Reviewing School Resource Officers – Ward 33 E-Blast June 22nd

It is now 10:15pm on Wednesday night. Last Thursday night, the Police Services Board meeting ran late into the evening and ended in an eruption of outrage and protest. The very next day I started writing an e-blast to try to explain to you, dear readers, what had happened. Every day since, I’ve started a new draft, struggling to get it right. My first draft was a chronology that started when I joined the Police Board in December of 2014 and described what state the TPSB was in when the Mayor and I walked in. The draft sounded selfish and blaming as if I thought the screaming at last week’s meeting that you saw on the news was not at all More »

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Let’s Talk Rooming Houses – Ward 33 E-Blast June 15th

Back in 2003, Ontario experienced something called ‘The Double Cohort’. This was the year that the last class of grade 13 graduates and the first class of grade 12 graduates left school simultaneously. As a result colleges and universities filled up and there was a frantic expansion of campuses, particularly those located in suburban areas. In the neighbourhoods surrounding suburban campuses like Seneca to our North, there followed a proliferation of rooming houses to accommodate the large campuses. My office began holding meetings about the problem and pressing for better enforcement. What we learned was that it is nearly impossible to properly close one down due to legal loopholes. There is now a greater number of Councillors with this challenge More »

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It’s Not A Mess . . . It’s Under Construction – Ward 33 E-Blast June 8th

Last week, Mayor Tory, held another photo op with the media to announce that for the second time this year he was pleased to announce that 2 major road projects were completed ahead of schedule. Now, I am a busy person who drives a fair bit, and all over town. I’m as happy as the next person that the new accelerated projects plan is going well for major road repairs in the core business district and roads leading to it. That part of the city that economists like to call  ‘the CBD’ is important to us all. However, there is an infrastructure mess playing out in Ward 33, for the third year in a row, that could also use some of that More »

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Shout-Out To The Ward 33 Team! – Ward 33 E-Blast June 1st

Shout-out to the Ward 33 Team! Can I brag about my wonderful Ward 33 Team? I’ve had a very busy couple of weeks. It takes a lot of prep to be ready for a police board meeting, a heavy council session agenda and the massive Consumers Next planning study going through Planning & Growth Committee. But the whole time I was engaged in these tasks, the @Ward33Team has been back and forth to the ward, planning and executing events, answering concerns and always applying a strong community and social development lens to everything they do. Take a look at what Katherine Martin has to report on a great Participatory Budgeting (PB) ribbon cutting last weekend: Fitness Park Ribbon Cutting! Two years More »

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Planning for Change – Ward 33 E-Blast May 25th

The announcement of major reforms to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), the provincial planning authority we love to hate, sort of passed without much more than a whimper from the media. Sometimes governments make changes that seem minor in the grand scheme of things and it’s only years later that we all look back and say, “That was when EVERYTHING changed.” The proposed OMB reform will likely be such a change. Toronto, perhaps more than any other Ontario city is ready for the change. The Chief Planner has been reworking the way her planners relate to the OMB ever since she came to the City. There are 2 examples right here in Ward 33; the context planning work being done prior More »

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Making a Splash in Ward 33: Your Guide to the Parkway Forest Pool

Making a splash in Ward 33  Your guide to the Parkway Forest Pool   Parkway Forest Pool is opening with part time hours as of June 24th with a grand opening on June 30th (stay tuned for details). You can access the pool during public swimming hours or register for one of the many classes. Swimming registration for classes begins June 6th. The full list schedule can be found here: Parkway Forest Pool Summer 2017 Aquatics Schedule Parkway Forest Pool Summer 2017 Aquatic Schedule  Change Rooms There are three changing rooms – male, female and universal.  Male and female have one accessible shower, changing stall and washroom. There are two additional showers and two additional washrooms in the male and female changing More »

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When’s The Last Time You Drove Down King Street? – Ward 33 E-Blast May 18th

Before we discuss the King Street Pilot Project that you are hearing so much about on the radio, I must insist that we first set the scene. Ask yourself the following questions and write down the answers, honestly, on a small piece of paper: 1) When was the last time you drove along King Street between Jarvis and Bathurst Streets? 2) How many times in the last week, month and year? 3) When you do, what distance do you travel along this stretch: 1 or 2 blocks, 3 blocks, the whole stretch between Jarvis and Bathurst? In Toronto when a major transportation decision must be made, city staff make two big mistakes. First, is limiting outreach to the local surrounding community More »

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Can we talk about climate change yet? – Ward 33 E-Blast May 11th

Can we talk about climate change yet? Last Friday morning, I sped down the DVP at 7am in an all-fired hurry to get across town to Mimico for Police Board business at the Police College. As I drove the radio was announcing that rising waters might cause the shutdown of the highway by 3pm that afternoon. I looked through the pouring rain at the Don River beside me and could see it was nearing the guard rail. I was terrified at what the rest of the day might have in store for us. Today the river is still at an extremely high level and Lake Ontario is rising. We learned this morning that it is still too dangerous further down More »

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What’s Coming Next For Ward 33 – Ward 33 E-Blast May 4th

If you follow the news, you may have noticed that I have been announced as a candidate in the 2018 Provincial election. This Ward 33 weekly e-blast is not the place to discuss it. This is your city issues space. But it is fair to ask the question, “What about Ward 33?” The answer is Ward 33 has a very busy spring and summer ahead. There will be the usual number of warm weather events and then some, as we have a number of project completions to celebrate this year. It all starts on May 13th at the Oriole Community Centre Re-opening and Summer Celebration. You are invited to tour the renovated centre, sample recreation programming and join us for a More »

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Finding a home for Ontario’s rent and housing reform – Ward 33 E-Blast April 27th

A few years ago, I spent some time with my wonderful sister-in-law and her husband in Vancouver. They know my municipal interests and always spend some time sharing Vancouver municipal issues with me. While we were eating at my brother-in-law’s favourite sushi place in Yaletown, he pointed across the street to a brand new condo. “Look up,” he said, “count the empty units. Speculators don’t even bother to rent them out.” The following year, I was back in town on business and spent an extra day with my sister-in-law. She drove me down to lovely Point Grey to show me the site of the waterfront trail issue that was erupting in Vancouver Council at the time. As we drove, she More »

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