Council Highlights - June 6-8, 2012

  • Honouring Jack Layton: Jack Layton's message of hope and optimism has inspired people across Canada, and his legacy of public service in Toronto-Danforth will not be forgotten. As Jack's colleague and friend, I was proud of Council's unanimous decision to rename Toronto Ferry Terminal the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. Jack fought to protect the unique character of the Toronto Islands and Toronto's waterfront. This dedication is particularly fitting.
  • Funding to combat bed bugs: Bed bugs are a public health problem affecting citizens across Toronto. I am pleased to report Council voted in unanimous support of my motion to have Toronto Public Health direct $250,000 in funding to reinstate the Bed Bug Team and continue identifying infestations, providing support to vulnerable adults to combat infestations, and preventing the spread of bed bugs. Council also called on the Province to match this funding for 2012 and commit to funding in 2013 and beyond.
  • Plastic bags: The 5 cent fee on plastic bags was effective in reducing consumption by 53%, contributing to a greener and more sustainable Toronto. I was opposed to the lifting of the fee, particularly since we have still not met the City's goal of a 70% reduction in plastic bags, which are harmful to animals in the wild and leach toxins into our waterways. Despite its success, Council voted to end the fee as of July 1, 2012. After a long and at times confusing debate, Council supported a motion by a member of the Mayor's Executive Committee to prohibit retailers for providing single-use plastic bags beginning January 1, 2013.
  • Expansion of bikeway trails: Council adopted a multi-year Bikeway Trails Implementation Plan and identified new opportunities for bikeway trail connections to expand the existing bikeway network.
  • Working with gang-involved youth: Council voted with near-unanimous support to accept federal funding to address youth gang violence in Toronto. Reaching out to at-risk youth can make a significant difference in changing the lives of young people and preventing violence and crime.
  • Saving Far Enough Farm & High Park Zoo:  Council gave Parks, Forestry and Recreation the go-ahead to keep Far Eough Farm and High Park Zoo open, financed through amazing fundraising efforts in the community. These urban treasures were put on the chopping block in this year's budget, and it is great news we were able to save them both.
  • Committee News
    • Saving Riverdale Farm:  Riverdale Farm is enjoyed by so many families, and through the efforts of the Riverdale Farm Coalition and community members, a business plan has been approved by the Executive Committee to keep the Farm open and operating.
    • Urban fishing: You may have read about a recent effort to restrict fishing along the urban waterfront. As the granddaughter of a fisherman, I worked hard to support anglers and can report that the Executive Committee adopted my recommendation to convene a Fishing Summit between relevant stakeholders, and remove the "no fishing" signs so our waterfront stays open to recreational users of all stripes.
    • Recycling plastic clamshell containers: After receiving letters from students at Jackman Ave. School, I asked the Public Works & Infrastructure Committee to look into accepting these containers, which are used for berries and tomatoes, into the City's recycling program. The City Manager's office will be reporting back to Committee soon.
    • Unfinished Business: On June 18 the Planning & Growth Management Committee will be debating my motion to find options to compel developers to complete projects in a timely manner, so that unfinished construction projects can't be eyesores in our neighbourhoods for years on end. Send in your pictures of buildings like this and I'll share them with the Committee.
    You can read in detail all the Council highlights here: http://www.toronto.ca/council_highlights/

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