Toronto City Council meeting of January 29, 2020
Council Highlights is an informal summary of selected actions taken by Toronto City Council at its business meetings. The complete, formal documentation for this latest meeting is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Plan for implementing the ravine strategy
Council unanimously adopted an implementation plan for the Toronto Ravine Strategy guiding the cleanup and protection of the city’s extensive ravines. The plan addresses the need for enhanced services for litter collection and control of invasive species in ravines. Among several amending motions that were adopted with this agenda item is one calling for the 2020 Clean Toronto Together campaign to place an emphasis on ravine cleanup, and one proposing discussions about having schools adopt their local ravine and help support ravine sustainability and protection.
Toronto’s growing tree canopy
Council adopted recommendations and amendments concerning the city’s tree canopy, informed by a recent study that includes data indicating Toronto’s urban forest increased from 10.2 million trees in 2008 to 11.5 million trees in 2018. The City is committed to pursuing partnerships and policies that will help protect growing space for Toronto’s urban forest. Council also adopted recommendations in two related agenda items, one about the role of City bylaws in protecting trees and another about federal funding to support the City’s goals for the tree canopy.
Next step for Rail Deck Park
Council unanimously adopted recommendations to continue negotiating to acquire 1.2 hectares of air space above the Union Station rail corridor as part of an envisioned eight-hectare park the City wants to create between Bathurst Street and Blue Jays Way in downtown Toronto. Council authorized the use of expropriation if needed to move forward with securing the 1.2 hectares of air space. The park’s creation is to be phased to help manage the project’s anticipated cost and complexity.
Toronto and Ontario transit partnership
Council adopted an update on discussions with the Province of Ontario regarding four priority transit projects known as the Ontario Line, Line 2 East Extension (three-stop expansion of Line 2 into Scarborough), Yonge North Subway Extension and Eglinton Crosstown West Extension. In addition to adopting the update report, Council supported a series of amending motions, such as one presenting three principles to guide any agreements between the City and the province related to the approval process for transit-oriented development.
Private construction blocking roadways
Council adopted recommendations to address the issue of private construction projects closing a lane of the adjacent road (public right-of-way) to traffic, affecting pedestrians, motorists, transit users and cyclists. A motion adopted with the item calls on staff to report later this year on options for enhanced enforcement measures to deal with builders unnecessarily closing lanes, fencing-off parking spots and using active lanes as parking zones.
Delivery of Ontario Building Code services
Council adopted recommendations concerning proposed changes to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s services related to the Ontario Building Code. The province administers the code and the City is responsible for enforcement within Toronto’s boundaries. Council is requesting that the ministry conduct further consultations directly with the City. While supportive of some of the proposed changes, Council does not support a proposal that would allow builders to hire designers for their plan review and inspection, now done by municipal staff.
Future of St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts
Council endorsed pursuing the replacement of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts at 27 Front St. E. with a new version of the centre that will be a state-of-the-art cultural and civic hub for the city’s creative communities, particularly not-for-profit performing arts organizations. Moving ahead with this project is subject to the completion of several steps, including consultations and a funding plan. The current centre, built in 1967 as Toronto’s Canadian centennial project, first opened its doors in 1970.
Promoting independent live theatre
A member motion that Council adopted asks staff to explore actions that can be taken to support the sustainability and continued viability of independent theatrical spaces in the downtown west area. That undertaking is to include consultation with the independent live theatre sector. The motion notes that City action is needed as start-up theatres, storefront spaces, incubators and rehearsal rooms close due to high commercial rents and a lack of supports for emerging artists and performance spaces.
Air quality in the subway network
Council agreed to ask the Toronto Transit Commission’s board to implement mitigation measures that can be delivered in the short term, along with longer term measures, to improve air quality in the subway system. Line 2 is identified as a priority for mitigation measures. At the request of the Toronto Board of Health, staff of Toronto Public Health recently oversaw an independent study of air quality in the subway system, which included identifying beneficial measures that could be pursued. The study also highlighted various positive health aspects of subway use as part of the public transit system.
Support for move to electric vehicles
Council approved an electric vehicle strategy and provided direction on implementing it as a critical component in transitioning Toronto to a low-carbon city as articulated in the City’s climate action strategy, TransformTO. That strategy sets the goal of all Toronto transportation using zero-carbon energy by 2050. Increasing the adoption of electric vehicles, or EVs, is a necessary part of that change. A projection indicates Toronto will need to accommodate more than 220,000 plug-in electric vehicles (about 20 per cent of all personal vehicles) within the next 10 years.
