Busy summer on our roads

Posted on June 30, 2011

Another year of significant road work is taking place in the City of Toronto in an effort to improve road conditions for all users.  In addition to the work, there’s going to be lots of fun as the city plays host to a variety of special events.

In 2011, the City will be spending more than $130 million to improve the quality of the City’s roads and bridges.

Major road work planned for 2011 includes Dundas Street from Dovercourt Road to Howard Park Avenue,   Victoria Park Avenue from Highway 401 to Finch Avenue, Humber College Boulevard from Highway 27 to Carrier Drive, Dufferin Street from Rogers Road to Eglinton Avenue and Finch Avenue from Yonge Street to Bayview Avenue.  In addition, $80 million will also be spent on other work including road work in conjunction with watermain and sewer replacement and public realm initiatives.

It’s critical that with the amount of work taking place, the City continues to coordinate the work very carefully in order to keep disruptions to a minimum.  To do this, roadwork, sidewalk repairs and routine maintenance as well as work performed by utility and communications companies continues to be coordinated by the City to avoid having road work done repeatedly across Toronto.

The City has also continued its efforts to fill potholes, repairing an average of 237,000 potholes over the past three years.

But it’s more than just road work that will keep our streets busy.  This summer marks a very busy time due to the number of special events taking place in Toronto.  Regular events such as the Pride Parade, Beaches Jazz Festival, Honda Indy and more will take place this summer as will smaller festivals, street celebrations, road races and other community events.

To make it easier for motorists to find their way around City streets, the City has developed a website, toronto.ca/torontostreets that shows on-going and emergency road construction, existing travel conditions on city roads and a variety of special events taking place.


Happy Canada Day!

Posted on June 30, 2011

Toronto helping its residents celebrate Canada Day

The City of Toronto encourages residents and visitors to enjoy Canada Day in Toronto on Friday, July 1 by coming out for parades, musical entertainment, barbecues, historical site tours and fireworks celebrating Canada’s birthday.

City-wide Canada Day celebrations will include annual Canada Day parades, community events and fireworks shows – among other highlights.

A special event organized by the City of Toronto will be held at Mel Lastman Square (5100 Yonge St.) from 8 to 10:30 p.m. The event features live musical performances by Ray Robinson and nine-piece powerhouse King Sunshine, and will end with a spectacular fireworks display. Admission is free. More details are available at http://www.toronto.ca/special_events/canada/2011.

City parks, outdoor swimming pools and wading pools will be open on Canada Day, as will City historic sites. Community centres will be closed on July 1. The City’s swimming pools schedules can be found at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/recreation_facilities/swimming. More information about online water quality reports for local beaches is available at http://www.toronto.ca/beach.

The Toronto Zoo is open this Canada Day long weekend. Families can cool off at Splash Island, take in one of the Zoo’s amazing animal shows, visit the endangered African penguins – new to the Toronto Zoo – or check out the sharks at Stingray Bay Exhibit. More information is available at http://www.torontozoo.com.

Four special events this coming weekend will involve road closures. Residents and visitors are encouraged to come out and enjoy the events. Businesses in the affected areas are open to pedestrian traffic but some roads will be closed to motorists. In addition to road closures related to special events, there is a significant amount of road work taking place in the city this summer. People are encouraged to take public transit as a greener, faster and more affordable way of getting to their destinations. If you need to drive in event areas, allow extra time to get to and from your destination. A more complete list of events and road work is available at http://www.toronto.ca/torontostreets.

A summary of the City’s community Canada Day activities follows, organized by geographic areas of Toronto. Residents are reminded that fireworks are not allowed to be set off in City of Toronto parks.

Further details about the city-wide community events that are taking place are available online where noted, and the public can also call 311 for information.


Queen Street West Restaurant Study

Posted on June 24, 2011

“Queen Street W. Restaurant Study” Community Consultation Meeting
Tuesday, June 28, 2011  from   7:00 – 9:00 PM  in the    May Robinson Auditorium, 20 West Lodge Avenue.

