Good afternoon everyone,
I'm happy to share with you some highlights from this past City Council meeting on July 4-7. Please see below for a breakdown of a few key items.
Growing Up: Planning for Children in New Vertical Communities
City Council adopted these City Planning guidelines for new multi-residential developments (apartment/condo buildings), which will encourage more family-friendly features in units, buildings and at the neighbourhood scale. This can include things like more spacious and adaptable units, shared play rooms and integrated daycare facilities or nearby park space.
There is potential for the guidelines, once in practice, to increase the available housing stock that is affordable and amenable to families including larger two and three-bedroom units.
Proposed King Street Transit Pilot – Bathurst to Jarvis Street
A one-year pilot project was approved for central King St. to prioritize TTC streetcar service, while removing on-street parking and allowing for local servicing of businesses on a block-by-block basis.
Essentially, private automobiles will be permitted to drive on King St. for one block, and then be forced to turn right. A notable exception is for taxis, which will be able to travel on King St. between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in order to service the large night-time population in the area. Through traffic from the north and south will be allowed.
Streetcars on this stretch of King have been found to be slow, unreliable and overcrowded. The pilot aims to improve the efficiency of service on this congested route. The changes are expected to be implemented in late Fall of this year. After one year, the data will be evaluated to determine how well the objectives have been met and what other impacts have taken place.
Implementing a Vacant Home Tax in Toronto
Council has adopted recommendations to begin consultations on potential implementation and public benefits of a tax on vacant residential units. This will include consideration of several possible methods for identifying such units.
The goal of this measure would be to encourage property owners with empty apartment units to put them on the rental market, which is experiencing low vacancy rates and pressures on supply and affordability.
More information on the item can be found here.
Tenants First Plan - Phase 1
Last week City Council approved the establishment of a new dedicated Senior Housing and Services provider that is separate from Toronto Community Housing (TCHC). Council adopted the recommendation that TCHC move to a decentralized service model so that the non-profit sector can make more localized decisions on the operation of the 684 scattered social housing properties. The success of this plan depends on both the provincial and federal government providing a clear commitment to maintain existing social housing, and to build new social and affordable housing units.
The plan can be found here.
TransformTO: planning for climate change
The plan brought forward by City staff targets an 80 percent reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. Over half of the GHG emissions in Toronto come from operating buildings. One of the main focuses of the plan is retrofitting and designing energy efficient buildings. Recommendations are also made for the transportation sector, such as shifting to electric buses, and for diverting waste from landfills to other facilities like organic waste collection. Being efficient with how we use energy will be good for both the environment and the economy.
The report and background information such as modelling data can be found here.
Heritage protection on Yonge Street
Earlier this year a 100 year-old Bank of Montreal building on Yonge Street was demolished near Eglinton Avenue. City Planning staff had identified this building as having heritage value but had not yet included it on the City's Heritage Register for protection. The adjacent buildings have since been identified by staff as having heritage value, and Council approved their protection by including them on the Heritage Register.
A streetview of the buildings can be found here.