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July 2014  eNewsletter

Connect with Jaye
 
We're deep into summer and I hope you've had a chance to get outside and enjoy Ward 25's beautiful parks and green spaces!
 
Traffic and pedestrian safety continues to be one of my top concerns right across the Ward. I've included an update below on some of the tools we have to improve traffic and pedestrian safety as well as great news about recent safety upgrades in the Bedford-Wanless neighbourhood.

It's been busy at City Hall as we head towards August. City Council recently made the long anticipated decision to move forward with a Local Appeal Body and I spearheaded two significant motions to reform the Committee of Adjustment and improve the city's response to problem construction sites.
 
We're also nearing the end of the 2010-2014 City Council term. On August 1, an election-related blackout period comes into effect.
 
I'll still be able to answer your emails, return your calls and help you with any and all city-related issues but, after August 1, I will not be able to send out newsletters or host public meetings. You can read more about the blackout period here.
 
Keep reading for all of the latest news and events from City Hall and across Ward 25, from planning reform to Bayview Avenue traffic issues to tips for dealing with summer yard waste.
 
As always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if I can help or with any questions or concerns. Just send me an email at Councillor_Robinson@toronto.ca or give me a call at (416) 395-6408.
 
I look forward to hearing from you!
 
Warm regards,
Thanks to the Cedarhurst Dementia Care Home team for inviting me to tour your fantastic facility on Bayview Avenue!
City Wide Updates
Planning Reform - Local Appeal Body Approved!
In July, City Council voted to establish a Local Appeal Body (LAB)!
 
I worked alongside the former Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee earlier this term to get the LAB study underway and am pleased Council decided to take the plunge and move forward with a LAB!

As the Toronto Star reported, I spoke during the Council debate and said, “It’s about time we take control of our city’s planning and development. This is our opportunity to... [shift] power over planning decisions back to the local level, back to the community.”
 
The LAB will hear appeals from the Committee of Adjustment, replacing the Ontario Municipal Board when it comes to minor variance applications.
 
The LAB is expected to be in place in fall 2015 and you can check out Council's full decision online.
Committee of Adjustment Reform
I'm pleased to report that the Planning and Growth Management Committee unanimously passed my motion to streamline and improve the Committee of Adjustment (CoA)!
 
The city has a great opportunity to rethink and rebuild the CoA given City Council's recent decision to move forward with a Local Appeal Body.
 
As I mentioned in my last eNewsletter, my motion is based on your feedback over the past term and directs the Chief Planner to bring forward a report in the first quarter of next year with concrete recommendations to improve the CoA.
 
Specifically, my motion asks the Chief Planner to report on:
  • Improvements to the notice process, including the manner and form of public notices as well as extending the distribution area and timeline;
  • Training and professional development for CoA panel members;
  • The audio-visual or audio recording of CoA panels; and,
  • A public participation strategy to ensure the public is well-informed about the process and has the tools to effectively engage in CoA hearings.
You can read the full text of my motion at www.jayerobinson.ca/planningreform and if you have any ideas or feedback about how we can improve the CoA, please don't hesitate to let me know!
Planning Reform – Improving Planning Notices
You've no doubt come across a sign from City Planning with information about a new development proposal.
 
The signs are confusing and difficult to read – you certainly don't walk away with a clear sense of the proposal or how to get involved.
 
That's why I supported a proposal at July's City Council meeting to redesign City Planning's public notices!
 
City Council directed the Chief Planner to review its public notices and look at making them more accessible by using straightforward language and informative illustrations.
 
Consultation will be part and parcel of the review and a report is expected in early 2015.
Construction Site Nuisances – Improving our Response
As I wrote in my last eNewsletter, I brought a motion forward to last month's Planning and Growth Management Committee asking the city to improve its response to problem residential infill construction.
 
Living near a construction site can be disruptive, to say the least, and I'm pleased to report that the Committee passed my motion.
 
