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, June 29, 2007

F.A.Q.: Land Transfer Tax/Vehicle Registration

To my ward 33 constituents:

This is a long explanation, but I am hoping to touch on all questions asked. If you email further questions, we will get back to you as soon as possible. If you provide your mailing address in your reply we will note and file it in case there is a mailing after Council makes its decision.

Before the Provincial Government included what they called ‘Revenue Tools’ in the City of Toronto Act (COTA) last year, a great deal of fact-finding and formal third-party auditing of our finances took place. What the Province learned was that we are within normal range of efficient spending in all departments. The Province’s chosen firm, KPMG, even found that the downloaded social services in the City of Toronto were the most cost efficient in all of Ontario.

Essentially, the Province and City found that the City of Toronto has a revenue problem rather than a spending problem. Since current value assessment has placed hardship on large sections of Toronto, and since a large portion of our ratepayers are seniors living on fixed incomes and small investments, dealing with this problem entirely on the property tax base could be devastating. So, as a solution, the group of proposed taxes and user fees the Province included in the COTA are the same ones used by other cities as large as ours, throughout North America. Remember that Toronto is at least 100% larger than any other city in Canada, making a North America wide comparison necessary.

Out of the 8 taxes and fees COTA proposed, the two we’ve chosen to vote on, Land Transfer Tax and Vehicle registration, are not only the most efficient to implement but also disadvantage the least number of citizens. In addition, staff is proposing the same rebate to first time homebuyers as the Province uses in its own Land Transfer tax. On properties less than
$250, 000 for instance, a first time buyer would pay in the range of $225.

Regardless, it continues to be my responsibility as Budget Chief to find further efficiencies every year in the budget process to balance reductions in our overhead with investment in new services, parks and facilities that the people of Toronto continue to request. Last year my dedicated Budget Committee and finance staff found $80 million in efficiencies. That work will continue.

Currently, my position is as follows: My ward and the rest of the City are full of neighbourhoods made very valuable through the wonderful care of long time homeowners. Residents who invested as much as they could afford for homes years ago, due to the boom in property values, are now paying property tax on assessed values they never expected to see in their lifetimes. By diversifying our streams of revenue, Council would not have to tax these people, who have made our city great, right out of their homes. The vehicle registration fee would bring much needed investment to our roads but rather than gather these funds based on the unrealized value of your home, we would gather this investment based on the number of cars each household is putting on the road.

While the Provincial Government has committed to examining the issue of Provincial downloaded services and the lack of funding provided to Cities for their delivery, no upload will happen before our 2009 Budget at the earliest. While the official opposition party promises the same thing, election timing dictates that they would likely be unable to deliver an upload of costs any earlier. This is a key issue since the shortfall in social services transfer payments came to $73 million this year alone, an amount equivalent to your 3% property tax increase.

When the City’s consultant studied the COTA revenue tools in other Cities, they found that in Cities where these were implemented over time, that City’s reliance on the property tax stabilizes and is eventually reduced. We study Chicago carefully because it has a similar population at 2.8 million and a similar surface area. Today, after over 18 years of phasing in these revenue tools, an income tax to fund social programs, and finally, a sales tax to accommodate growth, Chicago’s reliance on property taxes is $750 million annually. Their property values and real estate market are as strong as or stronger than Toronto’s.

With no other form of direct taxation, Toronto’s reliance on property taxes is $3.2 billion annually. Our average property tax is lower than the average home in ANY GTA city and we strive to maintain that level since Torontonians contend with so many other urban challenges including skyrocketing assessments. My support for the Land Transfer Tax and the Vehicle registration fee stems from the fact that I cannot empty the pockets of our many senior homeowners, to meet the needs of those moving up the property ladder because they are growing in financial wealth or to generate the wealth of property speculators, not when the need for revenue is so clear in the City’s and the Province’s evaluation of our books.

