Council Highlights – July 8, 9, 10 and 11, 2014

Eglinton Connects plan
Council approved Official Plan amendments to implement the Eglinton Connects Planning Study in support of intensification along the Eglinton Avenue corridor, where Metrolinx is currently building the Eglinton Crosstown LRT (light rail transit) line – much of it to be underground. The new Eglinton Avenue envisioned will be an attractive avenue supporting residential living, employment, retail uses and public uses, and will balance all forms of mobility/transportation.

Toronto to honour Sir John A. Macdonald
Council supported a proposal to rename the plaza area in front of Union Station in honour of Sir John A. Macdonald. As one of the country’s founding fathers and its first prime minister, Macdonald was a nation builder whose long political career included 19 years as prime minister. When the revitalization work is completed, a plaque will be installed at Union Station to commemorate the naming of the new Sir John A. Macdonald Plaza.

City’s response to 2013 ice storm
Council considered a review of the City of Toronto’s emergency response to the December 2013 ice storm and adopted a series of Executive Committee recommendations to improve the City’s ability to mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from future emergencies of that scope.

Preparing for a changing climate
Council adopted a policy on managing climate-change risk in Toronto. The policy sets out processes and controls for identifying, assessing and taking action to mitigate risks that arise from a changing climate, and defines roles and responsibilities. As part of its consideration of this item, Council supported a motion calling on staff to develop a program to accelerate the actions the City is taking to address its established targets for emission reduction and sustainable energy.

Next phase of waterfront revitalization
Council directed staff to undertake a review of progress on the revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront under the tri-government partnership called the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Initiative. The initiative was formally launched with federal, provincial and municipal funding commitments in 2000.

Plan for major King Street development
Council approved a revised development proposal for 260-270 and 274-322 King St. W. – known as the Mirvish-Gehry proposal – on the north side of King Street between John Street and University Avenue. The proposal, which was revised in response to issues raised during evaluation of the development application, will create a landmark building in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District. Council also addressed traffic and parking issues associated with the development.

Exploring transit affordability
Council voted to work on a policy framework for transit affordability in Toronto. The policy work will clarify assumptions, goals and funding requirements for transit discounts offered to low-income residents and will explore additional reductions for seniors. The goal of the policy framework is to achieve transit-fare equity for all Toronto public transit users.

Payment for water services
Council supported a motion calling on staff to look into the possibility of allowing Toronto residents who receive and pay their water bills electronically to opt for monthly water-usage invoices instead of the current practice of being billed three times a year.

Establishment of local appeal body
Council approved the establishment of, and guiding principles for, a local appeal body to hear appeals of Committee of Adjustment decisions on minor land-use variances and consent applications. The City of Toronto Act authorizes the City to create a local appeal body as an alternative to using the Ontario Municipal Board for such appeals in Toronto. Work on the local appeal body included public consultation.

Youth-focused transitional housing
Council directed staff to report on the feasibility of allocating 25 per cent of the beds in an existing youth-shelter facility to LGBTQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning, and two-spirited) youth. The City’s emergency shelter system currently has a total of 520 beds available for youth experiencing homelessness, located in 12 shelters operated by community agencies.

City of Toronto’s media access
Council adopted a motion stating that all media outlets that are members of the City Hall Press Gallery are to be included when the City, the Mayor or other members of Council invite media to an event such as a news conference held at City Hall or another City of Toronto facility. In addition, City staff may only provide support services for events to which media are invited when the space is large enough to accommodate the expected numbers of media representatives.

Code of Conduct
Council adopted the Integrity Commissioner’s finding that Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti violated the Code of Conduct for Council members. Council voted to suspend Councillor Mammoliti’s remuneration as a Council member for 90 days starting September 1 and to request a legal expert’s review of the Integrity Commissioner’s report to determine whether there are grounds for further investigation. Council also received, for information, a report from the Integrity Commissioner concerning Mayor Ford and the Code of Conduct.

Newcomer employment
Council adopted an agenda item about the employment of newcomers to Toronto. The report, which says the City will continue to support newcomers in the local labour force through partnerships with governmental and community organizations, presents a strategy to guide the City’s work with newcomers. According to the report, newcomers’ challenges in finding suitable employment in Toronto include language barriers, lack of credential recognition and limited Canadian work experience.

Planning study for Bloor Street West
Council adopted a motion directing City Planning staff to undertake a review of the properties on Bloor Street West between Keele Street and the Humber River from an urban planning perspective. The review, which is to include community consultation, will result in a vision and planning framework for development of a portion of Bloor Street West between Keele Street and the Humber River that is attracting the interest of developers.

Addressing heat emergencies
Council directed City officials to take steps that will help to prevent heat-related illness and deaths that could occur when Toronto experiences extremely hot weather. Council specified that the City’s heat emergency preparedness and management are to include plans to provide outreach services to populations most vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat.

Review of cold weather protocols/services 
Council approved the transfer of responsibility for co-ordinating Toronto’s cold weather alert and response program from Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to the Medical Officer of Health as recommended in a recent review of cold weather protocols and health impacts. The Shelter, Support and Housing Administration division will continue its leadership role in providing cold-weather-related services to Toronto’s homeless populations. Council also gave several related directives, such as calling for expansion of the Out of the Cold program.

Toronto Centre for the Arts
Council authorized a contract with an architectural services company to reconfigure the Main Stage Theatre of the Toronto Centre for the Arts, originally called the North York Performing Arts Centre. The project will divide the 1,750-seat Main Stage Theatre into two smaller venues for use by community arts organizations.

Sam the Record Man sign  
Council authorized staff to work out a formal agreement between the City and Ryerson University to display restored Sam the Record Man signs on the roof of the 11-storey, City-owned building at 277 Victoria St. beside Yonge-Dundas Square. The location is near the sign’s original location at the former Sam’s store on Yonge Street – a site now occupied by a new Ryerson building.

Item from City Council’s special meeting on July 7, 2014

Council appointed councillors to fill vacancies in Wards 5 and 20 for the remainder of this term of Council. James Maloney was appointed councillor for Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore. Ceta Ramkhalawansingh was appointed councillor for Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina.