City Council meeting of June 22, 2004
Toronto's development charges
Council decided to increase the City's development charge on new homes, replacing the current development charge bylaw, which expires July 29, 2004. Even with the substantial fee increase, Toronto's residential development charges remain among the lowest in the Greater Toronto Area. The increase is necessary to help fund the additional physical infrastructure (roads, water pipes and sewers) required to accommodate growth. The new bylaw contains transitional provisions to cushion the impact of the increased development charge.
Plans for Maple Leaf Gardens
Council approved a proposal under the Ontario Heritage Act that will allow the owners of Maple Leaf Gardens to alter the building for a planned Loblaws grocery store. The building's exterior and its interior roof structure will be protected under the terms of a heritage easement agreement. The owner is required to give the City a conservation plan (describing proposed restoration and conservation work) for review before a building permit will be issued for the proposed development project. Maple Leaf Gardens, the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team from 1931 to 1999, was also the venue for a wide variety of high-profile events over the years. The current owner, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., is in the process of selling the building to Loblaw Companies Ltd.
Garbage diversion plans
Council decided to proceed with plans to undertake a full environmental assessment of options for dealing with Toronto's long-term needs for garbage disposal (specifically the "residual" waste not processed in the City's recycling and composting programs). Council agreed to urge the Ontario environment minister to accelerate the environmental assessment process, which otherwise could take many years to complete. The province recently told the City it cannot study thermal waste processing options until completion of a full environmental assessment. The City will continue to look for additional landfill sites while investigating other options for garbage disposal. More information is available on the City's website at www.toronto.ca/taskforce2010/.
Affordable housing project
The majority of Council voted to support a proposal for the construction of housing, some of it special low-mortgage housing, on a seven-hectare site in east Toronto. A mixture of market-value and affordable housing will occupy about a third of the City-owned property, which Council agreed to sell for the development. The rest of the site is expected to be used for a police station and a park. Many residents of the West Hill neighbourhood advocated keeping most of the site as green space.
Holistic medicine centres
Council decided the City will amend its licensing bylaw to include new rules regarding businesses that describe themselves as holistic medicine centres, many of which are thought to be operating as massage parlours offering sexual services. The City will require centres offering holistic therapies, such as shiatsu massage, to hold a valid practitioner's licence and keep patient records, among other stipulations.
Grant allocations for 2004
Community services and health grants
As part of the City's overall grants program, Council approved allocations of about $1 million divided among 501 projects in the City's 2004 Community Services Grants Program. An additional $655,000 was approved for applicants in the grants program called Breaking the Cycle of Violence. Council also allocated $810,000 among about 60 projects addressing the use of harmful drugs and related problems. Another 51 community projects will receive funding through the City's AIDS Prevention Grants Program, which is receiving $1.36 million this year.
Access and equity grants
Council approved funding of $574,000 in support of 68 applicants in phase one of the 2004 Access and Equity Grants Program. The projects and programs that have qualified for funding all promote positive race relations and foster respect for Toronto's multicultural, multiracial character.
Almost 150 community organizations will receive grants to help them provide recreational programs and other activities that improve local residents' quality of life. Council approved $1.4 million across three categories: major recreational grants, minor recreational grants, and lawn bowling grants.
Other City of Toronto grants
The City will distribute almost $5 million through the following seven grants programs apart from those described above. Council approved funding for the Community Festivals and Special Events Grants Program; Grants to Major Cultural Organizations; Arts and Cultural Grants to Local Arts Service Organizations; the Economic Development Sector Initiatives Program; Economic Sponsorships Initiatives; Commercial Research Grant Program; and Graffiti Transformation Grants. Much of the arts and culture funding will go to the following seven major cultural organizations: the Art Gallery of Ontario; the Canadian Opera Company; the Caribbean Cultural Committee (Caribana); the George Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Arts; the National Ballet of Canada; the National Ballet School; and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Previous Council Highlights
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