Based on Ward 25's experience, my motion directs the Chief Planner to report on:
  • Posting key information on site, like noise restrictions and parking permissions;
  • Effective enforcement measures to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations;
  • Streamlining the city's response by identifying a single lead to liaise with the neighbourhood and coordinate an interdivisional response; and,
  • Measures to deal with buildings that are not built according to approved plans and drawings. 
You can see a full text of the motion online.
Traffic Congestion Plan

With senior Transportation Services staff at my Bayview Traffic Working Group meeting. 

Like you, I deal with traffic and congestion each and every day both in the Ward and across the city.
 
Stephen Buckley, the city's General Manager of Transportation Services, addressed the issue head on at my recent kick off meeting for the Bayview Avenue traffic working group.
 
He outlined four key planks of our city wide congestion management plan that will increase the capacity and reliability of our road network:
  • Signal retiming on all major corridors;
  • Signal upgrading to advanced adaptive traffic technology;
  • Expanding traffic monitoring cameras to arterial roadways; and,
  • Increasing capital funding to rebuild and rehabilitate the city's roads and bridges.  
As this eNewsletter went to press, Transportation Services announced it has just reopened a new and improved Transportation Operations Centre, expanding the city's real-time traffic monitoring ability. 
Construction Coordination


We are deep into an unprecedented construction season.
 
While the increased construction activity signals much needed and long overdue investment in our city's basic infrastructure, it also brings congestion and disruption.
 
In response, the city is redoubling its construction coordination efforts.
 
I recently met with the Director of the city's Major Capital Infrastructure Coordination (MCIC) group – the lead on construction coordination.
 
MCIC's job is to organize and connect key stakeholders from city divisions (Water, Transportation, TTC), third-party utility and telecommunication companies (Toronto Hydro, Enbridge, Rogers, Bell) as well as private developers, share information and identify opportunities to bundle and streamline work.
 
MCIC's role does not end when construction starts. Once shovels are in the ground, MCIC is constantly on the lookout for ways to reduce congestion and disruption, including accelerating or decelerating construction activity or implementing short term signal changes on surrounding streets, among other things.
 
Of course, there is always room for improvement – I see it day in and day out.
 
Please let me know if you see an example of poor construction coordination by sending me an email or calling my office. Each and every example can help us improve the city's response going forward!
Learning from the Ice Storm
The city's comprehensive review of its response to December's ice storm came to July's City Council meeting.
 
The review includes key recommendations to improve the city's response to extreme weather events that grew out of motions I brought forward earlier this year.
 
Information was difficult to find during the storm, and the review calls for the development of new and proactive communication channels, particularly for vulnerable populations and those experiencing power disruptions.
 
As you know, our tree canopy was hard hit by the ice storm, and another important recommendation directs Urban Forestry to work with Toronto Hydro to review its hydro-line clearing program and improve our grid's resiliency going forward.
 
You can read the full report here.
Crosstown Update
Crosstown construction continues on schedule and work will soon begin on the eastern leg!
 
As I noted in a previous newsletter, crews have started to relocate utilities along Eglinton between Brentcliffe and Leslie for the next phase of the project.
 
The soon-to-start next phase involves the construction of a launch shaft to provide access points for Don and Humber, the tunnel boring machines that will dig the 3.25 kilometres of underground twin tunnels towards Yonge Street. Crews will also start building the underground support walls at Laird and Bayview as well as an emergency exit building.
 
During construction, there will be lane reductions along Eglinton as well as TTC stop and sidewalk relocations.
 
The Crosstown Community Relations Team is working closely with city staff from Transportation Services on all aspects of the project.
 
They are keeping track of traffic issues and exploring solutions to keep traffic moving, including posting signs with alternate route information and signal retiming.
 
You can see all of the Crosstown construction updates online at www.thecrosstown.ca.
 
If you have any questions about the construction process or any traffic issues, please contact the Crosstown Community Relations Team by phone at 416-782-8118, by email at crosstown@metrolinx.com, or, by visiting their new office at Bayview and Eglinton (661 Eglinton Ave. E in the Sunnybrook Plaza) opening soon.
Election Year Blackout Period
We're nearing the end of the 2010-2014 City Council term and an election-related blackout period will take effect as of August 1 and run until election day.
 
