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Council Highlights: Planning Changes, Affordable Housing, and ConnectTO

We’re in the midst of another busy Council session. Read on to learn more about some of the major items we considered and what they mean for us here in Don Valley North.


We are making progress on improving reliable internet access in the communities that need it most. These days, high-speed internet access is essential in our lives, but the major telecommunications companies are reluctant to bring high-speed internet to lower income neighbourhoods where residents can’t afford their services. This limits access to education and employment opportunities, commerce, government services, and much more. ConnectTO is our program to provide equitable access to broadband. We are behind most of the GTHA municipalities in creating a Municipal Broadband Network, or MBN, but Council adopted a report that directs staff to press on and work with other orders of government to fully realize this important program.


These items are both in response to two Provincial Bills that have massive impacts on how developers operate in our city. The first, Bill 108, will change our planning procedures with respect to development charges, parkland dedication funds, and the abolition of Section 37 funds. The Mayor’s Executive Committee will discuss these changes in-depth later this month because they have serious financial impacts on the City’s ability to make sure our infrastructure keeps pace with growth.

Our Chief Planner, Gregg Lintern, submitted a report to Council outlining possible negative impacts from another piece of Provincial legislation, Bill 109. This is called the More Homes for Every Act, but has been nicknamed the No Rules for Applicants Act on social media. These two Bills are of major significance to Don Valley North, so I will be dedicating next week’s E-Blast to them entirely. In the meantime, when Provincial candidates come to your door, tell them that you expect the Provincial government to make sure that developers pay for the impact they have on communities. We need housing, but we also need to make sure our neighbourhoods are liveable and properly serviced.


Council moved forward with the creation of a new special corporation to manage Toronto’s low-income seniors housing. Many don’t know that the City operates 83 buildings that offer subsidized apartments for seniors who can live independently with minor supports. The needs in these buildings are quite different than in our Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) family complexes. Our new Toronto Seniors Housing Corporation (TSHC) will be better equipped to make sure these buildings best served residents’ needs.


The Mayor and City Council unanimously approved a three-storey building that will see approximately 64 units of housing created for those exiting homelessness by the end of 2021. This modular housing building is nestled in front of a TCHC apartment building, and next to a City-run long term care home. A local non-profit housing provider will manage the building and provide support services to tenants under an agreement with the City.

A rendering of the modular housing initiative at 175 Cummer Avenue.

In the past, the Province has passed Ministerial Zoning Orders so that these small supportive buildings pass quickly to alleviate our homelessness crisis. However, this building went through the normal zoning process to accommodate the neighbouring community’s wishes. In the event that the local community files an appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT), Council has requested that the Tribunal expedite the scheduling of the first hearing.


Our City’s Chief Financial Officer informed Council that we still haven’t received the 2022 COVID Relief Funding we requested from both higher orders of government. A large volume of capital work is being put on hold in case the funds don’t arrive. We know that deferring capital work is never a good idea as it really piles up. For example, it took the City ten full years to complete the capital work that was delayed to fund Mayor Lastman’s three years of 0% tax increases. I’m going to check in with City staff to see which projects may be delayed here in Don Valley North and will keep you informed as the year progresses.


Council received its annual report from the Toronto Ombudsman, the office where you can go if you want to dispute the way the City handled an issue or complaint. This year, the report notes a trend: most issues could have been resolved by existing policy, but the policy was not well-known by the community or City staff, leading it to be inconsistently applied. I take this as my marching order to push for improvements and make sure that all of our policies are applied fairly across our city.


Before Council started, a news story broke that wasn’t on our agenda: the hiring of private security firms to prevent encampments in downtown parks. I was very torn on how to vote on this motion to delay their hiring. The six parks aren’t in Don Valley North, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t affected.

I spent a long time talking to Councillor Bailao, who was involved in piloting a healthier approach to encampments in Dufferin Grove Park. There, security guards are well-trained to sensitively monitor the camps and protect both campers and Streets to Homes staff while they work out proper housing plans. During the pilot, staff were able to re-house 25 campers and credit the guards with making that outcome possible. The violent encampment teardown we witnessed last year cannot ever happen again. Councillor Bailao and the City Manager assured me that will not be the approach taken in these six parks. Proper housing is the goal of this program, so I voted against any delay.


Member Motions

Below, I’ve provided a quick rundown on some of the other notable Member Motions from this Council session:

  1. Protecting Community Input in the Planning Process This motion asks the Provincial Government to require any applicant that appeals to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) to host a community consultation with City Planning and the local Councillor in advance of the first OLT Case Management Conference. This ensures residents understand the OLT process and see if they wish to participate in the proceedings.

