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.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Berlin Trip

YES! It is true. I am accompanying the Mayor, Councillor Ashton on a trip to Berlin. Some issues have been raised about this in the Toronto Sun and on CFTO.

Let us start with why we are all going:
This is the Biennial Congress for the Association of Major Metropolises, of which Toronto is a member. The Congress brings Cities together to learn from one another about issues of sustainability that are unique to Cities of 2 million people or more. Many think of the word Sustainability only with regards to environmental issues while in a Metropolis it must extend to social issues, economic issues and the never-ending issue of aging infrastructure.

While there, Toronto will be presenting its plan to host the next Board of Directors meeting of the Association of Major Metropolises in 2006. As well, Mayor Miller, Councillor Ashton and myself will make other workshop presentations in which we further promote upcoming Urban events in Toronto and Canada. The combined cost for everyone going on our trip is roughly $15,000. The revenue returned to the Toronto Community via the Board of Directors meeting the following year is $1.4 million at the very least.

To further put this into perspective, the Mayor of Montreal is taking four councillors and a staff member for each. The Mayor of Toronto is taking two councillors and all three of us will share one staff member.

Why am I going?
During the Congress there is a day dedicated to the Women's Congress and the organizers asked for a Toronto Woman Councillor to speak on the topic of how the City of Toronto has dealt with control of HIV/ Aids rates. As the only woman councillor member of the Aids Prevention Grant Review Panel, I will give the speech.

The Chair of the Grant Review Panel, Councillor Kyle Rae made a special effort to ensure that his panel included members from the inner suburbs. Councillor Michael Thompson, from Scarborough Centre, is a member. The panel also contains community members and workers engaged in treatment and prevention of HIV. The grant program allocates $1.4 million to about 60 organizations a year who deliver prevention education and services to high risk groups of diverse ages and backgrounds in many languages. All of these organizations function with volunteer components. This means that the $1.4 in grants translates into neighborhood services that would cost the City an estimated $12 million if delivered directly by Public Health Officials and paid translators.

During my speech, I will also be promoting the benefits of visiting Toronto in August 2006 when we will play host to the International Biennial Conference on HIV/Aids. Last year this conference attracted 26,000 doctors, treatment and service providers and government officials from all over the world to Bangkok.

While in Berlin, I will also have a day away from the Congress to meet with the director of Berlin's comprehensive drug treatment and prevention strategy. She has arranged for me to tour some of their programs. This is all very timely as Toronto Public Health is currently engaged in consultation for Toronto's own Comprehensive Drug Strategy. Berlin's challenges with drug use were quite similar to Toronto's in that drug use was spread out across a number of areas in the City and thus the accompanying impacts such as neighborhood crime were spread out. I hope to be able to add much to our process upon my return.

I was able to attend one of our consultation sessions downtown as I will be in Berlin when the consultation comes to North York. I hope some of you can attend in my place. Your attendance at the consultation would be most beneficial because we will want to discuss the issue for Ward 33 later in the year when Council is closer to making any decisions on the Drug Strategy.

The North York Consultation for a Toronto Comprehensive Drug Strategy is:
Tuesday, May 10th, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
North York Memorial Hall (Burgundy Room)
5100 Yonge St. (Downstairs from the Central Library)