Council Highlights – October 2-4, 2017

Creating new affordable rental housing   

Council authorized financial incentives for the construction of 600 new affordable rental homes on provincial lands at 27 Grosvenor/26 Grenville Streets and in the West Don Lands. The City incentives include exemptions from development-related charges as well as from municipal taxation. In a separate action, Council authorized capital funding and City incentives to support another 298 new affordable rental homes at sites across the city through Toronto’s Open Door Program.

 

Home for Good      

Council voted to authorize staff to take appropriate steps for the use of funding that the Ontario government is providing to the City under the program called Home for Good. The program will support the City’s provision of supportive housing and services for people who are chronically homeless and/or homeless with mental-health treatment needs.

 

Ravine strategy for Toronto  

Council adopted a new Ravine Strategy for managing Toronto’s 10,500-hectare ravine system, directing that an implementation plan be developed and a Ravine Leaders Table convened. Staff were asked to consider incorporating the concept of ecological integrity into the final strategy. Related motions that were adopted address, for example, funding needed to support a ravine maintenance and litter strategy and to pay for a biological inventory and report.

 

Review of tow truck industry  

Council approved a series of amendments to the Toronto Municipal Code as it pertains to tow truck operations in Toronto. The changes follow the City’s comprehensive review of the tow truck industry and responds to complaints made by the public and issues raised by the industry. The amendments aim to improve Toronto’s towing industry by balancing the public interest and the industry’s business needs.

 

Toronto for All initiative    

Council adopted recommendations for making the “Toronto for All” public education initiative an annual City program that will help give Toronto residents and City staff the knowledge and skills to identify, question and challenge systemic discrimination and racism. The Toronto for All campaign for the period 2018 to 2021 is conceived as a municipal tool supporting Torontonians’ civic resiliency.

 

Filling Ward 28 vacancy on Council      

Council declared a vacancy in the office of Councillor, Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale and plans to fill the vacancy by appointing a person qualified to hold office in the City of Toronto. The selection will be made at a special meeting in the City Hall council chamber on November 2. The vacancy resulted from the recent passing of Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell. Application details are available on the City’s website, www.toronto.ca.

 

Process for recognitions     

Council voted in support of an approach presented by the Mayor to identify appropriate recognitions for the late Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell and Councillor Ron Moeser.

 

Heat in apartment buildings  

Council called on staff to hold consultations to identify and report to the Tenant Issues Committee on ways to effectively deal with heat in apartment buildings, including maximum heat in apartment units. In September, many tenants suffered during a late September heatwave, in some cases as a result of their landlords turning on the heat and/or not turning on the central air conditioning that provides ventilation in tower-block apartment buildings.

 

Acceleration of Vision Zero planning  

Council advised Transportation Services to include options that will accelerate Vision Zero planning, including the acceleration of the School Safety Program, as part of a progress report being prepared for the November meeting of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.

 

Changes to City’s management structure  

The structural re-alignment of the Deputy City Manager & Chief Financial Officer position in the Toronto Public Service received Council’s approval. The change establishes the separate positions of Chief Financial Officer and Deputy City Manager of Internal Corporate Services, and eliminates the existing position of Chief Corporate Officer. Council approved the appointment of an interim Chief Financial Officer and the permanent appointment of the Deputy City Manager, Internal Corporate Services.

 

Drug overdoses in Toronto   

Council decided to designate the Medical Officer of Health as co-ordinator of the City’s response to the drug overdose crisis, with the authority to direct and co-ordinate the City’s response across divisions and agencies. Council also agreed to make requests of the federal and Ontario governments to help with the response to, and reduction of, drug overdoses.

 

Naloxone training for Council members  

Council agreed to ask Toronto Public Health staff to conduct a naloxone training session for members of Council as part of the effort to train more people on how to use the lifesaving medicine to reverse an opioid overdose. Public Health has significantly expanded delivery of the training, including to municipal service providers across the city who are in a position to potentially save a life.

 

TOcore downtown plan      

Council considered a planning document called TOcore: Proposed Downtown Plan that is in the works as a blueprint for growth and infrastructure in downtown Toronto over the next 25 years. This TOcore document will also provide an updated policy framework for downtown as the cultural, civic, retail and economic heart of Toronto and as a great place to live. Council directed staff to undertake consultation on the proposed plan, which is expected to lead to amendment of Toronto’s Official Plan in 2018.