Study Area
The study area covers the lands on and flanking Queen Street West, between Dufferin Street and Roncesvalles Avenue.

Intent of the Study
City Council has requested the City Planning Division to conduct a planning study to review the impact of restaurants (and similar uses) for the lands on and flanking Queen Street West, between Dufferin Street and Roncesvalles Avenue. The study will examine possible changes to the Zoning By-law to mitigate negative impacts associated with restaurants and bars on the surrounding area.

Purpose of the Meeting
This meeting will provide an opportunity for City staff to inform the community of the direction of the study and allow the community to have input on this project.

If you cannot attend the meeting, you can still make your views known by sending a fax (416) 392-1330 or by writing to Gregg Lintern, Director, Community Planning, Toronto and East York District, City Planning Division, 100 Queen Street West, Floor 18, East Tower, Toronto On, M5H 2N2.

If you would like further information about the proposal, please contact Dan Nicholson, Planner, at (416) 397-4077, or by e-mail at dnichol2@toronto.ca.

You may also contact my office at (416) 392-7919 or by e-mail at councillor_perks@toronto.ca.

Notice to correspondents:
Personal information received at the community consultation meeting or contained in your correspondence to the City, is collected under the City of Toronto Act, 2006, the Planning Act, and the City of Toronto Municipal Code.  The City collects this information to enable it to make an informed decision on the relevant issue(s).  Individuals who submit correspondence should be aware that any personal information in their communication will become part of the public record.  The City will make it available to the public, unless the individual expressly requests the City to remove the personal information.  Questions about the collection of this information may be directed to the Planner listed above.

Compliance with City Council policy respecting Notice may result in you receiving duplicate notices.

Attendant Care Services can be made available with some advance notice.

Parkdale Bazaar

Posted on June 24, 2011

Parkdale Community Development Group (PCDG) welcomes you to the Parkdale Bazaar, located at the Parkdale Town Square (intersection of Queen West and Cowan Avenue).

The first Parkdale Bazaar of 2011 will be held on Saturday June 25th from 11am to 5pm. Please see the Parkdale Bazaar media release


Recruitment Notice

Posted on June 24, 2011

Recruitment is underway for public appointments to City tribunals and boards of directors.

Click here for more information on the recruitment: Notice to Interested Persons

For more information, please contact the Appointments Team via e-mail at: appoint@toronto.ca


City Council Highlights

Posted on June 24, 2011

City Council meeting of June 14 and 15, 2011                  

Council Highlights provides informal summaries of some of the decisions made by Toronto City Council at its business meetings. The City Clerk’s Office provides full and authoritative documentation of all of Council’s business and decisions, available online at http://www.toronto.ca/council.

24 and 48 hour parking permits now available
City council established such a permit at its May 17 meeting in order to accommodate 24- and 48-hour temporary overnight on-street parking permits for visitors, The introduction of these permits will allow overnight and weekend visitors to park on streets designated under the permit parking program starting July 1.

The fee for a 24-hour temporary parking permit has been set at $8 and the 48-hour permit at $12.

Toronto Community Housing – sale of houses
Council authorized the sale by Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) of 22 of its houses on the open market and directed TCHC to invest the proceeds into the renovation of some of its other social housing units in Toronto. TCHC will honour commitments made to tenants who live in the 22 houses and will relocate households affected to other suitable units in the TCHC portfolio.

New board for TCHC
Council appointed a new board of directors for the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. The board is made up of City Councillors Norm Kelly, Frances Nunziata, Cesar Palacio and John Parker (who is the Mayor’s designate), along with seven community members and two tenant-elected representatives of TCHC. The board serves for a two-year term that began June 15.

