FMTA: Virtual Tenant School

Posted on February 24, 2022

Announcing the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations’

VIRTUAL TENANT SCHOOL

Free legal workshops for tenants via Zoom
Taught by staff from community legal clinics and the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations

March 2nd & 3rd at 6 pm and March 5th and 6th at 2 pm 

Intro to Landlord/Tenant Law – Wednesday, March 2nd, 6 pm
Getting Repairs Done  – Thursday March 3rd, 6 pm
City Hall 101 – Saturday, March 5th, 2 pm
Tenant Associations 101 – Sunday, March 6th, 2 pm

You do not have to attend every workshop.
To register and receive your Zoom invite, go to https://forms.gle/Qn1x3duAHNy4f2Fo8 for the online registration form or contact Joeita Gupta at joeita@torontotenants.org or 416-413-9442.

For more information: www.torontotenants.org

Register now!

fmta

Register for Recreation Programs with the City

Posted on February 24, 2022

Spring Recreation Registration

Registration for City of Toronto spring recreation programs opens on March 5 and 7. Residents can have fun, learn a new skill and stay active with thousands of programs across sports, fitness, swimming, arts and general interest. Some new programs for spring include outdoor Pilates, outdoor Tai Chi, and outdoor yoga.

Residents are asked to plan ahead and confirm the district for their programs before registration starts. Visit toronto.ca/SpringRec for more information.

March Break CampTO

Not long to go until March Break! Registration is open for #CampTO, including in-person and online camp experiences for ages four to 12 and adapted programs for ages six and over. Camps take place from March 14-18. Learn more: toronto.ca/camps

403 Keele Street: Community Consultation

Posted on February 24, 2022

The first official public consultation for the development proposal at 403 Keele Street (the former Canadian Tire gas station site) is taking place next Thursday, March 3 at 6:00 pm. The applicants are proposing a zoning change on the site to allow for a new 11-storey mixed-use building with commercial/retail uses on the ground floor and 216 dwelling units on the upper floors.  While the applicants held a pre-application meeting in the fall, this will be the first official meeting organized by City Planning.

To register for the meeting, or see any of the submitted documents on this application, please click here: www.Toronto.ca/403KeeleSt

Some residents have been in touch with our office as they are seeing online advertisements for a 5 storey residential project on Keele Street.  That is for the adjacent “Junction Square Condos” at 406-410 Keele Street (west side of Keele Street, at Vine Street).  While this building’s height and massing was approved in 2017, they have since re-applied for a zoning change with a new unit count (65) and changes to the parking and rooftop garden access.  These proposed changes still do not have zoning approval, however we do expect them to return to Council in the next couple of months.

To see this proposal, or any proposal in the City, please visit the City’s Application Information Centre at: https://secure.toronto.ca/AIC/index.do#detail1

Consultations on Reducing Single-Use & Takeaway Items

Posted on February 10, 2022

Have your say on how to reduce single-use and takeaway items in the City of Toronto. Take the online survey today!
A single-use or takeaway item is any product designed for a single use after which it is disposed of in the garbage, Blue Bin (recycling) or Green Bin (organics). Typically, these products are not designed for durability or reuse. Examples include checkout bags and beverage cups.

Your feedback will help to inform a report that will be considered by the Infrastructure and Environment Committee in spring 2022. This report will present the final proposed Single-Use and Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy Stage 2 mandatory measures (e.g., a fee or “ask-first/by-request” bylaw), additional items to be addressed through the strategy, and timelines.

You can also participate in one of the virtual consultation meetings. Register today using the links below.

If you are unable to attend one of the virtual meetings or complete the online survey, you can provide feedback by emailing us, leaving a message, or mailing us a letter:

wastestrategy@toronto.ca | 416-392-3760

Open House: Bloor West Beautification Improvements

Posted on February 3, 2022

 

Bloor Street West Beautification Improvements

Community Visual Open House 

Monday, February 7, from 6:30–8:00pm 

Register for the meeting at: Bloorwestvillagebia.com/events 

You are invited to join members of the Bloor West Village BIA, myself and City staff at a Virtual Open House to review the designs for the beautification of four public spaces that will be completed in 2023. 

