Councillor Shelley Carroll

Find out the latest news and upcoming events in your neighborhood. Politics, news, views, and links from Ward 33 Councillor Shelley Carroll.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Feb 22 - Council Budget Marathon

We are in to the second day of debating the Capital Budget. You won't hear much from me but you will hear plenty from councillors not on the Budget Advisory Committee. There is a fair degree of concern about how many capital improvement projects and how many building projects have been deferred.

This is the year that after long neglect, we must take delivery of new 250 new buses to increase service on suburban routes and replace some 24 year old vehicles. It is the first replacement in a very long time. Consequently, we've been fairly stringent about incurring debt elsewhere in the city's capital budget.

I will be speaking later when our BAC strategy for balancing the Operating end of things comes before the Council.

John Barber in the Globe and Mail has a great explanantion of the Business Tax mess this morning. See the Link below.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Feb18 - Need Input ASAP

It is decision time now. The Province has just announced the full extent of its 2005 funding for the TTC and the City of Toronto Social and Public Health Services. They have come a long way but there is still a shortfall. We have done very thorough analysis this year and used efficiencies just about everywhere to fund any new initiative necessary to the good health of the City. As described earlier in the blog, we have performed exhaustive reviews of the TTC and the Toronto Police Services and found them to be as efficient as possible while always ensuring the safety of Toronto citizens.

I am including a link to the Provincial announcement. There is no doubt that Premier McGuinty understands our situation. Just as Mayor Miller promised no more than 3% property tax increase a year, the Premier confined himself to a 0% tax increase leaving little room to repair years of damage. The announcement focuses on what is being provided and leaves the balance of the shortfall to us. We are making fantastic headway on a return to the Federal and Provincial funding of the TTC but we are not quite there yet. We are seeing some no strings attached money to promote the business sector and to enhance public health but we remain under funded in downloaded social services.

Here is where you come in:

Monday morning will see a range of options presented to City Council to offset the remaining shortfall in our budget. A further increase of property taxes to a total increase of 4 or 5% may be put before us (average impact of $12 a month). This gives us the ability to raise commercial taxes by 2 to 2.5%. These tax increases would bring us in line with increases in the rest of the GTA. It is important to note that property taxes make up only about six cents of your total tax dollar but, on the other hand, sharp increases could upset that ratio in a few short years.

There will also be a range of reductions to our own budget proposed at council. A detailed list of areas where we do not receive the full Provincial 80 % share is being prepared for Monday and popular wisdom suggests we should look to these areas to reduce programs as this would result in artificially acheiving the 80/20 cost share split. These areas include the welfare fraud prevention and control office, paramedic facilities and teams and homeless shelter beds.

Pressure to raise our taxes is already coming from the GTA. You may have read about this in the paper already. York Region and Peel Region are both imposing increases of over 5% and are being quite vocal about Toronto's thus far refusal to do so.

I need your comment back about all of this ASAP. I feel you must have an opportunity for input since we have not looked at a higher increase at all before this afternoon. Feel free to foward this link to any Torontonian. I need input all weekend long and will share with my fellow BAC members and Council. Go ahead, hit the comment button please!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

121 Parkway Forest Groundbreaking

From Left: Councillor Mike Feldman, Ward 10, Council's Housing Advocate; Minister of Infrastracture and Renewal, Honarable David Caplan, M.P.P.; Federal Minister, Joe Volpe; Councillor Shelley Carroll, Ward 33 Don Valley East; Cary Green, Verdiroc Development Corporation; Yasmin Ratansi, M.P.; Senator, Jerry Grafstein

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Sidewalk Clearing

It must be Budget time again in the amalgamated city. This morning at Policy and Finance Committee, someone moved that staff report to Special Budget Council Session next week on the cost of sidewalk snow clearing. If the budget is tight, and by my estimation it most certainly is, then my guess is the annual debate on North York Sidewalk and Windrow Snow Clearance begins Monday.

Area Police Warning/Community Grants

Through the media yesterday, we learned the Toronto Police Service issued a warning to the area of Sheppard Ave and Don Mills Rd. due to several recent street robberies. Residents are advised to avoid isolated areas, not to travel alone if possible and to be aware of their surroundings and suspicious people. The robbery spree suspects are decribed as one or two men in their early teens to mid-twenties, medium build, dark clothing.

