Ice Storm of 2013: Updates

January 2, 2013

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

It’s been a long haul but Toronto Hydro is reporting that all ice storm-related outages have been restored.

I worked around the clock every day for the past ten days alongside my staff, advocating for Ward 25 priorities, staying in constant contact with Toronto Hydro and responding to more than 3,000 emails and phone calls from every neighbourhood in the Ward.

As I mentioned in a previous update, Ward 25, with its many mature trees and extensive canopy coverage, was particularly hard hit by the storm. A number of Ward 25 homes remained without power yesterday and I continued work late into the evening coordinating with Toronto Hydro and making sure power was restored.

Thanks are due to all of the Toronto Hydro staff and city staff that worked day and night to bring the city back online. Thanks are also due to everyone who reached out to help their neighbours, friends and family over the course of the power outage.

There was significant room for improvement in both Toronto Hydro’s and the city’s response, and I am looking forward to a thorough and detailed review.

At September’s Parks and Environment Committee meeting, I successfully passed a motion requesting Urban Forestry to improve the city’s tree pruning response time. Over the next few weeks, I will be working alongside Urban Forestry staff – as well as senior staff from across the city – to identify and implement any and all proactive measures that will improve the city’s readiness and response going forward.

I’ve included below the latest information on the city’s debris management plan, waste collection and ice storm-related compensation.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any other questions or concerns.

Kind regards,

Jaye

**Debris Management Plan**

The city’s debris management plan gets underway tomorrow. Nearly 600 city staff and contractors will be working to remove fallen trees and branches from streets, sidewalks and the city’s rights-of-way. Due to the tremendous amount of storm-related debris, the clean-up is expected to take six to eight weeks.

You can track the progress of debris removal in your neighbourhood via a map on the city’s website, http://www.toronto.ca. The map should be online shortly.

If you have fallen trees or branches on your property of a manageable size (less than six inches in diameter), please place them by the curb for pick up. Please stack the branches neatly with butt ends towards the road, without blocking the roadway or the sidewalk.

For larger limbs and stems (over six inches in diameter) on your property from private trees, please contact a private contractor.

At this time, you do not require a permit to remove or trim damaged or downed trees on your property. For more information, please see the Tree By-law exemption here http://bit.ly/19D07tG.

For city trees (i.e., street trees) that have fallen on your property or on the right-of-way or are in need of maintenance, please call 311 or email 311@toronto.ca.

**Garbage Collection**

This week, curbside collection on Thursday and Friday will move forward one day. This means that Thursday collection moves to Friday, and Friday collection moves to Saturday. Changes are reflected in the residential collection calendar.

Due to downed trees and hydro wires, collection vehicles are not able to reach some areas. There may also be delays. Residents should leave their materials out until they are collected. If required, additional collection crews will work on Monday (not a regularly scheduled collection day).

If you have organic material (food waste) that cannot fit in the Green Bin, please set it out in a clear plastic bag. Food waste will be collected on your regularly scheduled collection day.

I’ve been advised by Solid Waste Management staff that extra tags are not required.

**Roads, Traffic and Parking**

Power has been restored to all traffic signals and all signals are operating normally. Please note that the power supply is not quite stable at all signalized intersections and there may be fluctuations that knock signals out or make them flash. If you see an intersection like this, treat it as an all-way stop. Please also call 311 and report it so that a crew can be sent to investigate and fix the problem.

Where there are icy or blocked driveways, the city will provide parking consideration for residents who park on the street beyond posted times. If you receive a ticket, there is an application that can be filled out to describe the circumstances and request ticket cancellation at http://bitly.com/1ggfwPJ. Completed application forms and documentation can be faxed to 416-696-3652 or sent via e-mail to parkingmeters@toronto.ca.

**Compensation for Ice Storm-Related Damage**

Some of you have asked whether the city will be providing compensation where city trees have damages property, houses, cars, etc. City staff advised me that you can make a claim at the following link: http://bit.ly/1hj2cNC.

**Grocery Store Gift Cards**

Residents who have experienced a prolonged power outage and lost food will be able to collect a grocery store gift card thanks to the generous assistance of Loblaws, the Retail Council of Canada, Shopper’s Drug Mart, Metro, Sobey’s, Coppa’s Fresh Market and the provincial government. This is a provincial initiative and does not involve the City of Toronto.

For more information, please visit: http://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2013/12/ontario-helps-people-replace-food-lost-during-ice-storm.html.

December 28, 2013

 

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

Toronto Hydro is reporting that power remains out for approximately 25,000 homes.

I have spent the day advocating for the many neighbourhoods and streets that remain in the dark in Ward 25, including Hoggs Hollow, the area north of Yonge and York Mills and Don Mills.

I have done everything I can, including constant communication with senior Toronto Hydro staff, to push Toronto Hydro to direct crews to Ward 25 priorities – seven days is far, far too long to remain without heat or power.

If you are still without power and haven’t already let me know, please respond to this email and write your address in the subject line and I will do my best to advocate on your behalf.

Due to the high volume of phone calls and emails, I may not be able to respond personally but I will ensure that your address comes to Toronto Hydro’s attention.

Alternatively, you can report an outage directly to Toronto Hydro at (416) 542-8000 or online at http://www.torontohydro.com/sites/electricsystem/PowerOutages/Pages/ReportOutages.aspx.

If Toronto Hydro is reporting that your neighbourhood has power but you remain in the dark, please do the following:

  • Check to see if your neighbours have power, if they don’t, it is likely that more work is to be done on your street.

  • If your home is the only house without electricity, check your electrical panel inside the home to see if the breakers are in the “on” position.

  • Check outside to see if the electrical equipment on your home is damaged or if the service wire is “down”. If the wire is down, please stay back and contact a licensed ECRA/ESA electrical contractor.

  • If you have completed the above and your power is still out, please report your outage to 416-542-8000.

If the electrical equipment on your home is damaged of if the service wire is down, it will need to be repaired by a licensed ESA electrical contractor before Toronto Hydro will reconnect your house.

Your electrical contractor will walk you through the process, but here it is in brief:

Once the electrician has repaired the damaged equipment, they must contact the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) to have it inspected. An ESA inspection number will then be provided to either you or the electrician.

