The Cheat Sheet: October 2017 City Council

Council returns from its summer hiatus today, and so I’m back with my usual guide to the agenda. Quite a lot has happened on the municipal scene: Cllr Pam McConnell’s death, Chief Planner Jen Keesmaat resigning, cops in schools temporarily suspended, harm reduction workers creating an unofficial supervised injection site, no doubt more I’ve forgotten. Anyway. Onward.

Deferred Items

Prohibited animals; movie nights; Queen St. streetcar service; 2018 meeting schedule.



  • The preternaturally peppy Deputy City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Rob Rossini is retiring at the end of the week; the City is taking the opportunity to make DCM and CFO their own separate jobs.

  • Following Pam McConnell passing away, Council must find a replacement. This close to the election, they will certainly opt for an appointment rather than a by-election.

  • TCHC board director Bud Purves just retired; the interim director will be Kevin Marshman, who took a break from the board to serve as interim CEO, the position now filled by Kathy Milsom. Got all that?


Grants, Grants, Grants

Getting Around


A lot of people (or maybe a few people with a lot of time on their hands; you never know) are reporting tree protection by-law infractions and so Urban Forestry wants to hire more enforcement officers.

Via Twitter, Jonas Spring, a local landscape contractor, argues that without enough staff to actually process permits, this move is counterproductive. The process is so delayed, he claims, that many contractors are proceeding without permits.

  • To my surprise, the Toronto Ravine Strategy was the highlight of the Executive Committee meeting. The ambitious plan raised many questions around ecological principles; fundraising and governance; and accommodating Torontonians currently living in ravines.

  • Renovating the historic High Park Forest School into a proper home for the Nature Centre will take some $5 million. Parks, Forestry and Rec has budgeted $640,000. High Park Initiatives, the charity that runs the Nature Centre, hopes to make up the difference with a fundraising campaign.


  • Nearly 300 affordable rental units across seven developments are to be created through Open Door, the City program that offers tax and development charge relief for developers of affordable housing. Read the proposal details in the full report.

  • Ecobee is donating hundreds of its smart thermostats to two Toronto Community Housing buildings getting energy-efficient retrofits. The thermostats are controlled via smartphone apps, which raises questions about their usefulness for low-income residents who may not have home wifi access (or smartphones, or computers).

  • SPIDER has nothing to do with spiders. It is a program that coordinates City divisions and community services to
    deal with vulnerable residents who risk “falling through the cracks”. This includes issues like hoarding, trauma, human trafficking, “home unit takeovers”, and overdoses.

    For updates on actual spiders, see my Insta.


Urban Planning

Things of the Month


Your Moment of Zen

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