Toronto and the Ontario Municipal Board
Council voted to request the provincial government to remove Toronto from the jurisdiction of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). The board, a quasi-judicial body, has the final say on appealed zoning decisions and sometimes rules in favour of developers - against decisions City Council has made in support of local neighbourhoods and with the advice of the City's professional planning staff.
Relieving rush-hour congestion
Council authorized an increase in the applicable fine to $150 from the current $60 for vehicles violating stopping, standing or parking prohibitions during the rush-hour periods of 6 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday (except holidays). A fine for the same amount can be imposed for stopping a vehicle other than a bicycle in a Toronto bike lane at any time. The fines will need confirmation from the Ontario Court of Justice in order to take effect.
Traffic control at film shoots
Council endorsed the use of traffic control persons (TCPs) instead of paid-duty police officers in certain circumstances as an authorized option for traffic control at film and television production locations. Decisions on traffic control are to be made by the Toronto Film and Television Office. Traffic control costs have an effect on overall production budgets. The use of TCPs, with on-street notice and traffic separation, is often the most cost-effective approach.
Streets and sidewalks
Council voted to amend the section of the City of Toronto Municipal Code that covers the use of streets and sidewalks. The changes, which were made with the help of public input, apply city-wide and are intended to encourage compliance with municipal regulations and reduce the need for active enforcement.
Improving 311 Toronto service
Council directed management of 311 Toronto to take steps to reduce call wait times and to pursue other ways of improving public service and efficiency. Among the steps to be considered is the possible introduction of telephone self-serve technology in the 311 operation where appropriate. The City launched 311 Toronto in 2009 to provide the public with one easy-to-remember phone number to obtain non-emergency City services and information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to answering general inquiries by phone and email, 311 Toronto electronically creates service requests for some of the City's divisions.
Allocation of funding for affordable housing
Council approved $103 million in allocations under the federal/provincial Investment in Affordable Housing program in Toronto and authorized staff to submit a plan to the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for consideration. The program allocates federal and provincial funds for housing allowances, new construction, home renovations and affordable home ownership. Council voted to inform the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing that the City will not fund any affordable housing programs under this program after the expected expiry of federal-provincial funding - in 2017 for housing allowances and 2015 for other components.
Information pillars on sidewalks
Council directed that until new guidelines are in place, no further information pillars ("Info Pillars") are to be installed on sidewalks without the approval of the specific location by the General Manager of Transportation Services in consultation with the local councillor. The installation of 120 pillars is underway and questions have been raised about their positioning.
Council approved the use of alternative pipe materials for large watermains, such as pre-stressed concrete, steel and polyethylene in addition to the mortar-lined steel pipes that have been the standard in Toronto since the 1950s. Various types of large-diameter pipes have been found to meet performance specifications. Council directed staff to establish a design standard for situations/locations where additional protection is needed to ensure pipes cannot be damaged.