During the blackout period, election rules prevent me from organizing community meetings or events and distributing electronic or printed newsletters, among other things.
 
Of course, I will still be able to answer your emails and phone calls and assist with any and all city-related issues. I will also be able to meet with you in person – for the most part, it will be business as usual.
 
City Council approved these limitations to ensure there is a level playing field during the election. You can read more about the blackout period on the Elections Toronto website.

Ward 25 Updates

Maple Leaf Beautification Project

You may have noticed that the maple leaf-design garden at the entrance to Lawrence Park is looking great! Gardeners from Parks designed and planted the garden this spring. If you haven't seen it yet, stop by and take a look!
Improving Traffic and Pedestrian Safety

Many of you have written or spoken to me about traffic and pedestrian safety issues in each and every corner of the ward.
 
While there are no quick fixes, four years of hard work have taught me that broad community engagement is integral to each and every effort to improve safety on our streets and sidewalks.
 
The key is bringing neighbourhoods together around the same table to identify problems and brainstorm solutions. Effective, long term solutions are built on broad, neighbourhood-wide consensus.
 
There's a wide range of options and tools available to neighbourhoods to improve safety – improved signage, new or refreshed pavement markings, all way stops and flashing beacons, to name a few – and city staff can walk you through the ins and outs of each approach.
 
Since the beginning of the term, I've spearheaded more nearly 50 motions at North York Community Council to address traffic and pedestrian safety issues. Each and every motion began with a community meeting and local engagement.
 
If you have a traffic or pedestrian safety issue in your neighbourhood, please don't hesitate to bring it to my attention by email at Councillor_Robinson@toronto.ca or by phone at (416) 395-6408.
Bedford-Wanless Neighbourhood Safety Upgrades

Congratulating Swaran Singh on his 20 years of service protecting the safety and well being of children in the Bedford-Wanless neighbourhood

Significant safety upgrades are coming to Mt. Pleasant in the Bedford-Wanless area thanks to a real push from the neighbourhood!
 
The upgrades include the installation of a flashing red light at Mt. Pleasant and Ranleigh and the repositioning of flashing amber lights at Mt. Pleasant and Wanless.
 
These changes will be in place before Labour Day and will help students arrive safely at Bedford Park P.S. in the new school year. I will be coordinating with the school to ensure that parents are aware of the change!

Bayview Traffic Working Group Update
As I mentioned in my previous newsletter, traffic and congestion have been front and centre throughout city planning’s ongoing Bayview design guidelines study.
 
Based on your feedback and the advice of senior city staff, I passed a successful motion directing city staff to establish a Bayview Avenue traffic working group. The working group complements city planning’s design guidelines study and focuses on traffic and congestion issues on Bayview between Lawrence and the 401 – including the traffic impacts of intensification.
 
More than 800 notices were mailed out for the kick off meeting in late June. City staff agreed to undertake a thorough analysis of this important stretch of Bayview and return to the table to continue the discussion. If you would like to get involved in the traffic working group or the design guidelines study just send me an email or give my office a call.
Don Mills Trail
The contract for the northern extension of the Don Mills Trail has been awarded and work should be underway in 2014! Construction is expected to take approximately two months to complete.
 
In my last eNewsletter, I wrote that the southern extension had been delayed because a local property owner pulled out of negotiations with the city, despite years of work and an agreement in principle.
 
I recently met with senior city staff and walked the Don Mills Trail with key stakeholders. The good news is that we were able to identify several new, alternative routes, which are now under review by city staff. Hopefully, the southern extension is now back on track!

Hiking with Ward 25ers Brian Story and Ron Kluger and exploring a possible connection for the southern part of the Don Mills Trail. Photo courtesy of Ron Kluger.

Dealing with Noise Problems
Construction noise is prohibited between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., Monday to Friday; 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. Saturdays; and all day Sundays and holidays.
 
