It was Mayor Olivia Chow's first City Council Meeting this week. Read about the major items from this month's City Council meeting.
It was Mayor Olivia Chow's first City Council Meeting this week. A key issue was emergency shelter support for refugees and alyssum seekers, which you can read more about here.
Some of the other major items from this month's City Council meeting include:
Declaring Gender Based Violence & Intimate Partner Violence an Epidemic
Toronto joined more than 30 other municipalities in declaring gender based and intimate partner violence an epidemic and calling on other levels of government to do the same.
In 2022, a coroner’s inquest made this their first of 86 recommendations sent to all levels of government. Sadly, in June the provincial government rejected the recommendation to declare it an epidemic.
I want to thank Mayor Chow for bringing this forward.
See the full motion here.
Alcohol in Parks Pilot Program Approved
City Council approved a pilot program to allow drinking in parks. At Council I added the McCLeary Park sports fields in the Portlands to the list of parks in Ward 14 alongside Riverdale Park East, Withrow Park, Monarch Park and Greenwood Park.
The pilot begins on August 2nd and ends October 9th. After evaluation staff will bring their final recommendations before Council at a future date.
You can see a full list of parks here.
Two Stroke Engines (Gas Powered Leaf Blowers) to be Phased Out
City Council voted to begin phasing out two stroke engines in Toronto. Typically found in leaf blowers and lawn mowers, these engines are a source of greenhouse gases, air pollution, fine particulate matter and noise.
This ban is not immediate as many of these engines exist today, but it begins the process of transitioning our city towards cleaner and quieter alternatives.
Find out more here.
I know many of us have been disturbed by incidents of people displaying graphic and misleading images on street corners, outside high schools, and in other public places that are deeply upsetting and target women particularly.
Many people have also received these images on flyers which are dropped off in their mailbox. City staff have not yet responded to repeated requests from City Council to bring forward rules to address this issue.
I was glad to see that Council supported a motion that I worked on with Councillor Dianne Saxe to give firm timelines to staff on bringing forward regulations on flyer delivery, in line with what other municipalities have done. Council also asked staff to develop regulations on the display of these images in the public right of way.
Council decided not to lift the ban on E-Scooters and instead asked staff to continue to monitor ongoing issues in other municipalities as they evaluate a range of micro-mobility solutions for Toronto.
Much of the initial research from areas where E-Scooters have been allowed points to a number of serious issues that need to be addressed and we heard strong opposition from the accessibility community.
Review of Winter Maintenance Contracts and Performance
I know many of you were in touch last winter about a number of issues with the city’s winter maintenance and snow clearing operations. The Auditor General submitted two reports to Council raising concerns about the initial award of the contract and the way that the contract was overseen in 2022-2023.
A number of City Councillors expressed similar concerns. I am hopeful that the recommendations from the Auditor General lead to improvements in the 2023-2024 winter season. I will continue to watch this closely.
Should you wish to find out more, you can see the two reports here and here.
Ontario Line Sub-Committee Final Recommendations
Alongside Councillors Ausma Malik and Chris Moise, I sat on the Subcommittee on Metrolinx’s Ontario Line. The committee submitted its final recommendations to Council this week.
This Subcommittee was meant to hear from residents all across the line, take those experiences, and produce a set of standard practices that the city would ask Metrolinx to follow for everything from community engagement to traffic management and business supports.
Each area along the Ontario Line is different and these recommendations are the minimum standards that the city expects from Metrolinx. I will continue to work with you to hold Metrolinx accountable in your neighbourhood.
At Council I requested the City Manager take a tougher approach and leverage city permits to ensure that Metrolinx is listening to the local community.
Thank you to everyone who spoke or sent letters to the Subcommittee. You can see the full list of recommendations here.