Public meetings to provide information on Toronto's new Fire Code re-inspection fees

Toronto Fire Services (TFS) will host a series of public meetings to provide property owners with an overview of a new re-inspection process and associated fees.

Starting July 1, TFS will institute a fee for service related to the re-inspection of properties to confirm the status of previously noted fire safety hazards that were identified during the initial inspection. The introduction of these fees will end the current practice whereby TFS covers all costs associated with re-inspections, which are required when Ontario Fire Code violations are identified.

Property owners are responsible for maintaining buildings that meet the Ontario Fire Code. Taking immediate action to have building deficiencies rectified will increase life safety and will result in fewer Ontario Fire Code violations.  

New fee information can be found at: http://bit.ly/2s2AOhz.

TFS encourages property owners to attend one of the following public meetings:

·         Wednesday, June 21, Scarborough Civic Centre, Council Chamber, 150 Borough Dr. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Meeting will be held from 7 to 8 p.m.    

·         Thursday, June 22, Fire Services Headquarters, 4330 Dufferin St. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Meeting will be held from 7 to 8 p.m.

·         Monday, June 26, Etobicoke Civic Centre, Council Chamber, 399 The West Mall. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. Meeting will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

·         Tuesday, June 27, Metro Hall, Room 310, 55 John St. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Meeting will be held from 7 to 8 p.m.

City of Toronto issues its 2017 final property tax bills

The City of Toronto has mailed its 2017 final property tax bills. All property owners should have received their bills by June 15. The final property tax bills are the second of two regular tax bills that are mailed each year.

Payment due dates for the final tax bills under the regular three-installment plan are July 4, August 1 and September 1, 2017. There are several ways to pay a property tax bill including:

·         At banks or financial institutions through internet banking, telephone banking, automatic teller or in person. If paying tax bills by automatic teller, telephone or internet banking, customers should pay early to ensure their payment reaches the City on time.

·         By cheque using the business reply envelope included with the final tax bill. 

·         In person at the inquiry and cashier counters at Toronto City Hall or any civic centre from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Extended hours of 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. will be offered on weekdays from Thursday, June 29 to Tuesday, July 4 (excluding the statutory holiday on July 3).

Counter locations:

·         Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen St. W.

·         East York Civic Centre, 850 Coxwell Ave.

·         Etobicoke Civic Centre, 399 The West Mall

·         North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge St.

·         Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Dr.

·         York Civic Centre, 2700 Eglinton Ave. W.

Pre-Authorized Payments

The Pre-Authorized Tax Payment (PTP) Program allows residents to pay their taxes in two, six or 11 pre-authorized, automatic instalments. Residents can enrol in this program at any time if their taxes are in good standing. Applications for the PTP program are available at http://www.toronto.ca/propertytax.

The following final tax due dates apply to customers who enrolled in the PTP program by June 9, 2017:

·         two-instalment plan: July 4

·         six-instalment plan: July 4, August 1 and September 1

·         11-instalment plan: July 17, August 15, September 15, October 16, November 15, December 15

 Property Tax Inquiries

For general information on property tax bills, customers can call the 311 - Tax & Utility Inquiry Line. Customers within city limits can call 311 to speak with a customer service representative from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday. Customers outside of city limits can call 416-392-CITY (2489). TTY users can call 416-392-0719. Customers should have their tax account number available when calling.

 Property Tax Account Lookup

Customers can view their property tax account details online using the Property Tax Account Lookup self-service tool available at http://www.toronto.ca/revenueservices.

Ownership Changes

Property owners who recently purchased a property and who pay their property taxes through the PTP program or their bank/financial institution must change their account information with the City or their financial institution to avoid incurring fees resulting from misdirected payments.

Electronic Billing by epostTM

Residents can sign up at epost.ca to receive their property tax bills through epostTM, the digital mailbox from Canada Post.

More information about property tax bills is available at http://www.oronto.ca/propertytax.

Council Highlights Toronto City Council meeting of May 24, 25 and 26, 2017

Next steps for transit projects        

Council voted to proceed with planning work needed to advance design of a relief subway line in the east downtown area, with the section between Queen Street East and Gerrard Street East to be aligned under Carlaw Avenue. Council also supported preparing a business case for extending the relief line farther north. In addition, planning work was authorized for extending the Yonge Street subway line north from Finch Station to Richmond Hill. Several related motions were adopted concerning Toronto's transit network, including on financial matters.

Guidelines for City's 2018 budget process             

Council approved a schedule and guidelines for preparation of the City's 2018 operating and capital budgets. The guidelines specify that all City programs and agencies must keep their operating budgets at the 2017 level of spending through cost containment, service efficiency, modernization, service level strategies and revenue strategies. The schedule calls for completion/adoption of the 2018 budget in February.

Funding of stormwater management   

Council voted to receive as information a staff report about options the City could pursue to establish a new way of funding stormwater management. As a result of Council's decision, the existing method will remain in effect, with stormwater management funded from the water rate – the City's charge for municipal water consumption. Stormwater is runoff that occurs when rain or melting snow flows off hard surfaces instead of soaking into the ground. 