If you have an issue with construction noise in your neighbourhood, please call 311. Make sure you note the address the noise is coming from so Municipal Licensing & Standards can investigate and follow up.
 
If you have a complaint about noise from parties or disputes, call the police's non-emergency line at 416-808-2222. For complaints about noise in a park, please contact Parks Enforcement at 416-392-0873 or email mlsparks@toronto.ca.
 
Yard Waste Tips
From mid March into December, leaf and yard waste is collected every other week on your garbage day. City staff advise that you should wait until the evening before your collection date to put your waste on the curb.
 
The city collects plant/tree trimmings, weeds, brush and bundles of branches but does not collect soil, sod, grass clippings, logs or tree stumps. Instead, compost grass clippings or reuse them on your lawn - an easy way to maintain nutrient-rich soil!
Speaking with residents at a community celebration to mark the reopening of the new and improved Don Mills Library branch!
Basement Flooding Tips
With the one year anniversary of the July 8 storm behind us, here are some easy-to-take actions to reduce your home's vulnerability to basement flooding:
  • Fix any cracks in your foundation;
  • Ensure the ground slopes away from your house;
  • Clear debris from your eavestroughs and downspouts;
  • Install a sump pump to remove excess water;
  • Install a backwater valve to prevent sewage from backing up; and,
  • Divert your downspouts away from your foundation. 
For more tips and tricks as well as information on the city's rebate program for backwater valves and sump pumps, check out www.toronto.ca/water!

Development Updates

Check out the interactive map on my website with Ward 25's major development projects!
103 & 108 Bayview Ridge
 
Applicant: M. Behar Planning and Design Inc.
 
Proposal: 11 townhomes fronting Bayview Avenue and four detached houses along Bayview Ridge.
 
Status: The applicant appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board in late 2013, short circuiting the city's planning process. A preliminary hearing has been set for August and a report from City Planning is expected to be on North York Community Council's August agenda.
2 Wilket Road

Applicant: Goldberg Group
 
Proposal: Seven townhouses fronting Bayview Avenue and a single detached house fronting Wilket Road

Status: City Planning received this application in mid July. A community consultation meeting will be scheduled for early 2015 and I will extend the notice area for the meeting to ensure that all impacted residents receive advance written notice of the meeting.
 
Bayview Design Guidelines Study
 
City Planning's design guidelines study of Bayview from Lawrence to the 401 is well underway.
 
The study was supported by local residents, including Bayview-area residents' associations, at a well attended community consultation in late fall and follows two contentious OMB decisions during City Council's previous term.
 
The fourth and final working group took place in early summer. An interim report is expected to be on North York Community Council's August agenda.
 
The design guidelines will not move forward without continuing and significant community buy in and a public meeting will be scheduled for late fall.
Alaska (2779 and 2781 Yonge Street, 15-17 and 19-21 Strathgowan Avenue)
 
Applicant: 165584 Ontario Limited
 
Proposal: 11 storey residential building with 102 condominium units, 29 rental replacement units and ground floor retail
 
Status: Following a well attended community consultation in fall 2013, city planning established a working group of local stakeholders, including the Uptown Yonge Neighbourhood Alliance, the Sherwood Park Residents' Association and the local tenants' association.
 
The working group met three times throughout late 2013 to discuss, among other things, traffic, public realm and design issues. The applicant made a number of revisions following the working group meetings, including reducing the height of the building to 10 stories and agreeing to take the proposal to the city's Design Review Panel.
 
The city received a revised proposal in early summer though a date for the Design Review Panel has not been set.
18-30 Erskine Avenue
 
Applicant: Pemberton
 
Proposal: 35 storey, 300 unit condominium with 153 parking spaces, immediately beside John Fisher Public School
 
Status: Following a well attended community consultation in spring 2013, I struck a working group of immediate neighbours, John Fisher parents, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and the Sherwood Park Residents' Association.
 
