The Blog

731 Runnymede Road

2018 City Budget
Last week the 2018 City Budget passed at Council. It was truly a mixed bag with both highs and lows. There were some great things passed, including the acceleration of the increase in shelter beds, the 2 hour transfer for TTC riders, increased funding for the Parks Ambassador Program, and the fully funded staff request for TransformTO (Toronto’s climate change action plan). While I fully support all of these initiatives, I am disappointed that Council funded this budget by using up our reserves. It’s clear that this budget was produced to be a good news budget, going into the fall election. While taxes were kept low and services were increased, we have spent our reserve funding, and left the City on a rocky financial footing that will not have to be examined until December 2018, when the election has passed. This concern is exacerbated by the cooling housing market, which will decrease the amount raised by the land transfer tax. Growing Toronto is important, and something I fully support, but doing so on the back of the future is not the way to build, or govern, our city.

731 Runnymede Road
Last week we also had the final meeting of the Community Liaison Committee for the future shelter at 731 Runnymede Road. After months of input and hard work, architectural plans have been submitted, and building permits will soon be granted. Work is expected to take place throughout the spring and summer, with the shelter opening this fall.

In April a meeting will be held for the new Embrace Committee, which will work to integrate the shelter with the greater community. Please watch my newsletter for further updates if you would like to get involved.

2639 Dundas Street West – Zoning Amendment Application

2639 Dundas Street West – Zoning Amendment Application – Preliminary Report
Origin
(January 31, 2018) Report from the Acting Director, Community Planning, Toronto and East York District
Recommendations
The City Planning Division recommends that:

1. Staff be directed to schedule a community consultation meeting for the lands at 2639 Dundas Street West together with the Ward Councillor.

2. Notice for the community consultation meeting be given to landowners and residents within 120 metres of the site.

3. Notice for the public meeting under the Planning Act be given according to the regulations of the Planning Act.
Summary
This application proposes an 8-storey (26.9 metres, including mechanical penthouse) residential building at 2639 Dundas Street West. The proposed development includes 110 units within 8,680 square metres of residential gross floor area. A total of 47 vehicle parking spaces and 178 bicycle parking spaces will be provided within two levels of underground parking accessed from Dundas Street West.

This report provides preliminary information on the application and seeks Community Council’s direction on its further processing and the community consultation process.

A community consultation meeting is anticipated to be held in the first quarter of 2018. The final report is targeted for the first quarter of 2019, subject to any required information being provided by the applicant in a timely manner.
Financial Impact
The recommendations in this report have no financial impact.
Background Information
(January 31, 2018) Report and attachments 1-10 from the Acting Director, Community Planning, Toronto and East York District – 2639 Dundas Street West – Zoning Amendment Application – Preliminary Report
(http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2018/te/bgrd/backgroundfile-112504.pdf

Health benefits of regular cycling

 

 

TWO STUDIES in Denmark and Sweden have underlined the health benefits of regular cycling – particularly among the over-50s. The studies show that it reduces your risk of developing high blood pres- sure, high cholesterol, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, as well as becoming obese. The Danish study concluded that cyclists aged 50-70 were 11-18 percent less likely to develop heart disease. The Swedish study found that cyclists aged 43-53 were 39 percent less libel to become obese and 18 less likely to develop pre-diabetes.

Gord Perks, on how to stop Toronto from becoming ‘playground for the rich’,

Toronto Star Article.

City to strategize on how to stop Toronto from becoming ‘playground for the rich’
Faced with crisis around affordability of rental housing, staff will develop plan to stop what one councillor called the “Manhattanization” of Toronto.

Link here

High Park Community Alliance update

 

 

All text tge group

Congratulations everyone on an impressive turnout at the GWL Ontario Municipal Board prehearing that took place this past Wednesday, January 31st! So many concerned community members attended that they had to move us to a bigger courtroom! We definitely made an impression! The second GWL prehearing has been scheduled for August 14th…so please stay tuned for updates.