Keeping Smart Commute rolling
Council authorized staff to continue the delivery of the Smart Commute program, subject to available funding, to Toronto employers and communities. Metrolinx withdrew its funding support for the program last year. The City is negotiating a new agreement with its regional municipal partners to collaboratively continue the program. Begun in 2004, Smart Commute has helped reduce commuter single-occupancy vehicle trips while easing traffic congestion, improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Enhanced security at City Hall
Council approved the recommended implementation of visitor screening for entry to Toronto City Hall using walk-through metal detectors on the building’s ground floor. Holders of City access cards will use their card for entry. Currently, baggage screening is conducted for everyone who does not have a City access card, with a more thorough screening for people entering the Council Chamber for City Council meetings. The enhanced security measures are intended to maintain an accessible Toronto City Hall while providing a reasonable level of protection from foreseeable threats.
Digital infrastructure plan
Council adopted a series of working principles and a vision statement, along with other directions, to guide work on a digital infrastructure plan for the City. Digital infrastructure includes physical structures, cabling and network systems, software systems, data standards and protocols, as well as the data itself.
Surveillance cameras on private property
A member motion that Council adopted calls on staff to assess the feasibility of prohibiting or restricting surveillance cameras from recording video footage of any residential property beyond an individual’s property. The motion says the City is increasingly receiving complaints about privately owned surveillance cameras capturing images of residents on their own property, such as their back yard, their front porch or even inside their home.
Job Fairs offer job application support, process review (get to know the steps involved and the best way to prepare), and one-on-one time with program representatives to help you apply for City of Toronto recreation jobs.
Interviews for certain jobs (such as Aquatics) will be conducted on-site and interviews for other jobs will be scheduled at a later date. Applicants should bring hard copies of their awards and documentation pieces
(qualifications, birth certificate, SIN number, bank direct deposit information, and resume).
Drop by Masaryk-Cowan Community Recreation Center on Wednesday, February 5th, 5-8pm. More information available at toronto.ca/recjobsPOSTER-PFR Recruitment-Jan Feb 2020_03 (002)
At yesterday’s Toronto City Council meeting, the Report on the Expansion of Permit Parking in Ward 4 was approved.
The report, which was approved at Toronto and East York Community Council (TEYCC) on December 3, 2019, expands the permit parking program to all local roads in Ward 4. At City Council, I moved a motion recommending that priority for implementation be based on permit parking areas with wait listed streets. This will ensure that the residents who are most in need of the change receive it first.
TEYCC now has the delegated authority to approve technical and financial details, a staff report on these items will be coming to TEYCC in the next few months. City staff are also working on an implementation schedule.
My office will continue to keep you updated as this process moves forward.
Sunday, February 16 at Lambton House (4066 Old Dundas Street)
Sundays@Lambton House with Rosemary Sadlier & Emancipation Day Talk (Free)
Doors Open at 12:30pm. Talk on Emancipation Day at 2:00pm. Refreshments. Donations appreciated.
Rosemary Sadlier was president of the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) from 1993 to 2015. As president, she contributed to the recognition of Black history through education, research and outreach programs. Rosemary’s advocacy was significant to the Canadian government’s 1995 decision to make the celebration of Black History Month a national annual event in February.
An Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies received Royal Assent on 28 August 1833 and took effect 1 August 1834. In 2008 Ontario designated August 1st as Emancipation Day marking the end of slavery in the British Empire.
Sunday, February 16 and 23, 2 to 3 p.m. at Colborne Lodge (11 Colborne Lodge Drive)
Girl Power’D: A Live Performance
Girl Power’D teaches creativity, confidence and self-expression through an understanding of heritage for girls five to 16 years old who identify as Black. With a focus on cultural dance led by community elders, the program includes live drumming, African dancing, and Dunham style technique. Join us for a free performance celebrating where these talented young performers have come from and be inspired by the creative future they are cultivating for their peers.
Sunday, February 16, 1-5pm at Masaryk-Cowan Community Center (220 Cowan Avenue)
Black History Month: Celebration of Arts, Entertainment and Culture.
Events at Parkdale Public Library
February 7th, 7-8 pm
Innovative steelpan artist-educator Suzette Vidale incorporates her Trinidadian roots and the rich and vibrant cultures of Toronto into her diverse repertoire.
