environmental assessment

Compostable Coffee Pods

As Chair of Public Works & Infrastructure, I’m committed to helping Toronto reach its waste diversion target of 70 percent.

With approximately 1 in 4 households in Canada using single-serve coffee brewers, millions of single-serve coffee pods are going to landfill each and every year.

Most coffee pods are made entirely or partly from plastic and thus come with a heavy environmental cost. However, a number of coffee companies – including Toronto-based businesses – are developing pods that are more environmentally friendly, including compostable and recyclable options.

With that in mind, I moved a motion at the October meeting of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee requesting the city review the impacts of coffee pods on our waste management system, including our recycling and organics programs.

Close collaboration between the coffee industry, the City of Toronto and the province is a key piece of this review. As we encourage the industry to continue to develop more environmentally sustainable products, we also need to consider the central role of municipalities, who are responsible for processing the products through to end of life.

City staff will be reporting back in 2017 – stay tuned!

Get Involved: Basement Flooding Master Plan Environmental Assessment Study

As you may know, city staff are currently conducting a Basement Flooding Study Master Plan that covers parts of Wards 16, 22 and 25.

A Notice of Study Commencement was released in January 2016 and includes information about the study area and process.

The Project team has just released its second newsletter with useful information about what causes flooding and what the City can do to address surface and basement flooding. There’s also a link to an online survey – the survey gives residents the opportunity to participate early in the process.

You can also learn more about the study at an upcoming Public Information Centre (PIC) on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 from 6pm to 8pm at North Toronto Memorial Community Centre (200 Eglinton Ave. West).

At the PIC, you can view display boards about the study and speak one-on-one with project staff.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Mae Lee, Senior Public Consultation Coordinator at either 416-392-8210 or rmlee@toronto.ca.

Managing Toronto’s Water Treatment System – Microbeads

Our city works hard to maintain high water safety and treatment standards. Toronto Water conducts more tests – for more substances – than is required by the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards.

We as residents can do our part by showing caution with what we discharge into our city’s wastewater system and, by extension, our major freshwater ecosystem, Lake Ontario.

You may have read in the news about mircrobeads, small plastic particles commonly found in many body washes, face scrubs and toothpastes, among other products. The very small size of microbeads means that they typically bypass municipal wastewater treatment systems.

In 2013, 1.1 million plastic particles per square kilometer were found in Canada’s five Great Lakes, with the highest concentration found in our own backyard – Lake Ontario.

In December 2015, the United States Senate unanimously passed a bill banning companies from using microbeads in their products. The Canadian federal government is currently developing similar legislation.

It’s also important to remember that pharmaceuticals should not be flushed or disposed of in garbage or green bins.

Pharmacies in Toronto have a “take back” program and will safely dispose of any hazardous waste.

In December 2015, I had the pleasure of hearing presentations by Greenwood College’s Grade 8 Class on how microbeads affect our water. As Chair of Public Works, I was very impressed by their research and hard work.

In December 2015, I had the pleasure of hearing presentations by Greenwood College’s Grade 8 Class on how microbeads affect our water. As Chair of Public Works, I was very impressed by their research and hard work.

Basement Flooding Master Plan Environmental Assessment Study

City staff are currently conducting a Basement Flooding Study Master Plan that covers parts of Wards 16, 22, 15 and 25.

A Notice of Study Commencement was recently released and includes information about the process as well as upcoming public consultations.

The project team also released its first newsletter with frequently asked questions and a link to their online survey so that residents can participate early in the process.

For more information, please click here.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Mae Lee, Senior Public Consultation Coordinator, at either 416-392-8210 or rmlee@toronto.ca.

Don Mills Trail Update

Update - August 18, 2014

As I mentioned in my June eNewsletter, the contract for construction of the northern portion of the Don Mills Trail was awarded this Spring and work has started!

Construction of the northern Don Mills Trail will be done as part of a larger two-year rehabilitation project on the York Mills Road bridge, just east of Scarlet Road. As part of the rehabilitation project, crews will be repairing the bridge deck and installing new asphalt as well as replacing lighting, walls and sidewalks. Construction has just started and is expected to be completed by fall 2015.

Construction of the trail will be completed within six weeks before 2015. The northern part of the trail will run south from York Mills Road through Bond Park to Bond Avenue.

Please note that during construction, the trail will remain closed to the public at Bond Avenue. There will also be lane restrictions during construction. For more details, please see the construction notice below.

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Update - May 30, 2014

The northern extension of the Don Mills Trail will soon be underway!

The construction tender closed earlier this month and the work will be completed this year.

Unfortunately, despite years of good faith discussions, a completed environmental assessment and a general agreement, the southern extension has been delayed because the local property owner pulled out of negotiations with the city.

This means that we will need to find an alternate route for the much needed southern extension.

Currently, I am pulling together an emergency meeting of senior city staff and stakeholders to identify a new route and get the southern extension back on track.

October 3, 2013

I am pleased to report city staff advised me the northern extension of the Don Mills Trails project is out to tender and construction should begin soon.

In 2012, I intervened to break a long-standing delay and negotiated an easement for the city over the Metrus property, making the southern extension possible.

Before the easement can be granted, the province is now requiring the city to carry out an Environmental Assessment (EA) of the land in question. It is an unfortunate delay, but one that is beyond the city’s control – it is mandated by the province.

I am pleased to report the first phase of the environmental assessment for the southern extension of the Don Mills Trail is complete.

The second phase, which began this spring, is nearly complete and city staff expects the assessment to be completed this fall.

The city has already completed its portion of the EA and the province is evaluating the city’s work. If the province concludes that the site is in good condition, work on the southern extension can begin as early as fall 2013.

Taking Action on Dust Suppression

I’m pleased to report that the Parks and Environment Committee unanimously passed my motion to take action on dust suppression!

Dust – from stone, rock, concrete and tile cutting, among other things – can be a major neighbourhood nuisance. It also has an environmental and health impact, especially for vulnerable residents.

My motion directs city staff to report in the first quarter of next year with an action plan to tackle dust pollution, including the extent of the city’s authority to regulate dust suppression as well as concrete recommendations to improve dust suppression, including amendments to the Municipal Code.

You can find the full text of my motion here.

Gardiner Expressway Environmental Assesment

Photo:  Gardiner East

The city and Waterfront Toronto are studying options for the future of the eastern section of the Gardiner Expressway from Jarvis Street to Logan Avenue.

The options under review are to maintain the expressway as it is and perform annual maintenance; keep the expressway, but look for ways to improve it; replace it with a new above or below ground expressway; or, remove it and replace it with a new boulevard.

Earlier this week, city staff released a report on the joint City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto study on the future of the eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway from Jarvis to Logan.

City staff reviewed four options for the future of the eastern section of the Gardiner: maintain, improve, replace or remove. You can read the full report here.

The report will go to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee next week and is expected to come before City Council for a final vote in early April.

I will be watching the committee proceedings closely and fully reviewing the report before it comes to Council.

If you haven’t already, I’d appreciate hearing from you on this issue – your feedback is integral to my decision making process.

Just send me an email at Councillor_Robinson@toronto.ca or call my office at 416-395-6408 and let me know what you think!

You can learn more about the study as well as the options under review by visiting www.gardinereast.ca/.