Since GWL and Minto’s development applications are being considered separately, it’s just as important everyone also attend the:

Minto OMB prehearing
Thursday, February 8th, 2018 at 10:00AM
655 Bay Street, 16th Floor

Please arrive at 9:15AM and sign up with HPCA. The prehearing should wrap up by noon. If you’re interested, you can register to receive notifications, or become a “party or participant”. This is your opportunity to show the OMB and the developers that you are concerned about what happens in our neighbourhood!

Ian Flett, speaking here about the importance of attending the prehearing, will once again represent HPCA and members from the Executive will be in attendance as well.
However, if you absolutely cannot attend, email highparkcommunityalliance@gmail.com AND Graham.Frank@ontario.ca with your name, address and contact information to state your interest to be listed as a participant. HPCA’s lawyer will ask the OMB panel to consider your request, but please be advised that only those who attend in person are guaranteed to be listed as participants.

To receive updates or donate, please visit: highparkcommunityalliance.com

Email us at highparkcommunityalliance@gmail.com to become a member of HPCA.

Thank you and we hope to see you at the OMB!

Greenest City fundraiser Parkdale

 

 

Enjoy the goodness of food prepared by Parkdale chefs in the intimate setting of the Tempered Room, steps away from Greenest City.

Greenest City teaches children and youth to grow, cook, eat! healthy food. Growing the Future focuses on food skills, stewardship and food growing. Youth leaders are trained and through paid employment – facilitate the children’s programming. Watch this animated video created by the youth mentors to learn about the impact for them.

A night out with good friends, good food and a great cause. Buy a ticket HERE

Date: Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2018
Time: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Place: 1374 Queen Street West (The Tempered Room)

Saferail special comedy fundraiser

 

…..on March 20th at 3030, to be hosted by local celebrity Steve Patterson.

We are just working on our creative, and wanted to know what your deadline is for your March newsletters/papers.

Keep it Safe!
Safe Rail Communities

 

saferail.ca

 

We will also be launching our Rail Emergency Preparedness Toolkit (funded in part by Transport Canada) on April 21st, and would like to ask for your support in promoting this as well, once we have the creative ready. Please let us know what this deadline would be as well.

Thanks so much,
Patricia Lai
Co-founder

Greenest City Fundraiser

Greenest City Fundraiser
Enjoy the goodness of food prepared by Parkdale chefs in the intimate setting of the Tempered Room, steps away from Greenest City.

buy a ticket link below

http://%3ca%20href=%22https//www.eventbrite.ca/e/greenest-city-growing-the-future-fundraiser-tickets-42878545885?ref=ebtn” target=”_blank”>

Wednesday, March 21, 6pm – 10pm

A night out with good friends, good food and a great cause.

City of Toronto modernization initiatives.

November 22, 2016

The City of Toronto is launching several modernization initiatives to improve service to the public while producing substantial cost savings.

Service Modernization Project

 

Following an extensive internal review, the City of Toronto will introduce a new service delivery model that incorporates three high-level objectives:

  • Migrating more service to digital channels via the City’s website, which is being optimized as part of a Web Revitalization Project.
  • Creating five common service hubs located at corporate civic centres for efficient and effective counter service delivery
  • Expanding self serve and assisted service to support residents who do not have a computer at home or who wish to continue to visit a City facility.

 

The benefits of the proposed model include:

  • Cost savings associated with offering services on the most efficient channels. It currently costs the City $23 for every in-person service, $16 for every phone interaction and $2 for every web interaction.
  • Improved customer convenience and choice.
  • Improved access for people with disabilities and the opportunity to bring services closer to vulnerable populations across the City by removing the need to visit a City facility.
  • Consistent wayfinding and communications.
  • Consistent service delivery platform with effective and co-ordinated service delivery.

 

The City projects savings of approximately $8 million beginning in 2021 from moving services from primarily traditional channels (telephone and counter) to digital channels. Through the creation of two new service hubs in 2017, short-term potential cost savings and cost avoidance for 2016-2017 are approximately $1.1 million.