At this point, you should contact Toronto Hydro at 416-542-8000 and provide them with the ESA inspection number as well as your contact number. Your contact number is for the Toronto Hydro crews to contact you 30 minutes prior to their arrival because, for safety reasons,Toronto Hydro requires someone at the property for reconnection.

You can find a list of licensed ESA electrical contractors at http://www.esasafe.com/ (click on the “Find a Licensed Electrical Contractor in my Area link).

More information is available here: http://www.esasafe.com/consumers/safety-at-home/safety-tips-for-after-a-storm.

**Tree Related Debris**

Work to clear tree debris is underway and is expected to continue for approximately six weeks.

Tree branches that have fallen on private property and are of a manageable size that can be dragged to the City’s right-of-way (i.e., to the curb) will be picked up. Please do not place debris on the sidewalk.

Large limb or stem (body) wood from private trees that have fallen on private property should not be taken to the curb. Property owners should contact a private contractor to remove this material. City crews cannot go onto private property to clear private trees that have fallen on private property.

You do not require a permit to remove damaged or downed trees.

**Waste Pickup**

This week and next week, curbside collection on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will move forward one day. This means that Wednesday collection moves to Thursday, Thursday collection moves to Friday, and Friday collection moves to Saturday. Changes are reflected in the residential collection calendar. Due to downed trees and hydro wires, collection vehicles are not able to reach some areas. There may also be delays. Residents should leave their materials out until they are collected. If required, additional collection crews will work on Monday (not a regularly scheduled collection day).

If you have organic material (food waste) that cannot fit in the Green Bin, please set it out in a clear plastic bag. Food waste will be collected on your regularly scheduled collection day.

I’ve been advised by Solid Waste Management staff that extra tags are not required.

**Daycare**

Parents of children attending City of Toronto child care centres are asked to call ahead to ensure that the centre is open.

**Food Safety**

Residents who have been without power, or recently had their power restored, are advised to reduce the risk of a foodborne illness:

  • If you have been without power for 24 hours or longer, all food in the fridge should be thrown out.

  • During a power outage of 48 hours or longer, all food in the freezer should be thrown out.

  • Any leftover cooked food that cannot be reheated or stored in a working refrigerator or freezer should be thrown out.

More food safety tips are available at http://bitly.com/Jxt79e.

I have pasted below information from previous updates on freezing pipes and radiators and power outage tips as well as the addresses of the city’s warming centres, which remain open.

For the latest updates, please check my website (www.jayerobinson.com), Facebook (http://facebook.com/robinsonward25) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/jayerobinson).

As always, please don’t hesitate with any other questions or concerns.

Warm regards,

Jaye

The city’s 12 warming centres continue to operate. Pets are welcome. They are:

  • Dennis R Timbrell Community Centre, 29 St. Denis Drive (Eglinton/DonMills)

  • Malvern Community Centre, 30 Sewells Rd, (Neilson/Finch)

  • Agincourt Community Centre, 31 Glen Walford Rd (Sheppard/Midland)

  • Driftwood Community Centre, 4401 Jane Street (between Finch and Steeles)

  • Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Avenue (Yonge/Finch)

  • Joseph P Piccinini Community Centre, 1369 St Clair Avenue West (St Clair/Keele)

  • Matty Eckler Community Centre, 953 Gerrard Street East (Pape/Gerrard)

  • Franklin Horner Community Centre, 432 Horner Avenue (Kipling/Lakeshore)

  • 2 Civic Centre Court – Adjacent to Etobicoke Community Centre (West Mall and 427)

 In addition, 13 Toronto Police Service facilitates have community rooms available as warming centres around the clock. They are:

  • Division 11 – 2054 Davenport Road (Davenport/Osler)

  • Division 12 – 200 Trethewey Drive (Trethewey/Black Creek)

  • Division 14 – 350 Dovercourt Road (College/Dovercourt)

  • Division 22 – 3699 Bloor Street West (Bloor West/Dundas West)

  • Division 23 – 5230 Finch Avenue West (Kipling/Finch)

  • Division 31 – 40 Norfinch Road (Norfinch/Finch West)

  • Division 33 – 50 Upjohn Road (York Mills/Don Mills)

  • Division 42 – 242 Milner Avenue (Milner/Markham)

  • Division 43 – 4331 Lawrence Ave. E (Lawrence Ave. E/ Kingston Road)

  • Division 51 – 51 Parliament Street (Front/Parliament)

  • Division 52 – 255 Dundas Street West (LOBBY ONLY)

  • Toronto Police Service College – 70 Birmingham Street (Birmingham/Fifth)

  • Toronto Police Service Headquarters – 40 College Street (College/Bay)

 The following are some tips for dealing with a power outage:

  • Unplug or turn off all appliances to avoid possible damage when power resumes

  • Turn off water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they are in use when the power goes out

  • Leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored

  • When power has been restored, check all fuses to ensure that none have been blown, before calling Toronto Hydro

  • Plug in only the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes to give the electrical system time to stabilize before connecting everything else.

 After power is restored, try to limit electricity use to help relieve potential strain on the system. Energy conservation tips include:

  • Turning off all non-essential internal and external lights

  • Limiting the use of major power-consuming equipment such as dishwashers, washers and dryers

 **Freezing Pipes and Radiators**

 Many residents have asked about radiators and the possibility of freezing. If your heating system is hot water and your are concerned about freezing, you can drain your hot water heating system. If you do not have the necessary know-how, you may need to contact a heating/plumbing professional for assistance.

 Similarly, if you don’t have heat in your home and the temperature drops to well below freezing, consider leaving a tap open enough for a trickle of water so that there is some movement of water in the pipes that might be vulnerable to freezing.

 If you are leaving your home, you can shut off the main service valve in your basement and open your lowers tap to drain the water out of your plumbing to prevent them from freezing.

December 26, 2013

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

Power remains out for approximately 50,000 homes, down from a peak of 300,000.

It’s been a long a difficult week for all those without power.

Unfortunately, many homes in Ward 25 remain in the dark, particularly in the northern part of the Ward, including the Bayview Avenue corridor and Hoggs Hollow. There are also many isolated pockets and houses across the entire Ward without power.

Frustration doesn’t begin to describe the feelings of many in Ward 25. I have seen amazing acts of kindness among neighbours and I encourage you to continue to assist any of your neighbours in need.

