City Council meeting highlights of January 27 and 28, 2009

New downtown transit line a high priority

Council decided to encourage Metrolinx, the regional transportation planning agency, to make the construction of a downtown relief transit line a higher priority. Council sees merit in building a new downtown relief line before the more expensive construction of a Yonge Street subway extension north from Finch Station to Richmond Hill. The proposed relief transit line would address rider capacity challenges that will be intensified by an extended Yonge Street subway bringing many more transit riders into the system. Council also confirmed major features of the planned, provincially-funded 6.8-kilometre extension of the Yonge subway line north from Finch Station.

Smoking prohibited at City playgrounds

Council approved a plan to make changes to the Municipal Code to prohibit smoking at playgrounds and other child-centred areas in City of Toronto parks. The intention is to help protect children from harmful second-hand tobacco smoke. The proposed changes to the code will prohibit smoking within a nine-metre radius of City playgrounds and wading pools. The City will apply to the Ontario Government to set fines for the offences created by the bylaw, and will place emphasis on raising public awareness of the issue.

Federal gas tax agreement

Council ratified an extension of the original agreement that transfers a portion of federal gasoline tax revenues to the City of Toronto. The extension covers the period 2010 to 2014. During that period, Toronto is expected to receive about $619 million in federal funding to support its capital planning for public transit. This funding arrangement originated with the federal New Deal for Cities and Communities that was secured by Canadian municipalities in 2005.

Designer chosen for June Callwood Park

Council approved the awarding of a contract to the landscape architecture team that won the recent design competition to create a park named in honour of the late June Callwood. The park site, located at the foot of the historic Fort York area of Toronto, is scheduled to be completed as a new waterfront-area park by 2011 - in time for bicentennial celebrations marking the War of 1812.

Scheduling of non-emergency construction work

Council decided to ask Transportation Services to prepare guidelines directing staff to determine the dates of significant religious events at religious institutions adjacent to municipal construction projects, and to take steps to minimize the impact of construction activities at those times.

Ambulances donated to Central American city

Council approved the donation of two decommissioned Toronto ambulances to the City of Soyapango in El Salvador for humanitarian purposes. The arrangement was made through a technical partnership that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities initiated between Toronto and Soyapango. Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS) replaces about 30 ambulances a year, selling them through auction.

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