Proclaiming Bad News

Proclaiming Bad News

When Provincial politicians go out of their way to help their developer friends, they do it as quietly as possible.

So it’s not surprising that you didn’t hear anything about Bill 108 being proclaimed into law September 3, complete with a clause that allows just about any developer to decide if they want their good fortune applied retroactively. And who wouldn’t want to have their appeal of a Toronto planning decision heard under a set of rules which basically takes back the city’s ability to control …

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Planning Rules Upheld For Sheppard West

Dear Residents,

We received a rare bit of good news from a provincial appeal body this week when the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (formerly known as the Ontario Municipal Board) upheld City planning rules that limit the size and location of development in the Lansing and West Lansing areas.

The City’s rules restrict building heights on Sheppard to five or six stories in most locations and limit development to properties fronting onto the main street. This plan, initiated by me and supported by area residents, was opposed by …

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Neighbourhood Zoning – “The Missing Middle”

Toronto’s housing stock is made up mostly of single homes and highrises – with a relatively small amount of townhouses, duplexes and four-storey walk-ups.

Recently, housing advocates have begun calling for planning changes in areas such as Willowdale, where they believe this “missing middle” should be allowed alongside single homes on neighbourhood streets.

This would be a major departure from rules that exist now, and a reversal of a city promise to residents not that long ago when the city adopted a new Official Plan. Accept high …

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Basketball Court Upgrades at Willowtree

Basketball Court Upgrades at Willowtree

At the July meeting of City Council, John passed a motion in support of the upgrades of the basketball court at 415 Willowdale Avenue, an affordable housing complex known as Willowtree.

John’s motion directed half of the required funding to assist Toronto Community Housing (TCH)  with the other half being provided by TCH.

These funds will be used to increase the size of the court, upgrade the poles and nets, provide new benches and fencing and make the site more accessible. Construction on the court is slated …

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The Future of Sheppard West & Bogert Apartments

The Future of Sheppard West & Bogert Apartments

The Lansing neighbourhoods (west of Yonge, on either side of Sheppard) continue to face extreme development pressure, with two major battles being decided by a provincially-appointed board.

Recently, a five-week hearing dealt with development along both sides of Sheppard, west of Yonge. Two years ago, the City had adopted a plan for Sheppard West which restricted development to the main street and limited heights to five and six storeys in most locations.  But a group of land speculators appealed the city’s plan and presented one of …

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Premier to Open the Floodgates on Development (updated)

Premier to Open the Floodgates on Development (updated)

Updated (June 6, 2019):

This week, Bill 108 passed third reading at Queen’s Park and received Royal Assent.  It is now law in Ontario.  There remain many concerns about the passing of this bill, and conflicting information circulating about its overall impact.  Last week, we did some fact checking on the Province’s claims.

In many cases, details about the actual impact to development charges and community benefits have yet to be released by the Province.  That means its not too late to contact our MPP and share …

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Helping with Property Standards

Helping with Property Standards

With great weather comes great responsibility to maintain outdoor spaces. Properties should be clean and free of waste and debris, with long grass and weeds not exceeding 8 inches in length.  Unfortunately, the City does not always have the resources to enforce proactively and can use your help.

If you notice a property in your neighbourhood that has become unsightly, you can contact 311 311@toronto.ca or our office at Councillor_filion@toronto.ca.

After the problem is reported, Municipal Licensing & Standards (ML&S) will issue an advisory notice. If the …

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Fact Checking our MPP on Bill 108

Fact Checking our MPP on Bill 108

Willowdale MPP Stan Cho has released a “fact sheet” on Bill 108. But who’s checking the facts?  Virtually every point on the page was either incorrect, misleading or unsupportable by information on the public record.  Here are our top 10 most glaring concerns:

Claim: “Lengthy unpredictable approval processes and high costs have slowed down the building of new housing and rentals leading to a supply-demand imbalance.”

Reality: Toronto has had more development than any other city in North America. Since 2002, 226,000 new homes have been built …

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Yonge North Planning Study – May 22

Yonge North Planning Study – May 22

For several years the City of Toronto has been reviewing its Official Plan for the Yonge Street area between Finch and Steeles.  Not everyone has agreed with John’s vision to focus on building a complete neighbourhood, with community facilities, schools and places to work and shop. He is proposing a network of bicycle paths and pedestrian connections, with lots of new parkland. John believes in restricting tall buildings to sites with subway stations – and to make any increased density conditional on subway construction.

With subway …

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Enhancing Your Yard With Trees & Shrubs

Enhancing Your Yard With Trees & Shrubs

As you make your gardening plans for the spring, think about new trees and shrubs.  The City of Toronto is continuing its tree planting strategy pursuing the goal of reaching 40% tree canopy cover.

To help achieve this target, Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) offers a Subsidized Backyard Tree Planting Program which helps you enjoy the many benefits of trees by planting the right tree in the right place. You will get an arborist consultation at your property, a 5 to 8 foot native tree and full …

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City Consultation on Construction Dust – May 15

City Consultation on Construction Dust – May 15

Willowdale continues to be a neighbourhood with a very high amount of infill construction. When builders are not sensitive to impacts on their neighbours, this can be a source of great frustration.

Over the past several years, John has worked with the City to improve the resources it has available to enforce bylaws, improve training for building inspections and develop new communication tools for neighbours.

You can read more about addressing infill construction issues here.  Or find the City’s recently published Good Neighbour Guide here.

One of the most frequent …

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Education Development Charges

In October, John joined a panel with MPP David Zimmer, Trustee Alexander Brown and Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter in speaking with several hundred local parents at Earl Haig on the topic of school overcrowding in our area.

As with issues such as traffic and transit congestion, school overcrowding is the product of provincial rules which force development on the area but don’t give it the ability to deal with the population increase. Compounding that problem is another provincial policy which doesn’t allow the Toronto District …

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