Great news! We are one step closer to a sidewalk and cycling path on Brimley Road South to Bluffers Park.

Executive Committee voted to support recommendations for the Scarborough Waterfront Project EA (Environmental Assessment) with important amendments which I tabled to protect pedestrians and the sandy shores of Grey Abbey Beach. The Scarborough Waterfront Project will provide improved and safer access to the waters edge along the Scarborough Bluffs. The EA will now go to City Council and if approved, to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

The Scarborough Bluffs are an iconic natural wonder located at the doorstep of Canada’s largest city.

Our parks, beaches and shorelines are very popular and managing this popularity is key. Experience has shown that in cities worldwide, natural areas need to be effectively managed or they will decline.

On May 14th Executive Committee voted to protect the bluffs, enhance wildlife habitats and improve pedestrian safety along Brimley Road, and better manage our waterfront.

Benefits to the Scarborough Waterfront Project include:

  • Prioritizing re-construction of Brimley Road to include a full-access path for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Protecting and expanding natural heritage features such as terrestrial and fish habitat
  • Protecting the natural beaches at Grey Abbey Park
  • Better management of the sandy beaches that are used every day
  • Provide safer and more enjoyable waterfront experiences accessible to all

Please be assured, I recognize and understand the importance of protecting the unique and natural beauty of the area, and hence, tabled a motion in order to address my outstanding concerns.  This motion was unanimously supported by Executive Committee:

  1. maximize, maintain and/or create new sandy shorelines, including a further review of key sand shorelines such as Grey Abbey;
  2. explore ways to protect existing wave conditions; 
  3. include public amenities such as accessible washroom facilities, through continued engagement of interested stakeholders during the detailed design process.

This approval is an important step forward in an ongoing process.  This project, along with actions already taken, include:

  • The TTC Bluffers 175 bus route helps achieve safe, reliable access to the waterfront
  • Parking regulation changes
  • Parking enforcement on surrounding streets
  • Increased paid-duty Police enforcement
  • Increased enforcement with Municipal Licensing and Standards
  • Added garbage bins and park clean-ups
  • Explored options for overflow parking
  • Installation of a Gatehouse for traffic control on weekends and holidays
  • Vehicle turn-around area when parking lots are full
  • The ability to close Brimley Road at the Kingston Road intersection when parking lots are full
  • Name change at Scarborough Bluffs Park to Scarborough Crescent Park for visitor destination clarification
  • Boat launch enhancement with accompanying pollinator gardens
  • Parking lots closed by 9 p.m. ensuring vehicles are cleared by 10 p.m.

Waterfront parks are extremely popular.  Effective management of this popularity is essential. Getting this right will pay dividends for future generations.

Trial Bus Service to Bluffers Park

After working closely with staff at Parks, TTC and Transportation Services, I’ve secured a trial bus service for visitors to Bluffers Park for weekends and holidays.

This will offer safer passage for pedestrians and a much needed alternative to driving.

Follow this link for the full report.

UPDATE – McCowan District Park

Staff have stated that they had the snow clearing issue which took far longer than they hoped due to misuse of the rink after hours (rink was utilized over night while snow covered., the public electing to clear the snow into the boards) which necessitated staff to hand clear the majority of the snow from the rink instead of utilizing equipment. Staff had mechanical issues with the ice resurfacer and last night there were electrical issues and the ice rink lights would not come on.

Staff is working very hard to overcome all of the issues and are committed to providing the posted service hours to the community.

Harding Parkette / Harrison Estates Fitness Pod

As you may be aware, a community meeting was recently held regarding a proposed Fitness Pod for Harding Parkette.

To capture a wider scope of opinion, please see the following link to view the proposal and include your feedback on the location and design. https://cityoftoronto.fluidsurveys.com/s/birchcliffe-cliffsideoutdoorfitnessequipment/

Budget 2018 is a good news budget

 

Today we launched the 2018 operating and Capital Budget process.