Toronto’s ash tree infestation
Council approved a plan for informing residents – and agreed to request financial assistance from the federal and provincial governments – with regard to the Emerald Ash Borer infestation and the resulting loss of the tree canopy in Toronto. The City will use various means to inform the public about the problem and will expedite property owners’ removal of infested ash trees from their properties. More information: http://www.toronto.ca/trees/eab.htm

Paid-duty policing
Council adopted recommendations made by the Auditor General with the intention of reducing the City’s annual expenditures on paid-duty policing for works projects and special events. City divisions, agencies, boards, commissions and corporations spend millions of dollars annually for paid-duty services. Among its actions, Council directed Transportation Services to develop a new policy for traffic control at City construction sites and called for changes to the paid-duty requirements that are tied to special event permits.

Toronto bid for 2017 Police and Fire Games
Council authorized a City bid for Toronto to host the 2017 World Police and Fire Games, conditional upon the Province of Ontario confirming it will contribute $6 million if the bid is successful. The games are typically a 10-day event attracting about 12,000 competitors in more than 50 sports.

Review of winter transportation services
Council directed staff to review the City’s cost of providing winter maintenance services, which include clearing snow from residential windrows, bike lanes, trail paths and transit lanes. Another focus is updating the City’s long-term strategy for snow disposal operations.

Support for hospitality initiative
Council agreed to encourage City divisions and agencies to support a hospitality promotion program called We’ve Been Expecting You, which involves participation by the public and the private sectors alike. The three main streams of activity consist of training for front-line staff, more help for visitors seeking information about the city, and resident participation in this welcome-to-Toronto initiative.

Competitive kite flying in parks
Council supported a recommendation to prohibit from City parks any kites with strings made of hazardous materials, and to prohibit competitive kite flying in parks that have significant bird activity. Council also agreed to encourage the federal government to ban the importation of kite string that is chemically treated or contains glass fragments. The City will allow competitive kite flying activities that are arranged through the Parks, Forestry and Recreation permit process.

Whistle blower protection
Council adopted a Whistle Blower Protection Policy that clarifies the protection from reprisal that is provided to City employees who report fraud or other wrongdoing. The policy complements mechanisms already in place for reporting fraud to the Auditor General for investigation. The new policy protects City of Toronto employees from reprisal when they report fraudulent activity or wasteful work practices.

Management of Casa Loma
Council confirmed the termination of an agreement between the City of Toronto and the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma for the management of Casa Loma. The City will set up a corporation to operate Casa Loma until the City establishes a long-term strategy for the castle. Current staff at Casa Loma will be transitioned to the new corporation. The City owns Casa Loma, which the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma managed for the past 74 years.

Sale of shark fin products
Council referred to the Licensing and Standards Committee a motion from a Council member concerning the sale of shark fin products in Toronto. The motion requests the introduction of a bylaw that would prohibit the possession, sale and consumption of shark fin products in this city.

Animal hoarding
Council referred to Executive Committee a motion from a Council member about the practice of collecting or “hoarding” a large number of animals/pets, usually cats – generally by people who are unable to care for them properly. The motion calls for City inspections staff to report properties that show signs of animal hoarding to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Toronto’s Animal Services for investigation.

Strategic Communications produces and distributes the Council Highlights summary for readers’ convenience after each regular meeting of City Council. Previous editions of Council Highlights are available online atwww.toronto.ca/council_highlights.

Formal documentation of Council’s decisions: http://www.toronto.ca/council

Questions about Council business: email clerk@toronto.ca or phone 416-392-8016



Two pieces of bad news, and a sign of hope

Posted on June 24, 2011


I want to share two pieces of bad news and one hopeful sign.

At City Council this month Toronto suffered a major setback. Council voted to sell 22 houses owned by Toronto Community Housing Corporation. The rationale offered was using proceeds from the sale to pay for necessary repairs to other TCHC buildings. TCHC has a very large backlog of necessary repairs largely because the federal and provincial governments downloaded social housing on the City without providing the funds for upkeep.