City-wide real estate transformation     

Council approved a new delivery model that centralizes all City real estate activities, including real estate strategy and portfolio planning, major building projects, developments, real estate transactions and facilities management. A new City agency called the Toronto Realty Agency will manage the City's real estate portfolio, develop City buildings and lands for municipal purposes and deliver client-focused real estate solutions to City divisions, agencies and corporations.

Ward 44 councillor vacancy   

Council declared a vacancy in the office of Toronto City Councillor, Ward 44 Scarborough East, and decided to fill the vacancy by appointment for the duration of the current City Council term (to November 2018). The vacancy resulted from the recent passing of Councillor Ron Moeser. Details about the appointment process: http://ow.ly/34nW30c8l8o

Overdose action plan  

Funding was approved for three temporary staff needed to implement Toronto Public Health actions in Toronto's Overdose Action Plan this year. Council asked the City's Medical Officer of Health to continue discussions with the Ontario government about funding to continue the work in 2018 and beyond.

Rental affordability in Toronto      

Council adopted recommendations that address the issue of affordable rental accommodation in Toronto by calling for steps to increase private-sector investment in rental housing, protect existing single-room occupancy units and increase the stock of accessible units in the City's affordable housing programs. Council also asked staff to assess and report on the local implications of Ontario's recently announced Fair Housing Plan.

City funding of cultural organizations   

After extensive discussion and debate about the City's funding of Pride Toronto, Council approved 2017 funding to support 10 major not-for-profit cultural organizations, including Pride Toronto and nine others. Most of the $7.9 million in total funding for the 10 organizations will go to the Canadian Opera Company, the National Ballet of Canada, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto International Film Festival.

Review of accessible parking permits    

Council agreed to ask the Ontario government to review all aspects of the issuance, renewal and use of accessible parking permits with the intention of improving the provincial program. At the same time, a City working group will address the subject in the Toronto context. A Toronto Police Services Board report indicates use of a permit by someone other than the permit holder is the main way accessible parking permits are misused.

City employee health benefits    

Council adopted a series of recommendations that resulted from an audit of the City's employee benefits plan. The aim is to improve controls and design of the plan, prevent and detect misuse, and reduce costs while providing a reasonable level of benefits coverage. The City provides health benefits coverage to its employees and retirees, as well as to their spouses and eligible dependants, in accordance with collective agreements and City policies.

New policy on multilingual information   

Council adopted a new policy called the Multilingual Information Provisions Policy that will replace the City's current policy on August 2. The new policy establishes clear principles and criteria for the translation and interpretation of information about City services, programs and engagement activities in languages other than English. In addition, responsibilities for compliance with the policy are clarified. 

Temporary suspension of contractor   

Council voted to declare contractor Four Seasons Site Development Ltd. ineligible to bid on or be awarded any City of Toronto tender calls as a general contractor or sub-contractor from now until February 2020. The suspension decision is based on the company's unsatisfactory performance on two recent Toronto contracts for utility-related road work.

New bike lanes  

Council authorized the installation of bicycle lanes this year at several locations, among them Renforth Drive between Eglinton Avenue West and Rathburn Road, and Davenport Road eastbound between Spadina and Madison Avenues.

Rock walk on Spadina Avenue      

Council adopted a motion that will result in City staff working with the owner of the El Mocambo tavern to prepare a plan for a "Spadina Rock Walk" similar to King Street's Walk of Fame. The Spadina walk is envisioned as a public art installation honouring Canadian musicians who have contributed to the Toronto music scene and performed in venues on or near Spadina Avenue, such as Grossman's Tavern, the Silver Dollar Room, the Horseshoe Tavern and the El Mocambo.

City seeks resident input on Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

The City of Toronto is holding  public consultation meetings to assist with updating its Multi-Year Accessibility Plan. The plan outlines the City's strategy to prevent and remove barriers and meet requirements under the standards of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

The Etobicoke meeting takes place Thursday, June 22 at the Etobicoke Civic Centre. 
399 The West Mall, Committee Rooms 1, 2 and 3

The City would like to understand the barriers faced by people with disabilities and gather suggestions on what can be done differently to reduce the impact of those barriers. At the meetings, participants will learn about the City's accessibility framework and recent accomplishments, and its approach to identifying, removing and preventing barriers. Participants will be asked for their input and experiences with various types of barriers including attitudinal, systemic, communication and technology, and physical barriers in facilities and public spaces.

Registration is required for the meeting. Residents who are unable to attend a consultation meeting are invited to fill out an online survey by June 30.

Registration information and the survey are available at http://bit.ly/2r9mjoW

Staff from the City's Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Division expect to report on the findings from the consultations by the end of 2017.

Humber Bay Shores Trail Improvement Update - May 2017

Trail_Improvements.PNG

As the warm weather approaches, safety on the Waterfront Trail is more important than ever. I continue to work with 22 Division Toronto Police, residents' associations, City Parks staff and local residents to address concerns regarding speeding cyclists along the trail.

