As the February meeting of Toronto City Council is underway, I thought you might be interested in some highlights from our previous meeting:
Protecting Neighbourhoods with City Planning
As Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee, I strongly believe new developments should better respect the character of existing communities. City Council adopted changes that clarify, strengthen and refine the existing Healthy Neighbourhoods, Neighbourhoods and Apartment Neighbourhoods policies of the Official Plan.
Revitalization at Allen Road and Wilson Avenue
The area near Wilson Avenue, east of Allen Road, contains some large vacant City properties. Toronto City Council passed new zoning changes for this area that enhances employment and housing opportunities only minutes away from the Wilson subway station. Through Build Toronto*, I was able to secure a commitment of a minimum of 250 new affordable housing units to be constructed on these lands.
*Build Toronto is a wholly-owned real estate corporation of the City of Toronto: http://buildtoronto.ca/
Townhouse Guidelines for Bayview Avenue
City Planning is working on city-wide townhouse guidelines, which you can view here: Part 1 & Part 2. Council has adopted townhouse guidelines for some areas along Bayview Avenue. Council has approved a townhouse study along Bayview Avenue between Bayview Mews and Finch Avenue East. These guidelines will assist City Planning in reviewing proposed townhouse applications.
Yonge Street / Highway 401 Improvements Update
The 401 is a provincial highway and the Yonge Street/Highway 401 intersection is controlled by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO). This interchange is identified as a major transportation junction for both regional and local traffic. In our efforts to manage traffic concerns at these ramps, City Staff have made recommendations to the Province. The report suggests replacing the southbound left turn lane on Yonge Street with a new direct ramp to eastbound Highway 401. The MTO's approval is required for further study, as any physical or operational changes proposed are within its jurisdiction.
Council Opposes Metrolinx Overpass
To expand all-day train service to residents in Barrie, Metrolinx is proposing a new elevated rail overpass to be built in Toronto's Davenport community. With a projected increase to 50 trains each direction during rush hour, the structure would likely create loud, frequent noises for local residents. Metrolinx has invoked an expedited process with a shortened Environmental Assessment that limits consideration for local impacts and public input. The community has repeatedly expressed concerns that the overpass was unacceptable. In response, Council opposed an overpass structure, supported a review of an alternative tunnel option for the rail grade separation, and requested Mayor Tory to meet with Premier Wynne directly to express the public's concerns.
Syrian Refugee Settlement Update
This is a recent report to Toronto City Council on the Syrian Refugee Settlement Status. The City has taken steps to ensure our programs and services are working with all levels of government to support our newest residents. Many of you have offered your support for the refugees and have expressed a desire to help out. To find out more on what the City is doing and how you can help, please visit: http://www.toronto.ca/refugees.
Affordable Housing Open Door Program
Despite an unprecedented rate of growth in our city, the cost of home ownership continues to rise. City Council has identified a need to address home ownership costs across all ages. Council approved an Open Door Program to encourage the construction of more affordable rental and ownership housing across Toronto. Officials are hopeful that new changes to assist affordable housing like cutting red tape and creating new incentives will allow the City to reach its affordable housing targets. We continue to need and request cooperation from all levels of government to meet this growing need.
Action on Intimate Partner Violence against Women
You might be interested in this Board of Health report on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), defined as behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, sexual or psychological harm. The report from the Medical Officer of Health outlined an Action Plan to proactively prevent, identify and respond to cases of IPV. Council endorsed the report and adopted recommendations across various City divisions and agencies to identify opportunities for implementing the IPV Action Plan.
Brampton LRT Funding Request
Toronto's population growth must be accompanied by fully-funded transit projects to meet our transportation needs. Following Brampton Council's decision to reject approximately $200-$400 million of provincial funding for their LRT plan, Toronto City Council has formally requested the provincial money be re-directed toward building Toronto's transit infrastructure needs.