REimagine Yonge (UPDATED)

REimagine Yonge (UPDATED)

UPDATE – February 2018

Following a two year REimagine Yonge Street study, City staff have again recommended the “Transform Yonge” option.  Staff have held seven well publicized and well attended community meetings.  In addition, John has gone out to over a dozen additional neighbourhood meetings to discuss the project.

Transform Yonge would create a community friendly Main Street on Yonge between Sheppard and Finch Avenues, with wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes, trees, and outdoor cafes to support a vibrant public realm and a safer roadway.

Some key facts:

During …

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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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Re-imagining Yonge Street (UPDATED) – Open House October 10

Re-imagining Yonge Street (UPDATED) – Open House October 10

Update (September 5, 2017)

Re-Imagining Yonge, the City’s plan to reconstruct the badly aging stretch of Yonge Street between Sheppard and Finch Avenues continues as a critical infrastructure project for our community.  Over the spring and summer, John and his EA Markus O’Brien Fehr, participated in fireside chats with over a dozen local neighbourhoods and condominiums in small “fireside chat” formats, sharing information on the project and hearing a wide range of views and opinions.  One thought that most residents share is that Yonge Street is in …

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From City Hall: Stormwater Management Fees

From City Hall: Stormwater Management Fees

Many Willowdale residents who attended public consultation meetings this spring were concerned with a City proposal to separate stormwater management costs from their existing water bill and implement a new fee. Stormwater is runoff that occurs when rain or melting snow flows off hard surfaces instead of soaking into the ground. The proposal offered no difference however to residents who had taken efforts to absorb stormwater on their own property and minimize impact on the City’s water system.  In large part due to public feedback, Council voted to receive this …

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OMB Reform Coming Soon

OMB Reform Coming Soon

The provincial government has announced that it intends to replace the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) with a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal which will be required to give much more weight to the decisions of local municipal councils. Under the proposed system, the Tribunal would evaluate appeals by whether the City had followed its own planning rules in the initial decision. The set of proposals, if implemented, would put planning back in the hands of your local elected councils, which John believes is very good news.

This legislation, part of Bill 139, passed …

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Citywide Transit Update

Citywide Transit Update

Keeping track of the city’s transit priorities has become a difficult task – even for those of us who vote to set the priorities. However, an update on one of the most critical files at City Hall:

The new Line 1 subway extension from the Sheppard West Station (at Downsview) to Vaughan Centre is expected to open by the end of this year.

Construction is underway, via Metrolinx, for both the Eglinton Crosstown and the Finch West LRT (from the new Finch West station to Humber College) with openings planned …

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Local Appeal Body (TLAB) Now Active

Local Appeal Body (TLAB) Now Active

On May 3 the City of Toronto launched the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB), to handle appeals of land use decisions from Committee of Adjustment hearings.  TLAB is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal that replaces the function of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). In doing so, the City hopes that the TLAB will make the appeal process more efficient, allowing citizens to make claims in person, by phone, or online through video conferencing. Most TLAB meetings will be held in the Toronto Public Library located at 40 Orchardview …

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From City Hall: Growth Strategy for Child Care

From City Hall: Growth Strategy for Child Care

Last month, City Council approved a 10-year strategy for expanding child care and early learning programs in Toronto and authorized staff to meet with federal and provincial representatives in pursuit of a tri-government agreement on expanding child care and early learning. The City’s vision is a licensed child-care system serving 50% of Toronto’s children up to age four by 2026. Locally, population growth has meant finding licensed child-care is a problem for many Willowdale families.  John has worked maximize developer contributions in this area to expand our local system.  …

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2017 Clean Toronto Together – April 21-23

2017 Clean Toronto Together – April 21-23

With warmer weather coming (or already here) it’s time for some spring cleaning. Gather your friends, neighbours, co-workers and classmates to clean a park, laneway or any other space that needs your help. Friday, April 21 is the Corporate & School 20-Minute Makeover, and Saturday April 22 and Sunday April 23 are the Community Cleanup Days. Registration begins on March 1st.  Learn more, register your event and find out when and where to get your free GLAD® garbage and recycling bags at livegreentoronto.ca or call …

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North York Budget Consultations – January 9

North York Budget Consultations – January 9

The City’s tax-supported budget process launched on December 6, 2016 and will go to council on February 15 and 16. Toronto’s rate-supported budgets were approved by City Council on December 15.

City Council’s Budget Subcommittee meets at the North York Civic Centre Council Chamber on Monday, January 9 (3 – 6 PM) to hear deputations from the public wishing to share their views.  Councillors Campbell, Di Ciano and Nunziata will be the members of the Committee attending.

To register as a speaker, call 416-392-4666 or email buc@toronto.ca. …

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City Finances & “Revenue Tools” – Consultation December 7.

City Finances & “Revenue Tools” – Consultation December 7.

The City of Toronto needs to take a hard look at how it collects revenue, both to maintain and improve services and to finance major projects including public transit, affordable housing and other infrastructure needs.  While finding spending efficiencies is an important part of this equation, capital priorities cannot continue to be funded almost exclusively from the property tax base.  John strongly supports the City’s active exploration of additional revenue tools that would more fairly spread the tax burden.  He also opposes the idea of selling off …

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