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FORUM: A busy agenda at city council (Apr. 2024)

May 7th, 2024 · No Comments

Many environmental initiatives getting the green light

By Dianne Saxe

Spring has arrived. Flowers are pushing up and there are so many ways to enjoy beautiful University-Rosedale. This spring we want to highlight great local music venues, festivals, parks, and environmental events. Hot Docs, Fringe, Jazz Fest—these and other Toronto arts organizations need your support if they are to survive.

My team and I have been out in the spring sunshine canvassing Annex residents on their concerns. I was pleased to rally in support of the Science Centre at Christie Pits in April. 

I also paid a visit to Innis College for a debate on the future of affordable housing in Canada. 

I have positive news on the noise issues many of you have raised: council will improve enforcement of motor vehicle noise, work with residents’ associations (RA) and community groups to monitor it, and report back on whether the new measures adequately protect human health. 

Auto thefts have been another top-of-mind issue for ward residents. We had a strong turnout for our town hall on the subject at the beginning of the year. I continue to monitor reports from the Toronto Police Service and city officials, including enforcement actions taken in the city and at Canadian ports.

I was glad to see that city council has endorsed a number of my initiatives this spring. 

At the top of this list is news that staff will report back this year on using the Toronto Green Standards (TGS) to ensure that all newly approved buildings will be designed for net-zero operations by 2040. 

Also on the environmental front, council has instructed city staff to lobby against the additional fossil fuel subsidies in Doug Ford’s Bill 165. The Bill overrides the Ontario Energy Board and forces existing gas customers to subsidize new gas pipelines outside Toronto. How big are the subsidies that the province forced Toronto taxpayers to give to the billionaire for-profit utility Enbridge Gas? And what can we do about it? Because of my motion, staff will finally tell us.

There are some other improvements to report in and around Ward 11 thanks to motions I have seen through council. 

Much-needed upgrades are coming to Paul Martel Park, including possibly renaming it as an Indigenous Botanical Garden. 

The city will also get on with building the new Huron Washington playground and new benches and picnic tables in Ramsden Park. Working with the Toronto District School Board, there will also be a new running track at Jesse Ketchum Public School. 

I am also pleased to have secured community benefits for heritage plaques to honour noted local architect Uno Prii near 35 Walmer Rd. and social justice advocate and senator, David Croll near 341 Bloor St. W. David Croll was the author of the landmark Report of the Special Senate Committee on Poverty and Canada’s first Jewish senator.

I also let the residents’ associations know that there is a new, streamlined process to request speed humps from the city. 

First, consult with other residents affected by the road in question, and then send our office the results through your RA, including detailed drawings.

We must continue to scrutinize whether the city made a good deal for the FIFA World Cup in 2026. But we are also determined to make the best of the exciting opportunities. 

Council is working hard to contain the games’ costs and to maximize their community benefits; for example, I successfully moved to use the games to pursue TransformTO’s Climate Strategy, including a high-value RapidTO (bus lane) on Dufferin Street to the CNE.

Annex residents should circle a few days on the calendar this spring. On May 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the city will host the first community environment day at Central Technical School. This program helps reduce the amount of reusable or recyclable waste going to landfill and allows for safe disposal of household hazardous waste. 

The second will occur on June 23 at Fred Hamilton Park, with the same timings. 

Watch my newsletter and social feeds for a spring community event being planned for Christie Pits on May 26. 

Watch my newsletter and dianne for other spring events. Remember to subscribe at to keep updated on happenings around the ward. 

Have a wonderful and prosperous spring!

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


Tags: Annex · Columns · Opinion

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