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, August 07, 2007

Council Highlights - July 16, 17, 18, 19 2007

Council Highlights

Council defers vote on two new taxes

Council voted 23-22 to defer a decision on implementation of two new taxes until the October 22 Council meeting. The City is facing a $575 million funding shortfall for 2008, having exhausted its reserves and one-time fixes to meet a balanced budget as required by provincial law. The ability for the City to raise new revenue was granted through the City of Toronto Act, and two new taxes were introduced for consideration at this meeting: a land transfer tax, and vehicle registration fee.

Climate Change plan passes unanimously

The climate change and sustainability plan was passed by a unanimous vote of Council. Under the plan the City commits to meeting Kyoto emissions target reductions of 6% by 2012, stepping that up to 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Council endorsed the creation of the $42 million Toronto Energy Conservation Fund, which will promote energy savings initiatives in city buildings, as well as schools and hospitals. The City will obtain 25% of its electricity from green energy sources starting in 2008, and establish the Live Green Toronto program that will help community and residents groups green their neighbourhoods through a series of initiatives, including green roof projects, community gardens, and water conservation programs.

City to expand dog off-leash areas, and increase enforcement of dog bylaws

Implementation of the People, Dogs and Parks -- Off-leash Policy will begin this fall, and will expand the number of off-leash areas in City parks. To establish new off-leash areas, dog owner groups will submit a proposal to the City to establish an off-leash area in a particular park. Off-leash areas near playgrounds, splash pads, wading pools, sports fields, and horticulture displays will require fencing to prevent dogs from entering those areas. Increased enforcement of the leash laws will also be enacted under the plan, with an additional 10 parks bylaw enforcement officers hired as part of the 2008 budget submission. Officers will obtain the elevated special constable status to improve their ability to enforce the bylaws and levy fines for non-compliance. Starting in the fall, commercial dog walkers will be required to pay a fee as part of the Commercial Dog Walker Permit Policy, which was also adopted by Council. Commercial dog walkers will be required to display their Dog Walker Permit when walking dogs in City parks, green spaces and waterfront areas, and will be allowed to walk a maximum of six dogs at a time, all with a valid pet licence.

City to discuss new lease for Casa Loma operations with Kiwanis

The City will proceed with negotiations with the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma so they may continue to operate the historic facility through a lease to a maximum of 20 years. Improved heritage programming and new visitor amenities are expected in the new deal. The final lease agreement will come back to Council for approval. As part of that agreement, Council is looking for a business model that will allow for Casa Loma revenues to make the facility self-sustaining and help pay for structural repairs to the building, which was erected in 1914. Currently, the City has undertaken the cost of necessary repairs to the buildings exterior, which will cost $4.1 million in 2007 capital funds. Councillors also directed City staff to explore the governance model of the Kiwanis Board of Trustees in an effort to add more Councillors and increase the transparency of its operations and expenditures.

York University Busway pursues roadway through hydro corridor lands

The City will continue to pursue use of hydro corridor lands to create an express lane for TTC buses to travel to York University, but Council instructed staff not to accept the current, negotiated offer for use of the land, and to continue negotiations. The land is owned by the provincial utility Hydro One, which would charge the City $3.9 million over 10 years for its use. Council has asked the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to intervene and provide this publicly owned land at a more favourable cost to support public transit.

2007 Best Start Update to Toronto Child Care Services Plan approved

In approving the 2007 Best Start Update to the Toronto Child Care Services Plan, Council will continue to advocate that the province provide increased, flexible multi-year funding for child care in the city. The City needs both increased funding and subsidy spaces to meet its child care needs. For 2008 this would include pursuing $15 million for income testing (required by the province by changes in the funding formula), $20 million to the base budget for child care in the City, and an additional $28 million to address the waiting list for families awaiting subsidies for 2008 and 2009. The province changed the funding formula for child care spaces this year to an income testing model, and the City will cover the subsequent increased costs through the Childcare Expansion Reserve Fund, which is expected to be exhausted in 2008.

City to develop Green sector economic opportunities

Council directed City divisions, led by Economic Development, Culture and Tourism, to develop a co-ordinated strategy to attract green, environmental businesses to the City. A Green Manufacturing Action Team will be assembled, and include representation from green manufacturing, environment, labour and academia. The team will match emerging needs from the booming green products market to manufacturing opportunities here in Toronto. The team will also identify tools to help existing manufacturers in the city reduce pollution.