Council Highlights – City Council meeting of 30, 31 and November 1, 2012

City Council meeting of October 30, 31 and November 1, 2012

Council Highlights is an informal summary of decisions made by Toronto City Council. The City Clerk provides the formal documentation at www.toronto.ca/council.

Toronto Community Housing (TCH)
Council endorsed the Special Working Group's report "Putting People First, Transforming Toronto Community Housing" and its proposal to retain 564 of Toronto Community Housing's 619 single-family homes. Up to 100 of the homes will be converted to affordable ownership in partnership with the non-profit sector. Fifty-five houses will be sold to fund repairs to TCH housing. The report also proposes two-year and five-year plans to assist in reducing the $751-million repair backlog.

City-Metrolinx-TTC agreement on LRT construction
Council authorized next steps to support a master agreement among Metrolinx, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Transit Commission defining roles/responsibilities for the construction and operation of the Sheppard East LRT (light rapid transit), the Finch West LRT, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, and the Scarborough LRT (rapid transit/RT replacement). The province is investing $8.7 billion, including a $333-million federal contribution, to construct the new LRTs. The TTC will operate the transit lines on behalf of Metrolinx.

Ombudsman report on appointment process
Council discussed and voted to receive a report from the Ombudsman pertaining to the City's public appointments process. The City's public appointments policy guides Council members and City staff involved in the selection process to ensure consistency and fairness.

TTC construction projects affecting communities 
Council adopted the recommendations provided in a report from the Ombudsman in response to a public complaint concerning a Toronto Transit Commission project. The work included the demolition of four houses in 2010 to allow for the construction of new subway exits near the Donlands and Greenwood stations. The recommendations include directing the TTC to create a TTC communication policy for advance notification of area residents.

Extension for Ombudsman 
Council adopted a motion to extend Fiona Crean's appointment as Toronto's Ombudsman to November 16, 2015.

Appointments to TTC board
Council approved the appointment of four new citizen members to the Toronto Transit Commission Board for a term of office ending on November 30, 2014 and until successors are appointed. The appointments raise the number of board members from seven to 11.

City of Toronto's investment policy Council approved amendments to the City of Toronto's investment policy. The changes were made to enable the City to manage its finances more effectively in a low-interest-rate environment, as well as to address matters involving the City's investment holdings.

Property considered for park 
Council authorized staff to attempt to negotiate the acquisition of a piece of property owned by Infrastructure Ontario at 11 Wellesley St. W. for a future community park. The two-acre site was expected to become the site of a ballet and opera house in the early 1990s but the land has, for the most part, sat unused since then. The Ontario Government has recently taken steps to sell it on the open market.

Guidelines for councillors' constituency offices
Council adopted recommended parameters/guidelines for councillor constituency offices, including the upper limits for expenses that will be paid from the Council general expense budget. The budget required to implement the guidelines was referred to the Budget Committee for consideration during the 2013 operating budget process.

Donations to the City for community benefits
Council approved changes to the policy on donations to the City of Toronto for community benefits, adding criteria for disclosure to improve transparency and accountability. The changes adopted also help to align the donations policy more closely with the City's sponsorship policy.

Support for children age six to 12
Council adopted a Middle Childhood Strategy to guide the City's out-of-school-time programs for children six to 12 years of age. The strategy – which includes, for example, after-school recreational programming in priority neighbourhoods – was developed with a work group of stakeholders and in consultation with Toronto's Child and Family Network.

Medical marijuana in Toronto
Council directed staff to take steps to prepare regulations and report back on how best to address issues pertaining to medical marijuana in Toronto. Issues identified include the local impact of medical marijuana consumption facilities/vapour lounges and proposed commercial growing sites.

Regulations for adult entertainment parlours
Council approved amendments to the City's regulations covering adult entertainment parlours/clubs. The changes were made in response to issues raised by the adult entertainment industry. The City wants the bylaw to protect entertainers while also balancing the rights of the public and the industry.