.

Additional stakeholder and public consultation meetings will be held in the fall. A final report is
expected to be at Executive Committee in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Notice of Provincial Public Consultations: Consumer Protection Act and Payday Loans Act

Posted on July 25, 2017

The Province of Ontario governs pay day lenders and alternative financial services such as cheque-cashing, instalment loans and rent-to-own services.

In April, Ontario Bill 59 (Putting Consumers First Act) received Royal Assent, providing municipalities with additional tools to license and regulate payday lenders. It is expected to come into force in early 2018, following additional consultations on the newly proposed regulations.

Highlights include:
– decreasing the maximum cost of borrowing from $21 to $18 per $100 borrowed; and
– amending the City of Toronto Act to permit the City to prohibit the operation of an office or limit the number of offices that may operate in a defined area.

Last week, the Province released its consultation paper entitled “Strengthening Protection for Consumers of Alternative Financial Services – Phase One” and is now looking for input in developing regulations for payday lenders and alternative financial services (i.e. cheque-cashing, instalment loans, and rent-to-own services). The Province is accepting input until August 21, 2017.

Key issues being consulted on include:
– limiting amount of payday loans to 40% of borrower’s net pay
– requiring payday lenders to disclose annual percentage rate of loan
– requiring six-day waiting period between payday loans
– exempting credit unions from the requirements for the Payday Loans Act; and
– changing advertising requirements to support consumer decision-making

About the consultations and how to provide feedback
We want to ensure that the interest of Torontonians are taken into account as the Province seeks input on proposed regulatory changes to payday lending and alternative financial services.

This notice is being sent to encourage you and your constituents to participate in the provincial consultations.

The following has been taken from the Province’s website:
http://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?postingId=24431&language=en

Input can be provided in the following ways until August 21, 2017:

1. Regulatory registry email link titled “Comment on this proposal via email” at the bottom of the regulatory registry page for this consultation.
2. Email your comments to consumerpolicy@ontario.ca with “Consumer financial protection regulations – phase 1” as a subject line.
3. Mail completed consultations to:
ATTN: Consumer Financial Protection regulations
Consumer Policy and Liaison Branch
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
56 Wellesley Street West – 6th Floor, Toronto, ON, M7A 1C1

If you have questions about this consultation, email consumerpolicy@ontario.ca.

Have Your Say! Protecting Toronto’s Pollinators

Posted on July 6, 2017

The City is inviting residents to share their views on a proposed strategy to protect Toronto’s bees and other pollinators. The purpose of the strategy is to identify actions that can be taken by the City and the community to protect, enhance and create habitat for Toronto’s pollinators. Toronto is home to more than 360 species of bees, and more than 100 species of butterflies and other pollinators. Some species are in decline. Learn more and share your views.

City Pools and Wading Pools

Posted on June 29, 2017

Summer is here! All 59 outdoor pools and wading pools will begin their full-time summer schedules on Friday, June 30 and will remain open with varying schedules until Labour Day weekend.

More information, including pool operating hours, is available at http://www.toronto.ca/swim.

 

 

Planners in Public Spaces in the Roncesvalles Peace Garden

Posted on June 14, 2017

Mark your calendar.

Planners in Public Spaces (PiPS) will be located in the Roncesvalles Peace Garden, at the intersection of Roncesvalles and Dundas on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 from 5-8PM to hear from the public on the Roncesvalles Dundas Planning Study.

Please feel free to drop by for a chat!

ABOUT PiPS
Planners in Public Spaces is a public engagement initiative started by City Planning in 2013 in order to advance actionable items of its Strategic Plan, under the Strategic Direction for Clear, Consistent and Compelling Communication.

The basic purpose of Planners in Public Spaces is to bring planners to the people and provide opportunities for the public to engage with City Planners, one-on-one, on issues that affect the City and specific concerns they may have about development and policy in the City.

Planners in Public Spaces format is simple. We bring a tent, a table, some planning material and a bunch of planners and set up in parks, recreation centres and some special events like farmers’ markets or festivals. Then we are ready to chat with anyone with a question or comment.

