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Working Together for Community Safety

On a sunny afternoon this week, I enjoyed a two hour neighbourhood walkabout with some Don Valley Northerners. A few residents of 53-71 Godstone Road had come to one of my Park Pop-Ups late in the summer to share safety concerns about their townhouse complex. After a few incidents of nighttime crime, residents of this complex wanted advice on how to make their neighbourhood safer. My team and I immediately got to work with Toronto Police Services to set up a Community Safety Audit for this group. On Tuesday, a few members of my team and I joined three of our local community police officers and the complex’s residents to audit their townhome neighbourhood for safety and crime prevention measures. I love these safety audits because they get a clear message across: We all have a role to play in community safety, and we can make our neighbourhoods safest by working together.

As we walked around the townhouse complex, our community officers were able to point out areas that could benefit from some enhanced safety measures. I’m sure some of you have been invited to a neighbourhood association meeting where a local officer gives tips on keeping your home safe. Their advice tends to be quite standard for single-family homes. When it comes to multi-residential settings like townhomes and apartment complexes, a site walkabout helps the officers spot unique safety challenges depending on how a complex was built. The benefit of doing these walkabouts as a group is that safety enhancements can be addressed no matter who is responsible for them. Every stakeholder is there—my team on behalf of the City, Toronto Police, property management, and local residents. Each of us can contribute to community safety. During this community safety audit, for example, residents showed us that they have locked entrances to their underground garage throughout the grounds of their complex. This is already a great measure to enhance safety, but we learned that the doors are being propped open with a rock or a brick at certain times of day. The property management is going to flag this issue with their groundskeeper to make sure any bricks or stones are removed regularly. Residents are also going to keep an eye out for this and close the door if they notice it’s been left open. There’s no large cost associated with this crime prevention measure, just a bit of neighbourhood awareness needed.

Another suggested safety improvement involved my team working with the city to improve nighttime visibility. This complex backs onto a city park, and residents let us know that the park lighting has become quite dim. This has made the park and side entrance of their complex feel less safe. We’re going to work to get this lighting situation addressed ASAP. I also plan to follow up with senior staff on park lighting across the city. If our new LED lighting casts less light over time, I can request a system-wide review at committee to see if the City needs to find a new solution for our parks. This safety audit was for a specific group of residents, but some of the findings will make the wider neighbourhood, and even the whole city, safer as a result. Our community officers from Division 33 were excellent at pointing out other safety improvements that can be made. Some are short-term measures, like replacing older bulbs and installing extra lighting at key locations. Others would be larger, long-term projects such as enhancing some of the interior green spaces to make it more inviting for residents and less inviting for crime. The most important piece of advice the officers had to share costs zero dollars and can start right now: Report all criminal activity to Toronto Police. When something isn’t an immediate emergency, some of us think it’s not worth calling in. It’s important to remember that only reported crime makes it into the statistics that help the Police Chief figure out how many officers each division needs week-to-week. If your car is broken into, don’t just call the garage to see how soon you can have it fixed. Call the Toronto Police Services non-emergency line at 416-808-2222 and let them know it happened. You can even report it online through their Citizen Online Report Entry (CORE). Many of the townhome residents that joined our safety walk weren’t aware of this non-emergency line. They are now, and they will be more inclined to keep their local police officers engaged in their neighbourhood moving forward.

I know that different neighbourhoods experience their own challenges when it comes to community safety. The most important thing to remember, whatever your concern, is that we can make our neighbourhoods safest by working together. Don’t hesitate to reach out to my office or local police to share your concerns and seek advice. Chat with neighbours to see if there are steps your community can take together to improve safety. Some things may be as small as alternating the lights you leave on, or cleaning up a communal garbage area. These things may seem small, but they add up to neighbourhoods that look safe and cared for. By getting everyone involved in the conversation, we can make our communities safer for all.

 

Planning & Growth Update RapidTO On Monday, October 18, 2021, City staff held a North York-specific consultation for their RapidTO strategy. The strategy is being developed to find new ways of improving transit in the city. The first round of consultations is intended to ask residents what transit-related improvements would be most valuable for their community and for commuting. Due to a recent update to the WebEx software, a technical issue prevented several people from joining the meeting this past Monday. Since we feel that the residents of North York were not adequately consulted, Shelley has asked City staff to offer a second session—which they have agreed to do. The details of this consultation will be shared with all registrants when it is available. If you would like to be notified of the second session, please contact me at Scott.Prada-Simons@Toronto.ca or (416) 338-2665. For those that were able to attend, there appeared to be a misunderstanding that the meeting was about whether to install a dedicated bus lane along Bayview Avenue. While bus lanes are one of many options that staff may consider studying for other major corridors, no dedicated bus lane was being proposed or will be proposed for Bayview Ave. Other improvements include signal and intersection optimization, and enhancements to the quality of travel such as bus shelters, lighting, and seating. Tyndale Green On Tuesday, October 19, 2021, City staff held the city-wide Tyndale Green (3377 Bayview Avenue East) Community Consultation Meeting. The meeting was very-well attended—so much so that the room capacity was reached, once again preventing many from joining. We understand and share the frustrations that this has caused people, and we will continue to work with residents and city staff to ensure the public is properly consulted on this important project, including looking at the potential of a second Community Consultation Meeting. This was the first step in the application process—there is still plenty more work to be done. Shelley has asked city staff to assemble a Community Working Group for this proposal who will offer additional input to our office, City staff, and the developer, throughout the application process. More details of what the working group will look like and what their mandate will be are still being considered. We will update you when City staff begin to look for members of the working group. In the meantime, if you have a smaller group that would like to discuss this application, even a kitchen table size, we are more than happy to arrange a time to meet.

 

If you have questions about any of the above, please contact me at Scott.Prada-Simons@Toronto.ca or (416) 338-2665.

