Top Tips for Summer

Yard Waste

From mid-March to December, leaf and yard waste is collected every other week on your scheduled garbage day. City staff advise that you should wait until the evening before your collection date to put your waste on the curb.

The city collects plant and tree trimmings, weeds, brush and bundles of branches, but does not collect soil, sod, grass clippings, logs or tree stumps. Instead, compost grass clippings or reuse them on your lawn – an easy way to maintain nutrient-rich soil!

Toronto Water

Gardening

  • Disconnect your downspout and use rainwater to water your grass and gardens.

  • Extra watering is not always required – the rain is often enough.

  • Sweep sidewalks and driveways clean instead of using a hose.

  • Start planning your water-efficient, natural garden using native plants and trees.

Environment and Water Efficiency

  • Use commercial car wash facilities to wash your car – they are required to follow a set of practices determined by the city, including treating wastewater and discharging it into the sanitary sewer system where it will receive further treatment.

  • A leaky toilet or tap can cost an extra $600/month – fix leaks to avoid being charged.

  • It costs only $0.002 to fill a reusable water bottle.

  • Pool water may contain chemicals. Click here for pool drainage tips and advice.

  • The city doesn’t conduct door-to-door water tests – be careful of sales people making that claim.

For more information on how you can be more water efficient, please click here.

Park Updates

Yonge & Lawrence Playground Revitalization (Behind Locke Library)
City staff and the design team have been hard at work this summer on the playground’s final designs.

At this stage, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority is carefully reviewing the project details to ensure that the new playground fits within the park’s natural setting.

Mossgrove Park and Lord Seaton Park
Playground improvements are coming to both of these great parks in 2016!

Public input is key and consultations will be held later this year to discuss the community’s vision – stay tuned!

Lawrence Walkway
Improvements are underway on the Lawrence Walkway in Don Mills! As this newsletter was wrapping up, city staff advised that asphalt installation was well underway.

Tournament Park
Later this year, the tennis courts in Tournament Park will be getting a new lighting system and surface repairs.

Irving Paisley Park
The actively used basketball court behind the York Mills Arena is sporting brand new nets, backboards and posts.

Sunnybrook Park
A new and improved bridge has opened in Sunnybrook Park providing an updated connection to Serena Gundy Park.

Bond Park Baseball Diamond
The backstop on diamond #3 will be completely replaced this summer – a much needed upgrade!

Don Mills Park: Grand Opening
Many thanks to everyone who attended the Don Mills Park opening in May!

The park includes a full playground, shaded area, walking paths, seating and plenty of green space.

Problem Residential Infill Construction Sites

Residential infill construction can be a major disruption, especially for immediate neighbours and nearby homes.Late last year, I moved a motion asking for a comprehensive report on how the city can improve its response to problem construction sites.

Among other things, I asked city staff to consider:

  • The feasibility of identifying a single city staff lead to liaise with neighbours and coordinate an interdivisional response;
  • Improved and effective enforcement measures to ensure compliance with site and safety by-laws;
  • The feasibility of posting key information on hoarding boards, like noise restrictions and parking permissions; and,
  • Developing a plan to effectively deal with buildings that are not built according to plan.

Earlier this summer, city staff brought a work plan to the Planning and Growth Management Committee. The work plan sets out an extensive review of best practices, research and issue identification as well as ratepayer and industry consultation.You can find the work plan here. A final report is expected in fall 2015.

Action on Roads - Spring, 2015

Along with the warmer weather comes road improvements across the Ward!

I’m happy to announce that the following streets will be repaved in 2015:

  • Pinedale Road
  • Stratheden Road
  • Strathgowan Crescent
  • Pine Forest Road
  • Garland Avenue
  • Blyth Hill Road
  • Bayview Wood
  • St. Aubyns Crescent
  • Wood Avenue
  • Lewes Crescent
  • York Ridge Road
  • Don Ridge Drive
  • Bayview Avenue
  • Ivor Road
  • Plymbridge Crescent
  • Riverview Drive
  • Lawrence Avenue East
  • Valley Road
  • Bayview Ridge

Waste Diversion News

As the Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, I’m pleased to share that we’ve made significant progress on diverting waste from landfills!

