Gardiner Expressway East
Council debated approaches for addressing the deterioration of the eastern section of the elevated Gardiner Expressway and voted in favour of a Hybrid option that retains an elevated expressway with a continuous link to the Don Valley Parkway. Work is to include re-decking the elevated expressway east of Jarvis Street and re-decking the ramps that connect the Gardiner Expressway East to the Don Valley Parkway. Council’s action on this item included various directives to staff, as detailed in the decision documentation on the City’s website at http://bit.ly/1MSpLZE.
Funding for child-care services
Council approved a streamlined approach to funding licensed child-care service providers in Toronto in response to a change in the way Ontario funds child care. The City’s new approach, or model, involves a general operating grant for service providers, subject to their compliance with City of Toronto Children’s Services policies and guidelines. Creation of the new model involved extensive engagement with stakeholders.
Services during cold weather in Toronto ouncil authorized staff to submit a business case for enhanced cold weather drop-in services for consideration during the City’s 2016 operating budget process. In addition, Council directed staff to include proposed service-level enhancements in a report for consideration by the Community Development and Recreation Committee.
Road safety plan
Council directed staff to take steps to produce a comprehensive plan to improve road safety in Toronto. Staff were instructed that the plan should be presented to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee later this year. The item at Council noted that 51 Torontonians were killed and many more were seriously injured in traffic crashes last year, and says more must be done on behalf of pedestrians and cyclists, who are the most vulnerable road users.
Bicycle lanes and cycle tracks
Council authorized various bicycle lane and cycle track designations. Among them, bikes lanes were designated for specified sections of Cherry Street, Fort York Boulevard, Finch Avenue West, Finch Avenue East and Royal York Road. Authorization was provided for a Sherbourne Street raised cycle track south of Front Street as part of the re-construction of Lower Sherbourne Street.
Council agreed to ask the Toronto Police Services Board to report to the Community Development and Recreation Committee on, among other topics specified, the number of undocumented residents reported by the Toronto Police Service to the Canada Border Services Agency over the past five years. Last year, City Council reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that Torontonians without full status or full-status documents have access to City services without fear, and directed staff to improve undocumented Torontonians’ access to City services.
Environmental policies in Official Plan
Council supported next steps in a process to revise environmental policies in Toronto’s Official Plan over the coming months. This policy work, which includes public and stakeholder input, is intended to assist the City in meeting challenges presented by climate change and strengthen existing policies on topics such as energy conservation, biodiversity, and environmentally significant areas.
Council directed the City Manager to report back on issues raised in a recent union-produced report that raises concerns about morale in Toronto Paramedic Services. About 1,200 unionized workers, including paramedics, work in Toronto Paramedic Services.
Midtown in Focus initiative
Council supported recommendations pertaining to policy refinements in the Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan to implement the Midtown in Focus study. Additional work will be undertaken to achieve a vision that includes more livable, memorable public spaces across the Yonge-Eglinton area. Next steps include the creation of an interdivisional team of senior staff that will plan in detail, assess and report on public-realm projects for the area.
Bees and Monarch butterflies
Council requested a report on ways the City can help motivate landowners to take steps to protect and foster natural habitats that will sustain and renew the populations of Monarch butterflies and bees as critical parts of Toronto’s ecosystem. Staff were also asked to review an Edmonton project on backyard bee-keeping as a possible model for Toronto.
Toronto as a food destination
Council directed staff to create a marketing and branding strategy to promote Toronto as an international food and beverage destination for tourists and food businesses. The undertaking is to include consultation with various food-industry groups in Toronto. According to the motion presented to Council, Toronto is now in a position to be able to market itself internationally as a culinary destination.