 

Parkway Forest Vaccine Clinic Anishnawbe Health Toronto, Women's College Hospital, and Toronto Public Health are hosting a COVID-19 pop-up vaccination clinic at Parkway Forest Community Centre (55 Forest Manor Road) on Tuesday, November 2 from 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM. The clinic is open to everyone age 12 and older, with approved vaccines available.

Vaccine Passports Proof of vaccination is now in effect for select non-essential settings in Ontario. If you need to print or download your proof of immunization, you can do so by visiting covid19.ontariohealth.ca or calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900. For more information on the vaccine passport, visit the link below:

 


Shelley Carroll

Councillor for Don Valley North

416-338-2650

100 Queen St. W, Suite A3


 

Community Events & Notices

Survey: Ruddington Park Playground Enhancements

The City of Toronto is improving Ruddington Park by updating the playground, installing new seating, a shade structure, fitness and Tai Chi equipment. We need your help to design these improvements. The survey deadline has been extended to Monday, November 1 to give more community members the chance to participate. Complete the survey by clicking the link below:

 

Waste Reduction Week This year marks the 20th anniversary of Waste Reduction Week in Canada, which is held every October to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable consumption, and a reminder of the many ways we can reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. The City and its Community Reduce & Reuse Program partners will host online events, workshops and webinars open to all residents during the week of October 18-24. A full list of events and registration is available at the link below:

 

Community Environment Days

Do your part to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Drop off items for reuse, recycling and safe disposal at Community Environment Days. The City of Toronto is hosting weekly events at Drop-Off Depots on Sundays until October 31. At the events, you will be to drive to different stations to drop off unwanted items for donation and to dispose of batteries, old paint and other household hazardous waste. Free bagged compost will be available with a limit of two bags per vehicle while supplies last. I also wanted to remind everyone that you are able to drop off household hazardous waste at the City's drop-off depots on days other than Community Environment Days. Check out the City's handy map of all drop-off depot locations and hours for more information. A list of event dates and more information about Community Environment Days is available at the link below:

 

Toronto HomeShare

Canada HomeShare is a non-profit intergenerational housing initiative that matches older adult home providers with students to live together in a co-housing arrangement. In exchange for affordable ($400-$600 per month) and safe housing close to campus, students contribute up to seven hours per week of assistance around the home and/or companionship for their home provider.


Canada HomeShare began as Toronto HomeShare in 2018 and has since expanded to become a national program with sites all across the country. Their goal is to support older adults to age-in-place, reduce social isolation, and address the affordable rental crisis faced by students.


For more information on this program, visit the link below

 

FoodShare Toronto: Winning the Right to Food

FoodShare Toronto recently launched a Right to Food Campaign calling on the City to update the Toronto Food Charter and realize our right to food. They are hosting a town hall on Friday, October 22 at 2 PM. At this town hall, they will discuss the need for a new food charter that centres the concerns and perspectives of those most marginalized and made vulnerable to food insecurity in Toronto. They will hear from community leaders that are doing the work. They'll also talk about Toronto's current food landscape and the City’s responsibility in addressing barriers to a community-driven and community-determined food system. Finally, they'll discuss the future of food work and the food system in Toronto. If you're interested in this event, you can register at the link below:

 

You're Invited! Pride Toronto's Strategic Plan

Pride Toronto's Strategic Plan will assess and identify new goals, values, and priorities to align Pride Toronto with the needs and brilliance of diverse 2SLGBTQ communities, sponsors, and partners. They are looking to hear from intersectional 2SLGBTQ+ communities! The Strategic Planning engagement process includes multiple avenues for community members to share their voices through October 2021. Information shared will be confidential and anonymous. Community Survey Respond to a set of strategic questions that will guide Pride Toronto over the next 3 years and beyond! Click here to fill out the survey by Sunday Nov. 7, 2021 at 11:59 PM. Virtual Input Boxes We invite you to submit your feedback to Pride Toronto’s Virtual Input Boxes. For voicemail input, simply dial 416-927-7433 x112. For email input, send an email to strategicplan@pridetoronto.com. As to improve accessibility, we encourage community members to use the Virtual Input Boxes as an alternative way to respond to the Community Survey. Please note that you may record your responses as audio (.mp3) or video (.mp4) files and submit these via email. Community Pop-Ups We are partnering with beloved community institutions, the 519 and Glad Day, to bring Strategic Planning to you! We invite you to grace us with your presence, and contribute your unique perspectives, on:

  • Thursday October 21st, 2021 from 3 PM-6 PM at Barbara Hall Park (next to the 519) -- click here for our web post and here to RSVP on Facebook

  • Sunday October 24th, 2021 from 3 PM-6 PM at Glad Day Bookshop -- click here for our web post and here to RSVP on Facebook


Town Hall The Town Hall will be an in-person opportunity for community members to envision Pride Toronto’s future. Using arts-based practices, get your creative juices flowing as we map our collective approaches to a future of intersectional recovery and transformation. Please join us for the Town Hall at the Pride Toronto offices on Wednesday, October 27th from 4 PM – 7 PM. ASL will be provided. Due to COVID-19 and the Town Hall’s indoor setting, each individual or pod will have max. 60 minutes to make their way through visioning activities. Please register in advance online at PrideToronto.com/TownHall or simply sign in at the door. Click here for our website posting, and click here to RSVP on Facebook! You can learn more about the Pride Toronto Strategic Plan at the link below:

 

TTC: Upcoming Closures

Subway Closures:

  • Line 1: Finch to St Clair full weekend closure October 23 and 24

  • Line 1: Finch to Eglinton nightly early closures October 25 to 28

  • Line 1: St Clair to College single day closure October 30

For more information, visit the link below:


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