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FORUM: Addressing a housing shortage (May/June 2023)

August 8th, 2023 · No Comments

Building a greener, safer city

By Dianne Saxe

If you’re anything like me, June means enjoying fine weather with fine people, and I hope that all of you are able to enjoy the summer to its fullest. 

My fellow councillors and I have been busy at city hall taking important steps on a wide range of critical issues, and I would like to thank my fellow councillors for their dedication and hard work as we close off the first half of 2023. 

Knowing the struggles that many of our neighbours face in securing long-term housing, I was proud to second Councillor Pasternak’s motion for the development of a comprehensive homelessness response plan. 

There are over 10,500 people experiencing homelessness in our city and convening a Mayor’s Roundtable is the opportunity we need to secure lasting change. 

And with the assistance of Councillor Bravo, I forwarded a request for an additional $20,000 to construct a healing garden at 144 Roxborough Ave. which I look forward to visiting once it has been fully completed.  

My colleagues Councillors Fletcher and Perks put forward a successful motion to oppose the expansion of fossil fuels for our power generation. 

In the same motion, a request was made to the province to immediately invest in programs that will deliver energy efficiency and proper conservation management. 

The urgency of this matter has been driven home by the heavy pollen and smoke from forest fires that have negatively impacted our air quality. 

Toronto’s worsening climate issues necessitates immediate action, and I am committed to advocating for sustainable practices in city operations. 

Eco-friendly modes of transportation such as green spaces, walking, cycling, and public transport are measures I am actively pursuing and promoting. It’s early days yet, but there is also an initiative in the works that would enable city staff, like bylaw officers, to access bicycles as part of their daily routine. 

The final update I’ll provide from city council is the amendment to the city-wide zoning bylaw that allows four dwelling units on each residential lot (multiplexes). Until recently, most residential lots were limited to a single-family home, keeping prices high and population density low.

As a result, many parts of the city, including University-Rosedale, have been losing population for a generation, with younger people leaving the city for lack of a place to live. Now, existing houses can be subdivided, renovated, or replaced by new purpose-built multiplexes. Most of the new homes will be in three-storey buildings, with four storeys allowed in a few areas with higher existing height limits.

The multiplex amendment is one of a series of zoning changes that are expected to transform Toronto and re-establish the “missing middle” between tall towers and sprawl. 

So far, these changes authorize laneway houses, garden suites, rooming houses (multi-tenant housing) and multiplexes. Still to come are more flexible rules for small apartment buildings. More accountability for the committees of adjustment would be good too.

At Toronto East York Community Council, we agreed to explore community benefits that will include public realm improvements to the Dupont TTC subway station entrances at the northwest and southeast corners of Spadina and Dupont. 

These improvements could take the form of seating, vegetation, wider sidewalks, and public art, all of which I am excited to see come to fruition as the streetscape continues to beautify and improve. 

Progress on Toronto’s Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic-related fatalities and severe injuries on our city streets continues. 

Achieving this goal requires a multi-pronged approach, including investments in road safety infrastructure, increased education, awareness campaigns, and the rigorous enforcement of traffic laws. I am always looking for ways to address safety issues for the most vulnerable users of our transportation system—pedestrians, school children, older adults, and cyclists.  

With all of that said, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to stay informed about what my team and I are working on at city hall. 

To get more information about my office’s progress, additional ward updates, and to register for my monthly town halls, please visit my website at or contact me at 

Dianne Saxe is city councillor for Ward 11, University-Rosedale.


Tags: Annex · Opinion