The working group’s summer meetings were delayed at the request of the TDSB but a second meeting took place in fall 2013. Pemberton agreed to revise its proposal and continue discussions with both the TDSB and the working group.
 
Pemberton also agreed to touch base with the working group following further discussions with the TDSB.
2655 and 2659 Bayview Avenue and 15 Old Colony Road
 
Applicant: Goldberg Group
 
Proposal: 11 three storey townhouses fronting Bayview Avenue and two detached houses facing Old Colony Road
 
Status: City Planning's initial community consultation meeting took place in April. I extended the notice area for this meeting to ensure that all those affected by the proposal receive advance written notice of the meeting.
 
The York Mills Gardens Community Association is taking the lead for the neighbourhood, and City Planning is currently reviewing the application alongside the Bayview design guidelines study.
 
740-750 York Mills Road and 17 Farmstead Road
 
Applicant: Minto
 
Proposal: 240 stacked townhouse units and the retention of the three existing rental apartment buildings. This is a revision to Minto's earlier proposal involving four 15 to 32 storey condominium buildings.
 
Status: Following city planning's initial community consultation meeting in fall 2013, the neighbourhood opted to form a working group. The first working group meeting took place in March 2014, and the working group is expected to reach out to the wider neighbourhood.
2500 Bayview Avenue
 
Status: Urbancorp recently purchased this site and is proposing to double the number of townhouses on the site, which were previously approved by the Ontario Municipal Board.
 
According to City Planning, the changes will require a new application and trigger the city's full planning process, including public consultation. An application has not yet been submitted to the city.

Public Meetings and Events

Pan Am Games
The one year countdown to the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto has begun!
 
With less than 365 days to go, there's still time to apply to be one of the 20,000 Games-time volunteers or register your business to provide services or supplies during the games. To learn more about how to get involved, please visit www.toronto2015.org/join-in.
Toronto Botanical Garden Organic Farmer's Market
 
Date: Thursdays, year-round
Time: 2 - 7 p.m.
Location: Toronto Botanical Garden (777 Lawrence Ave. E.)
 
Head to the TBG on Thursday to pick up local produce, bread, meat, cheese, honey, prepared food, and more! 

For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/WCrezk
The Edwards Summer Music Series: Garden of Song
 
Date: Thursdays, now to Aug. 28
Time: 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Location: Toronto Botanical Garden (777 Lawrence Ave. E.)

Enjoy free concerts by an eclectic roster of artists set in the natural beauty of the gardens!
 
For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/1mDVQG0
Marking the Overland Community Garden's first anniversary with founders Lisa Kattelus, Diane Enhorning and Grant Reimer.
Parkland Wayfinding Strategy Public Consultation Forum
 
Date: Wednesday, July 30
Time: 4:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Location: Metro Hall (55 John St.)

Parks Forestry and Recreation is developing a Parkland Wayfinding Strategy that aims to create an accessible sign and information system that encourages park and ravine usage.

Learn more about the project and provide input on the concept design. 

For more information, http://bit.ly/1nfejO5
Cultura Festival
 
Date: Friday, July 25
Time: 6 - 11 p.m.
Location: Mel Lastman Square (5100 Yonge St.)
 
The final Friday of North York's annual summer festival celebrating music, art, food and film!
 
For more information, please visit http://www.culturafestival.ca.
TBGKids: Animal Survivors
 
Date: July 28-Aug. 1
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: Toronto Botanical Garden (777 Lawrence Ave. E.)
 
Ever wondered how animals survive outdoors all year round? This is your camp! Choose an animal totem for the week to become one with your inner creature with crafts, stories and art! Mimic survival techniques of some amazing animals and test your abilities in a game of predators and prey.

For more information and registration, please visit http://bit.ly/Uspwie
No.9 Contemporary Art & The Environment: Imagining My Sustainable City Event
 
Date: Now to September 23
Time:  9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
Location: Evergreen Brickworks (550 Bayview Ave.)
 
A display of photographs, drawings and models created by Grade 7 students from every ward in the city – including Bedford Park P.S. – as part of the Imagining My Sustainable City project. 
 