March 31st, 6:30-8pm
Bernice Carnegie, award winning author/Life Enrichment speaker, shares stories of her remarkable father Herb Carnegie. Considered the first Black Canadian Hockey star, Carnegie moved into a 32 year career with Investors Group, winning a few Canadian golfing Championships along the way, then founded the Herbert H. Carnegie Future Aces Foundation, to empower and mentor youth. There are many take-always from the Carnegie story – the most important is how to write your own story of success.
More information on scheduled events is available at .
Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a public health emergency of international concern. This type of emergency describes an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk through the international spread of disease.
At this time the situation in Toronto has not changed and the risk to our community remains low. I will let you know directly if this changes. Upon the first reports of 2019-nCoV in China, Toronto Public Health experts and our provincial and federal health partners implemented response protocols and outbreak preparedness measures. These efforts are ongoing and we continually look for opportunities to refine and strengthen our response. The declaration of this public health emergency of international concern has little impact on our daily operations.
My team continues to work around the clock with our local partners including hospitals, airports and community agencies on this important work. We have followed up with all known contacts for suspected cases of 2019-nCoV in Toronto. We are actively monitoring the situation in collaboration with our provincial and national health colleagues. We continue to share updates and facts to the public as quickly as possible. At this time, I also want to remind the public to seek credible, evidence-based sources of information.
Our Novel Coronavirus web page and the Toronto Public Health Twitter account, @TOPublicHealth, are updated regularly with up-to-date information for Toronto residents and visitors. We also continue to operate our hotline for those with questions about this virus to connect with a health professional. I encourage people who have questions to contact us at 416-338-7600.
Join local artist Bareket Kezwer and StreetART to share your ideas and inspiration for artworks on the underpass along Lansdowne Ave, south of Dundas St. W. The public Meeting and Workshop Drop-In is on February 10, 6:00-8:00 pm at Lula Lounge (1585 Dundas St W).Lansdowne Underpass Flyer (002)
Lambton House is currently showcasing two new exhibits – 150th Anniversary 1870-2020: Making of Manitoba and Lost Mills of the Humber River. The exhibits are on from January – August 2020. Lambton house will be open on Family Day (February 17) providing an opportunity to tour and view the two exhibits.lambton house
Toronto residents who live near ravines, forests and large parks – typical coyote habitats – can expect an increase in coyote sightings during this time of year.
Residents can expect to see coyotes more often in winter for the following reasons:
- It is easier to spot coyotes in parks and ravines in the winter because they are not hidden by foliage.
- Coyotes are wary by nature and are more comfortable roaming in residential neighbourhoods when fewer people are outside.
- The months of January and February are mating season for coyotes, which means coyotes are more active during this time, making them more visible.
Coyotes have become a natural part of the urban landscape in Toronto and are an important part of the ecosystem, as they control rodent and rabbit populations. They thrive in urban areas because of the abundance of food and shelter available to them.
Most interactions with coyotes in Toronto are the result of a nearby, regular food source, especially intentional feeding by people, or the presence of a dog.
Coyotes can behave in a defensive manner around dogs, often interpreted as aggression. Coyotes are naturally timid, but they will defend their territory and their family group, including their pups. For this reason, interactions between a dog and coyote can be scary, but there are simple ways to avoid conflict:
- Do not feed coyotes, either deliberately or inadvertently. Ensure all food you may have with you (human snacks or dog treats) are packed away securely.
- Keep your dog close to you and on a leash, especially in areas where coyotes are known to live.
- Don’t walk your dog in ravine habitats, especially in the spring when coyotes have pups.
- Be aware of your surroundings and what your dog is doing.
- Don’t let your dog chase or play with a coyote.
The City of Toronto has a coyote response strategy that it follows when dealing with coyotes that includes public education, a bylaw that prohibits feeding of wildlife, and criteria for the removal of coyotes, if necessary. An attack or bite on another animal is not grounds for removal, as this is normal coyote behaviour.
Where a coyote is injured or sick, Toronto Animal Services will investigate to determine whether the coyote can recover on its own or be captured and brought to a wildlife rehabilitation facility. In accordance with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, the coyote will be located back into the area from which it was captured when it has recovered.
Residents who see someone feeding a coyote should contact 311, as it is against City bylaws. For more information or to report a coyote sighting, residents can visit the web page at http://www.toronto.ca/coyote or call 311.