Toronto City Council meeting of June 26, 27, 28 and 29, 2018

Posted in City Wide, Ward 5

 

Council Highlights

 

Council Highlights is an informal summary of a selection of the decisions that Toronto City Council made at its recent business meeting. The City Clerk’s formal documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.

 

Increased funding to support road safety  

Council agreed to spend substantial additional funds on top of $21.3 million that was already budgeted this year to improve and accelerate the implementation of road-safety measures identified in the City’s Vision Zero strategy. The road-safety measures to be pursued include traffic-calming projects, street-design work and potentially the expansion of Toronto’s red-light camera program.

  

Safety zones near schools  

Council voted to amend certain City bylaws with the intention of making hundreds of Toronto schools eligible for automated speed enforcement under Ontario’s Safer School Zones Act. The amendments will also enable the City to double speeding fines in key walking and cycling routes to and from schools. The goal is to help reduce aggressive driving/speeding in areas that have a high concentration of schoolchildren.

 

Addressing gun violence in Toronto  

Council agreed to call for an emergency meeting of City officials together with police and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation to address the increase in gun and gang violence. Council also supported making requests to the Ontario and federal governments, including on legislation to control firearms, a review of guidelines on granting bail in cases involving possession or use of illegal firearms, and changes to the Highway Traffic Act to strengthen the deterrent to having an unlawfully possessed firearm in a vehicle.

 

Planning for shelter infrastructure    

Council approved a plan that addresses shelter infrastructure in Toronto, with various actions pertaining to respite services and refugee/asylum claimants in Toronto. Council agreed to advise the governments of Canada and Ontario that the City has exhausted its resources for meeting the housing needs of current refugee/asylum claimants who are using Toronto’s shelter system. Council also agreed to reiterate its request for a regional response on this issue.

 

New committee on housing and shelter  

Council voted to establish a Housing Committee with the mandate to monitor and make recommendations on housing and shelter in Toronto. This new standing committee replaces the Affordable Housing Committee, which was a special committee of Council. Having a standing committee on housing will help direct more City resources to housing and increase the amount of affordable housing that Council approves for construction.

 

Appointment of City Manager      

Council appointed Chris Murray to the position of City Manager, the most senior official in the City of Toronto’s administration. The City Manager is accountable to City Council for policies and programs delivered by the Toronto Public Service. Interim City Manager Giuliana Carbone will resume her position and duties as Deputy City Manager, Cluster A when Murray starts work at the City on August 13. The former City Manager, Peter Wallace, left the City earlier this year.

 

Security at Toronto City Hall      

Council approved the implementation of physical checks of baggage as people enter Toronto City Hall and the use of metal detectors at entrances to the council chamber, among other measures for enhancing security. The goal is to maintain an accessible, safe and secure Toronto City Hall while providing a reasonable level of protection from foreseeable threats.

 

Community councils   

Council voted to amend the City of Toronto Municipal Code by adopting community council boundaries that take effect on December 1. The amendment makes minor adjustments to capture the city’s new 47-ward structure (instead of the current 44 wards) and extends the western boundary of the Toronto and East York Community Council from Keele Street to the Humber River by moving the new Ward 17 from Etobicoke York Community Council to Toronto and East York Community Council. Map: https://bit.ly/2zdeEPa

 

Response to opioid overdose crisis     

Council supported Board of Health recommendations for the opioid overdose crisis in the context of the Toronto Overdose Action Plan, including actions specified for the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. Toronto Public Health has worked with City divisions and community partners to implement the action plan over the past year. Council also approved the use of one-time provincial funding for additional staff and supplies to support the supervised injection service at 277 Victoria St.

 

Capital projects – greenhouse gas reduction   

Council agreed to authorize receipt of about $52 million in provincial funding under the Municipal Greenhouse Gas Challenge program. The funds are to be distributed among 10 major City projects that will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. In addition, undertaking these projects – such as retrofits to emergency vehicles in the City’s fleet – is expected to achieve long-term operating cost savings through efficiencies. These projects and others like them are tied to the City’s TransformTO climate action strategy.

 

Minimum wage  

Council affirmed its support for the minimum wage increasing to $15 an hour starting January 1 and agreed to encourage the Ontario government to not rescind the law increasing the minimum wage. Last year, the previous Ontario government passed a bill raising the minimum wage to $14 an hour for 2018 and to $15 an hour effective January 1, 2019.