I am proud to say that we are starting in a much better position this year than we have in previous years.

Unlike previous years, there is no operating budget gap to close in the staff proposed budget.

For the fourth year in a row, property taxes will be kept at or below the rate of inflation.

We will have a TTC fare freeze for our city’s millions of daily transit riders.

Millions more will be invested in the TTC and what will be an expanded system with 6 new subway stations opening on December 17.

Funding for social housing repairs will continue and no Toronto Community Housing units will be permanently closed.

More police officers will be hired and deployed with a focus on community safety while, for the second year in a row, the police budget will be flat lined, something that had not been achieved by past administrations.

More shelter beds will open.

And 0 million in additional gas tax money secured from the province by Mayor Tory will begin to be factored into the city’s capital budget.

The city’s fiscal health is strong and sound.

We have strong and stable credit ratings. our reserves are healthy. we have a low debt burden.

this is a good news budget – it invests in key areas while keeping spending low and keeping tax increases low.

but there is still more work to be done over the next few weeks.

there are a number of priorities – these are things that councillors would like to see added to the budget – that have to be considered.

The mayor has been clear he will be supporting:

  • Time-based transfers for the TTC which will allow people to hop on and off transit without having to pay again and again.
  • Increases to the poverty reduction strategy, including implementing a fair fare pass to help those in our city who can’t necessarily afford to ride the TTC.
  • Increased investments in childcare.
  • Investments in additional traffic

Measures aimed at fighting congestion including permanent funding for quick clear squads and traffic wardens along with funding for smart, traffic-moving technology.

  • Funding for the city’s TransformTO plan to help us invest in a strong and resilient city.

So we’ve got some work to do but I’m confident we will find a way to support our key priorities and maintain a budget that invests in key areas while keeping tax increases as low as possible.

Our residents want us to build the city but they also appreciate that we strike the right balance – that we tighten spending, find efficiencies and don’t hike taxes sky-high.

There will be the usual disagreements – many will want us to simply raise taxes as high as possible and, once again, they will make outrageous claims about the proposed budget and its impacts.

Others may argue we should simply slash important services without thought to the true impact on our hardworking residents or not bother building up the city for the future.

Once again, for the fourth year in row I’m confident we will strike the right, responsible balance that people expect.

Thank you.

Sunrise Gate Development – 1316 Kingston Road

The Sunrise Gate Development – 1316 Kingston Road – will be coming to Scarborough Committee of Adjustment on December 7th.

For further information, please click on the following link

https://web.toronto.ca/city-government/planning-development/committee-of-adjustment/scarborough-schedule-2017/

Scarborough Transit Planning Update – Upcoming Public Meeting


 

Upcoming Public Meeting – Scarborough Transit Planning Update

 

Scarborough Subway

The City of Toronto and TTC together with Metrolinx and GO Transit are working to bring more transit to communities across the city with connections throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

A meeting will take place on Saturday, February 27 at the Scarborough Civic Centre from 9:30am to 11:30am for residents to learn more about integrated transit planning and provide feedback on key projects and studies.

Please register for the project mailing list to ensure you are kept up-to-date about all further opportunities to provide your input.

For more information, and a full list of meetings across the City, visit http://www.scarboroughsubwayextension.ca/


 

Join the Discussion: Toronto’s 2016 Budget


The City of Toronto’s Budget Committee will hear public presentations on the preliminary 2016 tax supported budgets next week. Members of the public can make a presentation at one of the budget subcommittee meetings on January 12, 13 or 14 at locations across the city.

In addition, a User Fee Town Hall, where residents can learn more about proposed increases to user fees, is scheduled for January 11 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, Committee Room 2, 100 Queen St. W.

Members of the public who want to share their views on the budget are asked to register by sending an email to buc@toronto.ca or call 416-392-4666 before 4 p.m. on January 8 indicating choice of location, date and time. Individuals may only make one presentation to the budget subcommittees, which will meet at the following locations and times.

