TABIA Supports Local Businesses

It was great to see TABIA's Director, John Kiru, and Vice President, Lionel Miskin, at July's Executive Committee meeting to highlight the increasing challenges that small businesses continue to face throughout the City of Toronto.

Vice President Miskin says "It's time to think outside the box" with tax assessments. Thank you to TABIA for your deputation and all the work that you do for Toronto's neighbourhoods and small business owners. 

#ShopLocal

Renewable Natural Gas Facility

To further our goal of becoming a city with a circular economy, the City of Toronto's Solid Waste Management Services (SWMS) Division is teaming up with Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. to begin creating renewable gas from Green Bin waste.
 
As part of this initiative, new equipment will be installed at the Dufferin Solid Waste Management Facility later this year that will allow raw biogas – produced from Toronto's Green Bin Organics – to be made into renewable natural gas (RNG). This process uses a "closed-loop" approach, since the RNG will ultimately be used to power 132, or 90%, of the City's heavy duty collection vehicles!
 
The state-of-the-art Dufferin Solid Waste Management Facility is one of the only two locations in the City where organic material is broken down by using innovative pre-processing and anaerobic digestion technology. The biogas upgrading taking place at this facility is a cutting edge initiative that will play a major role in helping achieve the City's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and our carbon footprint.
 
As Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, I have worked hard over the course of this term to create and implement strategies that reduce waste and benefit the environment. RNG is proven as a way to make the natural gas system even greener. Collaborating with SWMS and Enbridge on the RNP project is a big step forward for the City's Long Term Waste Management Strategy and for future renewable gas projects.

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A New Secondary Plan for the Yonge-Eglinton Neighbourhood - Great News!

I've been a vocal opponent of the out-of-control pace of development in the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood at City Council for many years. The Yonge-Eglinton Urban Growth Centre (UGC) is the most densely populated UGC in the Greater Golden horseshoe and ranks among the densest communities in Canada. Over the past several years, I've repeatedly asked the Chief Planner for a moratorium on new development applications until the City's infrastructure is improved to accommodate the rapid influx of new residents.
 
In the absence of a comprehensive and up-to-date Secondary Plan, development in the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood has gone unchecked by the Province for many years. The negative consequences of this rapid intensification include overcrowded transit, constant construction, traffic congestion, lack of sunlight, significant dust, and lack of green space. In 2015, I moved a motion directing City staff to expand their study of the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood to address infrastructure capacity issues in the area.
 
On June 7, 2018, City Planning staff's new Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan was presented to the Planning and Growth Management Committee. While the Secondary Plan included many beneficial policies, I was very concerned by the permitted building heights proposed for the north-east quadrant of Yonge and Eglinton. If City staff's plan was adopted, building heights on Broadway Avenue, Roehampton Avenue and Eglinton Avenue would range from 32 to 56 storeys. I introduced a motion calling for further community consultation to ensure that the new Secondary Plan accurately reflected our vision for the future of this neighbourhood.
 
I assembled a working group of neighbours to create a revised plan lowering the permitted building heights in the north-east quadrant of Yonge-Eglinton to between 15 and 20 storeys. After an overwhelming show of community support, the Planning and Growth Management (PGM) Committee voted unanimously in favour of my motion to adopt reduced building heights on July 5, 2018. While the PGM Committee's decision was an important step forward, the amended Secondary Plan still needed to be considered by Toronto City Council.
 
In the interim weeks, the City received hundreds of letters from residents of the north-east quadrant asking City Council to support PGM Committee's decision to adopt our Option #3. I spent countless hours discussing the Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan with my colleagues on City Council. I'm very pleased to report that as a result of our collective efforts, City Council voted in favour of the Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan – Option #3.
 

When I first moved a motion asking for further consultation, I could never have predicted the unprecedented outpouring of community support for Option #3. The adoption of the amended Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan was an outstanding accomplishment for an area experiencing rapid intensification. This long-term Secondary Plan will shape the future of our neighbourhood for years to come. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this process—I am so proud of what we have achieved in just a few short months.

The Impacts of Lane Occupancy on City Streets

Lane occupations, whether related to development activity, utility work or capital works projects contribute significantly to congestion throughout the city. When space on the roadway has been permitted for construction purposes, transportation patterns are impacted, creating traffic and safety issues.
 
