Highlights of decisions taken by Toronto City Council

Rail deck parkWork plan for rail deck park
Council approved funding to study the feasibility of a “rail deck” park involving a major park space above the rail corridor between Bathurst Street and Blue Jays Way in Toronto. Staff were asked to report back next year on an implementation strategy that addresses matters such as options for securing air rights above the rail corridor and for project funding with an emphasis on growth-related revenue sources.

Emergency shelter on Runnymede Road
Council approved locating a new emergency men’s shelter at 731 Runnymede Rd. in Ward 11, subject to the City securing a lease on reasonable terms for the location. The City-operated shelter will start with 50 beds. More beds could be added in response to extreme weather conditions and over time as needed. Council also supported undertaking a campaign to increase public awareness of homelessness and of the need for shelters across the city.

Fleet Services review
A detailed implementation plan for Fleet Services’ operating strategy received Council’s approval. The plan includes contracting out preventive maintenance and repairs of non-specialized Class 1 and 2 vehicles (cars and light-duty trucks) to enhance fleet reliability and availability. The Fleet Services division manages the maintenance and repair of thousands of vehicles and pieces of motorized equipment at garages across Toronto.

Sublease for Beaches restaurant
Council provided direction concerning restaurant and concession operations run by Tuggs Inc. at Woodbine Beach Park and vicinity. As a result, Tuggs can sublease a restaurant (previously operated as Paralia Restaurant) in the building at 1681 Lake Shore Blvd. E. Council authorized staff to start discussions on the City acquiring the remaining term of the agreement between the City and Tuggs, which currently has an end date of 2028.

Muzik NightclubClub’s lease at Exhibition Place
Council approved changes to Muzik nightclub’s lease with Exhibition Place, including an amendment that will allow Muzik to host banquets and occasional trade shows. Another amendment will enable Exhibition Place management to move the statues of the Garden of the Greek Gods into public view from within the club’s fenced premises.

Support for survivors of domestic violence
Council gave the Shelter, Support and Housing Administration division permission to use funding provided by the Ontario housing ministry to run a pilot program that provides a housing benefit to survivors of domestic violence. Staff estimate that the pilot program will assist about 350 people to secure housing during the next few months.

Bike lanes on Woodbine Avenue
Council approved the installation of northbound and southbound cycle tracks and bicycle lanes on Woodbine Avenue between O’Connor Drive and Queen Street East, as well as an eastbound contra-flow bike lane on Corley Avenue to connect with Woodbine. Sections of several other Toronto streets, including on Sheppard Avenue East and Kingston Road, received Council’s approval for bike lane designation or for the conversion of existing bike lanes to cycle tracks.

Cultural Corridor designation
Council supported providing official City of Toronto recognition of Bloor Street between Bay Street and Bathurst Streets as a Cultural Corridor. More than three million people a year attend exhibitions, performances and events along that section of Bloor Street, with its museums, film screenings, art exhibitions, concerts, culture talks, theatre and architecture. A related Bloor Street Cultural Partnership is made up of, and funded by, member arts organizations.

City’s relationship with non-profit sector
Council directed staff to take steps to establish a “whole of government” policy direction and actions to guide and modernize the City’s relationship with the community-based, non-profit/voluntary sector service providers in Toronto. A whole-of-government approach refers to working across portfolio and divisional boundaries for an integrated response. The City relies on non-profit organizations to fulfill many civic objectives involving arts and culture, social services and the environment.

Updating tall building setbacks downtown
Council adopted amendments to Toronto’s Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw to update the policies and performance standards for tall downtown buildings’ setbacks from lot lines. The changes, which result from the TOcore planning study, provide standards for the planning and design of tall buildings, including appropriate separation distances between buildings.

Condominium dwellers
Council asked City staff to consider developing online resources and leveraging current consultation initiatives as ways of providing information about City services and resources available to condominium dwellers.

Guidelines for bedroom design
Council directed staff to work with the Ontario government and other appropriate bodies to obtain greater local authority for interior building design so the City can require that bedrooms have a view to the outdoors. The action comes in response to recent experience with some residential units being built with bedrooms that do not have a window offering an outside view. The City considers an outside view important for quality of life.

Power outages at CityPlace
Council supported a motion to ask Toronto Hydro to review recent power outages in the CityPlace neighbourhood and report back on the matter, including on how to prevent future electrical outages. Residents in the tower community experienced four major power interruptions lasting between three and 18 hours during a three-week period in August and September.

Councillor vacancy in Scarborough ward
Council deferred making a decision until the November meeting of City Council on how to fill the councillor vacancy in Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River. The vacancy resulted from the recent election of former councillor Raymond Cho to the Ontario legislative assembly. Council can choose to fill the vacancy either by appointment or by conducting a byelection.

Public tennis courts
Council authorized a pilot project for Parks, Forestry and Recreation to issue permits to individuals or organizations at four designated tennis courts across the city that do not have a community tennis club in place. The four sites selected for the pilot are Jonathan Ashbridge Park, Birchmount Park, Park Lawn Park and Champlain Parkette. Torontonians have expressed interest in the City issuing permits for the use of designated public tennis courts for special events, public play and commercial use.

Managing smokers’ litter
Council approved amendments to the Toronto Municipal Code to require restaurants, bars and nightclubs to keep public sidewalks as well as curbs and gutters around their businesses free from littered cigarette butts and related litter from their patrons. In addition, bars and other entertainment businesses in Toronto will be required to provide disposal containers in outside areas where patrons dispose of cigarette butts. This action is tied to the City’s broader efforts to reduce litter in public places.

Public food markets
Council supported the City taking steps to establish a Public Food Markets Working Group with broad membership to advise the City on the further development of public markets in Toronto and on the creation of a City strategy for public food markets. Examples of public food markets in Toronto include farmers markets, markets operated by FoodShare, and the Toronto Transit Commission’s pop-up markets.

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