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.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

December '05 Council Session Highlights

Here is a quick review of major items over the long Council Session that threatened never to end. In the end we did deal with 306 items and the 2006 Capital Budget. These are the items that engendered the longest debates.

Council Highlights
City Council meetings of December 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 14 and 16, 2005

Evolution of Toronto’s governance
City Council gave its approval in principle to the recommendations of the Governing Toronto Advisory Panel and asked the city manager to report on steps required to implement the recommendations. The panel’s recommendations include improving civic engagement and community involvement, strengthening Council's ability to focus on city-wide priorities, creating an executive committee to integrate the City's agenda, providing the mayor with tools to lead Council, and empowering community councils. City Council also set up a five-member committee to help the city manager with implementation and requested further public consultation.

Toronto drug strategy
Council adopted recommendations for a City of Toronto comprehensive approach in dealing with the use of alcohol and other drugs. Council also agreed to establish a committee and a secretariat to oversee implementation of the Toronto Drug Strategy. Among the steps to be taken is a feasibility study of supervised drug consumption sites. The drug strategy includes many other actions in the areas of prevention, harm reduction, treatment and law enforcement. Implementation will be co-ordinated with the goals and initiatives of the Community Safety Plan, the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy, the Toronto Youth Strategy and the Streets to Homes Initiative.

Capital budget
Council approved a 2006 capital budget of $1.25 billion. The budget includes $84 million for road repairs, $153 million for 150 new TTC hybrid buses and 80 diesel buses, $111 million as a down payment on new subway cars, $26 million for parks, forestry and recreation repairs/upgrades, and about $2 million for Clean and Beautiful City projects. Gasoline tax contributions from the federal and provincial governments helped the City balance the capital budget. Council also approved a water rate increase of 9 per cent in 2006 to help pay for repairs to the City’s water infrastructure.

Ethics in public service
Council approved a series of actions to implement the recommendations of the Bellamy Inquiry report. A “Bellamy Recommendations Steering Committee” will take steps such as refining the Council members’ code of conduct, expanding the integrity commissioner’s duties, and creating a lobbyist control framework. The city manager will develop a program to support senior staff in their application of ethical values in public service, will increase education about ethical issues for all staff, and will establish a code of conduct for staff similar to the code of conduct for councillors.

Pilot project supporting good design
Council approved a proposal to conduct a pilot project introducing a Design Review Panel to help ensure that new buildings and public spaces in Toronto are well designed. Review panels work successfully in many cities. Locations to test the concept in Toronto will be identified through public consultation and will include public projects as well as private development. Establishing a role for a Design Review Panel is seen as consistent with, and supportive of, the goals of the Official Plan and Council’s Beautiful City initiative.

East Bayfront area of waterfront
Council endorsed the East Bayfront Precinct Plan covering 64 acres between Jarvis and Parliament streets from Lake Shore Boulevard to the lake. East Bayfront is considered an important step in the renewal of Toronto’s waterfront. The precinct plan provides the basis for environmental assessments, zoning and other steps involved in revitalizing the area. The vision for East Bayfront includes a 1.5-kilometre waterside promenade, new parks and public spaces, and mixed uses.

Development of Scarborough Centre
Council adopted a Scarborough Centre Secondary Plan that will guide the development of the Scarborough Centre area over the next 30 years. The plan builds on the area’s success as a distinct part of eastern Toronto for employment, housing, recreation, government services, shopping and cultural activities, and as a hub for public transit. The plan and related zoning amendments place emphasis on making the Scarborough Centre an attractive place to live.

Spadina subway extension
Council endorsed an environmental assessment study for the Spadina subway line, which recommends a 6.2-kilometre extension of the subway from Downsview station to York University and Steeles Avenue in the northwest part of Toronto. The proposed inter-regional extension would have stations at Sheppard Avenue, the Keele Street and Finch Avenue intersection, the York University Commons, and Steeles Avenue in Vaughan. Council agreed to ask the federal government to invest $10 billion to expand the subway and commuter rail network in the Greater Toronto Area.

Partnership with Tourism Toronto
Council approved a new partnership agreement between the City and Tourism Toronto, which is an independent organization that works on behalf of almost 1,000 member organizations across the Greater Toronto Area. The new agreement changes the operating model to help the two organizations work together more effectively to serve their mutual goal of increasing economic activity generated by the tourism industry.

Publication boxes
Starting in January 2006, the City’s annual licence renewal fee for newspaper vending boxes on public sidewalks will be $25 a box for a publication’s first 100 boxes. Under the fee structure that Council approved after reconsidering the issue, the fee will be $100 for each box beyond a publication’s first 100 vending boxes.