This term, I moved a motion directing Engineering & Construction Services and Transportation Services to report on the use of traffic management plans and street occupancy approvals to address traffic disruptions from construction projects.
 
Upon receiving this report, I requested that staff provide additional options to shorten the duration of street occupations, including escalating fees and increasing fees at the time of renewal. I also requested that staff consider imposing fees for congestion-related economic impacts, such as the city's time and productivity losses associated with lane occupations.
 
As a result, instead of a citywide flat fee, permit fee rates were changed to be based on the market rate for space on public roadways as informed by on-street metered parking rates. Although this was a step forward, there is still more work to be done.

Construction staging areas that occupy the curb lane, as most on-road occupations do, constrain the movement of vehicles in pinch points that can result in acute traffic congestion, particularly if several streets in the same area have concurrent lane closures.

As well, in December 2017, at the joint Licensing and Standards and Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, I requested Municipal Licensing and Standards with Transportation Services to address construction trucks and other vehicles parking on pedestrian sidewalks during construction projects.

I will continue to advocate for increased fees and penalties and a reduction in the number and duration of lane restrictions throughout the City of Toronto. We must reduce congestion on our City's streets and ensure safe walking routes for pedestrians.

Toronto's Congestion Management Plan

Traffic congestion is a major issue in Ward 25 and across the City of Toronto. According to C.D. Howe, congestion and gridlock could be costing our City up to $11 billion a year in lost productivity. I've repeatedly pushed to advance the Congestion Management Plan (CMP) to better manage gridlock by reducing delays and improving safety through innovations in policy, operations, and technology.
 
Since adopting the CMP in 2013, the City has undertaken several new projects to manage unusual traffic flows due to events, construction, or weather-related road closures. In 2017, the City partnered with the University of Toronto to pilot drones used to monitor diverted traffic during major planned events and adapt traffic signal cycles accordingly. For Ward 25 residents commuting to downtown, City staff are now in the process of designing a comprehensive strategy to facilitate traffic on the Bayview Avenue Extension during closures of the Don Valley Parkway and potential Lower Don River flooding events. 
 
Transportation staff are working to improve traffic signal systems throughout the City. Last year alone, 46 CCTV traffic monitoring cameras were installed, with another 120 planned for 2019 and 2020. Our state-of-the-art Traffic Operations Centre uses these cameras to monitor traffic conditions in real-time and adjust signs and signals. Another 129 detection devices were installed to efficiently operate traffic control signals this year. The City is currently implementing a full Traffic Signal Coordination plan to improve traffic flow and reduce vehicle emissions.
 
The City has made significant strides forward in their collection of big data to inform traffic operations. The City's Big Data Innovation Team incorporates this data in their Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), which will be used to inform directional signs throughout the City. The Team is also currently working to develop Open Data Portal access to the City's real-time traffic signal control timings.
 
Though City staff are working to implement a number of new projects in addition to those listed above, traffic congestion remains a pressing issue in the City of Toronto. I've moved a number of motions at Community Council to improve traffic flow on our local streets and welcome any feedback or suggestions you may have.

Keeping our Communities Safe

As your City Councillor, my top priority is to protect our neighbourhoods. I regularly organize meetings between senior officials of the Toronto Police Service and members of the Don Valley West community to develop collaborative action plans to ensure that our communities remain safe. This term, I hosted and attended several town halls to address crime and safety in Don Valley West. As some of you may remember, there was standing room only at my Crime and Safety Town Hall meeting in February of this year with almost 500 neighbours in attendance.
  
My community crime and safety meetings provide an opportunity for residents from throughout Don Valley West to share their concerns directly with police officials from the 32, 33 and 53 divisions, Special Investigations Unit and even the Chief of Police himself. I would like to thank all of the residents who attended my community safety town halls over the past four years to share their concerns, gather precautionary tips and develop crime prevention strategies.  
  
As each neighbourhood is unique, I have been sure to meet with several groups of organizations and residents to address each community's specific concerns about crime and safety, even creating liaison working groups.  
  
At our last meeting, the Toronto Police emphasized the importance of community cooperation and reiterated their commitment to proactive policing in our neighbourhoods. As always, I encourage you to report any suspicious activity that you may observe to inform and direct resource allocation. 
  
All non-emergency situations and suspicious activity should be reported to 416-808-2222 or online here. If you are ever in doubt of whether a situation is an emergency, you should call 911. 
  
