Budget Wrap Up

The Budget process is almost wrapped up and the Budget Committee has sent their recommendations to Executive. As Budget Chief, my main focus for 2016 has been about managing your money responsibly. Frankly, we needed to have an honest conversation about our City’s finances and we’ve done that. We also needed a rigorous review of all spending and we’ve accomplished that as well.

My number one priority, and the priority of the Mayor, is to ensure that the City remains affordable for its residents. I wholeheartedly stand by the Mayor when he says he’s not prepared to raise taxes above the rate of inflation. Keeping taxes low is the responsible and respectful thing to do. To achieve this, we have shown the same kind of restraint and discipline you face with your household budget. We all have to make choices, like taking a vacation or getting a new furnace. At the City it may concern a choice between raking our beaches more often and investing in transit.

I believe we have struck the right balance of being financially prudent and making targeted investments in the priorities of residents. We have supported city building, transit, and targeted investments in many areas, including emergency services, the well-being of our most vulnerable citizens, and the arts.

Thank you to those of you who took the time to contact my office and encourage me to stay the course to keep the City affordable.

On the local level, we are making sure that your money is also being spent where you want, and where investment makes sense. Through the public consultation process, the Parks department analysed the feedback for a proposed splash pad at Cathedral Bluffs Park. Due to the lack of support for the project it will be relocated to a park which will actually benefit two wards, including ours. You can access the letter to the Cliffcrest community here.

City Planning staff recently presented an optimized transit plan for Scarborough. This revised plan recognizes the Scarborough Town Centre as a major regional hub best served by a subway – not an LRT. I have always supported a subway to Scarborough Town Centre and I’m pleased that this report has emphasized that. The new plan will provide 23 new stations across Scarborough, provide an express subway from Kennedy station to the Scarborough Town Centre, as well as a new rapid transit service to UTSC – all for the same cost as the original subway plan. This is an evidence-based network plan, and all three components – Scarborough subway, LRT, and SmartTrack – will work together to improve local transit and accessibility for Scarborough residents. Upcoming public consultation for the Revised Scarborough Transit Plan will take place in February, and my office will be providing the specifics once they become available. I look forward to when we finally get shovels in the ground. If you would like more information on the revised plan, City Planning’s report can be found here.

Upcoming Community Meetings Set For February

 

Victoria Park Ave Meeting – February 24th

Residents of Victoria Park Avenue, from Kingston Road to Queen Street, are invited to join me on February 24th, at 6:30 pm in the library at the Neil McNeil High School. We will be discussing: road classification, heavy trucks, traffic volumes and bin collection routes and dates.


Scarborough Village Community Meeting – February 25th

Please join me on February 25th, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm in the Intermission Room at the Scarborough Village Recreation Centre. We will be discussing: Development, Parks, Transit, By-Laws, Employment Training and Housing. You will have an opportunity to come together as a community to share your thoughts with me and your neighbours.


Scarborough District Park – Skating Rink and Path

 

I’m pleased to see the progress for the plans regarding the skating rink and skate path at McCowan District Park.
This park is an important, and exciting, addition to year-round outdoor activities in Ward 36.
The plans for the park are under final review, with a targeted skating season for the winter of 2016-2017.

 


Black History Month Creative Writing Contest

Black History Month provides an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions that African Canadians have made, and continue to make, in Toronto.

To help celebrate, Mayor John Tory invites youth aged 11 to 17 to share a story about a black Torontonian, past or present, who has contributed to Toronto’s diverse heritage and identity. Entries must be the original work of and written solely by the entrant and can include an essay, poem, song lyric, letter, or any form of creative writing.

DEADLINE: Tuesday, February 16, 2016.

PRIZES: Two winners will be chosen from two age categories: 11 to 13, and 14 to 17 and will be invited to read their entry (optional) during the Mayor’s Black History Month reception on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016 at Toronto City Hall. Each winner will receive a recognition scroll signed by the Mayor, including an achievement plaque and have their submission be placed on the City of Toronto’s website and social media channels.

For more details and contest rules visit: toronto.ca/blackhistory

Upcoming Public Meeting – Gardiner Expressway East

Jan 2016 Gardiner Ad - 5x10 for print-page-001 (1)

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.


 

A Message from Gary – December 2015


 

With Christmas and the New Year just around the corner, the holiday season is often a time for reflection. As a Councillor, I work closely with the community and my Council colleagues to determine what we want our communities and City to look like; what are our priorities? How might they change?

As we roll out our Avenue plans, encourage development, support local business, and help those in need, we continue to focus on our shared vision. I have now hosted three out of four ward-wide town halls and look forward to working with our newly-established task forces, community groups, and business groups to realize our goals and support positive change that reflects the diversity that makes our community so great.

The holidays also tend to be a time when community members rise to the occasion, perhaps giving a little more to charity than at other times of the year. We tend to summon our compassion and understanding, some dedicating their time to help families in need.

I’m pleased to share news that the BBNC’s Share Christmas program has been redeveloped to operate year-round as the SHARE365 program – a change that will help to further meet the needs of those living in poverty.

