City Council meeting of May 17 to 19, 2005
Organic waste from highrise buildings
Council supported plans for a one-year pilot project involving the collection and composting of organic waste, such as kitchen scraps, in residential highrise buildings. Thirty condominium and apartment buildings will be chosen to participate in the project. The City must find ways to increase recycling and composting by residents of Toronto's 5,100 highrise buildings in order to end the City's shipment of waste to Michigan for landfill disposal and to meet the diversion goals set by Council. The green bin program for organic waste is already available to most single-family homes in Toronto.
Garbage disposal contract
Council decided to renew the City's contract with Wilson Logistics Inc. and Republic Services Inc. for hauling and disposing of Toronto's residual solid waste (the waste not separated for recycling or composting). The garbage has been trucked to Republic's landfill site in Michigan since January 2003. That arrangement will continue to the end of 2008 under the renewed three-year contract.
Controlling portable signs
Council approved a new bylaw to regulate the design and display of temporary signs through a permit process with strict guidelines and enforcement. The rules are designed to manage and reduce self-standing A-frame signs and mobile signs on sidewalks, boulevards and private property. Under the new regulations, businesses that install, lease or rent temporary signs must be licensed. The new standards will increase public safety and reduce street-side clutter.
Residential parking fees
Council approved fees for on-street permit parking and off-street residential parking (the latter involving locations where the parking space in front of a house extends onto the City boulevard) for 2005. The on-street parking fee increases from the current $8.50 to $10 a month for the first vehicle and $25 a month for a second vehicle. The fee for off-street parking also increases from $8.50 to $10 a month for the first vehicle.
Revitalizing the West Don Lands
Council endorsed the West Don Lands Precinct Plan as a guide for the area's future environmental assessments, development application decisions, and agreements with government partners and the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation. The plan anticipates about 6,000 residential units, non-residential development, and the construction of a park (in conjunction with a flood protection land form) and community facilities over the next 15 years.
Guidelines for 2006 budget process
Council approved guidelines for the preparation of the City's 2006 operating budget and 2006-2010 plan for the capital budget. The guidelines include interim measures required to balance the operating budget in light of financial challenges. One such step entails using Toronto Hydro as a source of revenues. The 2006 budget process is the second phase of the City's budget improvement exercise.
Cutting grass and shovelling snow
The City will review the funding of its grass-cutting and snow-shovelling services for seniors and people with disabilities. Council wants the review to advance efforts toward making the two services consistent ("harmonized") in neighbourhoods across the city. At present, there are still variations inherited from the pre-amalgamation municipalities.
Membership in standing committees
City Council appointed members of Council to standing committees, agencies, boards and commissions for the remainder of this term. The appointments take effect after the mid-June meeting of Council. Details are provided in the City's May 17 news release.
Permits at recreation facilities
Council approved harmonized rates (consistent across the city) for the public's use of City-run recreation centres' gymnasiums, kitchens and other rooms, and dry pads (indoor arena floors), as well as for children's use of sports fields. The new rates take effect in January 2006. Most children, youth and seniors will still be able to use recreation facilities for free or at a nominal cost.
Emergency shelter on Edward Street
Council approved funding to keep an emergency shelter and referral program operating at 110 Edward St. until next spring. The building's owner has agreed to a month-to-month extension of the lease. The shelter, which opened last winter, was originally scheduled to close this month.
Transition to a green fleet
The City will establish a policy requiring its replacement vehicles to be alternative-fuel or hybrid vehicles. In adopting the recommendation, Council agreed that replacement vehicles will have to meet yet-to-be-set technical standards. The City will take steps to ensure that corporate and emergency services fleet operations, as well as those of City agencies, comply with the policy.
Regulation of taxicabs and limousines
Council approved a series of regulations to manage taxi and limousine operations in Toronto. The City will establish a new category of business licence for livery services (luxury limousines) among other measures to improve the standards for limousine operations and to deter direct competition with regular taxis for business. Other actions by Council taken deal with driver safety, driver training, airport taxi service and advertising on taxicabs.
Internet hotspot project
Council approved plans to undertake a test project that will provide a "wireless hotspot" on Nathan Phillips Square. The hotspot will provide wireless access to the Internet. The pilot project will be conducted on the square commencing this summer.
Ideas from City employees
At its one-day meeting on May 4, Council's actions included support for the concept of an Ideas Day involving the Toronto Public Service later this year. Employees will be encouraged to submit their ideas for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of City operations. Council also expressed interest in establishing an ongoing program to collect and assess employees' suggestions.
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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