Council Highlights – City Council meeting of April 10 and 11, 2012

City Council meeting of April 10 and 11, 2012

Toronto's part-time recreation workers 
Council approved a memorandum of agreement between the City of Toronto and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 79 to establish a new, four-year collective agreement (January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2015) for the recreation workers' part-time unit. Members of that unit voted in favour of ratifying the agreement April 3 after City representatives and the Local 79 bargaining committee discussed outstanding matters involving the unit and agreed on terms of the new memorandum. Information about other collective agreements: http://www.toronto.ca/bargaining.

Municipal sports fields 
Council decided to waive the fees earlier introduced for the use of municipal sports fields this year, and will discuss the subject of fees in general after receiving more input from local sports teams and leagues. Fees for sports fields may be introduced in 2013. Meanwhile, the City needs to address a shortfall of $1.5 million in Parks, Forestry and Recreation's 2012 operating budget resulting from the waiving of sports field fees that were built into the division's 2012 budget as an anticipated revenue.

Potential sites for new playing fields 
Council directed staff to identify properties under the control of the Toronto Water division that may be suitable for sports and recreational purposes. Many of Toronto Water's properties have green spaces that may have good potential for use as playing fields. Staff have been asked to report back by July.

Cleaning contracts and lower wage jobs 
Council discussed the matter of external contracts for cleaning City of Toronto facilities and adopted a motion requiring bids for any future cleaning contracts to be considered by the Government Management Committee for recommendation to Council. Previously, a staff committee handled those approvals. Council also made various referrals, directing specific committees and staff to address questions about lower wage jobs in Toronto. Staff and the Economic Development Committee, for example, have been asked to look into finding ways to bolster links between workforce development and local job opportunities.

Toronto's street furniture 
Council adopted a series of recommendations from the Auditor General designed to more effectively manage the City's contract with Astral Media for the installation and maintenance of street furniture across Toronto. The street furniture consists of benches, transit shelters, litter/recycling containers, tourist information pillars, public notice structures, bicycle parking stands, publication boxes and automated public washrooms.

Union-Pearson public transit 
Council agreed to ask the Premier of Ontario to direct Metrolinx to alter its current plans for the Union-Pearson Air Rail Link by adding at least nine stops to those already planned by Metrolinx. One of the stops requested, at Eglinton Avenue West, would integrate with the Eglinton LRT line. The other stops proposed by the City are Liberty Village, the Junction, Carleton Village, Jane Street, Etobicoke North, Woodbine, Humber and St. Clair Avenue West.

New waterfront islands under consideration 
Council authorized the Toronto Water division to undertake a study to assess the possible creation of islands in Humber Bay to improve water quality at Sunnyside Beach and help protect the shore from erosion. The islands would be the visible part of a landform extending from the mouth of the Humber River about a kilometre into Lake Ontario. The study, which may be undertaken jointly with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, will also look into possibly establishing a similar landform in Ashbridges Bay on the eastern side of Toronto. These waterfront projects would, coincidentally and beneficially, provide relatively nearby locations for dumping fill (gravel, clay, rocks) excavated from city construction sites.

Funding the fight against bed bugs 
Council agreed to urge the Ontario government to continue funding municipal programs to combat bed bug infestations. Current funding of $5 million a year for Toronto is at risk of being lost in the current provincial budget process. The City's bed bug team has used the funding to inspect thousands of residences, many of them in apartment buildings, to identify and fight bed bug infestations. There is a concern that progress will be undone and the bed bug problem will get worse if the supportive funding is discontinued.

Toronto to celebrate hockey history 
Council supported a motion calling on the City of Toronto to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the famous 1972 hockey series between Canada and the Soviet Union. Details for the celebration still need to be determined. Toronto hosted one of the eight games in the 1972 series and provided some of the players who contributed to the Canadian team's winning result.