 

Midtown heritage properties  

Council approved the inclusion of 258 properties – all located in the Midtown in Focus planning study area adjoining the Yonge-Eglinton intersection – on the City’s Heritage Register. This listing of numerous commercial Main Street properties in a growth centre is piloting an improved procedure for identifying potential heritage properties to include on the City’s Heritage Register. The aim is the timely listing of heritage properties when undertaking local area studies.

 

City of Toronto Sport Plan  

Council expressed its support for the implementation of a City of Toronto Sport Plan that will serve as a guide to the City and its partners in supporting the ideal of lifelong participation in sport for all Torontonians. Parks, Forestry and Recreation and its partners will work collaboratively over the next five years to implement the plan’s recommendations, measure progress and communicate outcomes.

 

Financial support for cultural facilities     

The City is taking steps to establish a flow of property tax revenue designated to support arts and cultural facilities in Toronto. Council called for work on a new property tax sub-class for that purpose and also on making a formal request to the Ontario government concerning the new classification. This initiative is an effort to ensure that Toronto’s arts sector continues to thrive, helping make Toronto a destination for tourists and employers while contributing to a great quality of life for all residents.

 

Energy storage strategy       

Council approved an energy storage strategy for the City of Toronto and asked staff to identify local opportunities for energy storage partnerships. Energy storage projects are seen as a low-carbon way to help achieve energy savings, provide local grid services, facilitate participation in provincial energy revenue programs and enhance the resilience of City facilities.

 

Street-name signs       

Council approved a proposal to add legacy logos to new and replacement street-name signs within the boundaries of the legacy municipalities that make up Toronto. The term legacy refers to the six former municipalities involved in amalgamation in 1998, establishing a single municipality and local government. Street-name signs now reflect the identity of the amalgamated City of Toronto.

 

Denouncing racism     

Council agreed to denounce racism in all its forms and re-affirm its commitment to recognize the dignity and worth of all people, along with several other statements and directives for action. On the latter, City divisions, agencies and corporations were advised to review their policies and procedures, and those of their grant recipients, to ensure consistency with City Council’s commitment to human rights.

 

Symbols/flags promoting hate  

Council asked for a review of City policies pertaining to displays on public property and for a report with recommendations to improve policies so as to hold event organizers/managers accountable and equip them to assess any symbol or flag, including the Confederate flag, used to promote hate and to remove them from events or from City property.

 

Backyard chickens pilot project  

Council authorized a three-year pilot project permitting hens in backyard pens in Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Ward 13 Parkdale-High Park, Ward 21 St. Paul’s and Ward 32 Beaches-East York for personal consumption of eggs produced. Only residential properties – not apartment or condominium buildings – with sufficient outdoor space qualify for the pilot and participants will need to register with the City. The decision was part of a broader item about animals in the city.

 

Municipal election advertising  

Council adopted several motions pertaining to enforcement mechanisms now available to the City for the 2018 municipal election as a result of the newly established framework in the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 to regulate registered third-party advertisers.

 

Internship program for Muslim youth  

Council authorized staff to work with organizers of the Muslim Youth Fellowship to organize an internship program of aide positions in Toronto councillors’ offices. The fellowship, a program hosted by the Urban Alliance on Race Relations in partnership with DawaNet, aims to increase in civic engagement among Muslim youth.

 

School food campaign    

Council endorsed the Coalition for Healthy School Food’s current campaign calling for a national school food program in Canada enabling all students to have access to healthy meals at school every day. The coalition is working at a national level to advocate for a program of that kind.

 

Neighbourhood lending libraries    

Council agreed to affirm its support for “little lending libraries” that are popular for sharing books in neighbourhoods, provided that the book displays do not pose a public safety concern or vision hazard. The General Manager of Transportation Services was asked to reiterate policies and protocols with staff to ensure support for these community initiatives.

 

Glenn Gould Day  

Council agreed to proclaim September 25 as Glenn Gould Day in Toronto. Gould (1932-82), a Toronto resident whose birthday was September 25, acquired worldwide fame for his classical piano performances and recordings. His 1955 “Goldberg Variations” is the best-selling classical piano record of all time. The release of numerous albums of his music and the publication of many books about him have contributed to Gould’s continuing international renown.