Council Highlights important to Ward 39
Toronto City Council meeting of May 3, 4 and 5, 2016
Recognition of the Greek Pontian Genocide
City Council recognized the Pontian Genocide, to honour the memory of the men, women and children who died. The Pontian Genocide, together with the Armenian and Assyrian Genocides, took place between 1913 and 1922. The Pontian Genocide, which took place during and after World War I, was the systematic extermination, by the Ottoman Empire, of its minority Greek subjects. Pontians were sent by death marches to concentration camps in Anatolia, where most were subjected to forced labour. Thousands were subjected to forced labour, deportation and execution.
Notice of Motion
City Council affirm its recognition of the Pontian Genocide
Moved by: Councillor Jim Karygiannis
Seconded by: Councillor Maria Fragedakis
2016 marks the 97th commemoration of the Pontian Genocide.
The Pontian Genocide, together with the Armenian and Assyrian Genocides, was the 1st genocide of the 20th century. These Genocides took place between 1913 and 1922.
The 2016 City of Toronto Budget is comprised of Capital and Operating Budgets and
Property Tax Rates and Related Matters.
During discussions on Property Tax Rates and Related Matters, I, again, fought for the Sheppard Subway and transit issues, for residents who live north of Hwy 401.
I could not support the overall City of Toronto’s 2016 Budget because it did not fully address the needs of Torontonians and residents of his community.
Toronto City Council approved a $10.1 billion operating budget for 2016 and 10-year capital budget and plan of $21 billion. The total municipal tax increase is 2.69% or $72.26 per residence. What that means for residents of Ward 39 and other Torontonians causes me concern.
Toronto City Council Update – November 2015
At its November 3 and 4, 2015 meeting, City Councillors debated a number of important issues. These items included –
Poverty reduction strategy
According to Statistics Canada, almost one in five adults, between the ages of 18 and 64, in Toronto and more than one-quarter of the City’s children, under the age of six, are living in low-income households. Council adopted the vision, objectives, recommendations and actions for a poverty reduction strategy called TO Prosperity, with a work plan for 2016, that includes 75 City initiatives, many of them involving partnerships.
Cold weather protocol
Council authorized funding to provide cold weather drop-in services, 24-hours-a-day, in Toronto, for January and February 2016. In addition, Council directed that the City must be prepared to offer the 24-hour, cold weather drop-in services, if needed, in November and December 2015. The City issues an Extreme Cold Weather Alert, with related services, when Environment Canada forecasts a temperature of -15 degrees C or colder or a wind chill of -20 degrees or colder.
Ban on use of hookahs
Council approved prohibiting the use of hookahs/waterpipes in City-licensed establishments effective next April. The prohibition follows Toronto Public Health’s confirmation of the need for a legislative approach to address the significant health risks associated with this alternative form of smoking. Council also agreed to ask the Ontario government to enact legislation prohibiting the use of hookahs/waterpipes in restaurants, bars, entertainment establishments and patios.
In recognizing that smoking hookahs/waterpipes is an integral part of many cultures in our community and the need for regulations, I proposed that Council approve a Motion –
“That City Council direct the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, in consultation with the City Solicitor, to report to the January 22, 2016 meeting of the Licensing and Standards Committee on a by-law which would permit the following:
- the establishment of a new “hookah lounge” category in Chapter 545, Licensing of the Toronto Municipal Code and consider including the following regulations:
- only non-tobacco products are permitted;
- food or liquor not being permitted on the premises;
iii. only coffee, tea and juices are permitted on the premises; and
- minors (persons under the age of 19) are not permitted on the premises, with signage in a prominent location.
- an appropriate business licence fee for such an establishment.
- the establishment would be required to provide signage that states the harmful health effects of hookahs (waterpipes).”
The Motion did not pass.
Replacement of lead water service pipes
Council voted to direct Toronto Water to take steps to support the ongoing replacement of residential lead water-service pipes across the city. Among the steps specified, staff were asked to approach local financial institutions about the feasibility of low-interest or easily accessible loans to homeowners for replacing the private-side pipes on their properties. At present, about 1,500 residential property owners a year replace their private-side lead water service pipes with copper piping. The replacements are done in conjunction with the City’s ongoing efforts to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water by replacing corroded lead water pipes.
Uber in Toronto
Council adopted a Motion calling for the City to provide additional information to the public about the current status of Uber in Toronto, including the risks associated with using the UberX ride service. The City is engaged in ongoing communications with representatives of Uber Canada about the City’s taxicab broker application process and Uber’s continued non-compliance with the Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 545, Licensing.
Lane Designation – Sheppard Avenue East at Agincourt GO Station Access
City Council approved the following item from the Scarborough Community Council –
|“City Council designate the northerly westbound lane on Sheppard Avenue East, between a point 51 metres east of Reidmount Avenue and a point 76 metres further east, for westbound right turns only, buses excepted.”
At the November meeting of Toronto City Council, I introduced Motion MM10.4 recommending that:
“City Council request the City Manager, after consultation with City staff, the Canada Lands Company (CLC), owner and manager of the CN Tower and officials of the Department of Canadian Heritage, to report to the February 3 and 4, 2016 City Council meeting on the feasibility of the City of Toronto displaying its 2017 New Year’s fireworks from the CN Tower as well as Nathan Phillips Square to celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary.”
The Motion was referred to the City of Toronto’s Economic Development Committee.
Future use of Old City Hall
Toronto’s Old City Hall has a rich history and the future of the Toronto landmark is of great concern and debate. Council voted to notify the Province of Ontario that its lease of the Old City Hall building at 60 Queen Street West will not be extended/renewed beyond 2021. Council also requested a feasibility study for museums and complementary public uses of the building, which currently houses provincial and municipal court operations. Staff has identified criteria to be considered in determining the best future use and tenant fit for the historic building.
At the July 2015 meeting of Toronto City Council, I introduced Motion MM8.13 which recommended that:
“City Council request the City Manager, in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto Transit Commission, to report to the September 30 and October 1, 2015 City Council meeting on a complete financial analysis and cost breakdown of the expenditures for the proposed $181 million Toronto Transit Commission McNicoll Bus Garage approved by Toronto City Council.”
At the February 12, 2015, meeting of Toronto City Council, I put forward Motion MM3.2 recommending that –
“…City Council reconfirm its decision to support building the Scarborough Subway on Sheppard Avenue.”
City Council referred Motion MM3.2 to the Executive Committee.