Council Starts Down Path to Balance Books, but Questions Remain

Council Starts Down Path to Balance Books, but Questions Remain

This week, City Council began to wrestle with the very large hole in the City’s budget resulting from COVID-19.  Since March, the City has been hard hit by additional expenses, especially from areas like shelter and housing support, or the need for additional protective equipment and cleaning supplies.  Expected revenue has also dropped dramatically, especially from fewer riders on public transit, reduced municipal land transfer taxes and reduced revenue from user fees.

Altogether, the City now expects it will be short $1.9 billion for it operation …

Read More »

Cracking Down on Utility Companies

Cracking Down on Utility Companies

When construction crews are working in our neighbourhoods, residents expect efficient, high quality work, effective communication, and accountability if something goes wrong.  These are all important principals of customer service that should guide City contracts and third party companies doing work on City property.

In 2019, Rogers Communications began a multi-year project for the installation of fiber optic cables in Willowdale and across Toronto. Over the past several months, we have received a number of complaints regarding work being done on sidewalks and city streets in …

Read More »

UPDATED – CafeTO: A New Opportunity to Support Local Business

UPDATED – CafeTO: A New Opportunity to Support Local Business

This week, Council formally adopted the CafeTO program that the City had announced two weeks ago (see below).  The program is designed to make it easier, and less expensive, for restaurants to open patios in front of their business. This is an initiative that John strongly supports.

Since the decision on Monday, our office has met with City staff to establish a consistent approach along our stretch of Yonge Street to maximize opportunities for patio space.  In some cases, finding that space on existing narrow sidewalks …

Read More »

Police Defunding and Accountability

Police Defunding and Accountability

Dear Friends,

This past week, Council dealt with several policing issues and a motion to “defund” Toronto Police by 10%. In previous newsletters, I elaborated on why, on a close decision, I would not be supporting that exact cut right now. I thought a detailed explanation would show respect for those fighting inequality and demanding new and better ways of handling community safety.

While I believe firmly in the principal of reallocating police funding, the way the motion was presented to Council had several problems:

The 10% cut …

Read More »

Statement on Police Funding

Statement on Police Funding

Dear Friends,

At its June 29 meeting, Council will be discussing two proposals to change the way we do policing in our City and to fund a variety of programs aimed at combatting racism, inequality and other societal problems that form the roots of crime. Despite the similarities in these two plans, discussion has focused on a single major difference. The first motion, by Councillor Josh Matlow, calls for a 10% “defunding” of the Toronto Police Service while the other, from Mayor John Tory, doesn’t specify the amount …

Read More »

Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) Program

Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) Program

The City of Toronto will move into the next phase of it’s Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) program on Monday, July 6 and start to issue tickets to speeding drivers.

The ASE pilot was initiated in January to increase road safety, reduce speeding and raise public awareness about the need to slow down and obey posted speed limits. There are 50 cameras installed across the City’s Community Safety Zones near schools. Before now, we have only issued warnings to speeding drivers.

Willowdale locations currently include Patricia Avenue west …

Read More »

CurbTO

CurbTO

As resurfacing work on Yonge Street nears its end, residents will see elements of the City’s CurbTO program implemented between Sheppard and Finch. This is an opportunity to ensure a safer environment for pedestrians during the pandemic, and an opportunity to create a safer mainstreet ecosystem that supports local businesses and promotes active living.

CurbTO is a City wide program designed to re-purpose curb lanes adjacent to businesses to better support physical distancing. There are two main initiatives within this program: Curb Lane Pedestrian Zones will …

Read More »

Stay Cool at North York Civic Centre

Stay Cool at North York Civic Centre

With the arrival of warmer temperatures and with a Heat Warning called by Environment and Climate Change Canada for June 9 and 10, the City of Toronto is opening 14 Emergency Cooling Centres to help residents who do not have access to a cool space and cannot keep cool in their home or outdoors.

In Willowdale, the North York Civic Centre (5100 Yonge St.) has been designated as an Emergency Cooling Centre. All the centres will operate during Heat Warnings only, from 11 AM to 7 …

Read More »

City Working to Protect Residents & Staff at LTC Homes

City Working to Protect Residents & Staff at LTC Homes

The City of Toronto began measures when COVID-19 was first identified to protect staff and residents in its long-term care homes. Despite best efforts and proven measures to contain outbreaks, this virus has had a devastating impact on those who work and reside in long-term care homes, nursing homes and other institutions where our most vulnerable receive care. The City of Toronto operates just 10 of the more than 80 long-term care homes in Toronto, providing care for approximately 2,600 residents. To date, there are …

Read More »

City Hall Live Performances Go Digital

City Hall Live Performances Go Digital

City Hall Live Online, a showcase of Toronto musicians, kicked off-off today at noon and featured a performance by The Weather Station, introduced by Mayor John Tory. The series will run Monday through Friday from noon to 1 p.m., with two shows per day until the end of June.

This series, in partnership with Unison Benevolent Fund, will directly compensate more than 100 local artists for 30-minute performances from their homes, livestreamed via Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/City-Hall-Live-106149534367134/.

Toronto-based musicians can apply for City Hall Live and other …

Read More »

Next Steps to Addressing Vacant Homes

Next Steps to Addressing Vacant Homes

After generating much discussion, action on a Vacant Homes Tax was not ultimately part of this year’s budget cycle. This will, however, be something Council takes a close look at over the coming months.

Over a relatively short number of years, the issue of housing affordability in Toronto has grown from concerning to crisis level. Real estate prices have escalated so quickly, both for home ownership as well as for rentals, a whole generation is finding itself priced out of the market. Rental vacancy rates are …

Read More »

Councillors Unify On 2020 Budget (But Important Questions Remain)

Councillors Unify On 2020 Budget (But Important Questions Remain)

Toronto City Council unanimously adopted its 2020 tax-supported operating and capital budget on Wednesday. Council came together in an unusual way to balance the City’s priorities and keep costs down for residents while investing in critical infrastructure projects.

Council approved a 2% property tax increase for residential properties and a 1% percent increase for commercial properties. As per provincial legislation, there will be no increase for multi-residential or apartment buildings. Additionally, the current City Building Levy will increase to 1.5%, bringing 2020 property taxes, along with …

Read More »