On a different note:The Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation has opened its community grants program for 2005. Grants are available to Community Organizations registered with Revenue Canada as charities in the amount of $1000 to $2500. Projects must take place on Toronto parkland and must improve the park experience. Past projects include: park plantings, flower box and container additions, annual clean-ups, story telling programs, river clearings, tree plantings, environmental presentations, art shows. Call Jenny or Collette at 416-392-4038 to get the brochure sent out to your organization. The application deadline is March 31st.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Parkway Forest News

Refusal on one week and Groudbreaking the next. Read all the way to the bottom of this update to Parkway Forest Email Group. At the bottom you will find the details to the Let's Build Ceremony and You are all invited! Good thing politicians don't glide around in Limos anymore because parked end to end on Monday morning they would fill all of Forest Manor Road.

Hello All,

By now you may have read the newspaper coverage of the Parkway Forest application refusal. The North Community Councillors voted unanimously (complete with colourful comments!) against.

Just to let you know the next steps:

The developer has two options at this point. They may take the ten building application on to the Ontario Municipal Board and ask for approval there having got none from North City Councillors. City Planning staff have written a rare refusal report because they feel their refusal position is quite defensible in this unusually large application. If an OMB hearing date is granted, I will begin the process of organizing a Parkway forest Residents Association. We can prepare for the opposition case within such an association as well as benefit the community with neighborhood organizing around a number of issues.

However, we have included in the recommendations at North Community Council a far less confrontational option. The developer may agree to withdraw the current plan and enter into a year long Working Group Process with the Community, City Planners and Myself to determine what would be acceptable redevelopment in Parkway Forest. City Planning staff have already assured the developer that if they would consider this option, they could then submit the results of the community process as a revised application.

As soon as we know the Developer's direction, my staff will be in touch. Either way my staff and I will be busy in Parkway Forest this year.
Also, if you are home on Monday, please come and join us up at 121 Parkway Forest Drive. The other new building that we described at the tenant meeting will be having its official ground-breaking. Because this is such an exciting new affordable housing option there will be many dignitaries. All of your local representatives, Hon.Min. David Caplan, your M.P.P. and Yasmin Ratansi, your Federal M.P. and myself will be there. But we will also be joined by Mayor David Miller, Deputy Mayor Mike Feldman, Council's Housing Advocate as well as Federal Minister, Joe Volpe.

Most of all, I want you to meet your new neighbor in the form of Verdiroc, the private sector developer contributing to this multi-gov't funded 'Let's Build' project. They are quite committed to making a positive contribution to Parkway Forest and building a great new community right inside this new residence. Come on over at 10:00 a.m. to hear more about it and have a few refreshments afterwards. Cross your fingers for good weather!

Ward Advisory Meeting

Tonight we held a Ward Advisory Meeting in the upstairs gallery room at Oriole Community Recreation centre. The purpose of this location was to determine the true hockey fan constituents suffering most harshly from hockey deprivation. The gallery room is all glass on one side so that they could look down on the junior hockey game going on and tune me out!

A cameo appearance was made mid-meeting by East York Area Councillor Jane Pitfield as we all discovered together that Jane is a Hockey Mom. It was a delightful surprise.

The traffic issues were a focus but particularly on East side of the 404. I have a number of traffic things being looked at by staff in this area. If there is a car sitting outside, it might be a traffic counter. We are also meeting later this month with St. Gerald's parents around school traffic issues. Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Feb 10 - Mixed Day of Files Ticking Along

After weeks of sweating over the City Budget Process and the looming Community Council with our big item, we had a full day yesterday of watching various files we are working on tick along.

The Youth Working Group got together to plan our next Broader Consultation evening. The new Toronto Civic Youth Strategy is on its way.

I met with Zoo staff to get an update on progress with the proposal for an exciting new Learning Centre dedicated to education in sustainable development.

I met with Michael Booth to prepare for the first meeting of the City's new Toronto Film Board. This Board hopes to develop a strategy to address the current economic downturn in Toronto film production, currently affecting employment not just in film but an array of ancillary industries. This urgent board convenes for the first meeting this afternoon.

