Council Highlights City Council meeting of February 22 and 23, 2010

Security during June’s G20 Summit in Toronto
Council authorized the City to enter into funding agreements with the federal or Ontario governments for the reimbursement of any costs the City incurs when the Group of 20 (G20) Summit is held in downtown Toronto on June 26 and 27. Among other steps, Council decided to ask the federal government to post a bond to cover expenses for potential property damage that could occur during June’s G20 Summit. London and Pittsburgh faced such costs as a result of protests during the world economic summits those two cities hosted in 2009. Council also asked the federal government to post a bond to cover any costs incurred by local businesses.

Allocating ice time at Toronto’s arenas
Council approved a new procedure emphasizing transparency and equity in the processing of applications for ice time at the City’s 48 arenas. Eight of the arenas are run by local boards of management; the others are run directly by the City. Recreation staff will receive all applications for ice time, forwarding applications for ice time at community-run arenas to their respective boards for their recommendations. The City will also review the proposed ice-time schedules of the board-managed arenas for compliance with the ice allocation policy.

Toronto’s marathons  
Council approved a plan to change the timing of one of Toronto’s two annual marathon runs so the city will no longer have two marathons taking place in the fall. Starting in 2011, the community-based Good Life Marathon will be held in May. The internationally prominent Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon will continue to be held in the fall. Council directed City officials to work closely with race directors to minimize the negative effects of street closings and to maximize the charitable, economic and tourism potential of the two events.

Greenbelt designation for Humber and Don Valleys
Council agreed to ask the Province of Ontario to add Toronto’s Don and Humber River Valleys to southern Ontario’s protected Greenbelt – an addition that will connect existing parts of the Greenbelt to Lake Ontario. The provincial government has indicated it welcomes Toronto’s request. As a result, Toronto is likely to become the first municipality to have land added to Ontario’s permanent Greenbelt of protected watersheds, forests and farmland. Decisions on planning applications within the Greenbelt area must conform to the provincial Greenbelt Plan. 

Donation of used ambulances
Council decided to donate one surplus City ambulance a year for the next four years (2010-13) to the Caravan of Hope, which will deliver the vehicles to El Salvador in Central America. Toronto has had a partnership with the City of Soyapango, El Salvador since 1998. Council also approved giving not-for-profit-organizations in Toronto the first right to purchase other decommissioned, surplus Emergency Medical Services ambulances, with prices based on fair market appraisal.

Energy retrofits pilot program
Council approved a pilot program that will provide loans to help finance energy retrofits of privately-owned, multi-family residential buildings. The pilot, created to achieve energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions, will be offered until the end of December 2012. The retrofit work undertaken will create jobs, support green industry innovation and help protect the buildings’ residents from escalating energy costs. Up to $10 million in total is available for the initiative.

Energy retrofits pilot program
Council approved a program to permit the closure of garbage chutes in selected Toronto residential buildings starting May 1. The intention is to improve recycling rates in multi-residential buildings, which overall have a much lower recycling rate than single-family homes. Closing a building’s garbage chute will encourage residents to package their waste and recyclables separately and use the appropriate containers – supporting the building’s waste diversion plan. City staff will report back on the program’s success a year from now.
Biogas facility for Toronto Zoo
Council approved the construction of a biogas facility at the Toronto Zoo – with construction conditional on zoo management reporting back on any unexpected budget impacts that become apparent during the construction bid process. The goal of the project is to generate clean, renewable energy from organic waste (fuel) in order to meet the zoo’s goal of becoming carbon neutral. The project will be designed to demonstrate to visitors the benefits of biogas technology in producing heat and electricity.

Addressing alcohol-related violence
Council directed staff to work with relevant associations and businesses to implement best practices for reducing violence and nuisances associated with the operation of nightclubs and other entertainment establishments. Council wants staff to co-ordinate enforcement activities among various City divisions and agencies in order to deal with problem operators effectively. Council’s action supports a bylaw adopted in 2006 requiring nightclubs and other entertainment venues to provide safety and nuisance controls.

A plan for best use of Toronto’s parks 
Council directed staff to create a city-wide, multi-year parks plan guided by principles such as equitable access, support for a wide range of uses, community engagement and a commitment to using environmental practices. Park space will be managed so as to reflect local interests/needs associated with evolving neighbourhood demographics and ethnicity.