My office continues to work around the clock. I was up until 4:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve and put in 14 hours on Christmas Day, speaking with Toronto Hydro’s CEO Anthony Haines, responding to constituents and trying to help residents in any way that I can.

If you’re still without power and cannot get through to Toronto Hydro, please send me an email with your address in the subject line and I will make sure to bring it to the attention of senior Toronto Hydro staff and advocate on your behalf.

Due to the incredible number of phone calls and emails, I may not be able to respond personally, but I will be certain to forward your address to Toronto Hydro.

Alternatively, if you cannot reach Toronto Hydro at (416) 542-8000 to report an outage, you can do so online if you have access to a computer at http://www.torontohydro.com/sites/electricsystem/PowerOutages/Pages/ReportOutages.aspx.

Unfortunately, Toronto Hydro remains unable to provide any timelines for restoring service to individual houses, streets or neighbourhoods.

If Toronto Hydro is reporting that power in your neighbourhood has been restored but your home remains without power, you should:

  • Check to see if your neighbours have power, if they don’t, it is likely that more work is to be done on your street.

  • If your home is the only house without electricity, check your electrical panel inside the home to see if the breakers are in the “on” position.

  • Check the electrical service entry outside your home to see if it is damaged or the service wire is “down”. If the wire is down, please stay back and contact us at 416-542-8000 to report the downed wire.

Freezing Pipes and Radiators

Many residents have asked about radiators and the possibility of freezing. If your heating system is a hot water system and you’re concerned about freezing, you can drain your hot water heating system. If you do not have the necessary know-how, you may need to contact a heating/plumbing professional for assistance.

Similarly, if you don’t have heat in your home and the temperature drops to well below freezing, consider leaving a tap open enough for a trickle of water so that there is some movement of water in the pipes that might be vulnerable to freezing.

If you are leaving you home, you can shut off the main service valve in your basement and open your lowest tap to drain the water out of your plumbing to prevent them from freezing.

Debris Cleanup and Garbage Pickup

The city anticipates that the clearing of fallen trees and tree debris will begin on December 27. Cleanup will take place at a later date where debris is not obstructing the road.

I have asked about special pick-ups for storm-related debris and waste and will report back when I have more information.

In the meantime, there is no collection on New Year’s Day. This week and next week, curbside collection on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will move forward one day.

This means that Wednesday collection moves to Thursday, Thursday collection moves to Friday, and Friday collection moves to Saturday.

Changes are reflected in the residential collection calendar. Due to downed trees and hydro wires, collection vehicles are not able to reach some areas. There may also be delays. Residents should leave their materials out until they are collected. If required, additional collection crews will work on Monday (not a regularly scheduled collection day).

If you have organic material (food waste) that cannot fit in the Green Bin, please set it out in a clear plastic bag. Food waste will be collected on your regularly scheduled collection day.

I have pasted below information from my previous updates with tips about dealing with a power outage as well as food safety information.

For the latest updates, please check my Facebook (http://facebook.com/robinsonward25)and Twitter (http://twitter.com/jayerobinson).

As always, please don’t hesitate with any other questions or concerns.

Warm regards,

Jaye

The city’s 12 warming centres continue to operate. Pets are welcome. They are:

  • Dennis R Timbrell Community Centre, 29 St. Denis Drive (Eglinton/DonMills)

  • Malvern Community Centre, 30 Sewells Rd, (Neilson/Finch)

  • Agincourt Community Centre, 31 Glen Walford Rd (Sheppard/Midland)

  • Driftwood Community Centre, 4401 Jane Street (between Finch and Steeles)

  • Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Avenue (Yonge/Finch)

  • Joseph P Piccinini Community Centre, 1369 St Clair Avenue West (St Clair/Keele)

  • Matty Eckler Community Centre, 953 Gerrard Street East (Pape/Gerrard)

  • Franklin Horner Community Centre, 432 Horner Avenue (Kipling/Lakeshore)

  • 2 Civic Centre Court – Adjacent to Etobicoke Community Centre (West Mall and 427)

In addition, 13 Toronto Police Service facilitates have community rooms available as warming centres around the clock. They are:

  • Division 11 – 2054 Davenport Road (Davenport/Osler)

  • Division 12 – 200 Trethewey Drive (Trethewey/Black Creek)

  • Division 14 – 350 Dovercourt Road (College/Dovercourt)

  • Division 22 – 3699 Bloor Street West (Bloor West/Dundas West)

  • Division 23 – 5230 Finch Avenue West (Kipling/Finch)

  • Division 31 – 40 Norfinch Road (Norfinch/Finch West)

  • Division 33 – 50 Upjohn Road (York Mills/Don Mills)

  • Division 42 – 242 Milner Avenue (Milner/Markham)

  • Division 43 – 4331 Lawrence Ave. E (Lawrence Ave. E/ Kingston Road)

  • Division 51 – 51 Parliament Street (Front/Parliament)

  • Division 52 – 255 Dundas Street West (LOBBY ONLY)

  • Toronto Police Service College – 70 Birmingham Street (Birmingham/Fifth)

  • Toronto Police Service Headquarters – 40 College Street (College/Bay)

The following are some tips for dealing with a power outage:

  • Unplug or turn off all appliances to avoid possible damage when power resumes

  • Turn off water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they are in use when the power goes out

  • Leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored

  • When power has been restored, check all fuses to ensure that none have been blown, before calling Toronto Hydro

  • Plug in only the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes to give the electrical system time to stabilize before connecting everything else.

After power is restored, try to limit electricity use to help relieve potential strain on the system. Energy conservation tips include:

  • Turning off all non-essential internal and external lights

  • Limiting the use of major power-consuming equipment such as dishwashers, washers and dryers

During a power outage, food kept in the refrigerator or freezer may become unsafe to eat. The following tips can help ensure food is stored safely in the event of a power outage:

  • Keep your refrigerator door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, the refrigerator section will keep foods cool for four to six hours – if the door is kept closed.

  • Throw out perishable foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and leftovers that have been at temperatures above 4*C for more than two hours.

  • Keep your freezer door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, an upright or chest freezer that is completely full will keep food frozen for about 48 hours – if the door is kept closed. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for about 24 hours.

  • Foods that have thawed in the freezer may be refrozen if they still contain ice crystals or are at 4*C or below – evaluate each item separately.