 

Improvements to bus and subway service   

Council approved a Toronto Transit Commission plan to hire 84 additional staff to support implementing measures to improve transit service. Specifically, the measures aim to improve reliability on Line 1 (the Yonge subway line), relieve peak crowding on 20 bus routes and off-peak crowding on 14 bus routes, and implement seven new express services in peak periods on a trial basis.

 

Services in the east downtown area   

Council adopted a 12-month action plan for the east downtown area. The plan is a response to Council’s earlier request for short-term and five-year action plans that address the community’s needs and related service co-ordination. Downtown East, as the area is known, faces complex challenges related to poverty, homelessness, housing affordability, community safety, mental health and opioid-related drug use and overdoses.

 

Student nutrition  

Council agreed to increase funding of the City’s student nutrition program by about $2 million this year, bringing the total subsidy to about $14 million for 2018. The Medical Officer of Health received authorization to enter into agreements with two organizations that will administer the funding and distribute it among eligible student nutrition programs at schools across Toronto. The six-year municipal funding plan for the student nutrition program is now in its final year.   

 

Trail naming to honour Ron Moeser  

Council approved naming the waterfront trail that runs through Ward 44 Scarborough East “Ron Moeser Trail” in honour of former City Councillor Ron Moeser, who died last year while he was Ward 44’s representative on City Council. Consultation with the Moeser family and the community led to the trail-naming proposal. Ron Moeser worked for many years as a proponent for creating a waterfront park and trail system in the Lake Ontario shoreline area of east Scarborough.

 

Bloor Street West bike lanes  

Council directed staff to immediately undertake improvements to “corridor safety” along the Bloor Street West bike lane route. A focus of work to be undertaken is improved separation of bike lanes from vehicle-traffic lanes and management of turns for better safety at intersections.

 

Sex education in schools  

Council voted to affirm its support for comprehensive sex education as provided in Ontario’s current public education curriculum.

 

Safe Third Country agreement  

Council agreed to ask the Canadian government to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States “due to the actions taken by the United States government, in particular the policy of separating children from parents who are seeking refugee status.” The Safe Third Country Agreement requires refugee claimants to request protection in the first safe country they arrive in unless the claimant qualifies for an exception.

 

Planning framework for laneway suites    

Council approved the establishment of a planning framework for laneway suites in neighbourhoods in the Toronto and East York district, making them a new as-of-right housing option, subject to certain criteria. The approval covers implementation measures and the introduction of a pilot program for affordable rental units as part of the Changing Lanes initiative. The City is preparing guidelines detailing application requirements and other practical information about laneway suites.

 

Support for Finch Avenue West businesses  

A motion that Council supported will result in the City working with Metrolinx transit agency on ways to support Finch Avenue businesses and residents during the construction period of the Metrolinx Finch Avenue West LRT (light-rail transit) project. Construction work, now started, will continue until the scheduled opening of the transit line in 2023.

 

Galleria Mall lands project      

Council authorized City staff to enter into a land exchange agreement that will facilitate the redevelopment of the Galleria Mall at Dufferin and Dupont Streets. The shopping-centre site will be demolished and replaced with a large-scale, mixed-use development that includes the provision of affordable housing. As part of the project for a complete community, the nearby Wallace Emerson Community Centre will be replaced and Wallace Emerson Park will be enlarged and redesigned.

 

 

Toronto City Council special meeting on June 26

 

Appointment of Councillor for Ward 41

At a special meeting of Council that was held before the regular business meeting on June 26, City Council heard candidates’ presentations and voted to appoint Miganoush Megardichian as the councillor for Ward 41 Scarborough-Rouge River. The appointment, which fills the vacancy resulting from Chin Lee’s resignation, will be in effect until the end of the current term of Council (November 30, 2018).

 

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Volume 21   Issue 5

 

Council Highlights, a summary of selected decisions made by Toronto City Council, is produced by Strategic Communications.

 

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

 

Questions about Council meetings and decisions: clerk@toronto.ca or 416-392-8016

 

Information about distribution of this summary: stratcom@toronto.ca

 

Previous editions: https://bit.ly/2EaDe5G

Arts in the Parks – Ward 5 Etobicoke

Posted in City Wide, Parks, Ward 5

 

 

Arts in the Parks has begun its 2018 season, returning to neighbourhoods throughout Toronto once again. In collaboration with PFR, Toronto Arts Council, and Park People, Toronto Arts Foundation is supporting free theatre, dance, music and community arts performances, and workshops in parks outside the downtown-core.

