Happy New Year, Toronto Centre!
I hope everyone has had a great start to their year and a restful holiday season.
Yesterday, I kicked off Black History Month at Breakfast Television with my colleagues, Councillor Amber Morley and Councillor Jamaal Myers, and celebrated with my colleagues across the City with the Black Staff Network. While February is Black History Month, I'd like to acknowledge that Black history and Black excellence surround us year-round. Celebrate the Black leaders in your community not only in February but every month of the year!
Over the past month, I have been working hard to represent you at City Hall to achieve outcomes that will help make our communities safer, more affordable and livable, and commutable.
We started off the year by diving right into the City’s budget process, which has changed as a result of Bill 39. The role of the Budget Committee, of which I am a member, in this year's process was to hear from staff, and the public, then make recommendations to the Mayor on the budget or to Council on matters where the Mayor has declared a conflict. While City Council can amend the Mayor's proposed budget by majority vote, we cannot refer, defer, or receive the proposed budget and City Council does not vote on the overall budget.
On January 16th, I co-hosted a Joint Budget Town Hall with my colleague, Councillor Ausma Malik, where we were able to connect with residents from both of our wards to hear their concerns, discuss our common goals, and answer questions. We are learning together with you all during our first budget season, and we look forward to holding another joint town hall to engage you meaningfully earlier in the process ahead of next year’s budget.
As I’m sure you are aware, our City finds itself in a large budget deficit of $1.4 billion this year. This proposed budget is very lean, continues the City’s tradition of keeping property tax increases below inflation, and attempts to maintain critical front-line services and programs despite our struggle to recover from the pandemic.
During the election, residents in all parts of our ward were loud and clear that tackling safety, housing, and our mental health and addictions crises were top priorities. I don’t believe this budget will be successful in addressing these issues; all we are doing is moving the deck chairs on the Titanic.
While safety has been top of mind for everyone lately, we cannot forget or ignore that the root causes of crime cannot be treated through enforcement. We need to recognize how poor mental health, addictions and lack of housing feed into peoples’ inclination to resort to crime. We need to be proactive in our responses by seeking ways to address peoples’ needs, whether it be adequate housing, robust healthcare, reliable transit, or access to food. As your City Councillor, I will continue to champion proactive approaches to safety.
Many residents have contacted my office regarding their concerns about the TTC’s plans to cut service while increasing fares. As someone who also takes the TTC, I share your concerns, and as a member of the TTC Board, I moved to reverse both the proposed TTC fare increase and the proposed service cuts. Both of my motions failed, along with three other motions that called for the TTC to prepare a budget briefing note justifying any and all service cuts with specific route-by-route, time-period-by-time-period, ridership data analysis and with an analysis of consulting and labour arbitration costs for the past 10 years.
We need to attract people back into the Downtown Core to our businesses, restaurants, and offices. To accomplish this, I believe we need to ensure we have safe, reliable service across the city, and the TTC should be more transparent and accountable to build back trust with its riders.
I also believe we should be exploring all revenue tools available to us instead of waiting and hoping for the Provincial and Federal governments to bail our City out every year. This is why as a member of the Budget Committee, I requested a briefing note from staff about a Commercial Parking Levy. I am pleased to have worked with the Mayor to table a motion at the next Council Meeting on February 7th requesting staff to report back on an updated assessment of revenue options available to us through the City of Toronto Act to launch a public process and feasibility study on the Parking Levy and to formally request the Toronto Parking Authority to review their rates for on-street and off-street parking.
If implemented, a Commercial Parking Levy has the potential to generate millions of dollars in revenue every year for the city. This revenue could help fund the TTC, so we can avoid increasing fares and service cuts in the future. I stand by my belief that strong transit reflects a strong city, and I hope that we can strengthen our transit system through this Commercial Parking Levy.
Although the committees I sit on have taken a majority of my time this month, I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to meet and engage with various community members and stakeholders, including Neighbourhood Associations, Business Improvement Area Boards, the Friends of Allan Gardens, Dixon Hall, Yonge Street Mission, Margaret’s, Regent Park Access to Recreation group, the Toronto Chinese Business Association, and many more. It is a very large ward, and I am very much looking forward to meeting more of you over the coming months. If you’d like to invite me to your event, please reach out through my website at www.chrismoise.ca/eventinvite.
It’s only the beginning. We have accomplished quite a bit in such a short amount of time. My team and I have some exciting projects and initiatives we are working on and hope to share them with you soon.
If you found this e-newsletter informative, please share it with your neighbours and encourage them to sign up for monthly updates and other notices at www.chrismoise.ca.
Yours in service,
Table of Contents
- Toronto Centre Projects
- Opportunities to Get Involved
- Changing Parking Regulations for Mosques in Toronto Centre
- Supporting Small Businesses
- Update from Trustee Williams
- Upcoming Events
Toronto Centre Projects
Have you signed up for Toronto Centre Projects? My team and I launched our community platform so residents can sign up and leave comments on future budgets, and developments in your area. The intention behind the creation of Toronto Centre Projects was to make engagement accessible for all. It’s not easy to come in person to City Hall to depute on items you care about but it shouldn’t mean that your opinions and views shouldn’t have a place to be heard. I encourage all residents of Toronto Centre to sign up for Toronto Centre Projects to share their ideas and get your neighbours involved too!
Opportunities to Get Involved
Do you know a youth, between the ages of 15 to 18, who reside in Regent Park or another Neighbourhood Improvement Area in the city? Let them know that Youth in Policing applications close on Sunday, February 5th, 2023.