Forest and Field Landscape Architecture Matthew Sweig and City staff will be on hand to walk you through the designs. The pr​oject will include the retrofit of four public spaces that will transform former areas into vibrant green spaces. The designs include seating, large canopy trees, perennial plantings, and original poetry by the City’s Poet Lauraute. The four proposed locations include Durie Street, Willard Avenue, Windermere Avenue and Armadale Avenue. The public spaces will be constructed by City-approved contractors and maintained by the Bloor West Village BIA.

High Park Movement Strategy: Survey Summary Released

Posted on February 3, 2022

From June 30 to October 21, 2021, feedback on people’s experiences and priorities for travelling to, from and within High Park was collected in an online survey. The survey received 6,717 responses. The feedback will help shape the objectives, scope and outcomes of the High Park Movement Strategy.

Visit the following link High Park Movement Strategy – Survey Snapshot (toronto.ca) for more information.

A more detailed analysis of the survey results will also be shared through an upcoming background report.

 

 

Here’s what we accomplished together in 2021

Posted on December 17, 2021

 

Friends,

As 2021 comes to a close, a lot of us are feeling the same way we did at the start of the year, with optimism for the future, but also with confusion and concern for the safety of our family and friends as we enter the holiday season. Like at the start of the pandemic, we are seeing public health respond at a rapid pace to fight the new omicron variant, with new measures announced daily to protect our communities. The City has extended our COVID protocols, originally expected to expire at the end of this year, until April 2022. As things continue to change, please visit the City’s COVID-19 Information Portal for the latest safety regulations and guidelines, as well as how to book your next vaccine.  While the variant may be new, we have been through this battle before. For the health and safety of you and your loved ones, I continue to encourage you to do what we have been doing throughout the pandemic: wear a mask, keep gatherings small, and get vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Despite the changes in the world, there is still much to celebrate this season. I want to take this moment to wish you all the best this holiday season, and look forward to a safe and happy 2022!

Gord

 Local Highlights of the Year

At the beginning of the pandemic, the health and safety of Torontonians became the full-time job of every department in the City. This year, despite the pandemic still being the number one issue, the City started to move forward with a number of important initiatives to build back a stronger, fairer Toronto.

Throughout the year, as a way of staying connected, I have been hosting neighbourhood town halls to talk about the issues affecting you both city wide and directly in your community.  This fall we were able to start seeing each other outside and in person.  My staff and I have had a chance to visit many of our small business communities. Between checking out the windows in the Junction, the lights at the Baby Point Gates and Parkdale, visiting Santa along Bloor Street, and shouting out “there’s no place like Roncy”, our local businesses are putting their best foot forward for the holidays.  

My team will be slowing things down during the next two weeks with only emergency issues being dealt with. While the original plan of a January return to City Hall is no longer in the cards, we look forward to be back together online, working hard and moving forward on January 4.                                                                                                                  

As the year comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to share with you some changes happening in our ward.

Parkdale Hub

The Parkdale Hub project is centred on the City-owned facilities and community services located at the intersection of Queen and Cowan. The phase 1 and 2 of the feasibility study is complete and as part of phase 3, staff have been authorized to initiate expropriation proceedings to acquire 1337 Queen St West, adjacent to the City-owned lands on the Parkdale Hub site. The acquisition of this property is key to the project, and will enable the opportunity to create 109 homes, including a minimum of 50% affordable units and up to 800 square metres of community program space.

This project that started with my motion at City Council in April 2017 is unique in its scale, in its engagement of different City agencies, in its diversity of benefits to the community, and I hope it will serve as a catalyst for more projects like it in the City.

30 km / hour on Local Streets

Back in 2015 the Toronto-East York Community Council converted the speed limit on all local roads in the former ward 14 from 40 to 30 km/h. I am happy to share that we were able to push this initiative city wide this year, making all local roads 30 km/h in the former ward 13 side as well.  The street signs are expected to be changed in the New Year.  I have also asked Transportation Staff to review our ward’s collector streets to ensure safe and consistent speeds.

 Wabash Community Center

This year the third round of public consultation for Wabash Community Center Project allowed the design team to develop multiple site design options which were presented to the community. The Angler site design was selected based on spring and summer consultation with local community members, indigenous representatives, and the City’s operational staff. The fourth round of public consultation began in October, to present and seek further community feedback on a draft design for the new center. To follow the progress of this important project, you can visit the City’s website.