Let's continue to work together to keep Don Valley West safe! 

Toronto's Road Safety Plan

In 2015, as the Chair of Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, I introduced Toronto's Road Safety Plan – a comprehensive, city-wide strategy to develop and deliver international road safety programs.
 
The plan takes a data-based, strategic approach and includes more than 50 countermeasures across six emphasis areas – pedestrians, school children, older adults, cyclists, motorcyclists and aggressive driving and distraction.
 
Vision Zero was adopted unanimously by City Council in July 2016 as a five year plan, spanning from 2017-2021. Since its approval, I've been pushing to be as aggressive as possible in rolling out the targeted safety measures. We accelerated the program in 2016, 2017 and continue to do so in 2018.
 
At the May City Council, I moved a motion to lift the moratorium on the creation of new Community Safety Zones. Approximately 286 schools will be fitted with Community Safety Zones by the end of 2018. This is a critical step forward in the Vision Zero Road Safety Plan, to help reduce aggressive driving and speeding in areas within the City that have higher concentrations of school children.
 
I'm pleased to report that Ward 25 will now have access to its very own mobile Watch Your Speed (WYSP) driver feedback signs! The signs will be installed on temporary basis at the request of local residents. The speed display signs contain a radar device with an LED display that reminds drivers to obey the posted speed limit. You can request a WYSP sign to be installed in your local neighbourhood through the online request portal.
 
Pedestrian Safety Corridors
 
As part of an ongoing program to increase pedestrian walk times city-wide, walk times were increased at numerous locations across the City. This initiative gives pedestrians more time to cross streets to better accommodate older residents and pedestrians with special needs.

Similar to the leading pedestrian signals installed at Lawrence Avenue and Mount Pleasant in Ward 25, we are doubling the number of leading pedestrian signals intersections being activated this year from 40 to 80 in 2018. Leading pedestrian signals allow pedestrians an advanced walk signal at the start of each traffic signal change so they can enter the crosswalk earlier. Leading pedestrian intervals can reduce pedestrian-vehicle collisions by 60% at treated intersections.
 
We've also made changes to pedestrian signals, making them more accessible by the relocation and/or addition of pedestrian pushbutton poles, the addition of audible pedestrian pushbuttons, and the addition of depressed curbs and tactile plates at the pedestrian crossings
 
Senior Safety Zones
 
Senior Safety Zones were created to curb aggressive driving in neighborhoods where there has been a history of fatal and serious injury collisions affecting older residents. By the end of this year we will have installed 74 Senior Safety Zones with designated Senior Safety Zone signs, “Watch Your Speed” driver signs, increased pedestrian walk times, and enhanced pavement markings. 
 
School Safety Zones
 
On the first day back-to-school in 2017, I was pleased to launch Vision Zero's School Safety Zones. By the end of 2018, we will have 128 School Safety Zones installed.
 
School Safety Zones feature lower speed limits, improved street lighting, leading pedestrian intervals, mid-block crossings, increased enforcement, improved pavement makings, flashing signage, and "Watch Your Speed" driver feedback signs.. The “Watch Your Speed” signs have reduced the number of vehicles travelling over the speed limit by up to 34% in school zones.

Moving Forward

As the Chair of Public Works, I successfully passed a motion directing City staff to accelerate the implementation of all road safety measures to prioritize the safety of the City's most vulnerable road users.
 
We are focused on doing everything we can to protect our most vulnerable road users - pedestrians, school children, older adults and cyclists. More must be done and I am focused on getting it done.

Prioritizing the Downtown Relief Line

I ride the red rocket regularly on my commute to City Hall and observe first-hand the significant reliability and capacity issues on Line 1. I know all-to-well how frustrating overcrowding, sudden stoppages, and unforeseen delays can be for Ward 25-ers travelling to and from the downtown core. During peak hours, riders have to wait for multiple trains to pass by before there even is enough space to board the subway. These issues affect all three major transit stations in Ward 25: York Mills, Lawrence, and Eglinton. 
  
Since 2010, I've consistently advocated for the Downtown Relief Line and continue to believe that it should be City Council's top transit priority. As you may know, the Downtown Relief Line was divided into two separate projects, the Relief Line South (from Pape Station south to Queen Street) and the Relief Line North (from Pape Station north to Eglinton or Sheppard Avenue) in 2017. At Executive Committee, I moved a motion directing staff to accelerate planning of the Relief Line North.  
  