I sat in on the TTC meeting today as they were debating the changes proposed to their budget by my colleagues and I on the Budget Advisory Meeting. The new transferrable weekly pass will proceed, the freeze on Metropass pricing was approved but the dreaded fare hike was also voted in by the commissioners. I wish I could say it was possible to 'not go there' with a fare hike but the Operating Budget of the TTC remains our single biggest pressure. When it comes to the TTC, we all agree we don't even need a New Deal from other levels of government, we would be sustainable with 'The Old Deal'. The days when the TTC was funded by other levels of government by a whopping 75% in Capital and 50% in Operating is now several years and several fare hikes ago.

Last meeting of the day was another planning meeting to prepare for Persian New Year and particularly the Char Chanbeh Soori ceremony. A very strong contingent of Iranian community groups is now working very hard to make the event more organized and more safe than ever before. It's very exciting to be working with this community to make the event a more officially recognized part of Toronto's rich mosaic of multicultural celebrations.

Feb 9 - Parkway Forest Development Stalled

The Large development application for Parkway Forest was refused in its preliminary report at North Community Council yesterday. It made the newspapers and I'm including a link to the Toronto Star article below but there is more to the story.

Development applications come to Community Council for preliminary report from City Planning staff. The merits of the application are weighed against the Official Plan and Policies. In this case staff submitted a refusal and North Community Councillors have upheld their recommendations.

I want all the residents of Ward 33 to know that this 10 building proposal can still be taken by the developers to the Ontario Municipal Board. Supportingthe position of refusing the application will be hard work for us all. However, staff also recommended that if the owners would set aside their application and not proceed straight to the OMB that the City Planning office and my Council office would embark on a year long community-based process to come to terms with more appropriate intensification of the Parkway Forest community. At Community Council I assured the Parkway Forest residents present and the El Ad Group who own the lands that are the subject of the original application that I am prepared to develop a schedule for such a process with help from Planning Staff and move it at the February 16th City Council. This would make my commitment to the process a matter of public record and hopefully discourage El Ad from proceeding immediately to the OMB.

I know I can count on this great community, tenants, condominium owners and landowners to join me in the important work ahead.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Feb 7 - We Will Miss Rob Laird

Sincere condolences go to the family of active Ward 33 resident, Rob Laird who passed away quite suddenly last week from a brain aneurism. This is a terrible loss for all of us but for Rob's wife Mary and family most of all.

Rob was a wonderful husband, father, neighbour and teacher. He was a long time executive and treasurer on the Don Valley East Ontario Liberal Riding Association. Many of you will have had the silver-haired and grinning Rob knocking at your door during many a campaign. In every situation, Rob's hilariously dry sense of humour was a welcome addition to the proceedings.

Visitation and funeral arrangements are as follows:
Monday, Feb 7th, 3 to 5 p.m. or 7 to 9 p.m. Visitation
Jerrod's Funeral Home
6191 Yonge St (Just south of Steeles)

Tuesday, Feb 8th at 10:30 a.m. Funeral
19 Don Ridge (Yonge and York Mills, near Old Yonge)

Ward 33 will miss you, Rob.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Feb 5 - Growing Pains

There was an article in the paper about US today. It was an article subtitled 'High Density Housing, Neighborhoods Grappling with Change', namely Sheppard Ave.

It is worth a look as it has quotes from Frank Bruni, a resident group president who has worked through a ton of applications over in the Yonge & Sheppard area. I think he manages to weigh the good against the bad in a fairly balanced way.

There are some quotes from the City's new Chief Planner, Ted Tyndorf, but most space in the article is devoted to the comments of Frank whose neighborhood of West Lansing has really lived through the boom. Check it out <>

Friday, February 04, 2005

Feb 4 - Developmental Items at upcoming North York Council

North York Community Council will be dealing with two developmental items in Ward 33 when they meet on Tuesday, February 8th, 2005. Both of these items invite members of the community to give their feedback and make their views known regarding these two proposals. These two items are scheduled to be discussed in the time frame of 2:00 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.

If you wish to make a deputation in person at the upcoming North York Community Council (North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge St.) regarding these proposals on Tuesday, February 8, 2005, please notify the City Clerk, Francine Adamo, Administrator, North York Community Council at (416) 395-0480. You can also do so by emailing Francine at or by fax (416) 395-7337 to arrange for a deputation appointment, by no later than Monday, February 7, 2005.

