City Council meeting of May 21, 2003
Restrictions on the use of lawn pesticides
Council approved a bylaw that will restrict the use of chemical pesticides on Toronto lawns, gardens and other landscapes. The decision, which followed extensive debate, results in a bylaw that will take effect April 1, 2004 and will be fully implemented by mid 2005. Council amended the original bylaw proposal in response to the concerns of lawn-care companies. The City will undertake public education to inform residents about pesticide-free ways to grow a healthy lawn. Council also decided to establish a Pesticide Bylaw Advisory Committee with broad representation to make recommendations on several matters related to the bylaw.
Toronto's legislative framework
Council endorsed the principles and components of a new legislative framework intended to provide the City with the tools and resources needed to fulfil its responsibilities. The intention is to establish a strong foundation for a progressive relationship between the City of Toronto and the Government of Ontario. The City will invite provincial government officials to participate in a collaborative review of Toronto's current and proposed legislative frameworks, including possible changes to the "City of Toronto Act, 1997" and other provincial legislation governing the City.
Change to community councils
Council approved a motion to change the number of community councils from six to four, effective immediately after the November 2003 municipal election. The Policy and Finance Committee will now address the issue of community council boundaries and make its recommendations to Council. The change will make the structure of community councils more consistent with the four-district model used to administer municipal public services in Toronto.
New staff for City's SARS response
Council decided to hire 46 people on a contract basis to a form a SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) unit in Toronto Public Health. During the initial SARS outbreak in March and April, Public Health re-assigned staff from their normal jobs to work in its SARS emergency centre at 277 Victoria St. The City is asking the provincial government to cover the wages of the temporary SARS workers.
Establishment of community crisis program
Council approved plans to establish a community crisis network and a community response fund to assist local communities in coping with traumatic events. Public consultation earlier this year identified the need for the City to support communities faced with violent, or other, traumatic incidents. The new program will also encourage better co-ordination of resources among communities, services agencies and government.
Taxi drivers' use of cell phones
The rules for operating Toronto taxis will be amended, following Council's decision to prohibit cab drivers from using cell phones while transporting passengers (except in an emergency). The safety-related ruling also permits taxicab drivers to use a cell phone when not engaged in driving passengers. In another taxi industry decision, Council approved plans and fees for the City's ambassador taxicab training course over the next three years.
Community grants for 2003
Council approved a variety of grants totalling about $6 million in support of local organizations and programs, including arts groups, major cultural organizations, community festivals, recreation groups and economic development projects. The decision, which follows a review of all the grant applications, allocates funding that was approved earlier as part of the City's 2003 budget.
Recycling collection in Districts 1 and 3
Council approved a recommendation to end the contracted collection of recycling materials for six routes in District 1 (part of central Toronto) and District 3 (North York area). A review concluded that municipal collection will reduce costs. Municipal staff will take over the District 1 recycling operation in September, when implementation of single-stream recycling in District 4 will make collection vehicles available for use in District 1. The change in District 3 takes effect June 30.
Support for local aerospace industry
Council supported a proposal that calls for the City and major stakeholders to hold an aerospace industry conference in Toronto this summer. The conference, and related work on an action plan, are intended to support the region's aerospace industry. The most significant challenge involves recent cuts to production and jobs at Bombardier Aerospace (the former de Havilland plant). Those cutbacks also affect employment at many smaller aerospace supply businesses in the Toronto area.
Graffiti transformation program
Eighteen organizations will receive City grants for the removal of graffiti and the transformation of vandalized surfaces into murals this summer. Council approved funding of $310,000 for the training and employment of young people to carry out the work. Over the past seven years, the program has cleaned 263 sites (5,500 individual graffiti tags) and has created 333 murals.
Councillor for Ward 17-Davenport
Council appointed Fred Dominelli the City Councillor for Ward 17-Davenport at a special meeting of City Council on May 22. Mr. Dominelli fills the vacancy left by Betty Disero, who resigned her seat in March. The term of the appointment ends on November 30, 2003.
Previous Council Highlights
Council Highlights is an informal summary of Council's recent decisions, produced for readers' convenience. Any questions about this summary can be emailed to Strategic Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org
The formal documentation of Council's decisions is available at http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/index.do
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