 

Last year Arts in the Parks brought over 300 events to city parks for over 155,000 Torontonians to enjoy, assisted by 250 community volunteers. Arts in the Parks 2018 will support more outstanding events, spotlight new parks, and, for the first time, offer an opportunity for neighbourhood artists to be highlighted in pre-event activities in selected parks.

 

There will be two exceptional groups of artists working in #ward5etobicoke:

 

The Tune Your Ride Collective’s goal is to create fun, interactive, bicycle-powered arts events that celebrate and showcase local musical talent while cultivating community. On July 26th, 2018 they will bring the Toronto Bicycle Music Festival Sunset Series to Bell Manor Park.  This will be one of a series of free outdoor pedal-powered concerts taking place in our city this summer.

 

Arts Etobicoke supports established and aspiring artists alike through arts education, advocacy, and community space. On September 14th, 2018 they will present the second annual Park Party at Bell Manor Park. The event celebrates a summers worth of community gatherings through performances, free food, hands-on activities, as well as the unveiling of a fence art installation.

 

We encourage you to visit our website to read more about Arts in the Parks, and visit the photo gallery: www.artsintheparksTO.org 

 

Arts in the Parks focuses on encouraging community building, enjoyment of local parks, and offering arts events for residents and tourists of all ages.

Background on the Issue of Underground Hydro

Posted in City Wide, Ward 5

 

 

An Explanation from Toronto Hydro:

Recent events such as the flood and the ice storm have had significant impacts on Toronto Hydro’s system. Standards today are now much more robust as a result of these events not to mention an ongoing experience/awareness/education around lifespans of our infrastructure, increased safety and improved resilience to severe weather both today and into the future. For example current modelling projections suggest a doubling of annual ice storms in the GTA by 2050 and there are many other climate change conditions forecasted to impact our service.

The pole’s we install today are wider and taller. We also use different span distances and provide for more anchoring (wires and poles). This storm hardening of our infrastructure is happening across the City of Toronto and in fact all across North America.

With regards to the undergrounding options there are additional factors to consider. Undergrounding our infrastructure often makes sense during new construction as opposed to existing. Establishing right of way, conduits, cable chambers and submersible transformer housings is significantly easier in areas where we don’t have to work with or around existing underground infrastructure such as water, sewage, telecommunications, transportation services, etc. Not to mention potentially having homeowners relocate service to their homes, possible electric panel box relocations, moving meters and stand masts, disturbing landscaping, etc. As soon as you start digging, these other services get disrupted and the project scope grows as does the budget.

Undergrounding is more resilient to most storms and weather impacts from climate change, however, flooding for example would have major implications to undergrounding service installations. Undergrounding service, if and when it fails, is also incredibly more time consuming to repair. When overhead wires fail, we can restore service fairly quickly, this is not the case with underground service.

Toronto Hydro and all distribution companies are measured by the Ontario Energy Board by two key factors: 1) SAIFI – frequency of outages across our service territory, and 2) SAIDI – duration of outages, this is measured in terms of minutes. A major flood like the one experienced in Etobicoke a few years ago, led to significant disruption in service, the primary issue was that the service to transfer high voltage power from Hydro One facilities on Kipling was underground and “filled up like a massive swimming pool”. Toronto Hydro’s ability to deliver service was fully intact however our service provider could not deliver power to us and therefore we couldn’t deliver it to the end user. Undergrounding is not always an easy solution.

The biggest and definitely most pressing issue deterring undergrounding is cost, it typically is 8-10x the cost of overhead wires.

 

Toronto Hydro Pole Relocation + New Installments

Posted in City Wide
 

 
Toronto Hydro is investing up to $500M annually to upgrade their systems, a lot of this work includes replacing old poles with newer, stronger and more storm resistant poles. They are wider and taller. The size of the new poles and design specs to address changing climate/storm severity also require different spans between poles which is why some can’t be replaced. More anchors or guy wires are also required.
 
Each pole is actually part of the overall network of poles and plays a role with neighbouring poles, poles across and down the street. Weight of equipment and wires, loading and overall structural integrity all come into play when designing the system, not to mention other utilities and underground obstructions.
 
We understand that most people do not want a pole on their property (albeit some do and also want a street light attached to it) but designing and placing them is done with considerable attention to detail and requirements of the overall grid.

As seen in our July eNewsletter

Construction Noise Bylaw and Exemption Permits

Posted in City Wide, Construction Notices, Development, Ward 5

 

 

The Noise Bylaw provides standards for noise and applies to all properties in Toronto. The bylaw prohibits noise at any time that is likely to disturb others. Click here for more details.