A brief description of the items are listed below

2:00 p.m. - Monarch Development

This item deals with a draft plan of subdivision for this already OMB approved development at 2025-2045 Sheppard Avenue East. As many of you are aware this development was approved back in September, 2004 by the OMB. The item before us at Council is the Draft Plan of Subdivision proposing to divide the site into two main development blocks and create a new public road connecting Yorkland Road to Sheppard Avenue East.

2:15 p.m. or shortly thereafter - Parkway Forest Redevelopment

This item deals with the development proposal brought forward by El-Ad Developments. This proposal includes demolition and replacement of 332 rental units and the addition of 3,568 residential units within the Parkway Forest Community.

El-Ad held an open house to introduce this proposal to the community back in November, 2004. Since then, our office held a tenant meeting with this proposal being part of the agenda. Many people expressed their dismay at not knowing about the Open House at all and they were quite shocked, surprised and outraged when City Planning staff explained the proposal it in its entirety. General concerns surrounding this project are mostly height, density, increased traffic congestion, overcrowding of schools and overall "largeness" of this proposal.

The staff report regarding this proposal recommends refusal in its current form, with the option if the applicant is prepared to reconsider revising the application that contemplates less intensification after consultation with the Ward Councillor and working groups of landowners and residents in the area.

If you need more information regarding these two developmental items, please call Councillor Shelley Carroll's office at 416-392-4038.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Feb 3 - Does Anyone know what AMO is???

It has been a long three days and we end arguing about our membership in the Association of Municipalities. If it seems like some internal brotherhood that doesn't have much to do with your daily life, you may not be focused on the choice the Toronto Council must make. From my vantage point the choice is simple.

Membership in AMO, under the Memorandum of Understanding about to be enshrined in law, means that your negotiations with the Province would be done by AMO. They would be negotiating such crucial matters as use of the Federal Gas Tax. It quite directly impacts the future of your TTC.

Withdrawal of opur membership means we continue to arrange a New Deal with senior levels of government for a direct working relationship for the largest city in Canada.

While some of my colleagues tonight are moving that we make overatures to AMO to return, they are unaware that many overatures have been made to AMO and their president, Roger Anderson. Not only have efforts been rebuffed but at gatherings of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities 'curious events' have been taking place to impede the progress of Toronto negotiations. I won't name names! Luckily, the comments and the actions of the current Premier of Ontario are clear and government to government negotiations between Ontario and the sixth largest municipality in North America are possible.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Feb 2 - Council In Session / TTC Dance

Well council is in session but we aren't making much headway. Yesterday we attempted to move a lion's share of the agenda by general consent on quick items, knowing that we would spend all day today on the Homelessness Report. We did manage to reduce a 28 page list of items down to a 12 page list for today. But it could have been even better.

We lost an hour when John Clarke and his Ontario Coaltion Against Poverty(OCAP) stormed the velvet rope and invaded the Councillors' space. The Chambers had to be shut down temporarily. I feel for these people. They are genuine in their passion for resolution of the poverty issues that plague us. But walking the halls after the incident, I can tell you they had no impact whatsoever on Council's positions as a result of their approach. But their stance needs to be heard and they should be thankful that other agencies and groups associated with homelessness peacefully brought their message to councillors and the Mayor. These people help to influence the final outcome of this issue. The Toronto Youth Cabinet has been outstanding in reaching out to homeless and formerly homeless youth to be sure that their particular challenges are considered in the new initiatives.

Whenever I'm not in the council chamber, I'm engaged in private sessions on the Budget. The TTC budget continues to be a particular focus despite a general lack of wiggle room. Bravo to the Federal Government for new movement on the gas tax and Double Bravo to our own M.P.P. David Caplan for the promise this morning that there is no intention to claw this money back from municipalities.

Last night we rushed from the chambers to attend a Fundraiser for Red Cross efforts in the Tsunami Relief. The Scadding Court Community Service Centre and all of its agencies organized the event and I was proud to be listed as a sponsor. The Scadding Court model ofcommunity services and community space is one I would dearly love to see in Ward 33. I will definitely float it at our next Ward 33 Advisory meeting, February 10th at Oriole Community Centre at 7:00.