Some weird droopy pink flowers on the City Hall green roof

The Cheat Sheet: June 2018 City Council

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Welcome to this term’s penultimate Council meeting! There’s quite a lot on the agenda, including a slew of Integrity Commissioner investigations, laneway housing, improving deadly intersections, and more.

Warning: there are even more swears and opinions than usual. Lately I just feel civility is overrated, you know?

Council Business

  • First, a special meeting to appoint a replacement for Scarborough councillor Chin Lee, who successfully ran for the Conservatives ran for the Liberals but lost to former city councillor Raymond Cho, who was running for the Conservatives, in the recent provincial election. Based on precedent, the administration will likely push a candidate who they can be sure will ally with the Mayor, regardless of any other factors. Since Lee voted along with the Mayor, it’s unlikely to be very contentious, but expect to be disappointed somehow anyway.

Gif of Dewey from Malcolm in the Middle saying "I expect nothing, and I'm still let down."

(Related: lots of vacancies on committees to fill.)

Map of proposed new Community Council boundaries.
Source: City of Toronto.

The evidence gathered established that the predominant connection between the two gentlemen is their mutual slavish commitment to the planning policies in North York

and it’s just basically Filion’s haters talking shit. So she says.

Jepson’s 14-page report doesn’t refer to a significant part of Matlow’s submission as part of her investigation — that Byford himself told the councillor he had “never felt more politicized in his life” and that Byford texted Matlow that the briefing note at the centre of the investigation had been a request from TTC chair Councillor Josh Colle “and for the mayor’s office,” which contradicts Byford’s public statements about the memo’s origin.

Safe Streets

An unprecedented spate of cyclists and pedestrians killed by car drivers has led to repeated calls for action and criticism of Toronto’s watered-down “Vision Zero” implementation.

A one-way bicycle lane eastbound and shared lane markings (“sharrows”) westbound is proposed for Dovehouse Avenue…The curb-to-curb width would not allow for dedicated bicycle lanes in both directions without removing all on-street parking. The proposed changes would require the removal of approximately sixty (60) on-street parking spaces. Parking surveys indicate that average current demand is less than 10% of the available spaces.

  • “The installation of traffic control signals is technically justified and will enhance safety for all road users. However, this installation may increase delays for motorists on Overlea Boulevard, as these movements will no longer operate with free flow.”

Getting Around

Shelter & Housing

Planning & Development

  • Let’s look back on the Toronto Local Appeal Body’s first year. Created as part of the Province’s overhaul of the planning system, the panel replaced the widely loathed OMB for many planning matters.

  • Laneway suites are coming! As Ed Keenan notes, this will do dick-all for poor people, but hey, that’s why I didn’t put this item in the Shelter & Housing category.

  • Okay, this item, “Request for Direction of Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Appeals of Official Plan Amendment 231 on Land Use Compatibility and Mitigation Issues”, sounds extremely boring and most of it’s confidential, but it’s actually mildly interesting, in that it’s a tiny part of a long saga about the de-industrialization of Toronto.

Planning Studies

Development

You Wouldn’t Have To Approve This Funding If You Just Freaking Voted For a Higher Budget the First Time Around, I’m Just Saying

  • Coming capacity improvements for buses and subways include “[improved] service reliability on Line 1” and seven new express bus services. (Hey, you know what would really improve service on Line 1? A fucking Relief Line.)

Support For Shit the PCs Are Probably Gonna Cancel

The Board of Health also wants Toronto Community Housing workers to get training regarding overdoses and drug equipment disposal, and to stop evicting tenants who use drugs.

(Related.)

Budget-y Stuff

  • Audited financial statements for various City ABCs (agencies, boards, and corporations) are out. I don’t have the time to take a look at them, but items of possible interest include Build Toronto, TCHC, and Toronto Hydro.

  • The final budget variance reports for 2017 are out. If you want to know why the police didn’t buy more tasers, whether the Bessarion community centre went over budget, or why the Union Station revitalization is delayed, dig into the capital budget. In general, though, the interesting stuff is going to be in the operating budget variance report. Some notes:

    • $95 million of the $260 million year-end surplus is from higher than expected MLTT revenue—the biggest amount from any one source.

    • Court Services revenue continues to fall because Toronto police are filing fewer charges; last year, it was a $263,000 hole.

    • New legislation has resulted in more WSIB claims for PTSD from EMS and Fire Services.

    • The new Uber licensing scheme has created more revenue than expected.

    • I find it weirdly funny that some rando donated $200 to the police to “stop crime in Toronto”. Like, that’s all they wrote.

A list of donations to Toronto Police Services, including $200 to "stop crime in Toronto".
Like, seriously

Miscellaneous

  • Microfiche is still useful!

  • Newly licensed breweries: High Park Brewery, Rorschach Brewing Co. (does this beer spill look like anything to you?).

  • Tree Permit of the Month: Man, reading this report was just, like, a rollercoaster of emotion. So this bur oak in the Annex is a Heritage Tree, which normally means applications to “injure” it are automatically denied. But TEYCC(!) wants to approve it, so the owner can add parking spaces(!!) next to it. But it’ll be special porous recycled plastic paving material! And they’re doing the work by hand and being super careful. So it’s fine, I guess.

  • In light of recent events in the US that have sparked nationwide protests, Cllr Shan suggest that Council ask the federal government to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement. This treaty says that asylum seekers at the US-Canada border can only apply for refugee status in the country they first arrived in. However, as the US has grown increasingly hostile, many asylum seekers are trying to cross over into Canada.

  • Parklets—not just for downtown any more. This pilot project would turn a Forest Hill parking space into a mini-park. Yes, this item is about one freaking parking space.

  • Cllr Frank Di Giorgio: wrong about parking pads. Wrong for America.

  • What role can the City play in sustainable, humane agriculture? Despite Western cultural stigma, entomophagy—insects as food—might be the way forward. I mean, there’s President’s Choice cricket powder now. Council may vote to consult cricket farmers, entomologists, conservationists, and other stakeholders to form an official Cricket Strategy for th—Oh. Wait. The other kind of cricket? Never mind.


Thanks for reading—and, as always, corrections and suggestions are welcome!

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