  • City Hall – Committee Room 1, 100 Queen St. W.
    January 12 at 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Etobicoke Civic Centre – Council Chamber, 399 The West Mall
    January 12 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Scarborough Civic Centre – Council Chamber, 150 Borough Dr.
    January 13 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • North York Civic Centre – Council Chamber, 5100 Yonge St.
    January 13 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • East York Civic Centre – Council Chamber, 850 Coxwell Ave.
    January 14 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • York Civic Centre – Council Chamber, 2700 Eglinton Ave. W.
    January 14 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Residents who are not able to attend one of the meetings have the option of submitting a written presentation by emailing buc@toronto.ca, or by mailing it (address to Attention: Budget Committee, 100 Queen St. W., Toronto City Hall, 10th floor, West Tower, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2), or by faxing at 416-392-1879, Attention: Budget Committee.

More information about the 2016 budget and the budget process is available at toronto.ca/budget2016.

Notice: For those who write or make a presentation to the Budget Committee, the City will collect and use personal information in accordance with applicable laws. The City also videotapes meetings and makes recordings publicly available on request. More information about the collection and use of personal information is available at toronto.ca/legdocs/privacy.htm.


 

Time to make a decision on rapid transit: Scarborough councillors

Inside Toronto
Mike Adler
First Posted on March 15, 2012

Websites and petitions for the Sheppard subway were popping up Thursday, March 15, even as hopes for the extension to Scarborough Town Centre appeared to dim.

Opponents of a proposed light-rail line along Sheppard Avenue threw almost everything they had – including Mayor Rob Ford himself – as a Toronto Council vote Wednesday, March 21, drew closer.

Ford was scheduled to appear at a press conference announcing a new group, SAFE – Subways Are For Everyone – at a Sheppard and Victoria Park Avenue plaza Thursday too late for The Mirror’s print deadline.

SAFE was preparing to name members of a panel for a pro-subway event Monday, March 19, at Scarborough Civic Centre, the same venue filled mostly with angry subway supporters gathered by the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition 11 days earlier.

Both groups were urging people to sign online petitions, as was another that also appeared Thursday, the Chinese Canadians In Support of Sheppard Subway Committee.

“We knew it was last minute. We have to do something,” said Mike Yen, a spokesperson who said Scarborough’s Chinese community needed a voice on the issue and light-rail lines “don’t work well”.

Yen, who lives in Trinity-Spadina but grew up in Scarborough, said the group was not influenced or approached by Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party or the mayor’s office, though Yen and Liang Chen, another member, were provincial Conservative candidates in 2011.

Chen ran in Scarborough-Agincourt, and criticized surface light-rail lines during her campaign, saying the mode of transit was “not fast” and installing one on Sheppard would affect driving and local businesses.

There was more willingness on the part of some Scarborough councillors this week to consider “revenue tools” that could make up the difference between the cost of the $1-billion LRT line from Don Mills Station to Conlins Road (which could be paid for by federal and provincial money the city is promised) and the $3-billion subway extension cost.

Toronto’s Bloor-Danforth line was built with a “special transit fee” on property taxes, said Scarborough-Agincourt Councillor Mike Del Grande. “If that’s what it would take for the other members to support it we would have to look at it,” he said Thursday.

But the councillor pointed to what he suggests is a double standard in pro-LRT arguments for Scarborough. People did not object in the same way, Del Grande said, when the city and province approved a subway extension now underway to low-density areas in Vaughan.

“I can appreciate other people’s bitterness, because I’m bitter too,” he said.

Norm Kelly and other Scarborough pro-subway councillors, meanwhile, promoted the third option of using the $1 billion “on the table” to extend the Sheppard line one or two stops to Victoria Park, acknowledging progress after that will be come more slowly and involve tax increases or other revenue tools of some kind.

Kelly said council should keep the spin-off TTC corporation headed by Gordon Chong intact for another eight months or a year, long enough, he said, to study revenue-generation “make its case (for the extension) and through that the case for subways across the city.”

