Council Addresses Provincial Cuts to Core Services

Council Addresses Provincial Cuts to Core Services

Earlier this week, Toronto City Council met to address the funding cuts announced by the Province of Ontario over the last several weeks.  These were made retroactive to April 1 this year.

Toronto’s City Manager has estimated that the tally of cuts the city is facing is about $178-million, including Provincial reductions for Children’s Services ($85-million), Toronto Public Health ($65-million) and Public Transit ($24-million).  As the City has already passed its 2019 budget – which must remain balanced by law – these cuts put the City …

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Premier to Open the Floodgates on Development

Premier to Open the Floodgates on Development

Picture Willowdale with many more highrises, mostly in places you weren’t expecting them.  Now imagine that same picture without new parks and city services such as child care and community centres.

That bleak image is what we’ll be facing if the Province proceeds with new development rules that could have been written by the development industry.

Bill 108, as the new legislation is known, brings back the much maligned Ontario Municipal Board. The new rules also greatly decrease the amount developers will contribute for the infrastructure and …

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Concerned About TTC Upload (UPDATED)

Concerned About TTC Upload (UPDATED)

Premier Doug Ford announced the Province’s plans for transit expansion in the Toronto area this week.  Details remain vague on funding and construction timelines but redesigned plans focus on the Scarborough Line 2 extension, the Yonge North Line 1extension, the Eglinton Crosstown West extension and Relief Line subway.

John immediately spoke out about his concerns around the feasibility of this plan, the delays it is likely to cause and the potential impact on public safety.  Many of the above expansions have been active in the planning stages for the last several years.  Redesigning elements of …

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Council Passes 2019 Budget

Council Passes 2019 Budget

Our city remains in a bad financial situation.  Though this month’s budget may have been the best we could do under the circumstances, there remain ongoing issues that need to be fixed.

City Council approved its 2019 tax and rate combined operating budget in March. This included a 2.55% tax increase for residential properties, 1.28% increase for commercial properties and no increase for multi-residential/apartment buildings as per provincial legislation. With additional levies, including 0.5% to the City Building Fund, the total increase for homeowners will be 3.58%.

The …

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Bill 5, Better Local Government Act, 2018

Bill 5, Better Local Government Act, 2018

Dear Neighbours,

To look on the bright side of the province’s ill-timed decision to reduce the number of Toronto councillors to 25, we have yet another reminder that we should not take our democratic institutions for granted. In a country such as ours, where these are seldom threatened, we need to remember what we value about our political system: consultation, open discussion, and rational decision-making for the clear benefit of the public.

Much has been said about how difficult it will be for councillors to stay in …

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Decision on REimagine Yonge Deferred

Decision on REimagine Yonge Deferred

City Council last week deferred consideration of REimagine Yonge. The deferral came after the TTC raised last-minute concerns about potential conflict between bike lanes and a bus lane north of Finch Avenue.  With this issue unresolved, the Transform Yonge option would not likely have passed. John therefore reluctantly supported postponing the decision.
The issue could possibly come back to Council this term or, as the last Council meeting this term is in July, a decision may be delayed until 2019.

 

The Transform Yonge option is recommended by city staff and was supported …

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REimagine Yonge (UPDATED)

REimagine Yonge (UPDATED)

UPDATE – March 2018

City Council this week deferred consideration of REimagine Yonge. The deferral came after the TTC raised last-minute concerns about potential conflict between bike lanes and a bus lane north of Finch Avenue.  With this issue unresolved, the Transform Yonge option would not likely have passed. John therefore reluctantly supported postponing the decision.

The issue could possibly come back to Council this term or, as the last Council meeting this term is in July, a decision may be delayed until 2019.

The Transform Yonge option …

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City Builders release Open Letter to Mayor and Members of Council on REimagine Yonge

City Builders release Open Letter to Mayor and Members of Council on REimagine Yonge

This morning, the team at the Ryerson City Building Institute asked John to distribute this open letter addressed to the mayor and members of council regarding the coming vote on PW27.1 REimagining Yonge on their behalf.

How could this many great urban thinkers be wrong?

OPEN LETTER TO TORONTO MAYOR AND COUNCIL RE: TRANSFORM YONGE

March 23, 2018

Dear Mayor Tory and Council,

This is an Open Letter to support the “Transform Yonge” recommendation for Yonge Street in North York. We believe that this is a once in generation opportunity …

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City Accommodation Tax & Short Term Rental Bylaw

City Accommodation Tax & Short Term Rental Bylaw

The City of Toronto is implementing a four-per-cent Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) on all hotel accommodations within Toronto as of April 1 and short-term rentals on or after June 1, pending the enactment of the short-term rental bylaw.

The MAT will be applicable to motels, hostels, private and fraternal clubs, condo hotels, short-term rentals, multi-use complexes used for transient accommodation, and all Toronto hotels, including full service, limited service and small hotels.

The short-term rental bylaw is under appeal at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and will only come into effect on or after June 1, pending the OMB …

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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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