Council Highlights is a summary of a selection of decisions that Toronto City Council made at its recent business meeting. The City Clerk’s formal documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Integrating public transit fares
Council agreed to ask Metrolinx and the Toronto Transit Commission to accelerate their plans for full and affordable fare integration, including a single fare for rides in Toronto. In addition, Council adopted a motion asking for a report proposing a governance model for Metrolinx that ensures a transparent, formal decision-making process for regional transit decisions such as fare integration.
Bike lanes on Bloor Street
Council approved maintaining the eastbound and westbound cycle tracks (separated bike lanes) on Bloor Street West between Shaw Street and Avenue Road as a permanent installation following a pilot project. The intention is to improve safety for all road users while minimizing the impact on businesses and curbside operations. Council’s adoption of the agenda item includes directions to staff, such as making refinements to the cycle track’s design.
Parks and recreation facilities
Council adopted a master plan for the City’s parks and recreation facilities to guide decision-making and investment over the next 20 years. Adoption of the report included Council’s support for several amending motions, and staff were asked to prepare an implementation strategy for the plan. The master plan aims to ensure that the provision of parks and recreation facilities is maintained consistently and is optimally distributed across the city.
Child care in Toronto
Council adopted a series of recommendations supporting child care. The recommendations include making agreements with non-profit and public-sector partners to fund the retrofit, expansion or development of child-care spaces that are not in schools. The City’s 10-year vision for the licensed child-care system for children under age four aims to add 30,000 new spaces by 2026 and to increase affordability while ensuring that the system is staffed by a thriving workforce.
Pilot project for electric vehicles
Council authorized a one-year pilot project for residential on-street charging stations for electric vehicles at two locations in each of Wards 19, 30 and 32 as well as at a location near Toronto Hydro’s facilities on Commissioners Street. Users of the charging stations will pay a fee for the service.
Refugees in Toronto
Recommendations to support the City’s management of the arrival of refugees in Toronto received Council’s approval. In addition to immediate measures to address an increase in the number of people arriving in Toronto and making a refugee claim, which affects the emergency shelter system, the recommendations include requests for support from, and collaboration with, the federal and provincial governments.
Implementing the Home for Good program
Council approved the allocation of funding for Toronto’s implementation of the Ontario government’s Home for Good program. The Toronto allocation of about $90 million over three years will help the City assist up to 2,000 people in need of housing. Implementation will help vulnerable people who are homeless secure and maintain housing as the first step to achieving an improved quality of life.
Proposal for a legacy structure
Council voted in support of having staff work with the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre on the feasibility of establishing a legacy structure honouring Indian residential school survivors. The site proposed is south of the Peace Garden on the west side of Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall. The structure/site design is to be consistent with overall design considerations for Nathan Phillips Square.
Implementing police force transformation
Council provided direction on the Toronto Police Service’s implementation of the Transformational Task Force’s recommendations. Some of the changes will affect the provision of services such as the beaches lifeguard program and, effective in mid-2019, delivery of the school crossing-guard program. Council agreed to include a request about ensuring the police force has the resources needed to adequately enforce the Highway Traffic Act in Toronto neighbourhoods.
GO station at Park Lawn
Council agreed to ask staff to work with Metrolinx to make the establishment of a GO station at Park Lawn a priority as part of the Lakeshore West GO rail corridor, supporting potential development in the Park Lawn area of south Etobicoke. The Humber Bay Shores community is in that area. Metrolinx has not included a Park Lawn station in its 10-year shortlist of stations identified for expansion.
Licensing of body-rub parlours
Council decided to call for a detailed review of current bylaws governing the licensing of body-rub parlours and holistic centres, and to report on creating criteria for issuing licences for body-rub parlours in holistic centres where zoning permits. The report is also to address licence enforcement. Council’s action on this matter follows a recent audit of holistic centres in the context of the City’s licensing activities for the purposes of public health and safety, consumer protection and nuisance control.
Accessibility ramps on sidewalks
Council adopted recommendations for the City to look into possibly creating a grant program that would help local business owners retrofit the entrances of their private properties to improve accessibility. Many businesses are using small wooden ramps of various dimensions to connect their business entrance/exit with the public sidewalk/right-of-way, providing wheelchair access.
Internships for Muslim youth
Council authorized arrangements for 13 councillor’s aide positions in Toronto councillor offices on a part-time basis for 12 weeks to support the Muslim Youth Fellowship internship program. Placements are scheduled to start in January. The fellowship was created to increase participation in civic engagement among Muslim youth in Toronto.
Building code and greenhouse gas emissions
Council adopted recommendations to encourage an emphasis on green standards in the Ontario government’s current review/updating of the Ontario Building Code. The code is a tool that can assist with reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Toronto’s building sector. The City’s input consists of comments on proposed code amendments supporting efforts to mitigate the effects of extreme weather connected with climate change.
Toronto a nuclear-weapons-free zone
Council voted in support of a motion to reaffirm that Toronto is a nuclear-weapons-free zone as well as to ask the Board of Health to hold public hearings on the dangers of nuclear weapons and radiation fallout. An earlier Toronto Council designated Toronto a nuclear-weapons-free zone in 1983 and approved building a Peace Garden on Nathan Phillips Square as a symbol for peace and the ongoing struggle to avoid the devastation of war.
Special meeting on November 2: Appointment to fill Ward 28 vacancy [editor’s note: that’s us!]
At a special one-day City Council meeting held on November 2, Council heard candidates’ presentations in their bids to replace the late Pam McConnell as the councillor representing Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale. Council voted to appoint Lucy Troisi as Ward 28 councillor for the remainder of the current four-year term of City Council, which ends November 30, 2018.