The Cheat Sheet: December 16 City Council

Disclaimer: For entertainment purposes only. Check out the full agenda.

Last meeting, we saw the Mayor reduced to a figurehead, with most of his responsibilities (and office budget) going to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly. In a fit of pique, the Mayor insisted on holding and speaking on various petty routine items until the clock ran out, and promised to do the same next time. I hope he’s forgotten, because there’s plenty of actual stuff to get done.

Budget Process

  • The rate-supported budgets — water, trash and parking — get approved now, before the operating and capital budgets, because #no1curr.

Rob Ford

  • The Integrity Commissioner washes her hands of the whole thing…for now.

  • A small triumph for Cllr Matlow, who has been agitating for the City press release boilerplate to be reverted to a more informative, less partisan version. Apparently the Mayor’s office was behind the administrative delay.

Housing

  • Good news for tenants! The City is asking the Province for the ability to institute rent control for newer buildings (normally exempt), as well as create a system to freeze rent automatically for buildings that fall behind on work orders. (As it stands now, the burden is on the tenant to prove it.) Read the report (PDF) for the full background.

  • Upcoming provincial policy changes put Long-Term Care Home funding in jeopardy; the Community Development & Recreation Committee wants the City to ask the Province to up operating and construction funding.

Work and Play

  • The Community Development & Recreation Committee is recommending that 16 more community centres offer free programs. They’re no longer being called “Priority Centres”, so the new designation is the slightly unwieldy “community centres where programs are free”.

  • A citywide employment strategy for Toronto’s First Nations community is under way as part of the Urban Aboriginal Framework; it’s due early 2014.

  • The 519 wants to build an LGBTQ-focused recreation centre — the first of its kind — in the West Don Lands, where the Pan Am Games’ Athletes’ Village is under construction.

Health and Safety

Getting Around

  • Not a moment too soon, the Public Works & Infrastructure Committee is revamping the snow emergency by-laws. “Emergency conditions”, “snow emergencies” and the like would be changed to the more fitting “major snow storm conditions”, and the General Manager of Transportation Services would be authorized to declare and extend major snow storm conditions. (Currently only the Mayor can do so.)

  • Staff unveil the 2014-2018 Congestion Management Plan. Unless it involves those smart traffic lights, I’m not interested!

  • Cllr Minnan-Wong has some minor changes to the Downtown Transportation Operations Study — making Simcoe St. two-way from Front to Queen, and making Wellington St. two-way from University to Spadina, with the possibility of bike lanes that he might totally rip out later in a fit of pique.

Election Time

  • Time to sign the contract for vote counting equipment!

  • The Integrity Commissioner would just like to give everyone a refresher on the Code of Conduct ahead of the deadline for nominations.

Urban Planning and Construction

  • As Toronto slowly moves away from its industrial past, planning guidelines regarding “employment lands” need rethinking. To that end, Planning & Growth Management Committee has a whack of recommendations and Official Plan revisions. A little bird tells me that Deputy Mayor Kelly plans to make this his Key Item. Edit: The City Clerk’s Office says Kelly doesn’t in fact have the ability to designate key items. So…uh…yeah.

  • The war between NIMBYs and condo developers on Ossington Ave. has resulted in an Offician Plan amendment limiting height to four storeys (except five in that one spot, for the condo).

  • Ward 18 residents should check out the Local Area Study for the rail corridor between Dupont and Queen. Called “Knitting the Rail Corridor Back to the Community”, it examines how to improve and develop the post-industrial areas between Ward 18’s dense, stable neighbourhoods and the tracks.

  • What’s going to happen to the old Mr. Christie’s bakery? After much consultation, the Working Group results are in. Nothing too specific, although they mention the site “possibly hosting educational and/or commercial food incubator programs”. Hmmm. I wonder if this could be combined with Cllr. Fragedakis’ motion to establish a Food and Beverage Innovation Centre?

  • The Union Station revitalization project needs about a gazillion more dollars. It’s promised that Union Station “will become a destination in itself”. They’d better be expanding that Cinnabon.

  • All this construction means a whole lot of dirt. Right now, excess soil management isn’t regulated by the Province or the City, so Planning & Growth Management Committee wants it looked into.

Miscellaneous

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p>Did I miss anything? Let me know. I’ll see you Monday.

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