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E-BLAST: Anatomy of a City Council Meeting

June 16, 2022


If you turn on Newstalk1010 or CP24 during the 2 days each month when City Council meets, you might come away with the impression that City Council seems to disagree on a lot. The truth is, on average, City Council deals with between 150-300 different items over 14 hours of proceedings spread between two days. The overwhelming majority of these items are passed unanimously. How does this happen?


On the first day of Council, Speaker Nunziata walks Council through each section of the agenda, taking “holds” (items on which Councillor wishes to ask questions of City staff or debate). At the end, Council votes to adopt all items not held by a Councillor. In this month’s meeting, this reduced the number of items before Council from 180 to just about 50.


You might ask, “How could Council possibly deal with so many important items so quickly?”. The answer: much of the work on these items is done during the month leading up to Council. Most items go before a Committee, where members of the public come and speak directly to members of Council and then Councillors debate in-depth on how to address those issues. Following that, individual Councillors have countless briefings, meetings, and phone calls with stakeholders, staff, residents, and Councillor colleagues to receive and share information, draft motions for Council, and rally support. Sometimes this work even spills over on to Council days.

That’s how Council was able to deal with over 30 additional items on day one of Council this month.


Members Motions are the second largest chunk that are dealt with on the second day of Council. It is a tool that can be used to bypass the usual committee process, if the item is deemed urgent by Council. Many of these are technical in nature, such as allocating community benefit funds or accepting funds from other levels of government. Some are more substantive and lead to debates on their own.


Overall, Council will give serious debate to about a dozen or so major items over two days before making decisions. And only one or two of those will end up making the evening news.

 

SO WHAT DID WE COVER THIS MONTH?:

  • Approved over 900 units of affordable housing through the City’s Open Door program

  • Advanced planning on the Waterfront East LRT and Eglinton East LRT in Scarborough

  • Approved dozens of road closures and construction mitigation measures to accommodate the Province’s Subway program being delivered by Metrolinx

  • Requested the Province share more information about the planning and process for the Sheppard Subway extension (something I have repeatedly moved motions on at the TTC Board and at Council, in addition to running a campaign on)

  • Provided City staff authorization to proceed with the Province’s new Blue Box Program

  • Supported my direction to the City Manager to enhance accountability of City staff by ensuring that when you call 311, City staff can’t close the ticket without a clear and verifiable resolution to the matter; no more closing tickets without solving your problem

  • Re-allocated millions of dollars of community benefit funding from around the city to park enhancements, public realm improvements, and affordable housing, including a project in collaboration with our Indigenous community

  • Made amendments to our Official Plan to strengthen provisions around the role of the environment and climate change mitigation into how we grow as a City

  • Directed staff to improve access to public washrooms, water fountains, and properly maintained park space earlier in the year

  • Improving access to pickle ball, an increasingly popular racquet sport, particularly for our seniors

  • Converted our Rent Bank loan program into a grant program, providing stronger short-term assistance to those struggling to afford rent and preventing them from sliding into homelessness

  • Taking steps to protect the ability of tenants to open their windows during the summer

 


 

UPDATE ON 401/LESLIE SIGN:

After receiving hundreds of communications from you, our local community, outlining our concerns about the third party sign being proposed at the 401 and Leslie, Council agreed to defer all sign matters until next month so that they can be properly briefed by City staff and better understand how inappropriate this sign is for our community. I thank everyone who has written in and will keep you all posted on next steps as this comes back to the July Council meeting.


 

Planning & Development Updates

Upcoming Community Meetings

23-29 Greenbriar Road

Monday, June 20 @ 6:30 PM

This application proposes the redevelopment of the site with a 10-storey residential building with a total of 169 dwelling units, 22 of which are purpose-built rentals.


Please register here and you will receive further instructions by email. You can join each meeting online (via WebEx) or call in by phone.


Pleasant View Library Consultation

Wednesday, June 22 @ 6:30 PM

There are exciting changes coming to Pleasant View Library, including a new Digital Innovation Hub and a substantial renovation. Join our office, Library staff, and the project architects to learn more about the project and ask your questions of staff.


Visit the library or email pvstaff@tpl.ca to receive a WebEx invitation to participate.



 


Meet Sabrina Wong, our Don Valley Northerner of the Week! Sabrina is the Youth Representative on the Henry Farm Community Interest Association (HFCIA) and the Co-Chair of the Don Valley North Youth Council. Sabrina's involvement shows her deep dedication to her community and her desire to help youth get more involved in our city. Thank you, Sabrina, for everything you do.








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 nominatingto councillor_carroll@toronto.ca. My team will contact you if we select your nominee as Don Valley Northerner of the Week!

 






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