Winterlicious has begun! From now until February 9th, 2023, everyone can enjoy a three-course prix-fixe menu at over 220 participating restaurants across the City. Plan your lunch and dinner dates, and see which restaurants are participating:
There will be a new 420 square metre park at 1 Defries Street as part of a residential development. The City of Toronto wants to know what you think of the preferred design on the park! Share your thoughts by February 15th, 2023 in the survey below.
The City of Toronto is currently looking for engaged and enthusiastic residents to join the St. Lawrence Market Precinct Advisory Committee.
Members of the St. Lawrence Market Precinct Advisory Committee support and advocate the St. Lawrence Market, providing advice and recommendations to the City to enhance the Market and district for the benefit of the community and all Toronto residents. Applications close on February 20, 2023. For more information and to apply, see below!
Changing Parking Regulations for Mosques in Toronto Centre
A number of residents in the Regent Park neighbourhood brought to my attention that they have been receiving parking tickets during prayer times at their local mosque. I believe this has been an unaddressed equity issue in our city, as we know that free parking is offered throughout the city on Sundays until 1:00PM. I believe that our parking policies should reflect the diversity of our City and that no individual should have to experience barriers to practicing their faith. As such, I moved a motion at the Toronto-East York Community Council to request staff to investigate the feasibility of ensuring parking is free for at least an hour per vehicle between the hours of 12:00PM to 3:00PM every Friday on the following streets:
- West side of Parliament Street between Shuter Street and Dundas Street
- East Side of Parliament Street between Shuter Street and St. David Street
- East and West Side of Parliament Street between Dundas Street and Oak Street
I hope this motion will be the first of many that will aid the City to more accurately reflect our diverse resident population.
Supporting Small Businesses
On January 19th, I was honoured to join Mayor Tory, my colleague Councillor Carroll and MP Jean Yip to introduce more than $5.4 million in funding available for small businesses this winter for the Main Street Recovery and Rebuild Initiative (MRRI). As a small business owner and the Small Business Advocate on the Economic and Community Development Committee, I am proud to introduce the Main Street Innovation Fund, Commercial Space Rehabilitation Grant Program and the Transit Expansion Construction Mitigation Grant Program. I encourage all small businesses and restaurants across the city to take advantage of the support that our city has to offer. For more information on the grants and eligibility requirements and the deadline for applications, see below:
- Commercial Space Rehabilitation Grant Program - February 28th, 2023
- Transit Expansion Construction Mitigation Grant Program - March 2nd, 2023
- Main Street Innovation Fund - March 16th, 2023
Update from Trustee Williams
I am Trustee Deborah Williams. It is my honour to have been sworn in on November 15, 2022, as your school board Trustee in TDSB Ward 10 (University-Rosedale and Toronto Centre). As your Trustee, in addition to advocating for a strong public education system, I will also share information about the amazing work being done in our school communities and at the Board.
As the Trustee for our community of schools, I regularly hold events to share information and provide opportunities for parents/guardians, caregivers, and our school communities to learn and share with each other. These events are called Ward Forums.
This school year there will be several Ward Forums held for TDSB Ward 10. The dates, topics, and locations will be listed on my TDSB Ward 10 website. Ward Forums are currently being held virtually, using Zoom. Childcare and light refreshments will be provided when we return to in-person. The Ward 10 Forum dates for 2023 are January 12, February 9, March 22, April 20, and May 30. Everyone is welcome.
There are several upcoming Community Consultation Meetings this month for new developments in our ward, see the following for the dates and times of each development:
Development Address: 88 Isabella Street and 90-94 Isabella Street
Date: Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Time: 6:00PM to 8:15PM
Link to register for attendance: Here
Development Address: 15 Charles Street East and 16 Isabella Street
Date: Monday, February 6th, 2023
Time: 6:00PM to 7:00PM
Link to register for attendance: Here
Development Address: 69 Yonge Street and 15 Yonge Street
Date: Thursday, February 9th, 2023
Time: 6:00PM to 8:00PM
Link to register: Here
Did you know? The St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association is celebrating their 40th anniversary this February 14, 2023! Celebrate the SLNA and show the neighbourhood some love by participating in their 1000 Love Letters to the 'Hood event!
Write a letter, hide a letter, find a letter on the following dates:
Date: Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Time: 10:00AM to 2:00PM
Location: St. Lawrence Market, 91 Front Street East, Main Entrance
Date: Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Time: 10:00AM to 2:00PM
Location: St. Lawrence Market, 91 Front Street East, Main Entrance
Date: Tuesday, February 14th, 2023
Time: 10:00AM to 1:00PM
Location: St. Lawrence Hall, 157 King Street East, Third Floor (light refreshments will be provided!)
You can also e-mail letters to the SLNA at their email: [email protected].
Do you live in the Garden District? Join me at the Garden District Residents Association’s meet and greet! I’m excited to speak with residents and learn about what I can do to help support the neighbourhood. Moss Park Neighbourhood Community Officers will also be joining us.
Date: Wednesday, February 15th, 2023
Time: 4:00PM to 5:00PM
Location: 175 Dundas St. E (Tim Hortons)
The Burn is an interactive installation that reflects on the COVID-19 pandemic, it is being exhibited at various locations across the City. See below for the locations in Ward 13.
Dates: Wednesday to Sunday, starting March 2nd, 2023 to March 11th, 2023
Times: 10:45AM, 12:45PM, 2:15PM
Location: Mackenzie House, 82 Bond St, Toronto, ON M5B 1X2