City Council meeting of September 28 to 30, 2005
New film studio and media complex
Council approved plans for the construction of a large film studio in the Port Lands area of the Toronto waterfront. The studio, financed by the private sector, will be capable of handling "blockbuster" movie productions. Council's decision authorizes a ground lease between the Toronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO) and Toronto Film Studios Inc. as part of the arrangement for the studio complex. This project is considered vital to Toronto's film industry. The City and its partners are also working in other ways to support the local film industry.
Future of the Hummingbird Centre
Council supported a proposal for the re-development of the City's Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts. The project as conceived includes a tall residential tower and a podium structure housing an interactive cultural attraction to be called CityCentre, while preserving the existing theatre. Council directed a committee to look into alternatives that could be pursued for the 45-year-old arts facility if enough money cannot be raised to finance the CityCentre concept. The Hummingbird Centre's re-development is intended to keep the facility financially viable after its two main tenants - the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada - move to the brand new Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts next year.
Response to Bellamy Report
Council decided to take a series of actions in response to receipt of Madam Justice Denise Bellamy's report on the Toronto Computer Leasing Inquiry and the Toronto External Contracts Inquiry. Among its actions, Council directed the City Manager, in consultation with the City's Integrity Commissioner and Auditor General, to consult with all members of Council in a review of, and response to, the report's recommendations. Council also referred the report to the police for investigation and to the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency for review of certain issues. Council - which expressed its appreciation to Justice Bellamy and her staff for their work on the two inquiries - also directed the Integrity Commissioner, the City Clerk and the City Solicitor to take specific actions in respect of Justice Bellamy's findings. (Note: This item was inadvertently left off the print edition of Council Highlights that was distributed internally by e-mail on October 12.)
Assistance with flood prevention
The City is taking steps to assist people who experienced flooding during the August 19 storm in Toronto. A subsidy is available to help pay for certain flood-prevention measures. The homes affected were mainly in the Scarborough and North York areas. Council decided to reactivate an earlier subsidy program in order to help people pay for the installation of a back-flow valve designed to prevent storm-sewer overflow from entering homes through basement water pipes. The subsidy is also available to help people install sump pumps and disconnect roof downspouts. The City's web site offers more details at www.toronto.ca/water.
Limits on bags of garbage
Council lowered the current limit of six garbage bags for bi-weekly residential curbside collection to five bags, effective April 1, 2006. A further reduction to four bags takes effect in April 2007. Limiting the number of garbage bags for landfill disposal supports the City's strategy for achieving its goal of 60 per cent rate of diversion for single family homes by 2008. Exceptional circumstances, such as large families, may warrant an exemption from the bag limit. Families must apply and be pre-approved by the City to qualify for an exemption. Most single-family dwellings are already well within the allowable bag limit.
Council took another step in the revitalization of Toronto's waterfront, approving the implementation plan for the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation's new structure. The organization now includes the Mayor of Toronto as a member of the corporation's board of directors. The City, the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada have together given the waterfront corporation the role of "master developer" responsible for creating a dynamic, accessible and sustainable Toronto waterfront. In a related decision, Council approved a five-year business plan and 10-year forecast defining priorities for the waterfront initiative.
Labour settlement with Local 79
Council approved the Memorandum of Agreement between the City and CUPE Local 79, bringing into effect tentative agreements that were reached in August. The four-year agreements, covering approximately 20,000 City workers in four bargaining units represented by Local 79, are retroactive to January 1, 2005 and expire on December 31, 2008. Key issues were wages, seniority rights and provisions for contracting out work. Council also approved salary increases for non-union staff and elected officials.
Hiring of police officers
Council granted Toronto Police Services authority to hire 50 new police officers this year and an additional 100 next year, bringing the total complement to 5,456 police officer positions. Funding is to be provided through Toronto Police Services surpluses and provincial funds.
Managing information technology
Council endorsed a proposed inventory system that will be used to track the distribution of computers and other electronic equipment (such as copiers and fax machines) in the organization. All purchases of electronic assets are co-ordinated centrally by the Information and Technology Division. The asset management system is designed to manage the technology life cycle effectively.
Sale of street lights
Council gave staff the authority to proceed with the sale of City of Toronto street and expressway lighting assets to Toronto Hydro. Council is asking Toronto Hydro officials to report back on how they will manage the purchase in their budget.
Consultation on new street signs
Council directed staff to establish a review process, including public consultation, to consider proposed changes to the design of street name signs that are put up as old signs are gradually replaced in the many communities that now make up Toronto. The City's Urban Design Section and the Roundtable on a Beautiful City will be asked to participate.
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
Questions about the formal documentation can be emailed to the City Clerk's Office at email@example.com