Also, Mayor Ford has mused about selling another 900 TCHC owned homes to fund the City. This points to the very dangerous prospect of Toronto becoming unaffordable for people with lower incomes. Already the waiting list for housing is 7 years. If we sell housing units, the wait will become longer and we will have a profound housing crisis in Toronto.

Ultimately, we will need a national housing strategy that helps repair and maintain affordable housing in our major Cities. Canada is the only developed nation without such a strategy. If you are interested in housing policy, the best Toronto resource is the Wellesly Institute: http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/policy-fields/affordable-housing/

Another setback for liveability came at the June 23rd meeting of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. In a debate on the City’s bike plan, a majority of the members backed eliminating existing bike lanes on Pharmacy, Birchmount and Jarvis. This means that 2011 will be the first year we ever made Toronto’s bike network smaller. As a member of the committee I fought these changes but lost. The Toronto Cyclist Union http://bikeunion.to/ has vowed to fight these cuts which come to Council July 12th.

The hopeful sign came from Ward 14:  together with Councillors Bailao and Doucette, I hosted a west-end community meeting to discuss the Mayor’s “Core Service Review.” A majority of those in attendance were from Ward 14 (of course). Overwhelmingly, community members spoke out against cutting or privatizing public services. This mirrors feedback from other community meetings. Council is expected to consider the results of the review in September. Special meeting of Committees of Council will occur in July to look at some specific services. I will keep you informed of dates and locations where you can speak up.



City Outdoor Pools open for summer!

Posted on June 17, 2011

City’s outdoor pools, splash pads and wading pools are cool places to be this summer.
The City of Toronto invites residents of all ages to enjoy the City’s splash pads, wading pools and outdoor swimming pools this season. Splash pads, wading pools and leisure swimming at outdoor pools are free for all ages.
Weather permitting, 12 outdoor pools across the city will open on a part-time basis weekends and after school beginning Saturday, June 18. Another 58 outdoor pools will open Saturday, June 25, also on a part-time schedule. All outdoor pools will begin standard hours of operation on Thursday, June 30 and will remain open on varying schedules until Sunday, September 4.
The following outdoor swimming pools will open on June 18 for after-school and weekend hour:
Etobicoke York District:
Pine Point Outdoor Pool, 15 Grierson Rd.
Sunnyside-Gus Ryder Outdoor Pool, 1755 Lake Shore Blvd. W.
West Mall Outdoor Pool, 370 The West Mall
North York District:
Goulding Community Centre, 45 Goulding Ave.
Northwood Community Centre, 15 Clubhourt Ct.
Oriole Recreation Centre, 2975 Don Mills Rd. W.
Scarborough District:
Heron Park Outdoor Pool, 292 Manse Rd.
Maryvale Outdoor Pool, 1325 Pharmacy Ave.
McGregor Park Outdoor Pool, 2231 Lawrence Ave. E.
Toronto & East York District:
Alexandra Park, 275 Bathurst St.
Alex Duff, 779 Crawford St.
Donald D. Summerville, 1867 Lake Shore Blvd. E.

For more information, including hours of operation and up-to-date information on pools, wading pools and splash pads, visit http://www.toronto.ca/parks or call 311.

TTC Riders Founding Public meeting

Posted on June 17, 2011

Public transit is an important aspect of city life and has tremendous benefits for our environment, social development, social inclusion, urban development, and prosperity. TTCRiders is a wonderful community group advocating on behalf of transit riders. Please consider joining them on Wednesday June 22nd from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the North York Civic Centre – Committee Room 3, 5100 Yonge Street (at North York Centre Subway station)

Please RSVP at www.ttcriders.ca

TTCriders Founding Public Meeting Flyer


Clean Train Coalition updates

Posted on June 17, 2011

Please see the following attachment for Clean Train Coalition updates including:
1.  Railbender Update
2.  Metrolinx Health Study – public comment period until July 4
3.  What you can do!
4.  CTC General info meeting – June 28th, 2011

CTC updates

June 2011