City Council meeting of October 26, 1999
Council wants say in school plans
Council will ask the Toronto District School Board to give City staff an opportunity for input before the board acts on its plans to close thirty schools over the next three years. City officials have concerns because the City uses schools for recreation, child care and public health programs. Finding alternative facilities could cost millions of dollars and create hardships for the communities involved.
Hostel for elderly men
Council approved a plan to move 60 elderly residents of the downtown Seaton House men's shelter to a former nursing home on Kingston Road near the Scarborough Bluffs. The decision followed extensive debate about the merits of the City operating such a residence in a neighbourhood that has opposed it. Use of the facility, which will free up beds at Seaton House, is part of Council's effort to resolve the shortage of emergency shelters for homeless single men.
Funding for homelessness initiatives
Council established a Mayor's Homeless Initiative Reserve Fund of up to $5 million in 1999 to support capital projects that are designed to provide stable housing for high risk and homeless people. The Shelter, Support and Housing division will work with community agencies to identify proposals and projects that can proceed immediately.
More actions on homelessness
Council passed several new measures aimed at the problem of homelessness in Toronto. A team of councillors, staff and hospital representatives will take steps to make sure patients have places to go before discharge from hospital. In addition, the City will establish a committee dealing specifically with aboriginal homelessness, and will create an annual report card to monitor the success of homeless and housing initiatives.
Clearing snow from sidewalks
The City will phase in a plan to clear snow from sidewalks throughout Toronto. Council approved a plan that will expand the current, limited clearing of sidewalks to include arterial roads and streetcar routes this winter. Within four years, the City will be clearing all municipal sidewalks. The funding is based on eight snow clearings a year using small tractors.
Proposal for GO bus terminal
Council expressed support for GO Transit's interest in purchasing the old CP Express site east of Bay Street at Union Station for use as an interim GO bus terminal. At present, dozens of GO buses stop daily along Front Street at Union Station to pick up and discharge passengers. Purchase of the CP Express site is a component of the City's proposal to buy Union Station.
Review of City's licensing bylaw
Council endorsed plans to review the municipal licensing of businesses in the amalgamated city. The review will address issues such as whether current licensing is excessive and whether the City's costs for services such as health inspections are fully recovered by the current fees.
Lawsuit against U.S. polluters
Toronto will join the State of New York in a lawsuit against 17 coal-fired power plants in the United States that have allegedly failed to comply with requirements for control of gas emissions. Toronto's smog problems are attributed in part to coal-powered electricity plants in the mid-western states.
Electrical power from windmills
Council expressed its support in principle for an electricity-generating windmill demonstration project in Toronto. The project, a joint venture of Toronto Hydro and a local environmental group, will support the City's efforts to reduce local carbon dioxide emissions. A report says two windmills, or wind turbines, can meet the electricity needs of more than 500 households.
End of flat-rate water billing
The City will implement a mandatory program to convert 85,000 monthly flat-rate accounts in the former City of Toronto and 1,500 in former Etobicoke to metered billing. Council approved the plan to install water meters, specifying that the cost will be covered by revenue from water customers in the former City of Toronto.
Modernizing municipal water plants
The Water and Wastewater division will proceed with an ambitious project to modernize the operation of its water supply and sewage treatment facilities. The program, called Works Best Practices, involves changes in work and management practices, organization and technology that are expected to result in significant reductions in operating costs while maintaining and even improving present water quality. Council approved a series of contracts, including one with a firm that heads a consortium of companies guiding the implementation.
Operating budget for 2000
Council endorsed a process and schedule for the 2000 operating budget. The schedule calls for the submission of City agencies' proposed budgets by November 1, 1999 and departments' budgets by November 15. Detailed review by the Budget Advisory Committee is scheduled to start in late January. Council's approval of a 2000 budget is anticipated in early April.
Cultivating the urban forest
Council endorsed a tree-planting program that will involve community involvement and business sponsorships to plant about 60,000 trees in Toronto as a Year 2000 project. The plantings, which are planned for a list of designated sites, are in addition to the Parks and Recreation division's normal tree-planting program.
Previous Council Highlights
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