As of June 1st, Solid Waste Management will accept “stretchy” plastic products. These include:

  • Milk bags
  • Dry cleaning bags
  • Newspaper/flyer bags
  • Produce and vegetable bags

With this change, staff anticipate that 3,500 tonnes of waste will be diverted from landfills. This puts us even closer to achieving a 70% total diversion rate!

For a complete list of items that you can recycle in your blue bin, click here.

Long-Term Waste Management Strategy

As the Chair of Toronto’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, I’ve been working hard to ensure that we have a sustainable Long Term Waste Management Strategy.

Work on the strategy, which will recommend management changes and programs, is currently underway.

Your thoughts are crucial to developing the best waste policies for the next 30-50 years. To get involved or share your ideas, click here.

Gardiner East Update

The future of the eastern section of the Gardiner Expressway is a once in a lifetime decision that will shape the future direction of our city.

The environmental assessment team recently refined the options for the 2.4km stretch between Jarvis and Logan to three:

  • Remove the expressway and replace it with an eight lane boulevard;
  • Maintain the expressway in its current form; or
  • A hybrid approach that would keep the expressway linkage between the Gardiner and DVP.

Public consultations are a critical part of the decision making process and are now underway.

It’s a complicated decision. We have to balance travel time impacts, unlocking the incredible opportunities on the waterfront and financial cost. As the Chair of Public Works, my priority is to make the right decision for the city. 

To get involved or to learn more about the issues, please head to www.gardinereast.ca.

Following the public consultations, city staff will prepare a report with a recommended option for May’s Public Works Committee meeting and City Council will make a final decision in June.

2014 Traffic Signal Synchronizations – Great Results

Cutting congestion and gridlock remains my number one priority as Chair of Public Works.

That’s why I’m pleased to share the results of the city’s 2014 Traffic Signal Coordination Program.

In 2014, the city synchronized 224 traffic signals on 7 major corridors, including Yonge, Leslie and Sheppard.

The results were impressive, including:

  • A 10% decrease in overall vehicle delay;
  • A 4.5% decrease in fuel consumption (equivalent to the CO2 emissions from 693 homes’ electricity use for one year!); and,
  • A 4.6% decrease in emissions.

Overall, the 2014 work resulted in an estimated annual savings of nearly $17 million in reduced congestion-related costs.

Signal synchronisations also offer a great return on investment. The benefit-cost ratio of the 7 major corridors retimed in 2014 was 63 to 1!

Better yet, there’s more in store for 2015. 343 synchronizations on 11 major corridors are scheduled this year, bringing the four year synchronization total to nearly 1,000 since the program began in 2012.

Improving Capacity on the Yonge Subway Line

I ride the Yonge line every day and know the delays first hand. Ward 25ers sometimes have to watch two or three cars pass by at York Mills, Lawrence, and Eglinton before finding space to crowd on.

That’s why I’ve been pushing hard for Automatic Train Control (ATC) on the Yonge-University-Spadina line. ATC will replace our existing 1954-vintage signalling system with a state of the art computer controlled system.

ATC is expected to increase capacity on the Yonge line by 25% by cutting train headways from 2.5 to 2 minutes. In other words, ATC will improve train capacity and shorten wait times.

Unfortunately, implementation was recently pushed back to 2020.

As I told the Toronto Sun, the delays and the promises are “just not good enough.”

That’s why I moved a motion at Executive Committee asking for a detailed analysis of the reasons for the delay and options to accelerate its implementation. My motion, which passed unanimously, also asks for a review of the TTC’s structure with a focus on a more efficient, streamlined organization.

For a full copy of my motion, click here.

Waste Disposal Tips – What Goes Where?

Recycling (Blue Bins)
Many of the products we consume come in packaging that can be recycled rather than sent to landfills! These include beverage and food containers, home and personal product containers, takeout food containers, retail shopping bags and paper.

Organics (Green Bins)
The benefit of properly disposing organic waste is that it can be reused as compost down the line! This includes food waste, coffee grinds, and animal waste.

