City Council meeting of May 7, 8, 9 and 10, 2013
Council Highlights is an informal summary of decisions made by Toronto City Council. The City Clerk provides the formal documentation.
Funding for transit expansion
Council debated the matter of transit funding in order to provide input to Metrolinx and the Province of Ontario when considering an investment strategy for Toronto regional transportation in June. Council adopted some of the many motions presented at the meeting, agreeing to indicate general support for regional transportation expansion in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and to support the Province's use of dedicated revenues to fund the Metrolinx transportation plan (the Big Move) and related operating costs. Council also adopted a series of implementation principles as the basis of its support for potential new GTHA taxes and fees related to the Big Move plan, and specified the kinds of taxes, tolls and levies Council would not endorse as revenue tools for the Big Move.
Porter Airlines operations
Council debated and voted on a series of motions addressing a request from Porter Airlines for an exemption to the ban on commercial jets at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Council directed the City Manager to report to the July 3 meeting of the Executive Committee with advice on Porter's request to amend the Tripartite Agreement governing Billy Bishop Airport and related matters concerning Porter's request. The City Manager's report is to include an analysis of jet use in other waterfront cities.
Maintenance of the Gardiner Expressway
Council approved a revised plan for the F.G. Gardiner Expressway Rehabilitation Project, with the deck replacement to start at the west end instead of the east end of the elevated expressway. The change to phasing of the maintenance project is tied to the recent decision to resume an Environmental Assessment to determine the future of the easterly 2.4-kilometre segment of the Gardiner between Jarvis Street and Don Roadway.
Nathan Phillips Square revitalization
Council agreed to re-establish the Nathan Phillips Square Community Advisory Committee to provide input on the opening of the relocated Peace Garden and the possible establishment of a restaurant on the square. Council asked the City Manager to report back on a review of bylaws governing Nathan Phillips Square, with the intention of achieving the vision for the square's revitalization, effective management and future programming.
Bike station at City Hall
Council directed Transportation Services to proceed with building a bike parking station at Nathan Phillips Square and to look into opportunities to offset the financial cost to the City. The Toronto Parking Authority has been directed that any revenue decrease resulting from the installation of the Nathan Philips Square bike station in the municipal parking garage under the square be absorbed within the parking authority's annual operating budget. Council also directed staff to examine options for increasing the number of paid parking spaces in the parking garage to generate more revenues.
Design guidelines for tall buildings
Council adopted the updated Tall Building Design Guidelines for use in the evaluation of all new and current tall building development applications across Toronto. Updates to the guidelines include clear language and layout, strengthened connections to Official Plan policy, and emphasis on design excellence, heritage conservation and sustainable design.
Air conditioning of apartments
Council adopted a motion to direct staff to report on the possibility of amending the Municipal Code to require Toronto landlords to turn on their apartment building air conditioning systems by May 16 and keep them on until September 30 so as to maintain an indoor temperature no higher than 26 degrees. Currently, the City requires air conditioning to operate from June 2 to September 14. Toronto's weather is sometimes hot in the periods before and after those dates.
Toronto Seniors Strategy
Council approved the Toronto Seniors Strategy designed to address the needs of an aging population and make Toronto more age-friendly through services provided by City divisions, agencies and corporations. The strategy includes a plan to ensure timely implementation and clear lines of accountability. Forecasts estimate that by 2030, about 20 per cent of Toronto's population will be 65 years of age or older, compared with about 14 per cent at present.
Five-year plan for Toronto's parks
Council adopted the City of Toronto Parks Plan, which will guide the City's delivery of parks services over the next five years. The plan aims to connect residents with parks, make progress on greening and environmental sustainability, improve the quality of parks, and strengthen the parks system as a legacy for Toronto.
Parking ticket grace period
Council decided to ask the Toronto Police Services Board to amend its guidelines for parking enforcement to allow a 10-minute grace period for police staff issuing parking tickets for parking meter and pay-and-display offences (excluding in rush-hour periods) when the paid parking period has elapsed. Council directed that other City agencies' municipal law enforcement officers are also to allow for that 10-minute grace period. For residential areas where on-street permit parking is in effect, Council amended the parking ticket cancellation guidelines for the mid-month changeover day. There will be a grace period between 9 p.m. of one day to 12:01 p.m. of the next day at the time when parking alternates from one side of the street to the other.
Social procurement framework
Council adopted a Toronto Social Procurement Framework for using the City's collective buying power to maximize its economic, workforce and social development goals. Each year, the City of Toronto spends about $1.5 billion on goods and services obtained through competitive, transparent procurement processes. The framework will guide the City's social procurement from 2013 to 2015 with a view to developing an evidence-based Toronto social procurement policy.
Health services for medically uninsured residents
Council voted to ask the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to take steps to address a gap between the demand for and the availability of essential medical services for medically uninsured Toronto residents. Among the steps requested is an increase in provincial funding to Local Health Integration Networks so they can provide additional resources to community health centres for treating residents who are not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Council also requested the federal government to reinstate benefits covered under the former Interim Federal Health Plan for refugees and refugee claimants.
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