 

City staff will bring forward a report on this strategy to Government Management Committee and City Council in the first quarter of 2017.

Office Modernization Program

 

The Office Modernization Program (OMP)began with three pilot projects that aim to change work habits and improve staff engagement, productivity and collaboration while modernizing technology in the work environment. The program optimizes the City’s real estate portfolio with the aim of achieving cost savings and reducing environmental impacts by collapsing leases and avoiding entering into new leases.

 

The three pilot projects include:

  • Metro Hall, 15th floor (completed)
  • Metro Hall, 2nd floor (completed)
  • North York Civic Centre, 1st floor (construction to begin in January 2017 with completion by May 2017)

 

The benefits of the OMP include:

  • Modern and collaborative work environments
  • Reduction of the City’s office footprint and real estate costs
  • Attracting and retaining talent by improving employee satisfaction and productivity
  • Reducing energy consumption and environmental impacts by supporting a smaller footprint and paperless business practices.

 

Through this project, the City aims to realize cost savings of approximately $4 to $6 million annually through the collapse of 15 other city leases that expire between 2015 and 2020.

 

As a result of space savings generated by the first two pilot projects (Metro Hall 15th and 2nd floors), the City has already saved approximately $1 million annually in gross lease costs by collapsing two leased locations and repatriating those workspaces into City-owned space.

 

The pilot projects at Metro Hall have resulted in a 40% improvement in employee satisfaction and reduced per employee office space from approximately 170 sf to approximately 130 sf.

 

A staff report on the Office Modernization Project will be presented to the Government Management Committee and City Council in the spring of 2017.

 

City-wide Real Estate Program

 

At the direction of Council, the City retained third-party expertise to conduct a review of the City’s current real estate operating model and provide recommendations for improvement. The subsequent staff report to City Council, which recommended consolidating all real estate entities into a centralized service delivery model, was approved by Toronto City Council on July 12, 2016.

 

 

By moving to a centralized operating model, the City of Toronto will:

  • Make strategic and informed decisions that promote city-building, enhanced asset management and City-wide objectives
  • Maximize the value of the City’s land and property assets and find savings through co-location and joint ventures
  • Reduce the City’s state of good repair backlog
  • Create more mixed-use developments that bring important services closer to residents.
  • Develop improved technology platforms and streamline work and approval processes
  • Integrate modernized approaches to space planning to allow for enhanced staff productivity and efficiency.
  • Provide better solutions through proactive engagement with all stakeholders, including Council, employees and the community.

The City-wide Real Estate Review estimates there is approximately $30 to $60 million of savings (five to 10 per cent) in the $600-million cumulative operating budget of all real estate and facilities management operations (excluding Toronto Community Housing and Parks, Forestry and Recreation) once changes are fully implemented.

 

In addition, the City would generate revenues estimated at five to 10 per cent of the portfolio value, excluding parkland. This would be achieved through a combination of process improvements, efficiencies in procurement and capital project delivery, improved asset management and utilization, alternative service delivery and portfolio optimization initiatives.

 

The transition to a centralized model is expected to take two to four years. Immediate next steps include conducting a series of visioning sessions and workshops with key stakeholders, development of a transition strategy and bringing forward a staff report to Executive Committee and City Council in the second quarter of 2017 requesting the adoption of a transition strategy.

 

Media contact: Natasha Hinds Fitzsimmins, Strategic Communications, 416-392-8889,

natasha.hindsfitzsimmins@toronto.ca

Toronto Local Appeal Body and Bloor West Village Heritage Conservation District

All text Sarah Doucette

 

Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) Information Session – Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Please join me in learning about the new Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB), at an Information Session on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at Swansea Town Hall (95 Lavinia Ave) from 7 pm – 8:30 pm. Ian Lord, Chair of the TLAB will be there to present about the new process and answer questions.