After several recent Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) approvals the population of the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood is due to grow exponentially. This influx of new residents will only exacerbate the existing issues on Line 1. As part of the Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan, I created a motion with the Chair of Planning and Growth Management directing City staff to develop short and long-term strategies to ease crowding on Line 1. We also asked staff to report back on the feasibility of delivering the Relief Line North and South as one undertaking to improve transit connectivity across the City.  
  
Like many of you, I am very frustrated by the long delays and mounting costs associated with the Automatic Train Control (ATC) project. At City Council, I directed TTC staff to expedite the implementation of this much-needed technology. In response to the unacceptable delay, I also initiated a comprehensive review of the entire TTC organization focused on creating a more efficient, streamlined internal structure. While this process has been extremely slow, I look forward to the positive benefits of this technology. ATC will control train speed and separation automatically, without human intervention—significantly reducing travel time. When fully implemented, it is estimated that ATC will increase Line 1 capacity by cutting train headways from 2.5 to 2 minutes.  

 City Council has approved the alignment and station locations for the Relief Line South.

City Council has approved the alignment and station locations for the Relief Line South.

 City staff are currently studying the alignment and potential station locations for the Relief Line North.

City staff are currently studying the alignment and potential station locations for the Relief Line North.

Toronto's New 25 Ward Boundaries

Provincial Bill 5
 
On August 14, 2018, the Government of Ontario passed legislation that reduces the number of City of Toronto wards from 47 to 25, aligning with current federal and provincial electoral ridings.
 
The October 22 Municipal Election will be conducted based on the new 25 ward model.

How is Ward 25 Changing?
 
Ward 25 will now be a part of Ward 15.
 
I have attached two maps below to highlight the changes between the Ward 25 boundaries and the new Ward 15 boundaries.

  The current Ward 25 boundaries that will no longer be in place following the October 22 Municipal Election.

The current Ward 25 boundaries that will no longer be in place following the October 22 Municipal Election.

  The new Ward 15 boundaries that will be inclusive of the old Ward 25. All new changes will be in place for the October 22, 2018 Municipal Election.

The new Ward 15 boundaries that will be inclusive of the old Ward 25. All new changes will be in place for the October 22, 2018 Municipal Election.

As you can see, the majority of the old Ward 25 will fit into the new Ward 15 boundaries, exclusive of the boundary line moving west from Don Mills Road to Leslie Street.

The new Ward 15 - Don Valley West will be roughly double the size of the original Ward 25, increasing from 58,000 to over 100,000 residents. Ward 15 will include the majority of the current Ward 25, the current Ward 26, and a large piece of the old Ward 22 east of Mount Pleasant Road.
 
To help residents and businesses find their new ward, the City has created the MyVote app which provides Torontonians information about City Council wards based on their home address, including the candidates that will be running in that ward in the 2018 Municipal Election.
 
A complete List of Candidates is also available and is updated in real-time.

Work underway to support back-to-school safety as part of Toronto's Vision Zero Road Safety Plan

I am pleased to announce that work on the Active and Safe Routes to School project is underway as families plan for children to head back to classrooms next week.

It is extremely important that we promote safe travel options for children to and from school, and remind drivers to slow down as they travel through Toronto’s neighbourhoods.

I would also like to thank Bloomberg Philanthropies for their generous support in helping us make this a reality.

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Toronto's Ward Boundaries are Changing

Ward 25 is going to be Ward 27


Toronto Moves from 44 to 47 Electoral Wards for 2018 Municipal Election


A Boundary Review of Toronto's Municipal Wards was conducted from 2014-2016 to review the City's population.
 
When debated at City Council in 2016, I voted against increasing the size of City Council from 44 to 47 wards – as I strongly believe that the number of wards should not increase, but rather, that the ward boundaries should be modified to align with existing provincial or federal boundaries.
 
The City of Toronto’s 2018 municipal election, however, will use the new ward boundaries model for Toronto, increasing the number of wards from 44 to 47.
 
The new ward boundaries will come into effect for the upcoming 2018 municipal election and new Council term.

How is Ward 25 Changing?

Ward 25 will now be Ward 27.
 