Charles G Williams Park

I am happy to share the opening of the new and expanded Charles G Williams Park. Based on community feedback this project now provides the area with an upgraded playground, upgraded sandbox, the conversion of the wading pool to a new splash pad, an upgraded basketball court, a new junior basketball play area, a refurbished chess table and seating area, a new ping pong table, a new bocce court as well as new amenities for many to enjoy.

I am looking forward to having another successful, community driven plan for the valley’s Florence Gell Park in the year or two ahead.

Cycling Network Plan

This year was the first full year for the Bloor Bike Lane, with its usage continuing to grow.  Council recently voted to move forward with consultation on extending the bike lanes from Runnymede Road to Royal York Road in the new year.

150 Dunn Ave

The City of Toronto will be building supportive housing at 150 Dunn Avenue, on the University Health Network (UHN) site. The new building will provide warm, safe homes with supports for approximately 51 people, including women, Indigenous residents, racialized people, and people with disabilities and other people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The new homes will be studio apartments, each with a kitchen and a bathroom, using modular building construction. I will be in touch early next year with updates on the Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) which will provide the zoning relief necessary to advance the modular housing proposal at this location as well as an update on the planned construction. Updates will also be available on the City’s website.

Permit Parking

The ward-wide permit parking program is now up and running, ensuring access to parking on your street is accessible. After concern was raised prior to the implementation, I am happy to share that there has been overwhelmingly positive reports since the project has been implemented.

High Park Movement Strategy

The City has been conducting a High Park Movement Strategy study, which looks at improving the travel network to better serve park users and the surrounding community, prioritizing safety, accessibility and preserving the park’s ecological integrity. Over the summer City staff conducted a survey with over 6,000 responses.

In January weekend road closures will continue to provide High Park users with space to get around while respecting physical distancing. Parks staff continue to review data collected from the online survey, community consultation and studies to determine next steps for road closures, balancing the needs and concerns of the many groups that use and love this beautiful and important park.

Parkside Drive
Many residents and concerned neighbours have been working hard with myself and Transportation Services to make Parkside safer.  In November I put forward a successful member’s motion improved safety measures on the street. The new regulations including new signage, a traffic light at Geoffrey, and reducing the speed limit to 40kph.
A long term “Complete Street” redesign which includes wider sidewalks, safer crossing, and bike lanes is also being studied.

Toronto’s Cycling Network Plan also acknowledges that if dedicated cycling facilities on Parkside Drive are recommended by staff through the High Park Movement Strategy, that the route will be added to the next near-term cycling program.

Jane Street & Annette Resurfacing

In 2018 I put forward a successful motion to Council that when a roads are going to be repaved, the City use that opportunity to make important upgrades to ensure pedestrian, cycle, and driver safety are all taken into account.  Previous to this, contracts were issued for what is referred to as a “like-for-like” repave.

In 2022, Jane Street between Annette Street and Dundas Street is planned for a road resurfacing, so the City is using this time to examine what improvements can be made, especially around the intersection with Annette and Baby Point. The westbound cycle route along Annette St will have the stop bar pulled back and a bike box added, as well, markings to guide people cycling through the intersection heading west. The eastbound route along Baby Point will have a new short bike lane at the approach of the intersection. The bike lane will be protected with a raised island and have upgraded pavement markings. 

King / Queen / The Queensway / Roncesvalles (KQQR)

After a low and complicated construction period, stage one of the KQQR project is complete, and Queen Street West (between Roncesvalles and Triller) has re-opened to through-traffic. The contractor transitioned to Stage 2 work in November. As a part of this work, King Street West is closed to through-traffic from Queen Street West to Wilson Park Drive. Travel lanes on The Queensway from Queen Street West to Parkside Drive will continue to be reduced throughout this stage of work; however, a minimum of one shared lane in each direction will be maintained. More information on the KQQR project could be found here.

City Wide Issues 

A number of important city wide initiatives have also been moved forward at Council.  Below we have highlighted some of the important steps taken regarding housing and protecting our environment.

Housing: Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition (MURA)

 A staff report was approved by Council recommending a new program called Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition (MURA) to support the acquisition of private market rental housing by non-profit housing organizations, including co-operative housing providers.  This proposed process is built directly on the work our community did for the Rooming House Acquisition Pilot Project in 2018.