For more information, http://bit.ly/1jVbqSB.
Maker Workshop
 
Date: Tuesday, August 5
Time: 2 - 3 p.m.
Location: Don Mills Library Auditorium (888 Lawrence Ave. E.)
 
The Maker movement is growing rapidly worldwide! Join the Toronto Tool Library & Makerspace and their team of Tool Ninjas and get creative with 3D printers, robots, and more! Ages 7 & up.
 
For more information and to register, call 416 395-5710.
North York Festival
 
Date: Tuesday, August 12
Time: 12 - 10 p.m.
Location: Mel Lastman Square (5100 Yonge St.)

A festival showcasing the different cultures of North York through food, performances and activities. 

For more information, please call (416) 907-2080.
You Can Make Magic with Owen Anderson
 
Date: Tuesday, August 12 
Time: 2 - 2:45 p.m.
Location: Don Mills Library Auditorium (888 Lawrence Ave. E.)
 
Join Owen Anderson in a interactive show of comedy and magic. Each child will learn a simple magic trick they can make at home. Free tickets will be available 30 minutes before the start of the program.
 
For more information and schedule, please visit http://bit.ly/1x0DRPH
Art Walk North
 
Date: Friday, August 15 and Saturday, August 16
Time: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. 
Location: Mel Lastman Square (5100 Yonge St.)
 
Second annual outdoor, two-day fine art exhibition featuring established and up-and-coming local artists. A dynamic and fun event where you can discover the next great Canadian artist or simply that one artist you connect with. 

For more information, please visit www.artistsnetwork.ca.
Hawaiian Luau
 
Date: Tuesday, August 12 
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: Better Living Community Centre, Lower Level Sunroom/Patio (1 Overland Dr.)
 
Head to the Better Living Community Centre for an island adventure! A Hawaiian style feast awaits you, accompanied by island-inspired entertainment. Come celebrate with us!
 
For more information and schedule, please visit http://bit.ly/1qAx4Pi
Uptown Yonge Fall Fest
 
Date: Saturday, September 13
Time: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
Location: Yonge Street (Glengrove to Roehampton)
 
Annual Uptown Yonge Fall Fest with entertainment for the whole family, featuring special guest Heather Bambrick, children's entertainer Markus, the Toronto Accolades, face painting, magic shows and more!

For more information, please visit http://www.uptownyonge.com/.
Better Living Community Centre Open House Week
 
Date: September 15 - 19
Time: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
Location: Better Living Community Centre (1 Overland Dr.)

A week of free programs, events, daily deals and workshops, including the Healthapalooza fair and fall foodtruck festival! 
 
For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/1sT00Sh
Artwalk 2014
 
Date: October 16 - November 6
Location: Yonge Street (Lawrence to McNarirn)

ARTWALK brings original works of art to the store windows and interiors of over 50 of local merchants in the Yonge Lawrence Village BIA. Stroll north on Yonge, enjoy spectacular pieces from local artists and vote online for your favourites!

For more information, http://bit.ly/1tzMAYY.
Sunnybrook Speaker Series: Forgetfulness – When Should I Worry?
 
Date: Tuesday, September 23
Time: 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Location: Sunnybrook Hospital, Bayview Campus, McLaughlin Auditorium (2075 Bayview Ave.)
 
An evening featuring discussion by leading Sunnybrook psychiatry, neurology and brain sciences experts on cognition and dementia. Free admission and parking.

For more information and to RSVP, please visit http://bit.ly/WCQfdY.
North York Visual Artists 2014 Fall Art Tour and Sale
 
Date: September 27 and 28
Time: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 
Location: Toronto Botanical Garden (777 Lawrence Ave. E.)

The NYVA tour gives art lovers a chance to peek inside the studios of local artists and engage with artists about their creative process as well as pick up some up some unique pieces.

For more information, http://www.nyva.ca.
Copyright © 2014 Toronto City Councillor Jaye Robinson, All rights reserved.


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