Ward 27 will cover 98% of the area formerly known as Ward 25. These changes, however, will move the ward boundary line west from Don Mills Road to Leslie Street and south from Broadway Avenue to Eglinton Avenue East. I have attached several maps below to better illustrate this change. 
 
To help residents and businesses find their new ward, the City has created the MyVote app which provides Torontonians information about City Council wards based on their home address, including the candidates that will be running in that ward in the 2018 municipal election.

Comparing Toronto's 47 and 44 Ward Boundaries

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The yellow portion on the eastern side of the ward is the area that is currently within Ward 25 but will no longer fall within Ward 27's new boundaries.

The smaller orange portion at the bottom of Ward 27 is the new area that Ward 27 will be gaining, not previously included in Ward 25's current boundaries.

New Ward 27 Boundaries

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Yonge Eglinton Secondary Plan Update

UPDATE: I'm pleased to announce that the Planning and Growth Management Committee voted unanimously in favour of my motion to adopt Option #3 – 20 and 15-storeys.
 
Thank you to everyone who wrote letters and attended the Committee meeting on July 5. I'm so impressed by how quickly the community mobilized around this issue—the Committee received almost 100 letters in support of Option #3. This an unprecedented victory for the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood that I will continue to fight for at City Council on July 23-25. 
 
I've included my letter asking the Planning and Growth Management Committee to support Option #3 below.

Improvements to the Committee of Adjustment

Many Ward 25 neighbours can relate to the experience of receiving a Committee of Adjustment (CoA) public notice in their mailboxes. Over the past eight years, CoA application volume has increased by approximately 96%, leading to significant deviations from the zoning by-law outside of the downtown core.  
 
Ward 25 is no exception to this concerning trend—there are a growing number of applications requesting long lists of variances from the established zoning by-law. Since January 2018, the CoA has considered 116 minor variance and consent applications for properties in Ward 25.
 
In 2014, I moved a series of motions intended to improve the CoA process and make it more accessible and transparent for residents. My motions were inspired and informed by feedback I received from the residents of Ward 25. Over the past four years, the City has implemented several new initiatives, including the following:

  • Application information is now posted months in advance of the hearing date on theApplication Information Centre. The CoA website also includes a FAQ page, Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) information, and key staff contacts.
  • CoA hearings are now video-recorded and are made available to the public upon request. City staff recently began livestreaming Toronto & East York district hearings in February 2018. City staff estimate that livestreaming will begin at North York Civic Centre in fall 2018.   
  • Additional full-time and temporary City staff are being hired to review and make recommendations on CoA applications. City Planning now generates reports for close to 50% of the applications received.
  • City staff have implemented an enhanced training process for committee members including periodic training on key issues.
  • Practices and policies are being harmonized across the four districts.

Though we have made progress over the past four years, we have a long way to go. I am continuing to advocate for much-needed improvements to the CoA and would welcome additional community feedback. If you have any suggestions or comments, please contact my office at 416-395-6408 or councillor_robinson@toronto.ca.

Whoa! Slow Down Lawn Sign Campaign

"Whoa! Slow Down" signs are available to remind motorists to drive carefully as they travel through local neighbourhoods and to watch for the City's most vulnerable road users - older adults (orange signs) and school children (blue signs).
 
To request a sign for your lawn, please contact my office at councillor_robinson@toronto.ca or by phone at 416-395-6408.

Binational Action on Protecting the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) is a binational coalition of 131 American and Canadian mayors working with a wide array of stakeholders to protect and restore the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
 
I am honoured to serve as the Mayor's designate to the GLSLCI. Their notable initiatives include efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, incorporate innovative technology in conservation strategies, and manage invasive species such as zebra mussels and Asian carp. Their work is critical, as the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River contain over 21% of the world's freshwater supply and provide drinking water for over 40 million people.
 
At the GLSLCI 2018 Conference in June, I represented the City of Toronto in discussions on extreme weather events, flooding, coastal resilience, and green infrastructure. As Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, I'm committed to supporting initiatives undertaken by the GLSLCI to advance the protection of our shared freshwater resources. At Committee, I recently moved to accelerate the rehabilitation of the Don River and Central Waterfront, a first step towards delisting Toronto as a polluted "Area of Concern" in the Great Lakes.
 
You can read more about my efforts to clean up the Don River, here. For more information about initiatives related to climate change, invasive species, and microplastics, check out the GLSLCI website, here.