PiPS MISSION
To engage with the people of Toronto by going to where people are in order to increase residents’ access to planners, reach people who don’t attend our traditional public consultations, and advance the public’s understanding of planning with the intention of increasing future citizen participation in the planning process.

PiPS GOALS

  • LEARN – To actively listen and learn from what we hear.
  • TEACH – To promote understanding of planning.
  • PARTNER – To promote dialogue and collaboration.
  • CONTRIBUTE – To give our energy, time and skills to address various needs in the communities we serve.
  • INNOVATE – To engage the public in a variety of ways; to reach segments of the public City Planning doesn’t usually engage; and to attract people to events using new methods and tools.

WHO MAKES UP PLANNERS IN PUBLIC SPACES?
Planners in Public Spaces is organized and run by City Planning staff volunteers from each of the four districts across the city. More than 65 planners from Community Planning, Parks, Transportation Planning, Strategic Initiatives Policy and Analysis, Heritage, Urban Design and Graphics, and Committee of Adjustment make up this year’s volunteer base.

CONTACT
Joanna Kimont, Planner
(416)392-7216
joanna.kimont@toronto.ca

2017 CNE Traffic and Parking Measures

Posted on June 7, 2017

Friends,

Every year, temporary traffic and parking amendments are required to improve traffic operations and pedestrian safety during the annual Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), which takes place from August 18 to September 4, 2017. These changes will be introduced at Toronto and East York Community Council (TEYCC) scheduled for Tuesday, June 13th.

The complete list of yearly changes that will be introduced at TEYCC is available online at:

Non-delegated: http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2017/te/bgrd/backgroundfile-104567.pdf
Delegated: http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2017/te/bgrd/backgroundfile-104562.pdf

Following CNE 2016, a review with community members and City Staff suggested further changes to continue to improve traffic operation and pedestrian safety.

The following are new changes recommended by Transportation Staff and are included in the above links:

 ‘No Stopping’ signage on:

  • Thorburn, north side, between Tyndall and Dufferin;
  • Temple, north side, between Tyndall and Dufferin; and
  • Tyndall, both sides, between Springhurst and Thorburn.

’24 hour Permit Parking’ signage on:

  • Springhurst between Jameson and Dufferin, north side.

Community members also raised concerns with the number of Temporary Parking Permits issued on local South Parkdale streets during the CNE.

In light of this, Permit Parking staff will conduct a pilot project this year which temporarily restricts the issuance of Visitor Parking Permits to the residential addresses located in the area bounded by Dufferin St, King St W, Jameson Ave and the lake for the entirety of the 2017 CNE. During this period, temporary parking permits will be issued — with proof of residency and guest’s licence plate number — at the City Hall counter, 100 Queen Street West. Online applications will not be permitted.

Further, the following actions will take place again this year:

  • CNE to communicate in the ‘CNE Guide Book’ and in media releases that “Paid Parking on residential properties in South Parkdale is no longer permitted during The Ex” with information on parking lots and bike rack locations;
  • City Transportation to sign the boundary of the South Parkdale area (Dufferin/King, Jameson/King  intersection) to communicate message to deter drivers from entering the area to look for paid parking on these residential streets, and instead direct them to parking lots with directions to parking lots;
  • City Transportation to post signs on Liberty at Dufferin, as well as at the entrance of Springhurst (at Dufferin) and Temple (at Dufferin) advising that only permit parking holders can park on residential streets in south Parkdale during the CNE;
  • Toronto Police, Parking Enforcement, and City Bylaw enforcement staff have been asked to monitor South Parkdale for infractions during the CNE;
  • Toronto Police and Parking Enforcement have been asked to, when appropriate, use foot and bike patrols in South Parkdale during the CNE to lessen the number of vehicles in the area;
  • Toronto Police have been reminded of ongoing safety concerns during the CNE when the one way at Springhurst, from Dufferin to Tyndall, is not respected;
  • CNE working with Traffic Management Centre to monitor traffic and manage traffic flows and monitor lights.

Please feel free to contact my office at any time if you have questions or comments about this or any other Ward 14 or city-related matter.

Sincerely,

Gord Perks
City Councillor

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