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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

From City Hall: Ward Redistribution on Hold

From City Hall: Ward Redistribution on Hold

The population in our Ward 23 is now at about 100,000 – more than twice the size of some of the city’s 44 wards.  In addition to having more people, our ward also has far more development applications, new home construction, committee of adjustment applications and traffic problems than almost anywhere else in the city.  John’s office is committed to keeping up with all of it, but this is a situation that needs a long term fix.

Recently, the City’s Executive Committee deferred consideration of recommendations …

Read More »

From City Hall: Shifting Plans on Transit (and Open Houses)

From City Hall: Shifting Plans on Transit (and Open Houses)

The City has once again announced a shuffling of the deck on high speed transit proposing amendments to several projects previously approved by Council.  While residents have grown weary of constant change, in this case there is reason for optimism and hope that the City is not only moving forward, but inching closer to getting it “right.”

The Mayor’s SmartTrack proposal leveraging the Province’s electrification of the GO lines was approved for study by Council in 2015.  It adds stations to these lines in the eastern …

Read More »

From City Hall: Future of the East Gardiner (UPDATED)

From City Hall: Future of the East Gardiner (UPDATED)

Updated (June 2015)

On June 10 & 11, City Council approved the rebuilding of the East Gardiner Expressway – the “hybrid solution” – by a vote of 24-21.  John was among those who preferred the teardown option, replacing 1.7 km of elevated highway with an at-grade boulevard with an elevated ramp only where the boulevard would connect with the Don Valley Parkway.

John’s position on this issue was supported by more than 70% of the more than 400 Ward 23 residents who completed his online survey through …

Read More »

2015 City Budget (UPDATED)

2015 City Budget (UPDATED)

Last month City Council passed the 2015 Budget with a number of important service improvements from TTC to shelter services and other poverty reduction measures.  The approved property tax increase was2.25%, below the rate of inflation (2.5%), however when the levy for the Scarborough subway is added, as approved in 2014, along with other adjustments, property owners will see a 3.2% increase to their bill.

Thanks to all residents who participated in John’s survey over the past two months, 60% of respondents indicated that keeping tax …

Read More »

From City Hall: SmartTrack Moving Forward with Study Approval at Council

From City Hall: SmartTrack Moving Forward with Study Approval at Council

It was a centrepiece of Mayor Tory’s election campaign and with Council’s approval in February, a work plan will get underway formally studying the feasibility of the SmartTrack proposal and seeking to integrate the work with the Province’s ongoing Regional Express Rail (RER) plan.

SmartTrack seeks to piggyback on the Province’s existing plan to electrify the GO transit lines – specifically the Etobicoke/Lakeshort East,Kitchener and Eglinton West lines – running new surface subways along those routes from Markham to Mississauga.  SmartTrack would seek to add 13 …

Read More »

From City Hall: Local Appeals Body

From City Hall: Local Appeals Body

City Council has approved my motion to establish a Local Appeals Body to hear all appeals of Committee of Adjustment decisions. Currently, these appeals are heard by the developer-friendly Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

As you may know, the OMB – an un-elected, provincially-appointed body – has the final say on all planning issues. Ontario is the only province that has this system which over-rides decisions of the elected municipal councils.

Additional reports will be coming to Council after the election regarding some details of the new body, …

Read More »

From City Hall: City Action on Pipeline Safety (UPDATED)

From City Hall: City Action on Pipeline Safety (UPDATED)

UPDATE (April 2014)

As Enbridge’s Line 9 oil pipeline is running through Ward 23’s hydro corridor, the recent decision of the National Energy Board to allow the line to carry diluted bitumen has raised significant concern in the area.  While it’s important to understand that jurisdiction overseeing pipelines belongs to the federally appointed NEB and not the City of Toronto, Council continues to monitor the situation closely and recently addressed some of residents’ safety concerns.

Actions include asking the Ontario Ministry of the Environment to order an environmental assessment of Enbridge’s proposal to …

Read More »

From City Hall: Jets at Billy Bishop? (UPDATED)

From City Hall: Jets at Billy Bishop? (UPDATED)

UPDATE (April 2014)

Over the past year, this issue has generated more calls and emails to my office than any other. Opinion is strongly split between those who see expansion of the Island Airport as being convenient and business-friendly and those concerned about the negative impact on  the environment, the island, and the waterfront community. As a Porter flyer, I know the convenience of the airline and have enjoyed their commitment to customer service.  I also believe that Toronto Island is a gem that needs to …

Read More »