  • If possible, add bags of ice to the refrigerator and freezer to keep temperatures cooler for a longer period

  • Discard any items in the freezer or refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices

  • If you are in doubt about whether a food item has spoiled, throw it out.

  • Contact your doctor or pharmacist for information about proper storage of medication that requires refrigeration, such as insulin

For more information about when to keep and when to throw out refrigerated foods, visit www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/pub/foodsafe/homefood.html

December 24, 2013

 

My office has been working around the clock through Sunday, Monday and now today responding to hundreds of emails and phone calls from residents reporting power outages, downed power lines, impassable streets, traffic light outages and other ice storm-related issues.

I have also been in constant contact with Toronto Hydro’s CEO Anthony Haines, ensuring that every issue brought to my attention is prioritized by Toronto Hydro.

Large parts of Ward 25 have been significantly impacted by the ice storm and are experiencing large and ongoing power outages, from Don Mills to Hoggs Hollow to Lawrence Park to York Mills to the Yonge-Eglinton area – in Anthony Haine’s opinion, Ward 25 was “decimated.”

I – along with a number of my staff members – have also been without power since early Sunday morning. Like you, I appreciate the impact on holiday plans as well as the frustration of living without power for more than 72 hours.

I also wrote to the Mayor yesterday morning asking him to declare a state of emergency to ensure that all available resources are brought online as quickly as possible.

Like many of you, I want to see a timeline for repairs to each and every impacted area in Ward 25.

Unfortunately, I just got off the phone with senior Toronto Hydro staff and they advised that they are unable to offer any timelines for any specific addresses or neighbourhoods.

Toronto Hydro is also advising to prepare for the worst and expects outages to continue into the weekend.

This morning, Toronto Hydro is reporting approximately 115,000 residents are without power down from 300,000 at the peak of the storm.

Power was restored to Sunnybrook Health Sciences yesterday at 5:00 p.m., freeing up crews to move north, and extra hydro crews from Manitoba, Windsor, Mississauga, Ottawa and Michigan are expected to come online today.

Currently, crews are working to restore feeders, which are the power lines that serve several hundred to several thousand customers each. This will restore power to large areas first and then crews will move on to smaller single street and single home outages.

I have forwarded each and every address and issue brought to my attention to senior Toronto Hydro staff and asked that it be prioritized.

Toronto Hydro has an up-to-date map of affected areas.

If you want to report a power outage, downed power line or other hydro-related emergency, please call Toronto Hydro’s Lights Out Line at (416) 542-8000. Please have patience as you may have difficulty getting through due to a high call volume.

Many have asked me about frozen pipes. The city is advising that if you do not have heat and the temperature drops to well below freezing, consider leaving a tap open enough for a trickle of water so there is some movement in pipes vulnerable to freezing.

If you are leaving your home because of no heat you can shut off the main service valve in your basement and open your lowest tap to drain the water out of your plumbing lines to prevent them from freezing.

The city is also working on a debris management plan to take care of downed branches. While the plan is still in the works, if you want to get started, you can bundle the sticks and branches and leave them butt side out by the curb.

I have pasted information from my previous updates below – including information about warming centre locations and power outage tips, including food safety information.

For the latest updates, please check my website Facebook  and Twitter.

For residents in need of assistance, the City has opened reception and warming centres with food, water, warmth and rest. Pets are also welcome. Please find the full list of reception centres below:

  • Dennis R Timbrell Community Centre, 29 St. Denis Drive (Eglinton/DonMills)

  • Malvern Community Centre, 30 Sewells Rd, (Neilson/Finch)

  • Agincourt Community Centre, 31 Glen Walford Rd (Sheppard/Midland)

  • Driftwood Community Centre, 4401 Jane Street (between Finch and Steeles)

  • Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Avenue (Yonge/Finch)

  • Joseph P Piccinini Community Centre, 1369 St Clair Avenue West (St Clair/Keele)

  • Matty Eckler Community Centre, 953 Gerrard Street East (Pape/Gerrard)

  • Franklin Horner Community Centre, 432 Horner Avenue (Kipling/Lakeshore)

  • 2 Civic Centre Court – Adjacent to Etobicoke Community Centre (West Mall and 427)

In addition, 13 Toronto Police Service facilities have been identified as having community rooms available for use 24/7 as warming centres:

  • Division 11 – 2054 Davenport Road (Davenport/Osler)

  • Division 12 – 200 Trethewey Drive (Trethewey/Black Creek)

  • Division 14 – 350 Dovercourt Road (College/Dovercourt)

  • Division 22 – 3699 Bloor Street West (Bloor West/Dundas West)

  • Division 23 – 5230 Finch Avenue West (Kipling/Finch)

  • Division 31 – 40 Norfinch Road (Norfinch/Finch West)

  • Division 33 – 50 Upjohn Road (York Mills/Don Mills)

  • Division 42 – 242 Milner Avenue (Milner/Markham)

  • Division 51 – 51 Parliament Street (Front/Parliament)

  • Division 52 – 255 Dundas Street West (LOBBY ONLY)

  • Toronto Police Service College – 70 Birmingham Street (Birmingham/Fifth)

  • Toronto Police Service Headquarters – 40 College Street (College/Bay)

Residents are reminded to keep children and pets inside, avoid driving if possible and consider working from home. If you must go out, please exercise caution on the roads and sidewalks. Please also offer help to elderly neighbours or those who might need assistance. If you have power, please consider inviting friends and neighbours into your home to keep warm.

The following are some tips for dealing with a power outage:

  • Unplug or turn off all appliances to avoid possible damage when power resumes

  • Turn off water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they are in use when the power goes out

  • Leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored

  • When power has been restored, check all fuses to ensure that none have been blown, before calling Toronto Hydro

  • Plug in only the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes to give the electrical system time to stabilize before connecting everything else.

After power is restored, try to limit electricity use to help relieve potential strain on the system. Energy conservation tips include:

  • Turning off all non-essential internal and external lights

  • Limiting the use of major power-consuming equipment such as dishwashers, washers and dryers

  • During a power outage, food kept in the refrigerator or freezer may become unsafe to eat. The following tips can help ensure food is stored safely in the event of a power outage:

  • Keep your refrigerator door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, the refrigerator section will keep foods cool for four to six hours – if the door is kept closed.

  • Throw out perishable foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and leftovers that have been at temperatures above 4°C for more than two hours.