The Mayor’s annual Toy Drive is now underway. Scarborough residents are encouraged to drop off any new, unwrapped toys, gifts, or gift cards to the Scarborough Civic Centre collection location at 150 Borough Drive, between 7:30am and 9:30pm on weekdays or 8:00am and 6:00pm on weekends until December 24th.

Special thanks to everyone who got the chance to attend my 6th Annual Community Tree Lighting on December 6th at Variety Village. Joined by Variety Village CEO Karen Stintz, MP Bill Blair, and Trustees Parthi Kandavel & Nancy Crawford, attendees enjoyed caroling, treats, performances by St. Agatha Catholic School Band, H.A. Halbert Public School Choir, Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School Choir, and a guest appearance from Santa Clause himself!

The Birchmount Men’s Residence will be hosting their Christmas Party and Tree Lighting on December 16th. Starting at 7pm, there will be cookies, hot chocolate, and Christmas Carols led by a local children’s choir. I hope you will all be able to join me as we ring in the holiday season.

As always, my staff and I are here to help. Please do not hesitate in contacting my office at councillor_crawford@toronto.ca or 416-392-4052.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday,

Gary Crawford
Councillor, Ward 36
Scarborough Southwest


 

Transportation Services “Watch Your Speed” Program


 

The Watch Your Speed Program uses large signs to show motorists the speed their vehicles are traveling and to get them to slow down. The program has been expanded by the City of Toronto to operate all year round.

Four portable units are rotated throughout the City on a weekly basis. Locations are selected from suggestions from local Councillors, public requests, the City’s Transportation Services staff and the Toronto Police Service. The equipment is for information purposes only.

Transportation Services is extremely concerned about safety in our communities. The City of Toronto and Toronto Police Service continue to work together to get motorists to slow down in our neighbourhoods.

To apply to have a speed display trailer on your street, visit http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=70be4681d4002410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD


 

Relocation of the Birchmount Men’s Residence


I would like to express my sincere appreciation to everyone who took the time to contact me with their questions and concerns surrounding the proposed relocation of the Birchmount Men’s Residence at 1673 Kingston Road. I had the opportunity to speak with many residents over the past number of weeks, and I am very grateful for the level of community advocacy, involvement, understanding and compassion that has been shown throughout this discussion.

I do understand that the process of a community information meeting, rather than a consultation, has been frustrating for many members of the community. As a result of the concerns that were brought to my attention by area residents, I submitted the following motions to both Executive Committee and City Council – all of which were passed unanimously.

  • 1. City Council requests the Chief Corporate Officer, General Manager of Shelter, Support & Housing Administration in conjunction with applicable Divisions, to help develop a comprehensive plan for 3300 and 3306 Kingston Road, which would include exploring opportunities with abutting property owners in potential future redevelopment proposals.
  • 2. City Council requests the General Manager of Shelter, Support & Housing Administration to establish a Community liaison committee associated with this project and establish a review with the Community a minimum of 6 months following the implementation of the re-location.
  • 3. Delay closing of the purchase of 3306 until no sooner than January 2016 in order to review all options related to the larger development acquisition in the area and the net benefit to the community.

The Executive Committee received letters with varied positions, a petition from concerned residents, and a number of deputants who chose to address the Committee in person. The Committee heard deputations from residents, some of whom were a part of the community when the Birchmount Residence was established in 1999 – residents who had expressed very similar concerns to those raised at the Cliffcrest Community meeting on November 17th. The Committee heard stories from area residents whose concerns were quickly dispelled when they saw that the Birchmount Residence was not the type of shelter they had imagined, but was in essence a home for vulnerable seniors. A District Chief with Toronto Fire Services also addressed the Committee, stating that the only time crews had been dispatched to the Birchmount Residence was to address medical issues that would be similar to those at any other seniors’ home.

The Committee also heard from a number of residents who made it clear that the existing Residence has not negatively affected property values or the safety of their community in any way. The reality of the existing location is that property values have seen annual increases as high as 25% in the surrounding community.

My continued support for this relocation largely follows from the existing Residence’s positive track record just six kilometers down the road for the past sixteen years, knowing that the property has not negatively influenced the surrounding area. My support, however, is also contingent on the conditions that the relocation would only move forward as a seniors’ residence and if the East Side Motel were to be demolished. As you know, area residents have consistently voiced safety concerns related to the illegal activities taking place at the East Side Motel, and its removal would be an undeniably positive step for our community.

Thank you again for your understanding, compassion and trust as we move forward with providing a safe and dignified environment for these senior men in our community.

Public Consultation: Community Garden at 1 Eastville Avenue


In September of this year, I sent out notification for a Community Consultation regarding a community garden at Tott’s Tot Lot. Due to community opposition, this initiative was cancelled.

On December 14th, 2015, there will be a Community Consultation with regard to the development of a Community Garden on the Toronto Region and Conservation Authority grounds of 1 Eastville Avenue.

The meeting will be held at 1 Eastville Avenue from 6:30 – 7:15 pm. This meeting will provide local residents with an opportunity share their concerns or voice their support for the proposed garden. Please feel free to contact my office at councillor_crawford@toronto.ca for further information or to confirm attendance.