The program will provide grant funding and Open Door Program incentives, which offer exemptions from property taxes and waiver of application fees, to qualified non-profit and Indigenous housing groups to assist them to purchase and renovate existing market rental properties. These properties will be used to create permanently affordable rental homes for Toronto residents with low-and-moderate incomes.

Housing: Inclusionary zoning

Council approved an Inclusionary Zoning Official Plan amendment, a Zoning Bylaw amendment and draft Implementation Guidelines, which will make it mandatory for certain new developments around Protected Major Transit Stations Areas to include affordable rental and ownership housing units beginning in 2022.

While the motion to have minimum affordable housing implemented for purpose-built rental as well as a shorter timeline for increases did not pass, I will be closely monitoring the implementation of the IZ framework and look forward to the review after one year. More information is available on the City’s website.

Housing: Policies to Address the Loss of Dwelling Rooms

Dwelling rooms can be a deeply affordable rental housing option in our city. Research shows that without a policy framework to protect existing dwelling rooms, the city continues to lose this type of rental housing stock as properties undergo redevelopment. In 2019 City Council adopted an official plan amendment to address the concerns.

This year, City staff, with much support from Parkdale community agencies, have provided a policy that will protect dwelling rooms in residential rental properties that contain six or more units. This policy will help protect some of our most precariously housed residents.

Environment: TransformTO’s Net Zero Strategy

Just this week City Council updated our strategy to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions in Toronto to net zero by 2040, 10 years earlier than initially proposed. I had the great honour of chairing the original TransformTO sub-committee in 2018, and am thrilled to see our work continue to move forward and evolve as the City makes climate change an increased priority. ​”

The Net Zero Strategy triggers new and accelerated implementation actions to drive down community-wide emissions, particularly in the short term, and establishes the trajectory needed to reach net zero by 2040. The Strategy also sets an additional interim greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for Toronto: 45 per cent by 2025, from 1990 levels.

The Strategy identifies actions and targets to be achieved by 2030 in key sectors, including buildings, transportation and waste. Toronto’s community-wide emissions must be cut in half in the next 10 years to meet the 2030 target of a 65 per cent emissions reduction.

This strategy is both ambitious and necessary, if we are to protect our communities, our city, and our planet.  While I am proud that this measure has passed, we must continue to work to ensure the necessary steps are taken and projects are adequately funded to ensure we reach our goals.  This will be a priority for the 2022 City Budget, and moving forward into the new year. 

 

My statement regarding the tragic accident on Parkside Drive

Posted on October 14, 2021

The tragic loss of life on Parkside Dr. is a stark reminder that the work we are doing together to create safer roads is crucial. We have worked over the years on the dangerous speeding on Parkside. From our discussions we developed a plan to make  Parkside Drive safe.

Some parts of our plan have been implemented.

Pedestrian protection barriers were installed at the underpass on the south end of Parkside.

The right-turn channel at the NE corner of Parkside Drive and Howard Park was eliminated to improve pedestrian crossing.

The rush hour evening parking prohibition on the east side of Parkside Drive was removed. By making on street parking 24 hours created a buffer between motorists and pedestrians.

Some other elements of our plan are coming forward.

In 2022, the City will begin installation of a temporary sidewalk on the west side of the southern portion of Parkside. A permanent sidewalk will be installed as part of other capital projects in coming years.

Adjacent to Parkside Drive, the High Park Movement Strategy is underway. This strategy, which resulted from our work together, will look at how people travel to and within High Park, with an eye to promoting walking, cycling and transit and achieving safe conditions for everyone who uses the Park.  The City has just completed an online survey for this project and will be moving to full community consultation this fall.

Some parts of our plan have run into hurdles.

Our community was a leader in getting speeds reduced on local streets. Efforts to get speeds reduced on Parkside have run up against the City’s antiquated road classification system which says that “major arterial” roads cannot be reduced below 50 kph.

Our effort to get automated speed enforcement cameras on Parkside has been held up by Provincial regulations which limit speed enforcement cameras to streets around schools.

I have also been advocating to install metered parking on the west, again to act as a traffic calming measure, but have been unable to get that achieved, yet.

I wish we were further along. Yesterday two Torontonians died. Every day, people who live near Parkside have to contend with unsafe conditions. I will be continuing to work with community leaders to accelerate and expand our plan. If you are new to this conversation and would like to be a part of it, please email me and I will add you to our contact list for getting this plan implemented.

Gord

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