You can find some highlights from the last meeting of City Council and a listing of some upcoming meetings and events.
Please note there is a lot going on this summer from great local events to many consultations. The list below is just highlights – as well, there are changes from time to time. You can always find out about other meetings, more details and updates on my website – maryfragedakis.com.
As well, if you have any concerns about City services, you can contact me at 416-392-4032 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Gardiner East
Last year, a staff report recommended replacing the Gardiner East with a boulevard but that report was sent back to staff so they could review a possible Hybrid Option. This year a revised staff report advised that the Hybrid was not possible due to both safety concerns and space needed for critical infrastructure.
This time, Council discussed two choices. One was the Boulevard Option originally recommended by City staff. The second plan – also called the Hybrid – did not free anywhere nearly as much land as the hybrid proposed last year. Another key problem with the new plan – some call it Keep-most-of-it-with-extra-ramps – has ramps that would go through a planned development which could result in a lawsuit costing the City more money and delaying the project for years.
The Boulevard Option would cost less and provide a lot more revenue for the City. An independent firm rated the Boulevard’s job creation potential 4 times higher than the new Keep-most-of-it-with-extra-ramps Option.
The staff report also detailed many other ways we could reduce road congestion in Toronto. Besides investing in transit, we have a Congestion Management Plan that contains ideas that have been proven to work either in pilot projects here or in projects in other cities like Houston or Dallas. The money saved by going with the Boulevard would likely relieve more congestion across the city by investing in congestion solutions across the city.
Many felt the seeming contradictions in the report needed to be clarified. I wanted to get a better assessment of the potential of our Congestion Management Plan. I voted for deferral and when that failed went with the Boulevard Option. Ward 29 residents who contacted me about this were 3 to 1 in favour of the Boulevard. All the City’s previous Chief Planners, many community leaders – including former Toronto Mayor David Crombie & former Leaside politician John Parker – also came out in favour of the Boulevard.
Many cities have boulevards like the one proposed – see this website for more info. Chicago has one that connects two freeways much like the one proposed. Cities like San Francisco have replaced elevated expressways with boulevards and it has worked out every well. The land in question is very valuable and has incredible economic potential.
Council approved the new plan but also asked staff to look again at the old Hybrid Option, tunnelling and revisions to the new plan. So there is still information required and many outstanding issues. Once a final decision is made it would be sent to the provincial government to review as part of the Environmental Assessment process.
Council approved a streamlined approach to funding licensed child-care service providers in Toronto. The provincial government changed the way it funds child care. As a result the City had an extensive consultation with stakeholders. The City’s new model involves a general operating grant for service providers.
Services during Cold Weather in Toronto
I am pleased Council has asked staff to look into improving cold weather drop-in services. Like most Torontonians, I was deeply disturbed by the tragic deaths last winter during a cold snap. I believe in general we need to be better prepared to deal with cold snaps, storms and heat waves.
Bees and Monarch Butterflies
Pollinators like bees and butterflies are a critical part of our ecosystem. Council requested a report on ways the City can help motivate landowners to take steps to protect and foster natural habitats that will sustain and renew the populations of Monarch butterflies and bees.
Council also approved my motion to include a review of an Edmonton project on backyard bee-keeping as a possible model for Toronto.
Environmental Policies in Official Plan
We cannot leave future generations with an insurmountable environmental debt.
Thankfully, Council agreed to take the next step in improving environmental policies in Toronto’s Official Plan. This will involve public consultation. Our goal is to improve our ability to meet the challenges presented by climate change and strengthen existing policies on topics such as energy conservation, biodiversity and environmentally significant areas.
Bicycle Lanes and Cycle Tracks
Council approved new bike lanes. Bike lanes were designated for specified sections of Cherry Street, Fort York Boulevard, Finch Avenue West, Finch Avenue East and Royal York Road. A raised cycle track south of Front Street on Sherbourne was also approved. Better cycling infrastructure both makes it safer for cyclists and eases congestion on our roads.
Council directed the City Manager to report back on issues raised in a recent union-produced report that raises concerns about morale in Toronto Paramedic Services. About 1,200 unionized workers, including paramedics, work in Toronto Paramedic Services.
Road Safety Plan
Sadly, 51 Torontonians were killed and many more were seriously injured in traffic crashes last year. We need to make our roads safer.
Probably the biggest concern residents raise with me is about road safety. We continue to take steps to review that and have staff analzye further options for making our roads safer for all.
Strengthening Toronto’s Food & Beverage Industry
Last term Council approved motions of mine regarding a culinary food trail and a food industry business incubator. Both of these projects are moving along nicely.
What has become clear from those two projects is that we need a marketing and branding strategy to promote Toronto as an international food and beverage destination for tourists and food businesses. This plan will help Toronto’s $17 billion a year food and beverage industry to grow. Council passed my motion to move forward on this initative.
Toronto & East York Community Council – Lowering Speed Limit to 30 km/h on Local Roads
On June 22nd, Toronto & East York Community Council voted unanimously to reduce the speed limit from 40 km/h to 30 km/h on all local roads within the confines of the Toronto and East York Community Council area.
Over the last few years, many residents have contacted me with their concerns about road safety and speeding issues. The Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health has advocated for lower speed limits – you can find his latest report on the matter here. In the 2012 Toronto’s Public Health Department released a report that pointed out that lower speed limits would have further health benefits because people would walk and cycle more.
You can find out more about road classifications and which roads will be impacted by this on the City’s website.
After School Recreation Care Program
City staff have agreed to my request to offer an after school recreation care program in Ward 29. It will be at the East York Community Centre this September.
Registration for this started on June 8th. You can find out more on my website.
You May Be Eligible for a Free Tree
To learn more about requesting a free front yard tree from the City or about getting a subsidized backyard tree through LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests), please visit my website – maryfragedakis.com/trees
Eco-Arts Festival at Todmorden Mills
No.9’s Eco-Art-Fest is a summer-long outdoor art festival (June to September) at Todmorden Mills in Toronto’s Don Valley ravine. This is a free festival intended for all ages. Offerings at the site include 6 public art installations, guided art tours, No.9’s Eco-Garden serving beer and organic food, and art workshops for families and all ages.
For more information visit their website.
Canada Day Parade and Festival
Come join the festivites – the parade starts at 10 am and the festival goes from 11 am to 11 pm at Stan Wadlow Park – for details visit www.julyfirstparade.com/
Please note they need volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, email Shannon at email@example.com
The Mosaic Does Jazz
Jazz in the park and other activities hosted by the Danforth Mosaic BIA on Wednesdays from 5 – 8 pm going from July 1 to Sept 2 at the Coxwell Parkette.
PanAm Games Torch Relay & Lighting of Luminous Veil!
The community celebration at the Prince Edward Viaduct is free, accessible and family-oriented includes:
- Music and atmospheric performances
- Sports activities for all ages
- Food trucks
- Sponsor activations
- The arrival of the Pan Am flame and lighting of the community cauldron
- Surprise musical guest!
Please join me and our neighbours:
- Saturday, July 4
- 5 to 11 p.m.
- Bloor Viaduct
Thrill of the Grill
- July 4
- 6:30 to 10:30 pm
- on the Bloor Viaduct Bridge
Please see the Danforth BIA website for more information and tickets
Taste of the Danforth
East York Farmers Market
- May 12 – October 27
- 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- East York Civic Centre, 850 Coxwell Avenue
Evergreen Brick Works Farmers Market