The largest complaints are generally about construction, loud music or barking dogs.

Construction hours:

  • Monday to Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • not allowed on Sundays and statutory holidays

Exceptions to the rule:

Some construction projects apply for a noise exemption permit which allows them to work outside of the regulated hours.

Municipal work, or work undertaken due to emergency situations are exempt from the Noise bylaw and exemption requirements.

If possible, speak to the person or people responsible for the noise to give them an opportunity to correct the issue or of course contact our office. Alternatively, you should contact 3-1-1 Toronto with any complaint.

As seen in our July eNewsletter

Committee of Adjustment New Requirement for Members – Trees

Posted in City Wide, Development

 
Parks and Environment Committee recommended, and City Council approved, that in the new term of Council members of Committee of Adjustment must have a knowledge of trees that is demonstrable and applicable to reviewing applications:

2.  City Council amend the criteria of Committee of Adjustment and Toronto Local Appeal Body Panels to include knowledge of, and/or background in, urban forestry and environmental planning.

As seen in our July eNewsletter

Heating and Cooling Bylaw for Landlords / Tenants

Posted in City Wide, Ward 5

 

 

Councillor Justin Di Ciano is aware of the concerns surrounding the start date of the “switch” from heating to Air Conditioning in many of our buildings. This is an item which requires more work to rectify in the new term of Council. 

The issue was on the agenda of ML&S Committee May 4th. There was a full debate of the issues and complications.

 

[READ] The Direction from City Council
 

Below is an at-a-glance summary of the heat bylaw as it pertains to apartment buildings, as per Municipal Licencing & Standards.

HEATING (minimum temperatures):
 
A landlord is responsible for providing heat to a residential dwelling at a minimum of 21 degrees Celsius between September 15 and June 1 of each year. If the heating/ventilation system is out of service and currently being repaired/maintained, this is not a violation and no investigation is required.
 
Note: The heating bylaw does not apply to common areas (hallways, stairwells, building entrances, etc). The bylaw only applies to the dwelling unit. If there is heating equipment in common areas, so long as the equipment is in good working order (Property Standards bylaw requirement), there is no minimum temperature that applies to these areas.
 
AIR CONDITIONING (maximum temperatures):
 
Air Conditioning should go on, if provided/supplied by the property owner, from June 2nd to Sept. 14th to maintain an indoor temperature of not more than 26 degrees Celsius. Municipal Licensing & Standards is unable to take any enforcement action outside of these dates.
 
If an air conditioner is broken, a landlord is required to either fix it or replace it. There is no requirement for a landlord to install an air conditioner. For issues regarding request from landlord to tenant to remove an a/c unit, tenant should check lease agreement to see if any restrictions exist. This issue doesn’t fall under Property Standards bylaw.
 
No building permit is required to install a window air conditioner in a rental unit or privately owned home, but tenants should consult their lease agreement to determine if they are permitted in their units.
 
For more information about the Heating and Air Conditioning Bylaw, click here.

 
 As seen in our July eNewsletter

TTC Policy re: Speed Humps on TTC Routes

Posted in City Wide, Road Work, Ward 5
 
 
 
TTC Policy is as below:
 
  • Going over speed humps jostles bus passengers and could result in increased on-board injuries because bus passengers are not belted in, are often standing, and are not watching for sudden large bumps in the road;
     
  • Going over speed humps adds to customers’ discomfort and inconvenience and, as the transit system becomes more universally accessible to elderly, frail and disabled customers, this concern is accentuated;
     
  • Speed humps can result in undercarriage damage to buses with lowered ground-height clearances such as the low-floor vehicles now in the fleet; and
     
  • Repeated travel by buses over speed bumps could create an increased risk of structural and suspension fatigue-related failures that could not be consistently predicted and, therefore, would not be subject to preventive maintenance.

 

A message from the TTC:

The TTC is opposed to the installation of speed humps on any road on which we operate revenue service.  Given that the buses often operate with standing loads, the TTC see the installation of speed humps as creating an unacceptable risk to their customers.  And, it is for this reason that that authority for the installation of speed humps on roads on which TTC operates transit service rests with City Council.
 
The TTC  believe there is only one road section with speed bumps on which TTC operates infrequent scheduled service; and these were installed prior to a formalization of TTC’s policy related to speed humps and were therefore grandfathered. TTC will request that they be removed once the road is scheduled for resurfacing.

As seen in our July eNewsletter