City Council meeting of June 9, 10, 11 1999
Dismantling of the east Gardiner
Council approved a plan to dismantle the elevated F.G. Gardiner Expressway between the Don Valley Parkway and the eastern end of the expressway at Leslie Street. Financial, safety and aesthetic considerations led to the decision to get rid of the crumbling structure. City traffic engineers have reported that a widened Lake Shore Boulevard and other roads in the area will be able to handle traffic adequately when the east end of the expressway is removed. The dismantling work will include measures to address concerns about noise, dust and other issues raised by film companies that are located near the expressway.
Purchase of Union Station
Council authorized the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development to negotiate an agreement to purchase Union Station from the Toronto Terminals Railway Company. Details of the purchase offer are still confidential.
Housing-first policy for City land
Council approved a "housing first" policy that favours the construction of affordable housing on surplus City-owned land. Council set a target of at least 900 new units of affordable housing on City land over the next three
years. The housing-first policy responds to a recommendation of the Mayor's Action Task Force on Homelessness. In a related decision, Council authorized a community-based housing project on land leased from the City, consisting of 24 units designated primarily for single mothers and their children who are currently in the hostel system.
Prevention of tenant evictions
Council approved 1999 funding of $97,500 for a tenant information hotline as part of the City's strategy to reduce evictions. The phone service, operated by the Federation of Metro Toronto Tenants' Associations, informs tenants about
their rights and options. Evictions (and subsequent rent hikes) have increased in recent years with the elimination of rent controls in Ontario. The City's strategy to address issues of homelessness favours prevention over emergency measures.
Changes to the TTC
Council decided to increase the number of Councillors on the Toronto Transit Commission from seven to nine. Councillors Joan King and Gloria Lindsay-Luby were appointed to the new positions for the rest of the current term of Council (to November, 2000). The term of office for future appointments to the TTC will be 18 months rather than the present term of three years.
Smog reduction and prevention
Council adopted new measures to bolster the City's 1998 plan for reducing smog, especially on smog-alert days. The measures, aimed at the City workforce and operations as well as at the broader community, include steps encouraging City staff to use public transit, along with the active enforcement of an anti-idling bylaw to reduce engine emissions, among other measures. In addition, the City is taking steps to educate those most vulnerable to air pollution about how they can best protect
their lung and heart health when smog is severe.
New tactics for termite infestations
Council endorsed efforts to pursue the commercial potential of a new method for eliminating termite infestations in local neighbourhoods. The trap-treat-release method, which a Toronto entomologist has developed with City support, involves using the social behaviour of termites to disperse a pesticide through termite colonies. A three-year pilot project is planned to further test the new method of combatting the wood-digesting insects.
Attractive murals replacing graffiti
The City will give 14 community organizations grants ranging from $6,000 to $28,000 this summer to support the employment of youth in projects that transform walls vandalized with graffiti into murals. The Graffiti Transformation Program has employed about 350 youth over the past three years, contributing to the quality of life in the neighbourhoods involved.
Toronto to Rochester ferry service
Council expressed its support for the establishment of a fast ferry service between Toronto and Rochester to promote commerce, including tourism, between the two regions. A proposal by the Lake Ontario Fast Ferry Corporation calls for the construction of two catamaran ships, each able to cross the lake in about two hours with a load of 175 cars and 800 passengers. The project includes the creation a marine terminal at the foot of Cherry Street in the downtown port area. Council directed that development of an implementation plan for the ferry service is to include public consultation.
Community gardening competition
The City plans to hold a friendly gardening competition among neighbourhoods across Toronto this summer. Council endorsed the project, called Neighbourhoods In Bloom. A committee of councillors, staff and community members will determine the evaluation criteria for the competition. The City is seeking corporate sponsors for support and prizes.
Sponsorship of water parks
City revenues of $150,000 from a sponsorship agreement with Molson's Breweries for the sale of Toronto's Own beer will fund the design and construction of two water parks this year. Council approved the funding arrangement, which will result in water-play facilities at Regent Park and at a new park in the neighbourhood near King and Dufferin streets.
Clarification about appointments
Council's recent appointments to committees and community councils cover the period from this month (June) until November 30, 2000. The printed version of May's Council Highlights mistakenly said "1999" instead of 2000. The electronic version correctly identified the year as 2000.
Previous Council Highlights
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