Signed, Shelley Carroll

Thursday, June 28, 2007

City of Toronto seeking residents to serve on Zoo Board

As part of its ongoing commitment to civic participation, the City is seeking two residents to serve on the Board of Management of the Toronto Zoo. Interested residents should have a commitment to issues affecting zoos and wildlife conservation programs, an understanding of public service, governance and corporate relations and must be at least 18 years of age.
"We are proud that the City’s agencies, boards and commissions reflect the diversity of Toronto’s population better than ever before," said Councillor Janet Davis, Chair of the Civic Appointments Committee. "We continue to encourage women, youth 18-30, people with disabilities, Aboriginal/First Nations people, and members of racial minorities to apply to serve on City boards."

Interested residents can obtain an application by downloading from the City’s website,, calling Access Toronto at 416-338-0338, or by visiting the City Clerk’s Secretariat office at City Hall, Scarborough, Etobicoke and North York Civic Centres.

Applications will also be available at two information sessions:
- Friday, July 6, noon to 2 p.m. in the Rotunda of City Hall, or
- Thursday, July 12, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the atrium of the Toronto Zoo, 361A Old Finch Ave.
Applications must be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office no later than 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 21, 2007.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

News Release - City of Toronto flooding precautions

June 27, 2007
City of Toronto flooding precautions Environment Canada has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the city of Toronto due to the potential development of severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening, and the possibility of large hail and damaging winds. In addition, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority has issued a high water safety bulletin warning against dangerous conditions as a result of increased flows and water levels in the city's rivers and streams.

The City of Toronto encourages residents and businesses to take precautionary steps to protect their property and ensure their safety. High winds and thunderstorms can contribute to flooding and downed trees and power lines. Residents are advised to stay away from rivers and streams, and downed wires and trees that may have an electrical charge. For the most up-to-date weather information, visit Environment Canadas website at .

Protect your property
The City of Toronto advises residents and businesses to take precautions and protect their properties from possible flooding:
  • make sure your disconnected downspouts are draining properly, ideally 1.8 meters (six feet) from your basement walls
  • as a future measure, consider disconnecting your downspouts from the sewer system by calling the Downspout Disconnection Program at 416-392-1807
  • be sure the grading around your home drains water away from all exterior walls
  • check for and fix leaks in basement walls, floors, windows and foundations
  • clear eavestroughs and downspouts of leaves and other debris preventing proper drainage
  • repair or replace damaged weeping tile systems
  • rake leaves away from sewer catch basins and other outside drains
  • have a plumber or drain company inspect your homes flood-proofing devices, including back-water valves, sump pumps, floor drains or caps, to ensure they are working properly
  • do not pour grease down drains or flush food or other objects down toilets as this will block sewer connections causing sewers to backup during rain storms
  • for future reference, consider soft-surface landscaping that allows storm water to soak into the ground rather than run directly into the local sewer systems, such as increased sodded areas and porous pavement
  • ensure your flood insurance is up to date.

In the event of a flooded basement:

call the City of Toronto at 416-338-8888 immediately to report a blocked basement drain or sewer back-up, or for information or assistance with a blocked drain, 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. During extreme weather conditions residents should expect high call volumes. Calls will be answered by the first available your insurance company as soon as possible to report property damage caused by floodingbe mindful of your health and safety when cleaning up a flooded basement - do not stand in flood water, call a professional for assistance.

More information about basement flooding is available on the City of Torontos website at .

Personal preparedness

Being prepared for emergencies such as hurricanes or floods can significantly reduce damage inflicted on your property. With the associated risks of flooded basements and power failures, residents should be ready to be self-sufficient for at least three days. This may mean providing for your own shelter, first aid, food, water and sanitation.

As part of emergency planning, all Toronto residents should have a three-day supply on hand for each family member of the following items:

  • drinking water (keep water in containers and fill your bathtub)
  • canned food and a manual can opener
  • batteries for flashlights and radios
  • a first aid kit
  • gasoline for your car
  • a transistor radio
  • cash

Residents are reminded to:

  • keep cell phone batteries charged
  • know the locations of all electrical panels, and water and gas shutoff valves in your home
  • keep flashlights where you can find them in the dark
  • consider using surge protectors to protect sensitive electronic equipment.

