City Council meeting of May 11 and 12, 2010
Emergency support for displaced residents
Council approved establishing a City fund to help cover the costs to support local residents who are displaced from their homes during significant neighbourhood-level emergencies. Examples are a neighbourhood fire, a widespread power outage or a gas leak — which are classified as Level 1 or Level 2 emergencies in the City of Toronto's Emergency Plan. Services in those situations are likely to include emergency accommodation, food, counselling and a reception centre to support potentially large numbers of displaced residents.
Council authorized funding agreements with the Government of Ontario to undertake three more Toronto projects under the infrastructure stimulus funding program. These projects — involving the Canadian Film Centre, a community hub in Rexdale, and an arts and culture centre for the Regent Park neighbourhood — will result in an additional $34.7 million invested in public infrastructure in Toronto. Most of that amount consists of provincial and federal funding.
Energy efficiency program for low-income residents
Council authorized staff to work out an agreement with Enbridge Gas and Toronto Hydro to jointly deliver a low-income home energy efficiency retrofit program for Toronto. The two-year program is intended to cover home retrofits that support more efficient use of electricity, gas and water. In addition to leveraging funding from Enbridge and Toronto Hydro, the program is designed to obtain funding from the provincial government's home energy savings program.
Assessment of homelessness in Toronto
Council directed staff to send the recent report on the "2009 Street Needs Assessment" concerning homeless people in Toronto to the Prime Minister of Canada and selected federal ministers, and to reiterate Council's request that federal funding for initiatives to end homelessness be doubled and made permanent. Council also decided to make another request to the Ontario Government for an ongoing source of funding to provide supports to help people who were homeless keep their housing once they have obtained housing.
Plan to expand bikeway network
Council approved the installation of new bicycle lanes on certain roads in North York, Scarborough and downtown. The roads include parts of Bay Street, Lansdowne Avenue, Rathburn Road, York Mills Road, Spadina Crescent, Westhumber Boulevard and Ellis Avenue. In addition, modifications were approved for existing bike lanes on parts of Annette Street and Pharmacy Avenue.
Council authorized staff to finalize an agreement with the Public Bike System Company to operate a bicycle rental program in Toronto for the next 10 years. A total of 1,000 bicycles for use by residents and visitors will be stocked at 80 automated bike parking stations in the downtown area. The program will be launched next May under the brand name BIXI Toronto. Similar bike rental programs operate in Montreal, Paris and Barcelona.
Redevelopment after 2008 fire on Queen West
Council decided to proceed with establishing a Community Improvement Plan to assist with rebuilding from 611 to 625 Queen Street West (just east of Bathurst Street) in response to a 2008 fire that destroyed six three-storey buildings at that location. Queen Street between University Avenue and Bathurst Street is the only traditional shopping street in the city that is also a heritage conservation district. New buildings will be required to fit in with the street's existing architecture and include one-storey commercial facades.
Response to Canada Revenue Agency reassessment
Council decided to appeal a recent Canada Revenue Agency ruling that classifies councillor and staff parking privileges as a taxable benefit. The ruling pertains to parking at six City parking garages (at City Hall, Metro Hall, three civic centres and one other work site). Council agreed that if the appeal is unsuccessful, the City will cover the cost of any retroactive tax and interest owing (2006 to 2010) for employees affected by the agency's financial claim.
Food services at eastern beaches
Council approved an extension to the City's contract with Tuggs Inc. to run eastern beaches concessions until 2028. Under the agreement, Tuggs, as the exclusive operator at that location, will refurbish the Boardwalk Café in Woodbine Beach Park and improve food concessions at Kew Gardens and Donald D. Summerville Pool.
Early start for pubs during World Cup of Soccer
Council decided to extend the hours of alcoholic drink sales in Toronto throughout the World Cup of Soccer that will be played in South Africa from June 11 to July 11. During that period, the sale/serving of alcoholic beverages can begin at 10 a.m. daily in Toronto instead of the usual 11 a.m. The time difference between Toronto and South Africa means that most of the games will be televised here in the mornings, and many local soccer fans will be watching the games in pubs.
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