City Council meeting of January 30, 2001
City response to homelessness
Council supported a series of actions to address Toronto's homelessness crisis. A delegation from City Council is to meet with the federal minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to demand the quick release of promised funds for affordable housing. The City will also set up meetings with federal and provincial officials to address issues such as refugee settlement and its cost implications for the emergency shelter system in the Toronto. City officials will continue working with all stakeholders on the Tent City situation and will make homelessness initiatives a part of the studies to be undertaken in support of waterfront revitalization. In addition, staff are directed to meet with each member of Council to identify potential shelter sites in their wards.
Waterfront revitalization project
Council approved an initial work plan and funding to pay for technical studies related to revitalization of the waterfront. The cost of the studies will be shared equally by the federal and provincial governments and the City of Toronto.
Planning for major emergencies
Council decided that the City will prepare agreements with the neighbouring regions of York and Durham to share staff and equipment if required in an emergency. The mutual assistance agreements will provide for cost recovery and payment when the City extends or receives assistance.
Combating fatal heart attacks
Council approved expansion of the life-saving heart defibrillation program (currently at City Hall and Metro Hall) to other major City-owned buildings. Toronto Emergency Medical Services, working with hospital partners, provides training in the use of the equipment designed to revive those experiencing cardiac arrest (heart attack). Hundreds of cardiac arrests occur locally each year in public places. Defibrillation in the minutes before the arrival of an ambulance is critical for the survival of someone suffering a heart attack.
Paramedic team commended
Emergency Medical Services paramedics Tahir Choudry and Geoff Stoodley received a formal commendation from Council for a brave and successful rescue effort. Driving along Bloor Street in an ambulance in the early hours of December 25, the pair noticed smoke coming from a building. They stopped and evacuated all the residents from the burning building, also alerting neighbours before the arrival of firefighters and ambulance (EMS) crews. One of the paramedics was later treated for smoke inhalation.
Grass clippings cut from garbage collection
Council decided that as of April 1, the City will no longer pick up bags of grass clippings for disposal. Property owners have the option of taking their bags of lawn clippings to a dump site (and paying a dumping fee), but it is assumed that most people will either compost their clippings or use them as garden mulch. The policy change will result in the diversion of about 18,000 tonnes of organic waste from landfill each year and will save the City about $900,000 a year in transfer and disposal costs.
Adams Mine option ruled out
Council voted overwhelmingly in favour of formally rejecting the Adams Mine site in northern Ontario as a current or future option for dumping the City's municipal waste. The City of Toronto has made alternative arrangements for the short term that involve trucking garbage to a Michigan landfill site. Toronto is committed to finding alternative waste disposal options.
Purchase of new fire trucks
Council approved the purchase of eight rescue pumper trucks for firefighting. Smeal Fire Apparatus Company was chosen as the supplier through the standard competitive bidding process.
Committee of Adjustment
Council approved an organization structure for a Committee of Adjustment serving the City of Toronto. The committee will deal with applications for minor variances and can give consent for the creation of new lots. It will be comprised of 30 citizen members operating in six panels of five members each, corresponding with the new community council boundaries. The City will conduct a nomination process for committee members in the next few months.
Review of special committees
Council decided to re-establish several special purpose committees such as the ethics steering committee, and to disband others, such as the office consolidation subcommittee. The changes result from a review of all committees and task forces set up during the previous term of Council. The review also makes changes to the mandate and membership of some special committees.
Policy on constituency offices
Council approved rental fees to be paid by councillors who use office space in one of the civic centres for their constituency office (in addition to their office at City Hall).
Backyard composters for a fee
The City will continue to sell backyard composters to the public during local "environment days" at a price of $15. Council gave its approval after staff reported that the option of handing out composters free of charge would cost the City about $500,000 in 2001. Each composter, if used regularly, diverts 100 to 200 kilograms of organic waste annually from roadside pickup.
Design competition on hold
Council decided against moving ahead immediately with the process to hold a design competition for the redesign and redevelopment of Nathan Phillips Square as Toronto's premier civic square and event venue. Further consideration of the project is deferred until completion of the City's 2001 budget process in the spring.
Previous Council Highlights
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