There are several ways homeowners can protect themselves and their families in the event of a flood:

  • try to remain indoors and move valuable objects out of your basement to avoid water damage
  • turn off your basement furnace, outside gas valve, and shut off the electricity
  • stay out of the basement if flooding is imminent
  • try to limit your driving, especially in low-lying areas where flooding is known to occur
  • exercise caution when driving and avoid low lying roadways and underpasses; do not drive through deep water
  • if your car gets caught in a flood path, get out of the car and sit on the hood if it is not possible to walk or swim away

For more information and advice about emergency preparedness contact the City of Torontos Office of Emergency Management at 416-392-4554, or visit .

Residents should call 9-1-1 for emergencies only, including downed power lines. For all other incidents where police are required, call the non-emergency number: 416-808-2222.

Report flooded or damaged expressways by calling 416-392-5555, 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.

Report road and sidewalk problems to 416-338-9999, during regular business hours.

Report damage to City trees by calling 416-338-TREE (8733) and press the number 2 on the touchtone keypad. The same number can be used after business hours - follow the instructions to obtain an emergency dispatcher. For damaged trees on private property, residents should obtain a private tree service company, some of whom are listed in the Yellow Pages.

As a result of steady or heavy rainfall, including thunderstorms, water levels and flows in the citys rivers and streams may be higher than normal. Due to high water levels, fast flows, and soft and slippery bank, all rivers and streams should be considered dangerous. Residents are advised to stay away from all watercourses and ensure children are kept inside where they can be supervised.

Tips for Power Outages

Your patience is needed and appreciated during weather-related power outages. Toronto Hydro will work to restore power as quickly as possible.

During an outage:

  • unplug or turn off all appliances to avoid possible damage when power resumes
  • turn off water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they are in use when the power goes out
  • leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored
  • when power has been restored, check all fuses to ensure that none have been blown, before calling Toronto Hydro
  • plug in only the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes to give the electrical system time to stabilize before connecting everything else.

How to report a power outage:

  • call Toronto Hydro-Electric Systems Lights Out number at 416-542-8000. Add the number to your list of other emergency numbers.

Food Safety

During a power failure, food kept in the refrigerator or freezer may become unsafe to eat. The following tips will help ensure food is stored safely in the event of a power outage:

  • keep your refrigerator door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, the refrigerator section will keep foods cool for four to six hours - if the door is kept closed.
  • throw out perishable foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and leftovers that have been at temperatures above 4°C for more than two hours
  • keep your freezer door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, an upright or chest freezer that is completely full will keep food frozen for about 48 hours - if the door is kept closed. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for about 24 hours.
  • foods that have thawed in the freezer may be refrozen if they still contain ice crystals or are at 4°C or below - evaluate each item separately
  • partial thawing and refreezing may reduce the quality of some food, but food will remain safe to eat
  • if possible, add bags of ice to the refrigerator and freezer to keep temperatures cooler for a longer period
  • discard any items in the freezer or refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices
  • if you are in doubt about whether a food item has spoiled, throw it out
  • contact your doctor or pharmacist for information about proper storage of medication that requires refrigeration, such as insulin.

For more information about when to keep and when to throw out refrigerated foods, visit .

Friday, June 22, 2007

Update: Leslie/ Sheppard Construction

Here is an update from a Senior Project Engineer that is working on the Leslie/Sheppard construction:

The road modifications at the Intersection are basically complete and paving and line marking is scheduled for the nights following the July 1 Long Weekend.

The Contractor will continue to widen Leslie St between Sheppard and Esther Shiner Boulevard. The west side work should be complete by the end of next week and the following week, the contractor will switchover to the east side of Leslie. Pedestrians will be maintained on 1 side of Leslie St. Currently the pedestrians are maintained on the east side. In about a week the pedestrians will be switched to the west side of Leslie. The new stairs at the bridge will remain closed however for about 3-4 weeks until the handrailing can be supplied and installed.