 As the Mayor's designate to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI),  I met with municipal leaders from across North America at the Annual Conference in June, including (from left to right) Mayor Paul Dyster of Niagara Falls, NY, Mayor Bonnie Crombie of Mississauga, and GLSLCI President John Dickert, former Mayor of Racine, WI.

As the Mayor's designate to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI),  I met with municipal leaders from across North America at the Annual Conference in June, including (from left to right) Mayor Paul Dyster of Niagara Falls, NY, Mayor Bonnie Crombie of Mississauga, and GLSLCI President John Dickert, former Mayor of Racine, WI.

Tips to Save Water This Summer

In response to the recent heat wave, Toronto Water is reminding residents that there are steps they can take to conserve water and reduce their utility bill during summer, the season of highest water use.
 
Toronto Water customers can use the City of Toronto's online water use tool, MyWaterToronto, to better understand their water use and to learn about strategies to save water and money. MyWaterToronto can even be used to check for leaks, which tend to add up very quickly when water usage is high. According to Carlo Casale, Manager of Customer Care at Toronto Water, even a small 1.5-millimetre hole in a pipe can add more than $13 to your utility bill each day.
 
Customers who receive a utility bill can access the tool by visiting http://www.toronto.ca/mywatertoronto and entering their utility account information. The tool can be used to track water use by day, week, month or year.
 
In addition to fixing leaks, other ways to save water during the summer include:

  • Using rainwater to water your grass and gardens.
  • Planting native plants and trees, which are low maintenance and naturally drought-tolerant.
  • Sweeping sidewalks and driveways clean instead of using a running hose.
  • Using a rain gauge to keep track of rainfall – healthy lawns only need 2.5 centimetres of water once a week.
    • If you have an irrigation system, set your system to come on once or twice a week, or install rain sensors.
  • Watering lawns in the morning to reduce evaporation.
    • Laying mulch can also help retain moisture and insulate roots from heat stress.
  • Setting your lawn mower to cut 6 to 7.5 centimetres - mowing high helps to strengthen the roots and retain water and nutrients.
  • Keeping a jug of water in the fridge instead of running the tap to draw cold drinking water.

 For more water conservation tips, visit http://www.toronto.ca/water.

Midtown in Focus - Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan

At the Planning and Growth Management Committee meeting in June, City Planning staff presented their recommended Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan. This Final Report was informed by the Midtown in Focus Planning Study which began as a public realm exercise to improve parks, open space, and streetscapes in the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood. In 2015, I directed staff to expand the scope of the study to include a review of the area's infrastructure capacity, including transit, water, schools and utility services.  

While I recognize that there are many useful aspects of the draft Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan, I am concerned by the proposed permitted building heights and the parkland deficit in the north-east quadrant. I've spent many hours over the past few weeks consulting with senior City Staff, Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee, and most importantly, concerned neighbours.
 
On my behalf, the Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee moved a motion to defer consideration of the item until another community meeting is held. This meeting is intended to specifically address the permitted building heights in the north-east quadrant and the lack of green space in the area.
 
I have included the details below:
 
DATE: Thursday, June 21, 2018
 
TIME: 6:30-8:30pm
 
LOCATION: The Roehampton Hotel, Eglinton Room
                        808 Mount Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON
 
I worked closely with the Chair to develop the long list of motions he moved at Planning and Growth Management Committee on June 7. These motions address a number of outstanding issues, in addition to those identified above, including:

  • Permitted Heights: Lowering the permitted building heights to reduce the proposed density in the north-east quadrant and directing staff to list the heights in metres, rather than storeys.
  • Infrastructure: Requesting a report back on the appropriate use of holding provisions to ensure that there is sufficient infrastructure in the Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan Area.
  • Parks: Determining potential parkland sites in the north-east quadrant of the Secondary Plan Area.
  • Transit: Directing City Staff to conduct a further assessment of short and long term service improvements to ease crowding on Line 1 and to consider delivering the Relief Line North and South as one undertaking.
  • Schools: Requesting City Staff to meet with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Municipal Affairs to explore a funding strategy to support the timely provision of local school facilities.
  • Employment: Exploring opportunities to increase employment opportunities in the study area.

The full series of motions can be found online, here.
 
If you haven't already, please let me know your thoughts on the draft Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan. You can email me directly at councillor_robinson@toronto.ca.

