Bill 5, Better Local Government Act, 2018

Bill 5, Better Local Government Act, 2018

Dear Neighbours,

To look on the bright side of the province’s ill-timed decision to reduce the number of Toronto councillors to 25, we have yet another reminder that we should not take our democratic institutions for granted. In a country such as ours, where these are seldom threatened, we need to remember what we value about our political system: consultation, open discussion, and rational decision-making for the clear benefit of the public.

Much has been said about how difficult it will be for councillors to stay in …

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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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From City Hall: New TTC Buses Revitalizing City Fleet

From City Hall: New TTC Buses Revitalizing City Fleet

The City of Toronto has announced a $934 million investment into 1,738 new and revitalized buses in the city to improve public transit for local travelers. New buses will result in shorter wait times, more reliable service and increased accessibility.

The total investment is split between the City and the Government of Canada’s Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF). This fund was established in 2016 to match up to 50% of eligible project costs allocated to municipalities based on local ridership. This commitment is part of a $3.6 billion national program to improve …

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#TorontoStrong Vigil & Community Walk – April 29

#TorontoStrong Vigil & Community Walk – April 29

As we move together through a difficult week, I want to update you on community gatherings in the days ahead.

The #TorontoStrong Vigil was announced today by the City of Toronto to honour and support all those who have been affected by Monday’s tragedy.

The vigil will take place on Sunday, April 29 at Mel Lastman Square, beginning at 7:00 PM.

Organized in collaboration with community groups Faith in the City and the Toronto Area Interfaith Council, the vigil will be an interfaith demonstration of Toronto’s diverse communities as well as a display of the City’s resiliency.

Additional details, including …

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Decision on REimagine Yonge Deferred

Decision on REimagine Yonge Deferred

City Council last week deferred consideration of REimagine Yonge. The deferral came after the TTC raised last-minute concerns about potential conflict between bike lanes and a bus lane north of Finch Avenue.  With this issue unresolved, the Transform Yonge option would not likely have passed. John therefore reluctantly supported postponing the decision.
The issue could possibly come back to Council this term or, as the last Council meeting this term is in July, a decision may be delayed until 2019.

 

The Transform Yonge option is recommended by city staff and was supported …

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REimagine Yonge (UPDATED)

REimagine Yonge (UPDATED)

UPDATE – March 2018

City Council this week deferred consideration of REimagine Yonge. The deferral came after the TTC raised last-minute concerns about potential conflict between bike lanes and a bus lane north of Finch Avenue.  With this issue unresolved, the Transform Yonge option would not likely have passed. John therefore reluctantly supported postponing the decision.

The issue could possibly come back to Council this term or, as the last Council meeting this term is in July, a decision may be delayed until 2019.

The Transform Yonge option …

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City Builders release Open Letter to Mayor and Members of Council on REimagine Yonge

City Builders release Open Letter to Mayor and Members of Council on REimagine Yonge

This morning, the team at the Ryerson City Building Institute asked John to distribute this open letter addressed to the mayor and members of council regarding the coming vote on PW27.1 REimagining Yonge on their behalf.

How could this many great urban thinkers be wrong?

OPEN LETTER TO TORONTO MAYOR AND COUNCIL RE: TRANSFORM YONGE

March 23, 2018

Dear Mayor Tory and Council,

This is an Open Letter to support the “Transform Yonge” recommendation for Yonge Street in North York. We believe that this is a once in generation opportunity …

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City Accommodation Tax & Short Term Rental Bylaw

City Accommodation Tax & Short Term Rental Bylaw

The City of Toronto is implementing a four-per-cent Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) on all hotel accommodations within Toronto as of April 1 and short-term rentals on or after June 1, pending the enactment of the short-term rental bylaw.

The MAT will be applicable to motels, hostels, private and fraternal clubs, condo hotels, short-term rentals, multi-use complexes used for transient accommodation, and all Toronto hotels, including full service, limited service and small hotels.

The short-term rental bylaw is under appeal at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and will only come into effect on or after June 1, pending the OMB …

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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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