Cultura 2017 (July 7, 14, 21 & 28)

Cultura 2017 (July 7, 14, 21 & 28)

The Cultura Festival returns Friday July 7 for our annual outdoor summer celebration of music, food, dance and film in Mel Lastman Square.

The free festival, enjoyed by all ages, begins at 6 p.m. each Friday in July with strolling musicians, street performers, tango dancing, activities for families, and some of the city’s best food vendors serving specialities from around the world. Great music on the main stage begins at 8 p.m., followed each evening by a world-class busker and an award-winning feature film.

From its founding …

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Canada 150 Celebrations

Canada 150 Celebrations

As our community prepares to join Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1, some information for residents interested in joining the celebration.  Mel Lastman Square will play host to one of several citywide celebrations this year.  Music will be playing on the mainstage between 2 and 11 PM with outstanding musicians including The Jerry Cans, Shauit, The Lytics and Busty and the Bass.  If you’re planning to attend, be on the lookout for other activities and performances in the Orchard, at the Pond and in the Gazebo too.  Fireworks will …

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York Cemetery Opens Victoria Cross Memorial – June 25

York Cemetery Opens Victoria Cross Memorial – June 25

Update (June 20, 2017):

Many thanks to the Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries who have donated approximately 13 acres of ravine land to the City at the western end of York Cemetery. This land is adjacent to Bathurst Park, Burnett Woods and the Hinder Property in the West Don River Valley. We are continuing to talk with residents about future use of the property, which will remain in its natural state, once the City releases its Ravines strategy later this year.

Making this land public is part …

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Building & Development: Inside the War Zone

Building & Development: Inside the War Zone

Some developers no longer even feign interest in following the city’s planning rules. Far too many choose instead to submit proposals they know don’t come close to following the rules. When these proposals are rejected by city Planning staff and City Council, they appeal those decisions to the developer-friendly Ontario Municipal Board.  Here are just some of the developments and secondary plans headed there:

Sheppard West Secondary Plan
Earlier this year Council adopted a new secondary plan for Sheppard Ave. West, between Beecroft Rd. and slightly west …

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From City Hall: Stormwater Management Fees

From City Hall: Stormwater Management Fees

Many Willowdale residents who attended public consultation meetings this spring were concerned with a City proposal to separate stormwater management costs from their existing water bill and implement a new fee. Stormwater is runoff that occurs when rain or melting snow flows off hard surfaces instead of soaking into the ground. The proposal offered no difference however to residents who had taken efforts to absorb stormwater on their own property and minimize impact on the City’s water system.  In large part due to public feedback, Council voted to receive this …

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OMB Reform Coming Soon

OMB Reform Coming Soon

The provincial government has announced that it intends to replace the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) with a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal which will be required to give much more weight to the decisions of local municipal councils. Under the proposed system, the Tribunal would evaluate appeals by whether the City had followed its own planning rules in the initial decision. The set of proposals, if implemented, would put planning back in the hands of your local elected councils, which John believes is very good news.

This legislation, part of Bill 139, passed …

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Citywide Transit Update

Citywide Transit Update

Keeping track of the city’s transit priorities has become a difficult task – even for those of us who vote to set the priorities. However, an update on one of the most critical files at City Hall:

The new Line 1 subway extension from the Sheppard West Station (at Downsview) to Vaughan Centre is expected to open by the end of this year.

Construction is underway, via Metrolinx, for both the Eglinton Crosstown and the Finch West LRT (from the new Finch West station to Humber College) with openings planned …

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Updates to Edithvale Park

Updates to Edithvale Park

Edithvale Park and Community Centre (131 Finch Ave W) is one of our busiest hubs for recreation.  John has continued to work with the community and City PF&R staff to make the park more functional for its users.  The next set of updates will begin in the fall of 2017 with the restoration of the Native Plant Garden.  Many residents have seen this area tarped off to remove a number of invasive plants and weeds.  The new garden will be designed as a natural habitat for …

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Mel Lastman Sq Movie – The Salesman – May 26

Mel Lastman Sq Movie – The Salesman – May 26

MAY 26 Update:

Movie Night is On!  Forecast for showtime (8:45 PM) is partly cloudy skies and 16 degrees C. Bring a blanket to stay warm or a cushion to sit on.

MAY 17 Post:

Join John and Member of Parliament for Willowdale, Ali Ehsassi for a free outdoor film screening in the heart of our community, the amphitheater in Mel Lastman Square (5100 Yonge)

Bring a blanket and curl up under the stars for The Salesman winner in the Best Foreign Language Film category of this year’s Academy Awards.  This film screened outdoors …

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Re-imagining Yonge Street (UPDATED)

Re-imagining Yonge Street (UPDATED)

Update (May 12, 2017)

Re-Imagining Yonge, the revitalization of Yonge Street between Finch and Sheppard Avenues took a big step forward this week after staff recommendations were adopted by the City’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (PWIC).  The staff recommendations for the project, resulting from the public consultation process and Environmental Assessment conducted in 2016, include a full reconstruction of the Yonge roadway, widening of sidewalks for pedestrian use and outdoor patios and cafes, substantial improvements to trees, plantings and street furniture, inclusion of cycling facilities – including grade …

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Local Appeal Body (TLAB) Now Active

Local Appeal Body (TLAB) Now Active

On May 3 the City of Toronto launched the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB), to handle appeals of land use decisions from Committee of Adjustment hearings.  TLAB is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal that replaces the function of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). In doing so, the City hopes that the TLAB will make the appeal process more efficient, allowing citizens to make claims in person, by phone, or online through video conferencing. Most TLAB meetings will be held in the Toronto Public Library located at 40 Orchardview …

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From City Hall: Growth Strategy for Child Care

From City Hall: Growth Strategy for Child Care

Last month, City Council approved a 10-year strategy for expanding child care and early learning programs in Toronto and authorized staff to meet with federal and provincial representatives in pursuit of a tri-government agreement on expanding child care and early learning. The City’s vision is a licensed child-care system serving 50% of Toronto’s children up to age four by 2026. Locally, population growth has meant finding licensed child-care is a problem for many Willowdale families.  John has worked maximize developer contributions in this area to expand our local system.  …

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