City of Toronto Budget update

Posted on January 21, 2011

As more information about the 2011 Budget is finally provided, I am left with more and more concerns.

I am disappointed that we are seeing the beginning of deep cuts to programs and services, a lax attitude towards writing billion dollar Capital and Operating budgets, and the manipulation of words to protect campaign promises instead of protecting the liveability of our city.

Mayor Ford’s 2011 budget introduces changes to our city’s Priority Recreation Centres, one of which is in our ward, Masaryk-Cowan Recreation Centre. Eliminating the full accessibility of our adult recreation programs hurts low income families within our community. It creates a financial barrier to opportunity.

The 2011 budget also increases fees for city recreation programs. And there are cuts to the tenant defence fund, a fund initially set up to provide the most basic of protection to tenants.

Although not overly visible this year, serious increases to the structural deficit will mean deep cuts to programs and services in 2012. ‘Short term gain equals long term pain’

There is a clear anti-TTC sentiment in this budget. There will be TTC service cuts, there will be a TTC capital cut, $3 billion is missing in the budget, and Transit City is cut with no replacement plan yet thought out.

There are also cuts to important environmental initiatives.

This budget will eliminate a program that provides homeowners a $60 or $75 rebate to replace water-guzzling toilets with modern, low-flow units and a $60 rebate for the purchase of efficient front-loading clothes washers. Toilets are the single biggest use of water in the average home. In a staff report, as of last month, this program introduced back in 2003 to reduce water consumption and avoid having to expand the water system at great cost, has cost a total of $37.3 million, while reducing water consumption and saving up to $180 million in future water system expansion costs.

The lack of planning and understanding of a budget of this magnitude is evident in the back and forth of their balancing act.

We have seen a week of TTC fare hikes one day and no TTC fare hike the next, TTC service cuts one day and no service cuts the next. This is a billion dollar budget. Changes should be thoughtfully considered. This budget provides programs and services that are the backbone of our city.

City services and programs create a liveable city. Boasting of a tax freeze when users fees are increasing and service cuts are evident is deceitful and harmful to our city.

My view of this budget is that it begins the reversal of 7 years of hard work to create prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all Torontonians.

Budget 2011 is available on-line at www.toronto.ca/budget2011.

……….and finally, thank you to everyone who has phoned and written Mayor Ford, Members of the Budget Committee and City Council, to everyone who has attended and deputed at the Budget Sub-Committee meetings. We must continue to voice our concerns.

Public Transit

Posted on January 21, 2011

Thanks to many of you for speaking up for good public transit in Toronto. Transit City will have tremendous benefits for our environment, social development, social inclusion, urban development, and prosperity. It will finally connect all of Toronto. On the other hand, the cuts to bus service being considered by the TTC will be disastrous for the city.

If we are going to win these fights, we are going to have to speak up. I would like to recommend a few more resources:

First, there is a wonderful community group advocating on behalf of transit riders. You can find out more about them, or even join by going to www.ttcriders.ca

Second, my friend Steve Munro runs a first rate blog on all things TTC: www.stevemunro.ca. Steve has been Toronto’s premier independent transit researcher and activist for four decades. His website is the best resource there is for people who want to engage in conversation about what the TTC is and what it could be.

Third, the Pembina Institute has released a report examining the costs and benefits of the LRT against the proposed subway extension: http://www.pembina.org/pub/2151

As a Torontonian you have to the right to demand your Councillor make their views on Transit City known to you. Here is my answer: I completely endorse the completion of Transit City. Transit City is Transit NOW. Mayor Ford’s supposed subway plan is fairy dust. It will mean a huge delay, tens or hundreds of millions of dollars wasted, and a huge number of Torontonians with no rapid transit service.

Finally, we should be making the TTC more accessible to all parts of our city. Bus service reductions do not achieve that goal and instead, represent a backward step. There will be TTC public meetings to discuss staff-proposed route changes next week.

See: http://www3.ttc.ca/Public_Meetings/Public_Meeting_on_Route_Changes/index.jsp for the dates and locations.

Ward 14 Items of interest

Posted on January 21, 2011

Return to Parkdale Library with new Constituency Office Hours

Change of Date: Community Office hour will now be scheduled every Friday morning between 9:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.

Please call my office at 416-392-7919 should you wish to schedule an appointment.

Parkdale Public Library is located at 1303 Queen St W, at Cowan Avenue.


Spencer-Cowan Parkette Concept Enhancement Plan meeting on January 17th, 2011.

Thank you to all area residents who attended the meeting at Masaryk-Cowan Recreation Centre to review the initial proposal and share ideas. New drawings of the parkette enhancement should be available within a few weeks. Please contact my office if you are interested in participating in this discussion.

Keele Station Commuter Parking Lot Pavement Rehabilitation

Parking lot re-opens temporarily on January 17, 2011

The Keele Station Commuter Parking lot was closed on November 15, 2010 for pavement and lighting rehabilitation work.

This project was initially scheduled for completion in January 2011 however; weather has affected the progress of the rehabilitation work. As a result, steps have been taken to return the lot to a temporary state for parking use beginning Monday, January 17, 2011.

The parking lot will again be temporarily closed in Spring 2011 in order to complete the remaining work, which includes surface asphalt placement.

TTC Contact: Diego Sinagoga, Marketing and Customer Service (416) 393-2197 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays)

Community Consultation: 1346 Queen Street West Liquor Licence Application

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 from 7:00-8:30 PM

at Masaryk-Cowan Community Recreation Centre, 220 Cowan Ave.

Should you have any questions, please contact Karen Duffy at 416-338-5174, by email at duffyk@toronto.ca

Notice of Hearing: 1521 Queen St W.

January 12, 2011 Application No. 10 273888 00 85

TAKE NOTICE THAT pursuant to the Municipal Code Chapter 285, Article II, Rooming House Licensing, the Licensing Commissioner for the Corporation of the City of Toronto will hold a hearing to consider the licence for or with respect to a Rooming House at:

Location: 1521 QUEEN ST W Ward: Parkdale-High Park (14)
Hearing Date and Time: Feb 2, 2011 at 7:00 PM
Location: Committee Room #2, 2nd Floor West 100 Queen Street West, City Hall

The Licensing Commissioner is not satisfied that the existing or proposed rooming house at the above location complies with the above mentioned Municipal Code Chapter 285, Article II.

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