  • Keep your freezer door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, an upright or chest freezer that is completely full will keep food frozen for about 48 hours – if the door is kept closed. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for about 24 hours.

  • Foods that have thawed in the freezer may be refrozen if they still contain ice crystals or are at 4°C or below – evaluate each item separately.

  • If possible, add bags of ice to the refrigerator and freezer to keep temperatures cooler for a longer period

  • Discard any items in the freezer or refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices

  • If you are in doubt about whether a food item has spoiled, throw it out.

  • Contact your doctor or pharmacist for information about proper storage of medication that requires refrigeration, such as insulin

For more information about when to keep and when to throw out refrigerated foods, visit www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/pub/foodsafe/homefood.html

December 23, 2013

I spoke to senior Toronto Hydro staff this morning and they advised that power has been restored to 72,500 homes but 227,560 customers remain without power this morning.

For an up-to-date map of affected areas, please visit http://www.torontohydro.com/sites/electricsystem/PowerOutages/Pages/OutageMap.aspx.

Many thanks to all those who contacted my office about power outages, downed power lines and other storm-related issues. Like many of you, my house remains without power.

I escalated each and every issue brought to my attention to senior Toronto Hydro staff and asked that it be prioritized.

Toronto Hydro crews continue to work around the clock and hope to have full service restored by Friday. Unfortunately, Toronto Hydro was unable to give me any specific time lines for affected areas in Ward 25. Crews are prioritizing public safety issues, such as downed power lines, as well as restoring power to hospitals, such as Sunnybrook, and the TTC.

If you want to report a power outage, downed power line or other hydro-related emergency, please call Toronto Hydro’s Lights Out Line at (416) 542-8000. Please have patience as you may have difficulty getting through due to a high call volume.

Transportation Services reports that approximately 100 traffic signals are not working. If traffic signals are out, treat the affected intersections as a four-way stop. Crews continue to salt collector and local roads and sidewalks.

Emergency services – Fire, EMS and Police — are operating and managing increased call volumes. EMS alone has experience a 53% surge in call volumes. Please only call 911 in an emergency for non-emergencies please call 416-808-2222. Residents who use home oxygen and have concerns can call 416-310-2222 for assistance.

The TTC has made progress restoring service with streetcar service resuming on all routes. Currently, there is no service on the Sheppard subway line or on the Bloor Danforth subway line from Woodbine to Kennedy or on the Scarborough RT as a result of hydro issues and storm clean up. Shuttle buses are running. Please check www.ttc.ca for updates and service alerts.

The City has nine Reception Centres where residents in need of assistance can get food, water, warmth and rest. Pets are also welcome. Please find the full list of reception centres below:

  • Dennis R Timbrell Community Centre, 29 St. Denis Drive (Eglinton/DonMills)

  • Malvern Community Centre, 30 Sewells Rd, (Neilson/Finch)

  • Agincourt Community Centre, 31 Glen Walford Rd (Sheppard/Midland)

  • Driftwood Community Centre, 4401 Jane Street (between Finch and Steeles)

  • Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Avenue (Yonge/Finch)

  • Joseph P Piccinini Community Centre, 1369 St Clair Avenue West (St Clair/Keele)

  • Matty Eckler Community Centre, 953 Gerrard Street East (Pape/Gerrard)

  • Franklin Horner Community Centre, 432 Horner Avenue (Kipling/Lakeshore)

  • 2 Civic Centre Court – Adjacent to Etobicoke Community Centre (West Mall and 427)

Community centres with power will be open as usual and those without power will be closed. Similarly, Toronto Public Library branches with power will be open and those without will not.

In Ward 25, Northern District and Locke Library are open today, but Don Mills is not. For a full list of open and closed branches, please visit http://torontopubliclibrary.typepad.com/news_releases/2013/12/library-closures.html.

Residents are reminded to keep children and pets inside, avoid driving if possible and consider working from home. If you must go out, please exercise caution on the roads and sidewalks. Please also offer help to elderly neighbours or those who might need assistance. If you have power, please consider inviting friends and neighbours into your home to keep warm.

The following are some tips for dealing with a power outage:

  • Unplug or turn off all appliances to avoid possible damage when power resumes

  • Turn off water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they are in use when the power goes out

  • Leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored

  • When power has been restored, check all fuses to ensure that none have been blown, before calling Toronto Hydro

  • Plug in only the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes to give the electrical system time to stabilize before connecting everything else.

After power is restored, try to limit electricity use to help relieve potential strain on the system. Energy conservation tips include:

  • Turning off all non-essential internal and external lights

  • Limiting the use of major power-consuming equipment such as dishwashers, washers and dryers

During a power outage, food kept in the refrigerator or freezer may become unsafe to eat. The following tips can help ensure food is stored safely in the event of a power outage:

  • Keep your refrigerator door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, the refrigerator section will keep foods cool for four to six hours – if the door is kept closed.

  • Throw out perishable foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and leftovers that have been at temperatures above 4°C for more than two hours.

  • Keep your freezer door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, an upright or chest freezer that is completely full will keep food frozen for about 48 hours – if the door is kept closed. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for about 24 hours.

  • Foods that have thawed in the freezer may be refrozen if they still contain ice crystals or are at 4°C or below – evaluate each item separately.

  • If possible, add bags of ice to the refrigerator and freezer to keep temperatures cooler for a longer period

  • Discard any items in the freezer or refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices

  • If you are in doubt about whether a food item has spoiled, throw it out.

  • Contact your doctor or pharmacist for information about proper storage of medication that requires refrigeration, such as insulin

For more information about when to keep and when to throw out refrigerated foods, visit www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/pub/foodsafe/homefood.html

A number of residents have also contacted my office about tree branches. I just spoke to the Director of Urban Forestry and he advised that a debris management plan is in the works and should be communicated shortly.

For the latest updates, please check my Facebook and Twitter.

As always, please don’t hesitate with any other questions or concerns.

Best regards,
Jaye

December 22, 2013

 

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

An ice storm with freezing rain and strong winds hit Toronto and the GTA last night. As a result, many trees as well as hydro wires are down and Toronto Hydro is reporting approximately 250,000 customers are without power.

I have been speaking to Toronto Hydro representatives throughout the day and while most of Ward 25 still has power, there are many pockets throughout the ward without power. My street is unfortunately one of the few without power due to a downed power line!

