REimagine Yonge (UPDATED)

REimagine Yonge (UPDATED)

UPDATE – February 2018

Following a two year REimagine Yonge Street study, City staff have again recommended the “Transform Yonge” option.  Staff have held seven well publicized and well attended community meetings.  In addition, John has gone out to over a dozen additional neighbourhood meetings to discuss the project.

Transform Yonge would create a community friendly Main Street on Yonge between Sheppard and Finch Avenues, with wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes, trees, and outdoor cafes to support a vibrant public realm and a safer roadway.

Some key facts:

During …

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2018 Toronto Budget & Ward 23 Survey

2018 Toronto Budget & Ward 23 Survey

Toronto City Council will debate the 2018 Capital and Operating budgets on Monday, February 12.  The proposed budget, as approved by the Mayor’s executive committee this week, calls for a 2.1% increase on residential property taxes, keeping with the recent trend of keeping property tax increases at, or below, the rate of inflation.

The budget calls for a near 0% increase of program expenses across all departments.  It expands funding in the 10-year Capital Plan by $1.1B overall and includes:

$4.5B to continue the state of good …

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News From City Hall: November 2017

News From City Hall: November 2017

Responsive Traffic Signal Technology

City of Toronto has launched a year-long pilot to test two new smart traffic signal systems to monitor traffic flow in real time and determine which works best for the city. This technology makes decisions on traffic light timings based on camera detection or radar that measures queue lengths on the approach to the intersection and relays that data to the signal.

Unlike standard traffic signals that are fixed to a set timing cycle for morning and afternoon rush hours and off-peak times, …

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City Consultation on Short Term Rental Policy

City Consultation on Short Term Rental Policy

Municipal Licensing and Standards and City Planning staff are holding a series of open houses on the newly proposed regulations for short term rentals in the City. The term “short-term rental” describes rentals that occur over a short period of time (e.g. 28 days or less). Popular online platforms, such as Airbnb, Flipkey, VRBO etc. facilitate bookings and payments for short-term rentals.

A local open house will be held from 3:00 to 8:00 PM (with short presentations at 4 PM and 7 PM) on Monday, September 11 at the North York Civic Centre Council Chamber (5100 …

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Re-imagining Yonge Street (UPDATED) – Open House October 10

Re-imagining Yonge Street (UPDATED) – Open House October 10

Update (September 5, 2017)

Re-Imagining Yonge, the City’s plan to reconstruct the badly aging stretch of Yonge Street between Sheppard and Finch Avenues continues as a critical infrastructure project for our community.  Over the spring and summer, John and his EA Markus O’Brien Fehr, participated in fireside chats with over a dozen local neighbourhoods and condominiums in small “fireside chat” formats, sharing information on the project and hearing a wide range of views and opinions.  One thought that most residents share is that Yonge Street is in …

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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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North York Budget Consultations – January 9

North York Budget Consultations – January 9

The City’s tax-supported budget process launched on December 6, 2016 and will go to council on February 15 and 16. Toronto’s rate-supported budgets were approved by City Council on December 15.

City Council’s Budget Subcommittee meets at the North York Civic Centre Council Chamber on Monday, January 9 (3 – 6 PM) to hear deputations from the public wishing to share their views.  Councillors Campbell, Di Ciano and Nunziata will be the members of the Committee attending.

To register as a speaker, call 416-392-4666 or email buc@toronto.ca. …

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City Finances & “Revenue Tools” – Consultation December 7.

City Finances & “Revenue Tools” – Consultation December 7.

The City of Toronto needs to take a hard look at how it collects revenue, both to maintain and improve services and to finance major projects including public transit, affordable housing and other infrastructure needs.  While finding spending efficiencies is an important part of this equation, capital priorities cannot continue to be funded almost exclusively from the property tax base.  John strongly supports the City’s active exploration of additional revenue tools that would more fairly spread the tax burden.  He also opposes the idea of selling off …

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From City Hall: New Ward Boundaries Approved

From City Hall: New Ward Boundaries Approved

With the population of Ward 23 now over 100,000 – literally more than double other wards in Toronto – and development rates among the greatest in the City, John was pleased to see the City take action to re-align the City’s wards making population sizes more equitable.  Either the 44 or the 47-ward models that went before Council would have broken up Ward 23.  John voted with the majority to expand council slightly (to 47 wards) to accommodate the high growth rates being experienced across …

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City Takes Next Steps on SmartTrack & Transit

City Takes Next Steps on SmartTrack & Transit

City Council adopted a package of recommendations this month to move forward with SmartTrack and Eglinton West LRT.  SmartTrack is the integration of 6 new stations on Metrolinx’s GO lines.  The Province is working towards the electrification of these lines to allow faster moving trains running at greater frequency.  Adding stations through these corridors will make the GO a more viable subway-type option for Toronto residents and, more importantly for Willowdale residents, take some pressure off of Line 1 (Yonge).

John voted in favour of these …

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From City Hall: Council Approves Scarborough Subway (UPDATED)

From City Hall: Council Approves Scarborough Subway (UPDATED)

Update (July 2016)

Again this month, John voted with the minority of Councillors that preferred an LRT option in Scarborough as a replacement to the existing SRT. John previously voted against the Scarborough subway in 2013 believing that spending more than $1-billion of City money was wasteful when the Province was prepared to assume 100% of the LRT cost.  Recent reports have the cost of the subway going up even more, leaving Toronto residents on the hook for cost overruns.

The majority of Council however again backed the subway …

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Property Assessments & Property Tax

Property Assessments & Property Tax

As the provincial organization MPAC sends out property value assessment notices in June, Willowdale residents are again reminded about the impact skyrocketing property values are having on property taxes in the area.  Under the provincial “current value assessment” rules, homeowners in Willowdale pay significantly more than residents in some other parts of the city with the same sized house or property and same level of municipal services.

Because of this system, John’s believes increased user fees – instead of increased taxes – provides a fairer way …

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