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 …

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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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Moving Forward On Transit Partnership

Moving Forward On Transit Partnership

As the City of Toronto and Province of Ontario continue to move forward on a partnership ensuring high-speed transit expansion, John continues to watch negotiations carefully.

Last spring, a deal was reached between the City and Province on a $30 billion transit expansion plan that would see extensions of subway Line 1 to Richmond Hill, Line 2 to Scarborough Centre and the Eglinton Crosstown LRT to Pearson Airport; along with the creation of an ‘Ontario Line’ between the Ontario Science Centre and Ontario Place that would …

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City Council Passes Ravine Strategy Plan

City Council Passes Ravine Strategy Plan

Image: “Toronto ravine path (HDR)” (CC BY 2.0) by ruffin_ready

Toronto is home to a vast network of ravines that play an integral role in providing environmental, health and recreational benefits to the public.

The City’s ravine system covers 11,000 hectares, or 17 percent of Toronto’s land area and includes forests and wetlands, and numerous species of plants and animals.

Last week City Council unanimously adopted the Ravine Strategy Implementation which will help revitalize and protect Toronto’s ravines.

The plan includes $2.7 million annually to address urgent needs related to managing invasive …

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Community Update On Novel Coronavirus

Community Update On Novel Coronavirus

John is monitoring the novel coronavirus situation very carefully and is reviewing regular updates from the Medical Officer of Health. We will continue to keep the community updated on the work being done by Toronto Public Health in the coming days. At this time, TPH continues to advise that the risk to our community remains low. Staff are however working around the clock to ensure Toronto is well prepared and in contact with those that may have come into close contact with either of the …

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Profile: Willowdale Group of Artists

Profile: Willowdale Group of Artists

Story by Margie Wagner

Willowdale Group of Artists was founded in 1947 by 10 enthusiastic artists who loved to paint.

The objective of WGA is to bring together people who have a desire to draw and paint and to provide them with inspiration, opportunities for learning, and support. The diverse group of artists draw, paint and have classes in the afternoons, evenings and on weekends. Classes are held at different locations to fulfill differing needs.

Willowdale Group of Artists had its first annual show in February 1948. Two …

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Vision Of A Main Street On Yonge Still Strong

Vision Of A Main Street On Yonge Still Strong

Image: Community Outreach staff member Jesse James speaks to a group of business leaders during the BIA Brunch Meeting this past October.

Yonge Street is in desperate need of a makeover. But more than a just new layer of asphalt and concrete, our main street needs a new way of thinking — one that makes it more functional for our growing community and the many uses demanded of our public space.

Residents in Willowdale want their stretch of Yonge to be a safe place to …

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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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City Rolls Out Photo Radar

City Rolls Out Photo Radar

Pedestrians and cyclists in Willowdale sometimes find themselves dodging drivers who don’t respect posted speed limits.

In December, Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) cameras (photo radar) and signage were  added to Toronto streets to increase road safety, reduce speeding, and raise public awareness about obeying posted speed limits.

Initially, 50 cameras will be installed on local, collector and arterial roads in Community Safety Zones near schools. In Willowdale, the cameras will be installed at Patricia Avenue between Laconia Drive and Homewood Avenue, and Lillian Street between Abitibi Avenue …

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Notice: TTC Subway Emergency Simulation

Notice: TTC Subway Emergency Simulation

On Sunday, January 12 from 4 AM to 7 AM, the TTC and Emergency Response Services will be conducting a Subway Emergency Simulation at Finch Station and the Emergency Subway Exit Building on Church Avenue south of Finch Station. Subway service from Finch Station will begin at 7:56 AM to Lawrence Station.

Starting at approximately 5:45 AM, 300 participants in passenger roles will begin to be evacuated from a train to a place of safety – the Church Avenue Emergency Exit. Activity during this simulation will …

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Trashing the Rebates – Why Smaller Black Garbage Bins Will Cost More

Trashing the Rebates – Why Smaller Black Garbage Bins Will Cost More

Several years back, the City of Toronto moved away from paying for water and garbage disposal through property tax rates. A new funding model was introduced to fund those services separately through a utility bill.

In Willowdale, where residents pay higher than the city average in property tax rates, homeowners were previously paying much more than residents in other parts of the city for the same services. By breaking out the costs onto a separate bill, all residents would not only pay a uniform rate but …

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