Bloor West Village Heritage Conservation District Study Open House – Thursday, February 15, 2018
On Thursday, February 15 Heritage Services will be hosting an open house looking at the potential for a Heritage Conservation District (HCD) in Bloor West Village. The event is taking place at the Runnymede United Church (432 Runnymede Road) between 5:30 and 8:30 pm. Drop by to learn about the study and share your insights and thoughts on the Bloor West neighbourhood, ask questions and participate in the process.

Metrolinx Plans for the West Toronto Railpath

Alł text from.

Metrolinx Plans for the West Toronto Railpath and Adding a Fourth Track on the Kitchener GO Rail Corridor
Posted by Councillor Ana Bailão on December 17, 2017 · Flag · Add your reaction
January 30, 2018 Update – I have obtained a copy of Metrolinx’s conceptual design and layout which outlines the existing and new corridor, pathway and parkland. Please click here (large PDF) to download it.

Metrolinx recently hosted a community meeting to share their plans to add a fourth track on the Kitchener GO Rail Corridor, which forms the western border of Ward 18. As part of the meeting, they also outlined impacts and proposed improvements to the West Toronto Railpath and Bloor GO Station.

In order to accommodate the fourth track, there are sections of the Railpath that Metrolinx is proposing to narrow, with the most significant section from just north of where the Henderson Brewery and Drake Commissary is to Ernest Avenue. The pavement width of the trail would remain the same but would have to be shifted in places, resulting in some areas with less green space. Please click here (large PDF) for a copy of their presentation from the meeting.

As Metrolinx was developing their plans, the City worked together with Metrolinx to ensure that they significantly reduced the amount of land needed.

The Railpath is a cherished asset in our community and disruption from construction will never be easy but there are also some positive aspects of the plan. Some of these include:

A land swap so that the City can acquire the necessary land to extend the Railpath southwards;
Green Walls that our community has been advocating for years;
An underground connection via an elevator and stairs to Bloor GO Station and Dundas West TTC Station from Randolph Ave;
A new park and other features.
Throughout this process I will be vigilant and work with the Friends of the West Toronto Railpath and stakeholders to ensure that the impacts are as minimal as possible and that there is a long-term benefit for the West Toronto Railpath and our community as a whole.

Hamilton and small houses

The city is pushing ahead with a plan to build tiny houses for the homeless or nearly so, and to put those houses down some of its lower city laneways.

Hamilton city council’s planning committee voted Tuesday to investigate building homes no larger than 425 square feet — about the size of three parking spaces — to ease the city’s affordable housing crisis.

Such programs have worked in other cities, said Matthew Green, councillor for Ward 3 in the lower city. In Detroit and upstate New York, for example, tiny houses have proven a cost effective way to house people.

They won’t solve the problem, Green said. But this will “allow us to explore them as part of the housing mix” at a time when tiny houses and downsizing are growing trends.

Hamilton will debate putting tiny homes in lower city laneways

And in a city where people are sleeping in tents in old industrial areas, he said, the situation calls for it.

“I’ve seen folks living in refugee camps,” he said. “We have, a kilometre from this building, people living in situations that are as dire.”

Occupy Madison has built a village of units that are about 99 square feet. (Occupy Madison)

The tiny house concept isn’t a new one in Hamilton. Two local organizations — Good Shepherd and the Social Planning and Research Council (SPRC) — are working on an as-yet-unnamed project to build duplexes of tiny units for women in danger of homelessness. At their smallest, the units will be a little over 400 square feet.

People living in tents at Barton/Tiffany reflects a growing crisis: advocates

Tiny house wave comes to Hamilton with new affordable housing project

Advocates say smaller units are more cost effective to build and maintain than high-rise buildings. And Hamilton has multiple laneway properties in its lower city.

In fact, the city is looking at how many laneway properties there are, and how they can use them for affordable housing. City staff will report back later this year on how to combine the two concepts.

Mini-homes put a roof over low-income Detroiters for $1 per square foot

Other areas across North America have tried tiny home projects too. In Madison, Wisc., for example, Occupy Madison built a tiny village with houses as small as 99 square feet. Its inhabitants are formerly homeless.

