City Council meeting of May 17, 18 and 19, 2011
Council Highlights provides informal summaries of some of the decisions made by Toronto City Council at its business meetings. The City Clerk’s Office provides full and authoritative documentation of all of Council’s business and decisions, available online at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Toronto’s garbage and recycling collection
Council supported proceeding with initiatives that may lead to the contracting out of some of the garbage and recycling collection services now provided by City of Toronto employees. As a result, the City will invite bids on contracts for daytime residential curbside collection west of Yonge Street to the Etobicoke border, litter and recycling collection in City parks, and litter vacuuming services. Several related motions were adopted, such as one specifying that Council as a whole will oversee the bid process, one to ensure that the City’s waste diversion standards/targets are upheld, and a motion concerning City staff who may be affected by the contracted services.
Council advisory committees
Council voted to dissolve all but four of its advisory committees – those being the Aboriginal Affairs Committee; the Film, Television and Commercial Production Industry Committee (formerly the Toronto Film Board); the Disability Issues Committee; and the Community Partnership and Investment Program Appeals Committee. Several motions by members of Council regarding the establishment of new committees or the re-establishment of former committees were referred to the Mayor for further consideration and for a report back to Council in June. City Councils establish advisory bodies and working committees to support decision-making. They are dissolved at the end of each term, apart from those required by legislation.
Support for Toronto’s cultural sector
The recommendations presented in the “Creative Capital Gains: An Action Plan for Toronto” report received Council’s endorsement. The report – produced by a Creative Capital Initiative that involved input from Toronto’s cultural and business leaders, and extensive outreach – identifies areas for City investment and specifies actions to pursue. The next step is the preparation of an implementation plan supporting cultural activity as a catalyst for economic growth.
City-wide zoning bylaw
Council repealed the city-wide zoning bylaw that was put in place last year to replace the numerous and complex zoning regulations the City inherited from the municipalities that amalgamated in 1997. Council wants the harmonized bylaw – a document of several thousand pages – revised to address some content that has prompted complaints and appeals.
Street food pilot project
Council decided to discontinue the Toronto A La Cart Street Food Pilot Project immediately, before what would have been the third season of the pilot project. Established A La Cart vendors have the option of continuing to operate at their current locations. A staff working group will be formed to review Toronto’s street food vending, with the objective of permitting licensed food vendors to offer a wider range of food items. Background on the project: http://www.toronto.ca/alacart
Ball hockey on Toronto streets
Council directed the City Manager to prepare a report on a procedure that would enable Toronto residents who live on streets with posted speed limits of no more than 40 kilometres an hour to apply for an exemption from the current city bylaws that prohibit playing ball hockey and other ball sports on any city street.
Wastewater treatment plants
Council decided against a recommendation to install new incinerators at the City’s Highland Creek plant for disposal of biosolids (sewage sludge) resulting from sewage treatment. Instead, Council favoured pursuit of a “beneficial use” disposal strategy, which involves spreading biosolids on fields as fertilizer. In a separate decision, Council voted in favour of upgrading the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant to use an ultraviolet light (UV) system for the disinfection of secondary effluent streams of treated wastewater before it flows from the plant into Lake Ontario.
Metropass program for new condominiums
Council rescinded a mandatory TTC Metropass program for new condominiums in designated growth areas of Toronto that took effect last year, and directed staff to provide information to developers about the TTC’s discount pass program. Where a Metropass has already been included in a unit’s purchase price, the City will ensure that buyers are refunded or receive their transit passes.
Overnight and weekend street parking
Council agreed to amend the Municipal Code to introduce 24-hour and 48-hour permits for temporary parking on residential streets. The fee will be $8 for a 24-hour parking permit and $12 for a 48-hour permit, subject to annual inflationary increases indicated by the Consumer Price Index. The program will give people online access to the temporary permits any time – “24/7”.
Filming at fraternity houses
Council adopted a recommendation to lift a moratorium that prohibited filming at several addresses that were the subject of neighbourhood complaints. Renting out university fraternity houses downtown for filming is a source of revenue for the owners, helping them cover the costs of maintaining their properties, while access to the buildings supports Toronto’s film industry. Council decided to allow arrangements for filming at fraternity houses as long as those involved abide by City bylaws and do not disrupt the surrounding community.
Future use of Old City Hall
Council authorized future uses of Old City Hall at Queen and Bay streets – including leasing it for commercial, institutional and government purposes – when the current lease with the provincial courts expires at the end of 2016. The courtyard area is to be reserved for the Toronto Museum Project, with provision of a public space in the building for access to the courtyard area.