Garbage (Black/Grey Bins or Yellow Bags)
Many of the items we dispose of can be reused or recycled as noted above. If, however, items must make their way to the landfill, it’s important to know what’s accepted and what’s not.

Household Hazardous Waste
Batteries, cleaning products and paint are all examples of waste that should be disposed of responsibly. The city offers a free service called Toxic Taxi, which allows residents to request a free pick-up of hazardous waste. For a complete list of what counts as hazardous waste and for drop-off depot locations, please visit this link.

Electronic Waste
As technology improves, we are constantly turning over devices and electronics. Including everything from cell phones to fax machines, e-waste can be part of your curbside collection. For more information on what it includes and how to set it out, please visit this link.

Don’t forget to think of others when considering the disposal of items in your home! The City’sReUseIt program offers information on how to donate unwanted items to not-for-profit agencies.

If you have any questions about what can or cannot be disposed of, you can also contact 311 – they would be happy to help!

Winter Tips for Your Home

The winter weather has arrived and here’s what you need to know to be prepared!

Potholes

Snow, ice and freeze-thaw cycles can cause serious damage to our roadways.

To report potholes, phone 311, the city’s 24-hour service portal, or visit www.toronto.ca/311. Have the closest municipal address on hand – it helps pothole repair crews work efficiently.

Snowclearing

Did you know that the city clears 5,604 km of roads each and every time it snows?

Expressways are cleared after 2.5 cm of accumulated snow and arterial roads after 5 cm. Local roads are cleared following the accumulation of 8 cm of snow.

If it’s been 18 hours since the end of a storm and your street has still not been ploughed, please call 311.

For more information about the city’s snow ploughing practices, click here.

Icy sidewalks are a serious pedestrian safety hazard, particularly for our older neighbours and those with accessibility issues. So please be nice and clear your ice!

Senior city staff advised that contacting 311 is the fastest and most efficient way to report snow and ice issues. Each time you contact 311, your issue is recorded (with a service request number that can be tracked) and the request goes immediately to Transportation Services for investigation and follow up.

Toronto Hydro

If power is down following a snow storm, Toronto Hydro suggests following these tips:
-Check to see if your neighbours have power. If they don’t, it is likely that more work is planned on your street.
-If your home is the only house without electricity, check your electrical panel inside your home to see if the breakers are in the “on” position.
-Check outside and visually inspect if the electrical equipment on your home is damaged or if the service wire is down. If the customer-owned connection point (usually the pipe and wires attached to your home connected to the powerline) is damaged, you may need to contact an ESA-certified electrical contractor. A list is available on the ESA’s website at http://www.esasafe.com.

In the event of a power outage this winter, you can contact Toronto Hydro’s Customer Care team at 416-542-8000. This number can also be used to report emergencies such as downed or sagging wires.

You may also report power outages and streetlight outages by visiting this link.

Trees in Toronto Panel Discussion

Please mark off the evening of Thursday, February 13 for an exciting discussion about the impacts of extreme weather events on our city and, in particular, our tree canopy! I will be moderating an all-star panel of expert gardener and well-known author Mark Cullen, LEAF Executive Director Janet McKay and University of Toronto cultural anthropology professor Hilary Cunningham.

Ward 25er Peter Jones is taking the lead and organizing the event and deserves thanks for all of his efforts to date! Peter is one of the founders of For Our Grandchildren, a non-profit that aims to connect and empower grandparents concerned about the impending effects of climate change. Discussion will centre around the damage sustained during the ice storm as well as what steps can be taken so that we are better prepared for the next extreme weather event.

The event is set for 7:30-9 p.m. on Thursday, February 13 at the Lawrence Park Community Church (2180 Bayview Avenue), and you can register online here. I encourage you to attend!

 

Shop Local: Check Out The Rolling Pin!

Rolling-Pin.jpg

Visit the corner of Yonge and Teddington Park for one of Ward 25’s most decadent and delicious new businesses – The Rolling Pin!

Specializing in everything from award-winning gourmet donuts to cupcake bouquets, this bakery and pastry shop is guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth.

I stopped by last week and wasn’t disappointed!

For more information on their vast selection of tasty treats, go to http://www.therollingpin.ca.