Chin Lee, a councillor along the Sheppard LRT route who said he convinced TTC Chairperson Karen Stintz to break the issue off for separate study last month, said he was keeping an open mind about the coming vote, but added his decision must be made on a “business case.”

“The mayor’s had more than a year to put all this together,” Lee said. “I’m getting arguments on both sides of the fence but I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing for the most people.”

Anger on the issue “is whipped up by a few people” and “the mayor is not helping” by refusing to talk reasonably about decisions on transit, he said.

Councillor Raymond Cho, on the eastern end of the LRT route said next Wednesday’s decision will be difficult, but it should be made.

“The more we delay, the more waste we create,” said Cho, arguing “the end result will be the same.”

People who believe Ford can build them a subway without new taxes are dreaming, said Cho who hosted three meetings over a single week with residents in his ward. This week, he claimed he was able to convince most people the LRT option was best, but some people “became emotional. They try to make the emotional decision. It’s not the rational decision,” Cho said.

Gary Crawford, another Scarborough councillor, said he’s also hoping for a months-long delay to fully consider the business case for an extension after two months of “this steam roller effect” which has apparently revived the Sheppard East LRT and other aspects of the Transit City program.

“It is sometimes better to take a deep breath,” he said.

Meanwhile, the decision was anxiously awaited by the Sheppard East Village Business Improvement Area, whose members, the group’s board said in a recent communique, “are the only individuals who will incur a cost – from sales lost due to transit construction – whichever form of transit is finally chosen by city council and the province.”

The BIA did its best to cooperate with the TTC and Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, to minimize disruption before the LRT project was shelved. The communique notes this left some members frustrated since “there is little to show for this major effort and no benefits, at this time, for our part of Toronto.”

The group, which sent its executive director Ernie McCullough to be part of the council-appointed expert panel on the decision, also declared its role “is to advocate for changes to policies that will have a negative impact on its members – not to lobby for or against a city policy,” indicating it would not seek to block a direction from council next week.

 

Why Scarborough deserves a rapid transit line

This past month, Toronto City Council decided not to bury the Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown from Victoria Park Ave to Kennedy Rd, and to further study the viability of continuing the Sheppard subway to the Scarborough Town Centre. Council balked at the long term vision required to move this city and particularly Scarborough, forward over the next 50-100 years.

Scarborough encompasses 1/3 of the city’s land mass and has the fastest growing population in Toronto, but it is Scarborough residents that continue to receive the short end of the stick when it comes to transit planning, and we deserve better!

Thirty five years ago, Scarborough officials wanted an extension of the subway from Warden Ave to the Scarborough Town Centre. The TTC wanted a less costly solution and the Province of Ontario suggested a “high-tech” alternative; the current above ground Surface Rail Transit (SRT) line. Despite numerous cautions from planners stating that most of the Municapility of Metropolitan Toronto was dense enough to serve the existing subway, an SRT was created.

Now, the present City Council  has voted to spend  $300 million on an above ground Light Rail Transit (LRT) line to replace the “high tech”, inefficient and ineffective SRT. What are my thoughts? We should have buried the SRT in the first place 35 years ago.

Much of the growth over the next 50 years is projected to be in Scarborough and only subways will support and encourage the upward population demands of the community.

Let’s jump ahead 35 years and envision a future City Council again debating the merits of a subway system into Scarborough, spending millions or even billions of dollars to replace this LRT, which they had a chance to bury in 2012.

Imagine if the city had decided to bring the Yonge St subway above ground at Hoggs Hollow and York Mills Rd, and continued it as an LRT north of the 401 – North York as it is today would not exist. I am sure city planners of the time had no idea that North York would blossom into such a thriving part of the city. I am glad the city officials back then had the forethought and vision to build a subway to Finch Ave.

The long-term benefits of an underground system far out-weigh the short term gains of surface LRT’s. Scarborough deserves a true rapid transit system and we need to get back into the business of building subways.

Gary