Given the amount of ice on the wires and that winds expected to pick up this afternoon, Toronto Hydro is warning that outages could get worse and are asking residents to prepare for a lengthy outage.

Please stay away from downed wires and trees that might have an electrical charge. To report a power outage or downed wires, please call Toronto Hydro’s operation centre at 416-542-8000.

Toronto Hydro Crews are working 24/7 to restore power as quickly as possible. I have also been advised that Transportation Services is out in full force salting the roads.

The City’s emergency services — Fire, EMS and Police — are operating as usual. The TTC has suspended all streetcar service. Subways and surface routs are operational, but the TTC is advising residents to expect delays due to the weather conditions.

For the most up-to-date information about TTC service, please visit the TTC’s Service Alerts page at http://bit.ly/16mIJBe.

To contact the police, you should call 911 for emergencies and (416) 808-2222 for non-emergencies.

Residents are asked to stay indoors and avoid driving if possible. If it is necessary to drive, please drive slowly and carefully and keep your tank half full at all times.

Please also check on your neighbours, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable and offer help to those who might need it.

For any other storm-related problems, please call 311 or email 311@toronto.ca, available 24 hours-a-day and seven days-a week.

311 has advised the phones are working and extra staff are on shift to help. They are asking residents to be patient as they are experiencing a high call volume leading to long waits.

For the latest update, please check my Facebook and Twitter.

As always, please don’t hesitate with any other questions or concerns.

Warm regards,
Jaye

Bond Park Tennis Lights

Update – February 2014

Work to improve tennis court lighting in Bond Park is underway. I pushed hard to make sure this project was on the books for 2014 and I’m happy to see that work has begun. City staff have already determined the scope of the project and reviewed drawings with a tennis club representative. Construction is scheduled to begin September 2 and finish October 18!

November 2013

I am pleased to report that work will soon be underway to improve the tennis court lighting at Bond Park early next year!

City staff have already met with representatives from the tennis club to review the scope of the project, hired a consultant and started work on a preliminary design.

Soon, city staff will be reaching out to stakeholders with design updates and to coordinate the schedule and impact of construction.

Stay tuned for updates!

Eglinton Crosstown Update

CrosstownTunnel-e1385062126132.jpg

Photo: Eglinton Crosstown

Update – February 2014

In my last newsletter, I reported that Metrolinx awarded the second tunnelling contract to Aecon Dragados for work on the eastern section of the Crosstown between Yonge Steet and Brentcliffe Road. Construction will soon begin on a launch shaft that will provide access points for Don and Lea, the tunnel boring machines that will dig the 3.25 kilometres of twin tunnels.

The first visible phase of construction will take place on Eglinton at Brentcliffe. During the first phase, the work zone will be on Eglinton between Brentcliffe and Leslie Street. Traffic will be shifted to the north side of Eglinton between Brentclife and Leslie and reduced to one lane in each direction to allow crews to begin excavation on the south side. As part of the first phase, crews will be setting up the construction area and installing fences and barriers as well as working to widen the road, relocate utilities, street lights and some trees and build a revised sanitary sewer system.

If you have any questions about the construction process, please contact the Crosstown Community Relations team. You can reach them by phone at 416-782-8118 or send them an email via the online form here.

November 2013

Construction on the Eglinton Crosstown is well underway!

Earlier this month, Metrolinx announced it awarded the second tunneling contract to Aecon Dragados for work on the eastern portion of the line between Yonge Street and Brentcliffe Road. The company will dig approximately 3.25 kilometres of twin tunnels using two boring machines.

The boring machines, named (as is tradition) Don and Humber after the rivers, will begin work after the western boring machines, Dennis and Lea, reach Allen Road. This second phase of construction is slated to begin later this year!

Currently, Metrolinx is looking for feedback on station and stop design for both the western and eastern portions of the Crosstown. I encourage you to visit www.thecrosstown.ca to complete the online survey and sign up for email updates!

Open Letter and Motions on Mayor Ford

Many of you have written or spoken to me about the ongoing and disturbing events surrounding the Mayor and I appreciate you reaching out to me. Each day brings a new headline, a new troubling allegation followed by the same pattern of denial, deflection and belated admission.

That is why, six months ago, I took a leadership role on this issue by being the first one to speak out and ask the Mayor to step aside and address the headlines about his actions honestly, definitively and transparently.

From the beginning, two goals have guided my approach: avoiding disruption and refocusing attention on the city’s agenda, from transit to planning reform to the upcoming 2014 budget debates.

Last week, I spearheaded a petition signed by 30 City Councillors asking the Mayor to step aside and address his challenges privately, outside of the public eye. I presented the petition at the beginning of last Wednesday’s City Council meeting. My aim was to avoid more spectacle and distraction. 

Unfortunately, the Mayor refused to step out of the spotlight.

Earlier this week, City Council voted overwhelmingly to shift the Mayor’s non-statutory duties and responsibilities to the Deputy Mayor.

These measures are unprecedented but so is the situation we face. Misleading the city for months, hiring old friends with six figure city salaries to coach football, sending his staff on liquor runs and other personal errands, erratic public behaviour, failing to show up to city events, deplorable conduct in City Council, refusing to cooperate with police and, earlier today, Bloomberg reported that the Mayor’s actions have driven up Toronto’s borrowing costs – the Mayor has lost the ability to push city business and our fiscal agenda forward and City Council had to act.

The good news is that the measures passed with overwhelming support from across the city and the political spectrum. City Council is working together to shift city business back into the spotlight. It is time to put this issue behind us.

Smoke-Free Toronto

Last week City Council voted to expand Toronto’s limitation on smoking in public spaces and strengthen our approach to second-hand smoke.

The new limitations will prohibit smoking in public squares, bar and restaurant patios, public building entrances and exits as well as hospital grounds. Council also approved a smoking ban on city sports fields, public parks and beaches.

Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer of Health David McKeown recommended the expanded ban citing 60 Ontario municipalities with similar bans and widespread public support.

Port Lands Planning Study

The city and Waterfront Toronto are conducting four studies on economic development, urban design, transportation and infrastructure issues in the Port Lands and the area south of Eastern Avenue.

The first study will focus on developing a planning framework for the Port Lands, building on momentum from the Port Lands Acceleration Initiative, which I pushed forward last year at City Council and maintains Waterfront Toronto’s vision for a green, mixed-use waterfront while saving $120 million in infrastructure costs.

