Council Highlights – City Council meeting of November 27, 28 and 29, 2012

Council Highlights
City Council meeting of November 27, 28 and 29, 2012 
 
Council Highlights is an informal summary of decisions made by Toronto City Council. The City Clerk provides the formal documentation at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
 
Recreation service plan              
Council approved a Recreation Service Plan that will guide the City of Toronto's delivery of recreation programs and services over the next five years. The plan aims to increase overall participation in recreation, decrease financial barriers and improve access. The plan outlines the role of the Parks, Forestry and Recreation division in providing recreation within the broader context of Toronto's recreation services sector. Staff will now prepare a detailed implementation plan that takes into account direction provided at the Council meeting.
 
Plastic bags in Toronto    
In light of legal considerations, Council chose not to consider the bylaw to implement a plastic bag ban for January 1, 2013. Council directed staff to report to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee next spring on options for measures that could be taken to reduce the use and disposal of plastic bags.
 
Mid-term appointments to committees  
Council approved mid-term councillor appointments to the Executive Committee, standing and special committees, agencies and advisory bodies for the period from January 1, 2013 to November 30, 2014, and until successors are appointed.  
 
Water and wastewater budget and rates    
Council approved water and wastewater rates for 2013, increasing the flat rate by nine per cent. The City of Toronto's water and wastewater operations are fully funded through the combined water and wastewater rate. 
 
Solid waste management budget for 2013    
Council approved the Solid Waste Management budget for 2013, with no increase in volume-based user fees, with the exception of an increase of $2.84 to the small-bin fee. Council decided to suspend the collection of solid waste user fees in 2013 for charitable and non-profit organizations previously eligible for exemption.
 
Toronto Parking Authority budget  
In adopting the Toronto Parking Authority's 2013 budget, Council asked the authority to look into replacing standard tube lighting with LED lighting and to prepare a plan for achieving the greening guidelines for surface parking lots. The guidelines involve taking actions to address matters such as stormwater management to pedestrian safety at parking lots.
 
Moving the Toronto Zoo's elephants    
Council reaffirmed its 2011 decision to transfer the Toronto Zoo's three elephants to the Performing Animals Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in California on or before December 31, 2012, or as soon as possible. The cost of the move is to be paid by PAWS. Council agreed that the due diligence process is complete and that the Toronto Zoo should proceed with making the elephants available for the move. 
 
Etobicoke-Lakeshore employment area    
Council agreed to ask provincial authorities to identify the employment lands at the Ontario Food Terminal site and vicinity, including the Mr. Christie's Bakery site at 2140 Lake Shore Boulevard West, as a provincially significant employment area. A November announcement indicated the Christie facility will close next year. 
 
Public service bylaw for Toronto    
Council authorized the City Manager to recommend the detailed content of a public service bylaw for City of Toronto divisions and agencies. It will set out roles, responsibilities and authorities for the City Manager and City agencies, and provide for the disclosure of wrongdoing. The bylaw will support the principles of transparency, integrity and accountability in the management of the municipality's human resources.
 
Future of Toronto's civic theatres      
Council requested an audit of the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts for 2006-2011, including its business plans, as part of the City's review of the future of the Sony Centre. Executive Committee had earlier referred a motion back to staff for further input on alternative strategic plans to keep the centre in the City's hands. Council recognized the other two civic theatres – St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts and the Toronto Centre for the Arts – as community cultural assets, and directed each of them to produce a five-year business plan and long-term strategic plan.
 
Environment and energy functions, tower renewal        
As part of a business item on the City's environment and energy functions, Council adopted recommendations that include reorganizing to improve effectiveness and efficiency while maintaining current services/programs. The Toronto Environment Office and the Energy and Strategic Initiatives section of the Facilities Management Division will be integrated into a new Environment and Energy Office reporting to the Chief Corporate Officer. The Tower Renewal Office will join the Social Development, Finance and Administration division to facilitate collaboration with the Community Revitalization program.
 
Toronto's tree canopy    
Council approved a revised Urban Forestry Service Plan, conditional on funding availability, that will extend by seven years (to 2023) the time frame to fully implement the strategy. The change is necessary because of the cost of combating the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Management of EAB will cost the City an estimated $74.5 million over nine years. Council reaffirmed that the City will continue planting the same number of trees annually as indicated in the original Urban Forestry Service Plan for Toronto.
 
Combating gypsy moth problem  
Urban Forestry staff received Council's authorization to implement an integrated pest management program to control the European gypsy moth in an effort to mitigate the damage the insect does to the urban forest. The moth's population has reached outbreak levels in some areas of Toronto, particularly in Wards 2, 3, 4, 5 and 27.
 
Holiday shopping    
Council considered a report on holiday shopping in Toronto and voted in favour of receiving the report for information.
 
Privately owned public spaces in Toronto      
Council agreed to ask for a report that identifies all privately owned public spaces in Toronto, and to work on a plan to ensure that these public spaces have visible signs indicating the space is open to the public. Many parks, plazas, open spaces, squares and walkways created as part of developments are open to the public but many are not well used – often because people are not aware that they can use them.
 
O'Connor Drive Avenue Study      
A draft Official Plan Amendment to guide development in the area covered by the O'Connor Drive Avenue Study received Council's endorsement. Council also adopted a secondary report. Urban design guidelines for public realm improvements will be used in assessing development proposals and ensuring that future developments fit harmoniously into the O'Connor Drive urban corridor.
 
Uranium processing facility      
Council asked the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to further review the General Electric-Hitachi plant's operations at 1025 Lansdowne Ave. In addition, Council asked the Medical Officer of Health to monitor the facility with respect to uranium-use levels and air and soil test results, and to report that information to the community on a regular basis, including via Public Health's website.
 
Appointment of Toronto Poet Laureate        
Council appointed George Elliott Clarke as Toronto Poet Laureate for a three-year term. Clarke, a writer and professor, in his role as poet laureate will advocate for poetry and the arts in Toronto. He is the fourth poet laureate since the honorary position was established in 2001.  
 
Commemoration of the Nanking Massacre        
Council agreed to issue a proclamation marking the 75th anniversary of the Nanking Massacre this month. The Nanking Massacre occurred in China in December 1937. 
 
Support for Nobel Peace Prize nomination      
Council endorsed the nomination of Malala Yousafzai for a Nobel Peace Prize and will communicate the City of Toronto's support to the Nobel Committee. The young resident of Pakistan was shot by Taliban militants in October in an attempt on her life because of her advocacy work supporting the right for girls to attend school.
 
Toronto Argonauts, 2012 Grey Cup champions      
Council members supported a motion to congratulate Toronto Argonauts players, coaches and management, specifically naming Argonauts president Chris Rudge and coach Scott Milanovich, as winners of the 100th Grey Cup game. The Argonauts – the oldest professional sports team in North America still using its original name – won the Canadian Football League championship and received the Grey Cup in Toronto on November 25.
 
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Volume 15   Issue 9
 
Council Highlights, a summary of selected decisions made by Toronto City Council, is produced by Strategic Communications. Online: http://www.toronto.ca/council_highlights/ 
 
Formal documentation of Councils decisions: http://www.toronto.ca/council  
 
Questions about Council meetings and decisions: clerk@toronto.ca or 416-392-8016 
 
Information about distribution of this summary: stratcom@toronto.ca 
 
The Council Highlights summary is also made available as a podcast shortly after the email distribution of Council Highlights: http://www.toronto.ca/podcasts/