  2. Actions to Prevent Auto Theft This motion asks the Federal & Provincial Governments to work with the automotive and insurance industries to take additional measures to prevent auto thefts, which are an increasing problem in our neighbourhoods.

  3. Endorsing Bill 60, the Safe and Healthy Communities Act (Addressing Gun Violence) City Council is voting to endorse this Provincial Bill, which will see hospital- and community-based violence intervention programs covered under the Health Insurance Act and require that Boards of Health have programs and services for reducing gun violence in their communities.

  4. Support for Bill C-233, “Keira’s Law” Councillor Fletcher and I moved this motion to endorse a Federal Bill that will strengthen the measures in our Criminal Code to better protect women and children from domestic violence.

  5. Request for Exemptions for Canada Day Celebrations at Mel Lastman Square To end on a lighter note, Councillor Filion and I moved this motion to prepare for some exciting Canada Day celebrations at Mel Lastman Square. I hope you and the whole family will be able to make it out to enjoy the fireworks!


Pleasant View/Brian Village PB Results!

I want to thank each and every person who came out on Saturday to vote in our Pleasant View/Brian Village Participatory Budgeting (PB) process. My team has counted the ballots and I'm happy to announce that the winning projects are:

  1. Revitalize Clydesdale Playground (54 votes)

  2. Pollinator Gardens in Two Local Parks (28 votes)

  3. Sheppard Ave Boulevard Improvements (26 votes)

  4. Install Cabana & Benches in Muirhead Park (18 votes)

The ones which were not successful are:

  • Turn 3-on-3 Basketball Court into 5-on-5 in Van Horne Park (17 votes)

  • Paint Mural Outside Pleasantview Community Centre (2 votes)

We will be working with Parks staff to get these projects implemented as soon as possible and look forward to updating you on their progress. Again, thank you for your participation and all your ideas and feedback.


Planning & Development Updates

Upcoming Community Meetings

City Planning staff will be hosting a number of virtual community meetings in the coming weeks to hear from residents about development applications in/around the ward and the Official Plan Review. You can join each meeting online (via WebEx) or call in by phone.

2135 Sheppard Avenue East (Building C)

Wednesday, May 18 @ 6:30 PM

This application proposes a 12-storey mixed-use building with 277 residential units, commercial space, and a daycare facility on the ground floor. The developer previously received Ontario Municipal Board approval for a 4-storey commercial building on this site as part of a 2014 decision on the larger mixed-use site.

Please register here and you will receive further instructions by email.

22-36 Greenbriar Road

Wednesday, May 25 @ 6:30 PM

This application proposes the redevelopment of the eight existing 2-storey semi-detached dwellings with a new 24-storey residential building containing 351 dwelling units.

Please register here and you will receive further instructions by email.

Official Plan Review – North York Town Hall

Monday, May 30 @ 6:00 PM

The City of Toronto is updating the Official Plan for Toronto 2051. The Official Plan is a City Planning document that acts as Toronto’s road map for land use and development. It sets out a long-term vision, shared values, and policies that help guide decision-making on land development, economic growth, the environment, and more.

Please register here and you will receive further instructions by email.

Save the Date: 500 Sheppard Avenue East

Monday, June 6

This application proposes the redevelopment of the site with a 35- and 39-storey mixed use building with a total of 928 dwelling units. We will be sure to share registration information once available from City Planning.

As always, our office will keep you informed and involved after the initial community consultation on each application.


Upcoming Vaccine Clinics in Don Valley North

Oriole Community Centre (2975 Don Mills Rd. W.) &

Parkway Forest Community Centre (55 Forest Manor Rd.)

North York General Hospital is running two walk-in vaccine clinics in our area in May and June:

  • Oriole Community Centre every Wednesday (12:00 - 3:00 PM) and Thursday (4:00 - 7:30 PM)

  • Parkway Forest Community Centre every Wednesday (4:00 - 7:30 PM)

First, second, third, and fourth doses are available for those eligible. For more information, visit the link below:


Meet Mahitab Adham and Amy Brown-Coleman, our Don Valley Northerners of the Week! Mahitab and Amy are both members of the Kingslake PS Traffic, Parking, & Safe Arrival Committee and the School Council, where they work hard to make sure that students and families from every part of the neighbourhood can travel to school safely. They are always working to share information with other parents to make sure the school community feels connected. Thank you, Mahitab and Amy, for all of the work you do for the neighbourhood!

Nominate a Neighbour! Do you know someone in your neighbourhood who makes a difference? Nominate them for Don Valley Northerner of the Week! To submit a nomination, please send a short blurb (~100 words) about the person you are nominating to My team will contact you if we select your nominee as Don Valley Northerner of the Week!


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