In fall 2012, I moved a successful motion asking city staff to explore all of the options to speed up the naturalization of the Don River, a key first step to unlocking development in the Port Lands, and I am pleased to see the initial planning steps getting underway!

A public consultation meeting is being held on Thursday, November 28 at 6 p.m. in the Riverdale Collegiate auditorium (1094 Gerrard St. E).

For more information, please visit http://www.portlandsconsultation.ca.

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/.

Development Charges

Revisions to the city’s development charge by-law came before City Council this month.

I am a long standing supporter of increased development charges to ensure that growth pays for growth. Council approved a rate increase of 71% for residential developments with a two year phase in period.

Unfortunately, the increase is 8% lower than the increase originally recommended by city staff, which I would have preferred.

During the debate, I attempted to swing Council back to the original, higher rate. I also supported a motion to immediately implement the increases – we’ve waited too long as it is. While these motions were unsuccessful, we did fend off an attempt to defer the item.

The increases to the current rates are expected to bring in $170-$250 million in additional annual revenue.

Bayview Avenue Planning Meeting

As you know, Bayview Avenue is facing significant intensification pressure. I have been meeting with senior city planning staff, including our Chief Planner, to highlight the issue and identify how we can preserve what makes Bayview and its adjacent neighbourhoods unique and livable.

I have also heard directly from many of you and very much appreciate the feedback and perspective.

Based on that feedback, I have organized a community meeting to discuss development on Bayview between Lawrence Avenue and the 401.

The meeting will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 6th at Crescent School (in the Centre for Creative Learning) at 2365 Bayview.

The meeting is an opportunity to speak directly to senior city planning staff and to think through our options and possible next steps as a community.

Please let me know if you can attend by sending me an email at Councillor_Robinson@toronto.ca or by calling my office at (416) 395-6408. Also, please do not hesitate to let me know if you would like to receive email updates as we move forward.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Planning reform updates

I ran on protecting neighbourhoods and have been crisscrossing the Ward throughout the fall attending community consultations and organizing communities.

My aim is to give neighbourhoods the strongest possible voice in the planning process, to put planning decisions in local hands.

Unfortunately, the Ontario Municipal Board more often than not blocks local decision making.

In February 2012, I voted along with City Council to ask the province to remove Toronto from the OMB’s jurisdiction. Unfortunately, this decision rests with the province and the province has not acted on the city’s request.

The good news is that we are making inroads on other planning reform issues that are within our purview.

I am eagerly awaiting a report that is expected to recommend that the city establish a local appeal board. The local appeal board would hear appeals from the Committee of Adjustment instead of the OMB – shifting power back into the city’s hands over smaller planning and zoning issues.

The report is also expected to recommend improvements to the Committee of Adjustment process that resulted from a Federation of North Toronto Ratepayers’ Association study that I helped off the ground alongside the Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee.

Queen’s Park recently announced a review of Ontario’s land use planning and appeal system. You can read more about the review here. However, the province has made it clear that it is not considering eliminating the OMB.

In that context, if you would like the province to act on City Council’s request to remove Toronto from the OMB’s jurisdiction, I encourage you to write to your local MPP – only the province can remove Toronto from the OMB and put planning decisions back into local hands.

Please let me know if you would like to receive planning reform updates by sending me an email or calling my office at (416) 395-6408.

Post City Column: Film centre celebrates 25 years

By Jaye Robinson
Post City Magazine
October 2013

With the red carpet rolled up and Toronto reflecting proudly on another successful Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the business of film continues in our city and right here in Ward 25.

You can find some of the best from the next generation of Canadian film makers, composers, screenwriters and actors learning the craft at the Canadian Film Centre (CFC), on the historic Windfields Estate donated by E. P. Taylor.

Celebrated Canadian filmmaker Norman Jewison founded the centre in 1988 with the dream of creating a Canadian version of the American Film Institute — a place for Canadian filmmakers to gather and discuss the art.

Twenty-five years later, it has become the largest institution for advanced film, television and new media training in Canada and continues to grow. Last year, the CFC launched the Slaight Family Music Lab, with support from North York’s own Gary Slaight, adding another key part of the filmmaking process to the centre.

This year three CFC feature films premiered at TIFF, dozens more created by CFC alumni screened, and one alumnus, Jonathan Sousa, was named a rising star.

There is more to the centre’s success than accolades — there is economic impact. Seventy-five per cent of CFC alumni live, work and build businesses in Ontario. A study of its economic impact found it generated $114.7 million in GDP for the Ontario economy and created 2,000 full-time jobs.

That’s why I’m happy to congratulate the Canadian Film Centre on a very successful outing at TIFF and on its 25th anniversary.

Toronto Botanical Garden Financial Sustainability

When I was at the Toronto Botanical Garden organic farmer’s market recently I had the chance to meet the impressive new executive director, Harry Jongerden.

Harry was the Garden Director at VanDusen Botanical Garden and Blodel Conservatory in Vancouver, where he saved the conservatory from closure and devised a revitalization strategy.

Harry is joining the TBG at an exciting time!

Last year, I worked with TBG staff and the City’s Budget Committee to secure one-time lump sum funding to support the TBG while it worked with city staff on a financially sustainable operating plan.

City staff recently reported on TBG’s significant progress towards sustainability, and will continue to work with the TBG to put the garden on solid financial footing.

You can also help. Please consider making a donation and help the TBG maintain its excellent programming. You can make a donation at http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/join/make-a-gift/.

Bus Shelter at 20 Sanderling Place

With Sanderling residents Nancy Halford and Ted Chrabaszcz in front of the new bus shelter at 20 Sanderling Place.

With Sanderling residents Nancy Halford and Ted Chrabaszcz in front of the new bus shelter at 20 Sanderling Place.

I am pleased to report that a bus shelter was installed significantly ahead of schedule in front of 20 Sanderling Place in Don Mills!

Residents spoke out loudly about the need for a bus shelter on my last visit, especially given the number of seniors in the area that rely on public transit.

I am glad to see it completed ahead of schedule, particularly given the numerous obstacles we had to overcome to make it happen!

Streamlining Fire and EMS

A long awaited service efficiency review of Toronto Fire Services and Emergency Medical Services  (EMS) came to City Council in July for review and discussion. The review evaluated how the two divisions deliver services and focused on recommendations for improvements.

