Schools Should be Growing With Our Neighbourhoods

Schools Should be Growing With Our Neighbourhoods

By Markus O’Brien-Fehr – Chief of Staff

As a dad sending young kids to school this fall, I’ve shared apprehension with many parents about how this year is going to work. Can kids be adequately distanced in these spaces, especially with surging COVID-19 numbers in our community?

I’ve made a few observations over the first couple of weeks. First, teachers are working very hard and adding great creativity doing their instruction in a completely different and difficult educational environment. Second, schools simply don’t have the resources or …

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Yonge St North & Transportation Master Plan Meeting

Yonge St North & Transportation Master Plan Meeting

Virtual Community Consultation Meeting
Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.

Next week, please join City Planning staff to help determine the future of our neighbourhood. City planning staff want your feedback on the Yonge Street North Planning Study, and the Transportation Master Plan. Your voice is important to help the City develop policies for this changing area.

The objective of the Yonge Street North Planning Study is to develop a long-term vision for the area and to manage and guide the expected growth in the future, through …

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UPDATED: New Provincial Rules Would Help Developers, Hurt Communities

UPDATED: New Provincial Rules Would Help Developers, Hurt Communities

 

Residents may be interested in the formal submission made by the City of Toronto to the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on April 20 as part of the formal consultation process.  That submission can be read here.

John’s submission is also linked at the end of the original post below.

Original Post (April 17, 2020):

Most developers in Willowdale will be paying much less towards the cost of new parks, child care centres, community centres and other facilities if a new Ford Government proposal becomes final.

In …

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Potential Building Code Service Changes Could Put Public At Risk

Potential Building Code Service Changes Could Put Public At Risk

In the pursuit of reducing red tape and speeding up development, the Provincial Government has recently proposed changes to how the Building Code is enforced in Ontario.

Part of a discussion paper circulated by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, a central change would create a new ‘Certified Professionals Program’ allowing developers to hire private architects and engineers to perform inspections currently carried out by City of Toronto’s Building department.

John, along with the majority of Council, was immediately alarmed by this proposal. Having critical safety …

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Win For Families At Yonge Sheppard Centre

Win For Families At Yonge Sheppard Centre

Image: Catherine LeBlanc-Miller (pictured) stands alongside one of three child care playgrounds at the redeveloped Yonge Sheppard Centre.

If you’re the parent, or caregiver of a young child, chances are good you’ve shared the struggle of finding high-quality, affordable child care. In Willowdale, our population growth has created long wait lists, challenging young families looking for a supportive and welcoming space for their little ones.

Throughout his career, John has taken a creative approach to establishing new child care spaces, leveraging surplus school space and development revenue …

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The Party Is Over For Party Houses

The Party Is Over For Party Houses

In recent years, the surge of short-term rentals popping up on websites like Airbnb has hurt communities like Willowdale by reducing the stock of available rental properties, leading to soaring prices and less stable neighbourhoods.

With land speculation continuing to be a significant factor in the local real estate market, owners have become more creative in monetizing properties on these web platforms, renting out homes as party venues and causing headaches for large groups of neighbours seeking John’s assistance.

That party, however, is about to end. In …

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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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