New Policies to Protect our Neighbourhoods - Residential Infill Construction Strategy

Over the years, I've received countless emails from Ward 25 residents concerned about disruptive residential infill construction sites in their neighbourhoods.
 
At the June 2014 meeting of the Planning and Growth Management Committee, I moved a series of motions directing Toronto Building to improve the City's response to problematic sites and ensure that buildings are constructed according to approved plans and permissions.
 
Thanks to the invaluable input from Ward 25 residents, I was able to spearhead the development of a comprehensive, interdivisional Residential Infill Construction Strategy. The Strategy focuses on three major areas: streamlining the City's complaint management process, encouraging good construction practices, and improving communication with residents. Several aspects of this strategy have already been implemented, including:

  • Additional Building Inspection—In 2017, Toronto Building implemented a required introductory inspection to set out expectations and consequences at the outset of the construction process.
  • Inter-Divisional Working Group—Established to create a complaint tracking policy and procedure to enable the City to respond more quickly and effectively to resident complaints. 
  • As-built Survery—Builders are required to submit an as-built survey completed by a certified Ontario Land Surveyor prior to the construction of the first-floor walls to confirm the location and height of the building. 
  • Training for Inspectors—Building Inspectors are now being trained to recognize zoning issues to ensure that buildings are in compliance with approved plans and permits. 

An update on the new Residential Infill Construction Strategy was adopted by the Planning and Growth Management Committee in May 2018. This update specifically included the recommendations to:

  • Require builders to provide a public notice sign on site, including contact and building permit information. The purpose is to provide the public with a gateway to real-time information about permissions and enforcements. This policy will be enforced by requiring builders to submit a photo of the sign posted on site.
  • Continue and expand the Dedicated Enforcement Unit, an inter-divisional unit to survey properties across the City and identify all outstanding issues. In the 2017 summer pilot program, 117 of the 139 sites that required follow-up achieved compliance within two weeks. 
  • Empower Toronto Building Inspectors to levy fines for construction fencing infractions. Currently, only Transportation Services or Municipal Licensing & Standards are able to enforce fencing by-laws. This amendment will make the inspection process more efficient, as only the Building Inspector will need to visit the site.

The Residential Infill Construction Strategy has also included the production of several new online and printed resources for Torontonians, including a dedicated residential infill construction website providing links to all relevant information. Residents can now find the current status of all building permits and inspections on the Building Permit Status page.

The Good Neighbour Guide and Homeowner's Guide to Building Permits are also fantastic resources for residents looking to learn more about residential infill construction in their neighbourhoods.
 
After four years, I am pleased to see the regulations inspired by my original motion finally being implemented. I'm hopeful that these initiatives will improve transparency and accessibility for Ward 25ers throughout the residential infill construction process

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Planning Reform - Local Planning Appeal Support Centre

After many long years fighting against the Ontario Municipal Board, I am pleased to report that, as of April 3, 2018, all new planning appeals will be directed to the new Local Planning Appeals Tribunal.

My overriding concern with the prior OMB process was the lack of accessibility and transparency for residents. While developers can assemble large teams of qualified experts, the costs of participating in an OMB mediation or hearing were prohibitive for concerned neighbours and residents' associations. 
 
The planning reform legislation passed by the Province in December 2017 implemented new Local Planning Appeal Support Centres (LPASC) to provide free advice and support to residents on local planning matters.
 
In April, the Toronto LPASC opened its doors to the public for the first time. The LPASC is an independent agency of the Province of Ontario, accountable to a board of directors. The stated purpose of the organization is to help "people understand and navigate the land use planning and appeal process in Ontario." Chapter 4 of the LPSCA Act (2017) outlines the following support services:

  1. Information on land use planning.
  2. Guidance on Tribunal procedures.
  3. Advice or representation.
  4. Any other services prescribed by the regulations. 

I would encourage all residents concerned about a development application in their neighbourhood to contact the LPASC for more information about the appeal process. If applicable, the LPASC will also provide planning and legal support in certain cases.
 
Hours: Monday – Friday
            8:30am – 5:00pm
 
Address: 700 Bay Street, 12th Floor
 
Telephone: 647-499-1646 or Toll-free: 1-800-993-8410
 
Email: info@lpasc.ca
 
Web: https://www.lpasc.ca
 
If you are interested, you can read more about improvements to the land use planning and appeals system, here.