Our aging population is putting significant pressure on EMS – demand has increased by almost 30 percent over the last 10 years and is expected to keep on rising – while the number of fires is down despite population growth. The service efficiency review came at just the right time.

The review found opportunities for collaboration and resource sharing between Fire and EMS, and I moved a successful motion asking for a report on streamlining the administrative structure of the two services by integrating them under a single city manager’s portfolio.

Scarborough Transit

Photo:  Jeff Roulston

How to replace the aging Scarborough RT was front and centre throughout the summer.

A series of plans were discussed and debated, including an LRT stretching from Kennedy to Sheppard, an underground Bloor-Danforth subway extension to Sheppard and a subway extension to Scarborough Town Centre using the existing RT alignment. Last week, the federal government announced a new funding commitment.

The debate will no doubt continue at City Council in the fall. In my mind, any and all significant decisions about transit planning should be based on sound evidence, international best practices and solid, realistic financials. We also need to act and act quickly – there have been too many delays on the transit expansion file. That is the framework that I will be using when this issue returns to City Council.

Porter Proposal to Use Jets at Billy Bishop Airport

In April, Porter Airlines announced it has conditionally ordered 12 new Bombardier jets, which can fly further than its current fleet of turboprop planes.

The use of Billy Bishop is governed by a tripartite agreement between the city, the federal government and the Port Authority. For Porter’s jet proposal to go forward, all three parties would have to agree to amend the agreement that governs airport operations, namely lifting a ban on jets and approving a runway expansion.

Many of you have written or spoken to me about Porter Airlines’ proposal to expand service at Billy Bishop Island Airport and I appreciate your thoughts and feedback!

A city staff report on the proposal – examining its economic and environmental as well as traffic and congestion impacts – is underway and expected to come before City Council in early 2014.

The city just wrapped up three public information sessions about the proposal. An additional session is expected in November and I encourage you to take part and have your say!

If you have not already, please do not forget to let me know what you think by sending me an email or by calling my office at (416) 395-6408!

Special Council Meeting — Filling Vacancy in Ward 3

On August 26, there was a special City Council meeting to decide how to fill the vacancy in Ward 3. The Council seat was vacated following the election of Doug Holyday as MPP for Etobicoke Lakeshore in a byelection.

After considering item CC38.1, Council decided to fill the vacancy by appointing a new councillor by a vote of 22-11. The new Ward 3 councillor will be selected at a special Council meeting October 10 and serve the remainder of the term of office that ends on November 30, 2014.

Nominations are now open. Anyone interested in putting their name forward for the appointment must file an application by noon on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at the City Clerk’s Office, 100 Queen St. W., 2nd Floor.

To be considered, interested individuals must complete a Declaration of Qualification and Consent of Nominee form, which will be given out at an information session on Wednesday, September 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Etobicoke Civic Centre, 399 The West Mall. They must also present identification with a City of Toronto address.

To be eligible for appointment to this office a person must be:

  • a Canadian citizen
  • at least 18 years of age
  • a resident of the City of Toronto, or own or rent property in the City of Toronto (or be the spouse of the owner or renter)
  • not legally prohibited from voting, or from holding municipal office.

For further information, contact Election Services at 416-338-1111 or visit http://www.toronto.ca/elections.

Post City Column: Sustaining our gem of a garden

By Jaye Robinson
Post City Magazine — Bayview Edition
August 2013

Summer is here and the Toronto Botanical Garden is in full bloom — what better time to come and visit the city’s only botanical garden.

The Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG) is truly a gem, and I am honoured to have it in my ward. I have been happy to work with the garden since I was first elected.

Over the years, the TBG has become much more than a garden. It’s a gathering place for the community and a living classroom and a place to learn. It offers so many great programs, from courses and camps for children to farmers’ markets and concerts.

The TBG’s budget has not kept pace with these changes, leading to increased financial pressures. The TBG needs more annual funding to maintain these excellent programs. That’s why I worked with TBG staff and the city’s budget committee to secure a one-time lump sum of new funding last year at city council.

On a longer term basis, the TBG is working with the City of Toronto: Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division on a plan to become more financially sustainable. We expect to see a report this fall.

The TBG has recently hired a new executive director, Harry Jongerden, a previous director at VanDusen Botanical Garden and Blodel Conservatory in Vancouver.

You can also help. The TBG depends on the support of individuals, corporations and foundations. The bulk of its revenues come from donations, membership fees, sponsorships and event rentals.

Consider making a donation and help the TBG maintain its programming.

You can make a donation at torontobotanicalgarden.ca.

Storm Update 2.0

JayeDonRiver-July-20-2013.jpg

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

City staff are working around the clock to evaluate damage and cleanup and restore services following Monday’s unprecedented storm.

Toronto Water has received over 3,000 basement flooding calls and staff are working as quickly as possible to get to people’s homes. Due to the high volume of calls – which continues to rise – response times are significantly longer than usual. We appreciate your patience as Toronto Water works as quickly as possible.

Earlier today, I spoke to the head of Toronto Water and identified as priorities the flooding and storm-related issues that you have brought to my attention.

In the mean time, here is a helpful guide to basement flooding with tips on what to do and when to call for professional help.

If you have flood-damaged material – carpeting, furniture, etc. – please note that there will be special garbage collection starting this Saturday, July 13 and continuing on Sunday and Monday, if necessary. Here is more information on this special garbage collection and how to dispose of damaged materials.

Finally, Toronto Hydro continues to ask customers to conserve electricity as much as possible while they work to restore full service. Hydro One is still repairing Manby Station and this has made the city’s electricity system much more vulnerable.

Please consider turning off your air conditioning or setting it at a higher temperature – 26 degrees. Turn off all non-essential lighting. Close curtains and blinds to keep out the sun and limit the use of major appliances, such as dishwashers. Find more energy-saving tips here.

Thank you again for your patience as we work to recover and cleanup from the storm. I appreciate that it has not been easy for those who were without power or suffered basement flooding.

You should also never hesitate to contact my office by phone at (416) 395-6408 or by email at Councillor_Robinson@toronto.ca for any and all assistance.

For the latest updates, please check my  Facebook page and Twitter.

Warm regards,

Jaye

Jaye Robinson
City Councillor Ward 25 – Don Valley West