City Council meeting of June 27, 2006
New governance model for the City
Council approved a series of changes to the City's Council and committees, including the creation of an executive committee responsible for setting policy directions. The reforms are designed to improve the decision-making structure and neighbourhood involvement, and prepare the City for powers resulting from new City of Toronto Act. The new governance model will be implemented when the new Council takes office in December. Other highlights of the changes:
- The mayor will have the right to appoint the deputy mayor and the chairs of Council's standing committees.
- The 13-member executive committee, which replaces the current policy and finance committee, will consist of the mayor (as chair), the deputy mayor, the chairs of standing committees, and four other members of Council.
- Council will select a speaker and deputy speaker from among its members to help conduct its monthly meetings.
- A revised structure for standing committees will be implemented, with seven policy-focused committees reporting to Council.
- The four community councils will take on more responsibility for decisions on local neighbourhood issues. (The City will be reviewing the number and boundaries of community councils.)
- The City will launch a community dialogue initiative in the new term of Council aimed at reconnecting Torontonians with their local government.
Review of City programs
Council adopted a program review framework designed to complement the City administration's existing management and accountability systems. Program reviews will look at the major programs and services the City delivers to ensure that they respond to the community's needs, and to ensure that the services continue to be relevant and are delivered effectively and efficiently. Major programs and services will be independently reviewed in a five-year cycle in the context of the new City of Toronto Act, services provided by other governments, the non-profit and private sectors, and other emerging legislation or financial considerations.
Front yard parking
Council adopted a comprehensive set of policies and regulations to harmonize the City's management of residential front yard and boulevard parking across Toronto. The regulatory package covers matters such as the dimensions of parking pads and driveways, landscaping requirements, number and location of parking spaces in front yards, and parking on the public boulevard.
Council adopted a motion directing City staff to report back on the possibility of creating a quality-of-life bylaw designed to stop people from "panhandling" when their soliciting of pedestrians for money interferes with the public's day-to-day activities. In addition, staff will look into measures that would discourage panhandling in places such as Nathan Phillips Square and other civic squares.
Council authorized staff to begin the process of issuing a request for proposals to the private sector for supplying the City of Toronto with street furniture for the next 20 years. Included are items such as litter and recycling bins, transit shelters, public benches, bicycle stands and newspaper vending boxes. The supplier will be able to recover costs by having the right to sell advertising on some of the street furniture. The City will receive a portion of the advertising revenues.
Pilot project for design panel
Council approved a pilot project to test the feasibility of incorporating a Design Review Panel into the development approvals process in order to help meet the objectives of the City's Official Plan and the Beautiful City initiative. The two-year pilot project will be carried out in several areas of Toronto. Design review panels provide professional advice on matters of design that affect the public realm. The aim is to achieve high standards of design for buildings, streets, parks and open spaces.
Social assistance in Toronto
Council endorsed a broad policy document with reforms to the City's delivery of social assistance and related supports to low-income, vulnerable residents. The action plan, called Systems of Survival, Systems of Support, was prepared by the Social Services Division after extensive consultation and research. The goal is to ensure that adequate benefits, services and supports are provided to low-income people. According to the report, the social safety net in Toronto and beyond has been eroding in recent years because of changes in the labour market and reduced access to government-supported programs such as employment insurance and adult education.
Disposal of sewage biosolids
City Council directed staff to pursue legal remedies and seek alternative sites, if required, for the disposal of Toronto's biosolids. The action responds to recent notification from Republic Services that it will not accept biosolids from Toronto or other municipalities for disposal after August 1. Toronto's shipment of other solid waste to Republic's Carleton Farms Landfill in Michigan is not affected.
Garbage collection in Etobicoke and York
Council voted in favour of proceeding with a call for bids on picking up curbside household garbage and recycling in the York and Etobicoke communities. The current contracts are about to expire. The former cities of York and Etobicoke contracted out their garbage collection before amalgamation in 1998 and that arrangement continued after amalgamation. Curbside collection is handled by the City's own municipal workers in the rest of Toronto.
Support for community groups
Council agreed to look into establishing a policy promoting the allocation of surplus City-owned space for use by community organizations in vulnerable neighbourhoods. Community use would be the second priority (after the development of affordable housing) in allocating surplus City-owned space. In addition, the City might waive its usual building permit fees on certain projects that include space for community use. Council directed a committee to work on the new policy.
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