Looking Forward: Municipal Property Taxes Need Revision

Looking Forward: Municipal Property Taxes Need Revision

by Markus O’Brien Fehr, Chief of Staff

It’s never the best week when the property tax bill arrives. Along with many of you, I received my interim bill this week. As Council also prepares for its budget debate, the big question that always comes up is: “Why do I keep paying more and seem to get less in return?” The answer: Because it’s true.

In the years since amalgamation, property taxes have been frozen by City Council in four of those years – and increased by the …

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For Virtual Learning, Teachers Deserve Gratitude

For Virtual Learning, Teachers Deserve Gratitude

Three weeks into full online learning for our school-age kids, the great social experiment continues. The stories I’m sharing with friends and family about my 4 and 7-year-olds often leave them in stitches. From one cowering under their blankets in the middle of class, to messy kitchen experiments when mom and dad are still wrapped up in meetings and slow on the snacks. From IT connection issues (“I don’t know what I did!”), to becoming highly proficient at dumping out of Google Classroom, and getting …

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COORDINATION A CRITICAL PART OF YONGE NORTH SUBWAY EXTENSION

COORDINATION A CRITICAL PART OF YONGE NORTH SUBWAY EXTENSION

As the City begins to advance work on Yonge Street following the Council vote in December, there are other major infrastructure projects in the works that need to be carefully monitored and coordinated with this work.  Metrolinx, Ontario’s provincial transit agency, continues to advance work on the Yonge North Subway Extension (YNSE) with several reports passing through Council in recent months. The YNSE is one of four priority transit expansion projects that were taken over by the Province of Ontario in 2019.

Metrolinx continues to target …

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Improving Transit? Lets Follow the Numbers

Improving Transit? Lets Follow the Numbers

COVID-19 has exposed many inequities in our city and put an enormous strain on municipal infrastructure. Transit has been impacted tremendously. For many thousands, including many workers on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic, public transit is the best and only affordable option to get around. More busses are needed to adequately meet this need while allowing riders to be safely distanced. On busy bus routes, including local bus lines on Steeles Avenue, Finch Avenue, and Sheppard Avenue, this remains a big …

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Rebuild Report Requires New Deal for Cities

Rebuild Report Requires New Deal for Cities

by Markus O’Brien Fehr, Chief of Staff

Toronto has an enormous amount of work ahead of it to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting to where we want to be may require a total re-think about government services, who provides them, and how we pay for them.

This week Council debated a 238 page recovery report, available online in three parts (part 1 / part 2 / part 3).  It includes 83 recommendations from the City’s Office of Rebuild and Recovery that addresses topics including public health, …

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Federal Government Invests in Rapid Housing Initiative

Federal Government Invests in Rapid Housing Initiative

Earlier this week the Government of Canada announced the launch of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) investing $1 billion to create up to 3,000 new permanent, affordable housing units across the country.  City Council responded quickly today, adopting a motion to receive the $203.3 million made available to Toronto through the Major Cities Stream of the program to create a minimum of 417 new permanent affordable homes. City Staff have been directed to identify projects that can be brought online in the next 12 months.

The …

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Yonge North Consultation to be Held October 29

Yonge North Consultation to be Held October 29

Plans are well underway to redefine the community close to Yonge Street, between Cummer/Drewry and Steeles. Several community meetings have already taken place.

An online meeting to discuss possible road networks will be held Thursday, October 29 at 7 p.m.To join the meeting, register here.

Residents who live in the area should be aware that city staff are presenting alternatives that would potentially have new roads running through existing neighbourhoods, where many homes are located.

At my request, staff have reduced the number of such roads, but there …

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Unsticking the Gridlock at Yonge/401

Unsticking the Gridlock at Yonge/401

by Markus O’Brien Fehr, Chief of Staff

In the coming weeks, conversation at City Council will shift back to the future of Yonge Street and how it best serves our growing community.  This week, we were all reminded of a big project that ties in closely – the access ramp onto Highway 401.

John first initiated studies on how to improve access to the 401 back in 2006, recognizing that the left turn required to get southbound Yonge traffic onto eastbound 401 was an inefficient set-up inadequate …

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Beware Scam About Basement Flooding

Beware Scam About Basement Flooding

Misleading phone calls and door hangers from private companies related to basement flooding are circulating in Toronto.

If you’ve received one of these, please know that they are not affiliated with the City of Toronto, and the information is not provided or approved by the City and may be inaccurate or misleading.

The City does not conduct telephone or door-to-door sales of any kind and does not endorse any basement flooding products/services. If you have any questions please contact 311. The City’s resources about flood proofing your …

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The Future of Our Roads is Arriving

The Future of Our Roads is Arriving

by Markus O’Brien Fehr, Chief of Staff

When we imagine a “future city” one of the first things that jumps to mind is transportation.  From The Jetsons cartoons of the 1960s to the Back to the Future movies of the 1980s, futuristic cars have been imagined, though never actually realized.  We’ve heard about driverless cars coming at some point in the future.  Those that think that these are still a long ways off may need to think again.

This week, the City of Toronto announced an agreement …

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Work Continues on Community Basketball Courts

Work Continues on Community Basketball Courts

By Markus O’Brien-Fehr – Chief of Staff

Construction is currently underway for two community basketball facilities that will help keep communities active and youth engaged.

In 2019 John secured funding to help pay for the reconstruction of a basketball court at a TCH community in Willowdale. The construction began this past summer and will include a larger and new playing surface, a new perimeter fence, new basketball nets, and a community-led mural at centre court. The whole project should be completed in the next couple months.

New courts …

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Backlog of COVID Testing a Growing Concern

Backlog of COVID Testing a Growing Concern

Yesterday I received a call from my son’s school.  He was in the office with an upset stomach, a condition he deals with from time to time.  As “nausea” was one of the screening symptoms for COVID-19, I picked him up resigned to the fact that we’d be spending today standing in line at a local testing site.

As it turned out, the Ontario government also announced new screening rules yesterday, indicating that a student showing a single, less severe symptom, such as a runny nose …

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