A completion date of mid-August is targetted at this time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Help protect Toronto’s history!

The City of Toronto is looking for volunteers to participate on the Toronto Preservation Board and the Community Preservation Panels. It’s an important opportunity for residents to work with other individuals who value the city’s history and provide input into heritage issues affecting Toronto now, and for decades to come.

The role of the 14-member Preservation Board is to advise City Council on issues relating to the Ontario Heritage Act. The Act gives municipalities the power to assist in the preservation of Toronto’s buildings. The four district-based Community Preservation Panels make recommendations to the Board on heritage matters in their communities and Panel members serve as advocates providing valuable input into the policy and designation of heritage buildings. Terms run from 2007-2010.

“The Preservation Board and the Panels are key to helping preserve Toronto’s heritage,” said Ted Tyndorf, the City of Toronto’s Chief Planner. “The expertise of the Board and Panel members helps the City identify, preserve and protect Toronto’s heritage.”

In order to be eligible you must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the City of Toronto. For details on eligibility requirements, the public information session and how to apply, please contact Paul Maka, City of Toronto Heritage Services, at 416-338-1077, or by email Applications are also available online at and will be accepted until Friday, June 29, 2007.

For further information visit

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Hello Residents of Ward 33,

I have received reports of trees down in our ward, and other severe damage. For all storm related questions and emergencies, please contact the City of Toronto's Access Toronto Line at: 416-338-0338. Although the line is now closed, it will direct you to live operators who are on hand to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please be advised, you will likely have to wait to speak with a city staff member as they are currently receiving many calls.

Please pass this information on to your neighbours.

Please feel free to also call our office when it reopens on Monday morning for assistance.

Severe Storm Warning - Watch For Flooding

Hello Ward 33 Residents,

Unfortunately there is a severe storm headed our way. In the event that you experience flooding please follow the below guidelines.

Here are the four steps to follow in the event of a flooded basement:
  1. Call the Water Department immediately at 416-338-8888, 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.
  2. Call your insurance company as soon as possible and report property damage caused by the flooding.
  3. Be mindful of health and safety when cleaning up your flooded basement.
    Consider getting help with flooding clean up. Look in the Yellow Pages under ‘Water Damage Restoration’.
  4. Basement Flooding Fact Sheet Tips on how to prevent basement flooding and health and safety issues are included on the City of Toronto Website (
    For more information call 416-338-8888.

Please also help reduce the chance of flooding by clearing any catch basins around your home. This means clearing grass, debris or garbage from the drain so that rain water may flow into it.

If you have any questions or concerns please call my office at 416-392-4038. Although my office is closed over the week-end my staff and I will be monitoring the voicemail for emergencies.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

People, Dogs and Parks Strategy - Public Consultation June 7, 2007

Parks, Forestry and Recreation will host a series of public consultations as well as an online survey for Toronto residents to provide feedback on the People, Dogs and Parks Strategy and draft off-leash policy.

The development of the strategy and a draft policy to guide the provision of off-leash areas in City parks, greenspaces and waterfront areas has required extensive work over a number of years. These efforts have involved the collaboration of City staff, political representatives, community groups and associations, professional dog-walkers, subject experts, and residents - including both those who own dogs and those who do not. Methods have included public engagement, peer research, and the execution of a number of pilot projects.
The combined results of this work form the basis of this strategy document and draft policy to guide the provision of off-leash areas in City parks, greenspaces and waterfront areas. The draft policy is now presented for your final review and feedback.
Public consultations: draft off-leash policy
To get the most of the public consultation sessions or to participate online, please read Part 3: Draft Off-leash Areas Policy contained within the People, Dogs and Parks Strategy.
All public consultation sessions will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Please leave your dog at home.

Thursday, June 7
North York Memorial Hall
5110 Yonge St.
7:00pm - 9:00pm

For those interested but are not able to attend on the consultation sessions, you can participate through an online survey at