In Detroit, Cass Community Social Services is building as many as 25 tiny homes. Single people who earn at least $10,000 per year can apply to live there. Residents must also attend financial coaching classes and spend at least eight hours each month volunteering to help out the neighbourhood.

Early reminder Doors Open Toronto May 26 & 27, 2018

 

 

Dates: May 26 & 27, 2018
Time: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Location: City-wide

Doors Open is a free event that invites the public to explore and discover Toronto’s buildings of architectural, historic and cultural significance. During the last weekend of May, visitors can participate in walking tours, special activities, and explore more than 150 properties that are either not usually open to the public, or would normally charge an entrance fee.

 

Stuff be,ow from the cities marketing to sponsors text.

Walking Tours
A series of 10 guided walking tours that delve into the history and stories of Toronto’s infrastructure, buildings and neighbourhoods
Tours will showcase subject areas surrounding various themes including film
Speaker Series
Curated by City of Toronto Programming Unit to support the 2018 theme of film
Series will consist of two talks, one of which will focus on the theme of architecture and film
City Hall Hub
Tours of City Hall including Council Chambers, Mayor’s Office, and the 27th floor Observation Deck
Interactive family activities

Mayor Tory announces pothole repair blitz for Toronto roads

all text city of Toronto

 

19-Jan-2018

Following the recent period of freeze/thaw weather, there has been a surge of potholes in Toronto. The City of Toronto is responding by placing road repair crews on extended hours on Thursday and Friday, and will launch a pothole repair blitz on Saturday. Mayor John Tory made this announcement at the Eastern Yard this morning.

On a typical day, 25 crews are out repairing potholes, but during the blitz, 55 crews will work on filling potholes across the city, including on the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway. Motorists are advised to expect minor delays and to give crews space while this work is conducted.

“Potholes are a nuisance when driving and biking, and can damage tires. Winter takes a toll on our roads, especially when we experience extreme swings in temperatures like we’ve experienced lately,” said Mayor John Tory. “Our crews will take advantage of the break from the snow to focus on filling as many potholes as they can to help keep our roads in good condition.”

Potholes are created when water penetrates the top layer of asphalt through cracks in the road. When the moisture freezes and expands, sections of the pavement are forced up. The weight of vehicles going over this section of road breaks the pavement and the asphalt is forced out. Toronto’s weather forecast is calling for more freezing/thawing conditions, which is expected to lead to more potholes forming in the coming weeks.

The City has a comprehensive road maintenance program and spends approximately $171 million annually on road repairs, rehabilitation and maintenance work, including between $4 and $5 million to fix potholes. Over the past three years, the City has repaired an average of 210,500 potholes annually.

Road users and business owners can help by reporting potholes when they see them. You can report online at toronto.ca/services-payments/streets-parking-transportation/road-maintenance/potholes or by calling 311, emailing 311@toronto.ca, or by using the 311 app available online.

When reporting a pothole, please provide the following details:
– the location of the pothole, such as the nearest cross streets and a street address if possible
– the pothole’s exact location on the roadway, e.g., in the eastbound curb lane, and
– the estimated size of the pothole.

While the City usually repairs potholes within four days, when there are large numbers of potholes to be repaired, the repairs are triaged based on size and repairs are prioritized on expressways and arterial roads first.

By the numbers

Number of potholes filled for period of January 1 to 17 for past four years:
• 2018 – 6,041
• 2017 – 7,753
• 2016 – 4,804
• 2015 – 7,479

Number of potholes filled annually for past three years:
• 2017 – 199,032
• 2016 – 181,286
• 2015 – 251,142

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world’s most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TorontoComms, on Instagram at instagram.com/cityofto or on Facebook at facebook.com/cityofto.

Cheryl San Juan

Strategic Communications

416-392-4391, 416-553-1076 (cell)

Cheryl.SanJuan@toronto.ca

Don Peat

Mayor’s Office

647-459-2387

Don.Peat@toronto.ca