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FORUM: Looking back on 2017 in Ward 20 (Dec. 2017)

December 15th, 2017 · No Comments

Ensuring our communities are livable, sustainable, and equitable

By Joe Cressy

It wouldn’t surprise you that we’ve had a busy year together in Ward 20. We’ve made critical strides as we work to build our communities and a city that is more equitable and sustainable for all. We’ve worked hard on the dozens and dozens of development files that populate downtown, creating new green spaces, and building livable communities. And as we look back on another year, we have a lot to be proud of.

We know that building livable communities means planning for the future.

We’ve worked hard together to build new green spaces — from our now funded project at Monsignor Fraser in Seaton Village, to a brand new park in Harbord Village, to expanding our green space in Kensington Market and further south in King-Spadina. We’ve continued to implement countless neighbourhood visions for improvements to our existing park spaces – Margaret Fairley and the Doctors’ Parkette in Harbord Village are finally complete, and we’re launching preliminary designs for Ryan Russell Parkette in the Annex in January. And, Phase 1 of the implementation of the Harbord Village Green Plan is well underway. Together, we’re building greener, more sustainable communities.

We’ve continued our push for the spaces and services our communities need to be truly livable. Our YMCA at 505 Richmond St. in King-Spadina is now under construction, we’re working on new opportunities in the Annex, and we secured a brand new 3,500 community space and new childcare facility as part of the Mirvish Village development.

As our communities grow, we must ensure they are livable — and we must ensure that we are building safe ways to move through and around our neighbourhoods. This year, we’ve made critical strides in building safe streets, through expanding our cycling network and putting permanent lanes on Bloor Street. The data was clear — the bikes lanes worked. We built it, and indeed they came. The bike lanes on Bloor Street were 40 years in the making, and wouldn’t have been possible without the work of so many. We’ll continue this work as we make changes as part of the permanent design, but after decades, bike lanes on Bloor are here to stay.

While we need a citywide focus on speeding up the city’s Vision Zero road safety plan, in our community we’ve focused on traffic safety throughout our neighbourhoods –— a new mid-block traffic signal at Dupont Street and Palmerston Avenue, speed humps installed on Major Street and Albany Avenue, with more to come on Howland Avenue, Robert Street, and more. Together, we’re making critical strides in building safer streets.

Our neighbourhoods will not truly be livable unless they are equitable, and supportive. We’re working hard to secure new affordable housing units, while continuing to improve Toronto Community Housing buildings and to revitalize communities across our ward. And, we’re fighting to save the lives of our friends and neighbours through work on Overdose Prevention across our city.

We know that building livable communities means planning for the future — and in Ward 20, that means working together to develop our vision and to see it implemented.

This year, we fought hard at the Ontario Municipal Board on 316 Bloor St. W. and 203 College St., and got a better result for our communities. The College Street Study has now been approved, and the Spadina Avenue Study continues. For three years, we worked together on the Mirvish Village development application — and, we got a result that includes a brand new park and enhanced greening throughout the site, increased heritage retention, reduction in overall height and density to conform with the Four Corners Study, overall 40 per cent two- and three-bedrooms, sixty units of affordable housing and a commitment to work towards 20 per cent and more. And, as with everything in Ward 20, none of this would have been possible without the tireless work of our Residents’ Associations, businesses, institutions, and so many more.

Our Ward 20 neighbourhoods are truly special — ones where we support each other, and they are made better by the work of so many in our neighbourhood. As we move closer to the final year of this term of office, I couldn’t be prouder of the work we continue to do together.



FORUM: Establishing a new Indigenous Affairs Office (Nov. 2017)

FORUM: Toronto — an artistic city (FALL 2017)

FORUM: Address affordable housing (June 2017)

FORUM: Build a neighbourhood (March 2017)

FORUM: Conserving past to enrich future (January 2017)

FORUM: Our dynamic Kensington Market (November 2016)

FORUM: A new central park for Toronto (September 2016)

Tags: Annex · Columns · Opinion