Thank you! It was one year ago on October 24th, 2022 that I was elected to City Council. Whether you voted for me or not, I am honoured to serve as your councillor. It has been a fascinating and productive first year.
I ran for office because I have children and grandchildren in this city, and I want them to have a better future. I ran to work with others to make a tangible difference on issues that will define the lives of young people, especially climate change, community building, and livable public spaces. Being your representative at City Hall allows me to work on these issues every day.
It is exhilarating to work closely with so many passionate and committed people, including volunteers, my city colleagues, the City’s devoted senior staff, and my own team. Despite pervasive uncertainty, I take every opportunity to enable others to achieve shared goals. We face many obstacles, but I chose to see them as challenges to overcome together.
I am proud that during this year we have made it safer to walk and cycle in Ward11. I made it possible for Ward 11 to have an amazing new theatre at 877 Yonge, opening next fall. We are rolling out a fourth citywide emergency service, 211, which dispatches community crisis health teams to respond to mental health crises, instead of police. We are implementing the ambitious climate plan, TransformTO.
We are working hard to improve public parks, and to strengthen the role of local communities in looking after them. We are improving the environmental performance of new buildings, and the treatment of tenants displaced by renovictions. I contributed improvements to the mayor’s new affordable housing plan. I look forward to continuing to fight for a better city for all Torontonians.
Because the August and September Council meetings were special meetings with limited scope, we had 190 items to deal with in the October Council. Many were matters that I championed, including my motion to secure additional market rental apartments when the City grants rental demolition permits. With the condo market softening, rents rising, and the new federal GST exemption for rental construction, there’s a better economic case than ever to require developers to build additional rental units, not just condos.
Many of my other motions resulted from working with community groups and leaders to address local issues. After 30 years, we moved on the long-awaited lighting upgrade for Yorkville Park. This beloved park requires electrical improvements, which are complex due to the subway below. We took another step towards converting part of Collier Street into pedestrian space, as the residents’ association requested. We supported a popular local restaurant, By the Way Café, and its much-loved sidewalk patio. We funded a new e-bike station in the Price Road Green P lot, in light of the explosive popularity of bike sharing, (electric bikes in particular), and the rapid growth of nearby condos that will have limited car parking. We protected those trees in Ontario Place that are on city-owned land.
It was good to see so many of you at local events, such as fall fairs, pumpkin fests, and public consultations, e.g. on the Huron-Washington playground. It was such fun to see the kids voting for their favourite designs with multicoloured stickers. Others participated in the TTC Accessibility Forum at the Toronto Reference Library, the Toronto Design Awards, the Heritage Awards, and the Kensington Heritage District Plan consultation. Some of you laughed at my puppy in her spider costume as I pushed a stroller through the Annex on Halloween!
I had the privilege of being a keynote speaker at the excellent Evergreen Conference, on how to create good lives in smaller private spaces with high quality public space. I was also glad to help celebrate Victoria University when it joined the Blue Communities Project, bringing local governments, community activists, and water operators together.
Finally, we are expanding how we communicate with you. Along with this newsletter you can expect invitations to the Ward 11 Townhall, the latest from my podcast, and other office initiatives. Please reach out if you would like to get involved!
Thank you all for your continued support and enjoy what’s left of the fall!