Beginning May 29, 2017, a contractor has been deployed on-site to begin work on the Humber Bay Shores Trail Improvement Project.

The Trail Improvements will occur in two distinct phases:

Phase 1 – Spring/Summer 2017

Paving, Planting, Seating and circulation improvements at two key trail intersection/plaza areas:

1.     Palace Pier Court

2.     Humber Bay Park East Entrance – East Side

Phase 2 – Fall 2017 / Spring 2018

Paving, Planting, Seating and circulation improvements between the two trail intersection/plaza areas completed in Phase 1.

Improvements will include but not be limited to:

Removals:

o    Demolition of existing plaza area and trail paving

o    Removal of some naturalized plantings

o    Tree removals: 20 -25 at each plaza area (Palace Pier Court and the Humber Bay park Entrance) Important Note: New tree plantings will replace tree removals when project is completed.

Trail Improvements:

o    Realignment and regrading of pathways to improve safety and address trail use

o    Improved 3m wide heavy duty asphalt Multi-use Trail

o    Improved 1.2m paved buffer zone between the Multi-use Trail and new Pedestrian Trail

o    New 2.5m Pedestrian Only Pathway

 Other Improvements:

o    New bench seating

o    Relocated "Bursa" sculpture

o    New seating walls to define the plaza areas and allow for improved grading through the plaza areas

o    New Planting: Trees and shrubs as well as new naturalized areas

o    Regulatory signage and pavement markings

 

Schedule:

Phase 1 work is scheduled to commence at the end of May and completed in July, weather permitting.

Detour Routes:

Since this work is planned throughout the park and will impact the existing park uses and trail circulation, detour routes around the construction areas have been established.  The contractor will maintain safe access around the two areas at all times.

Public Notification:

Public notification of work is being provided in the following manner:

·         Signs are being provided to the contractor and posted on site including; construction signage, detour signage and trail etiquette signage.

·         311 and PFR websites have been updated

·         Cycling Infrastructure web-page will be updated

Project Contact:

Questions or concerns:

Lori Ellis, Senior Project Coordinator, Landscape Architect

Parks Development and Capital Projects

416-394-2483

lellis@toronto.ca

 

Humber Bay Park: Stormwater Pond Bridge Closed

May 30, 2017

Effectively immediately, the bridge over the Humber Bay stormwater pond has been closed. Toronto Water has been monitoring the water levels in the area as a result of the heavy rainfall and resulting increased water levels. Staff found that the level of the lake has risen to a point where the floating walkway is no longer moored to the bottom of the pond and essentially free floating.

Toronto Water considers this an unsafe condition for public use of the walkway and it has been temporarily closed in order to remedy the situation. Staff will be working on making adjustments to the piles that hold the walkway in place,  and are hopeful the walkway can be re-opened this week

City Council Motions: Flood Remediation, Waterfront Transit Reset, Pedestrian Crossings

Protecting Our Shorelines From Flood Damage

With the recent increase in water levels and flooding, it's important the City informs residents and takes a coordinated approach to planning for the future.

Today in Council, I moved a motion calling for information to immediate repair and assessment of flood-related damages in Ward 6, creation of a contact list for residents in case of flood based-emergency and a plan for future preventative measures. I am pleased to say that this motion was supported unanimously by my Council colleagues, and you can read more about it here:
http://ow.ly/bIVF30c4Zw2

You can also see the article about it in the Toronto Sun here.

Support For Advancing The Waterfront Transit Reset

Last week,  

City Council supported moving forward with the Relief Line as another step in improving our transit network to serve residents. During the discussion of this important initiative, I questioned both the Deputy City Manager John Livey and TTC CEO Andy Byford regarding the importance of advancing the Waterfront Transit Reset and also prioritizing the needs of Etobicoke !

You can see my speech in Council here.

Pedestrian Crossing on Royal York Road

The safety of pedestrians, especially school children and seniors, crossing Royal York Road is extremely important. During Etobicoke York Community Council, I moved a motion asking staff report back to Etobicoke York Community Council on the feasibility of using of the new style Pedestrian Crossover (PXO) on Royal York Road in the areas between Hillside Avenue and Symons Street, and Melrose Street and Simpson Avenue.

You can read the motion here.

Pedestrian Crossing on Marine Parade Drive

Last week in City Council, I moved a motion asking Transportation to study the installation of a pedestrian crossing on Marine Parade Drive. This area is frequented by residents and those enjoying waterfront views. Allowing pedestrians to safely cross along this street is an extremely important consideration. I am pleased to confirm that my motion was supported by Council, and you can read more about it here.
 

Did You Know? The City offers Eco-Roof Incentive Program

Photo via BlogTO

Photo via BlogTO

Time for a new roof? The City offers incentives for the installation of green and cool roofs on Toronto's residential, commercial, industrial and institutional buildings. Green roofs are eligible for $100 per square metre, cool roofs from $2 to $5 per square metre. You can also get a grant to assess the capacity of your building to support a green roof. Learn more and apply. Find more information here: Eco-Roof Incentive Program.