2012 Highlights for Ward 35
“Fail to plan, plan to fail” – this is an important mantra that I stand to live by. At the start of every year I create a long list of goals that are set out by YOU, the residents of Ward 35, and then set out to achieve them one-by-one and strike them off the list as it goes. Continue Reading
Should Toronto Host a Casino Complex?
Many of you have been asking me where I stand on the matter of building a casino in Toronto. I want to begin by making it clear; I will take my lead from you. Email me, call me or complete the poll at the end of this post and let me know how you feel about a casino. Continue Reading
The City of Toronto has launched a website as the start of public consultation on the possible establishment of a casino in Toronto. Community open houses for public consultation will start the second week of January. The website includes the consultation plan and links to background reports, and opportunities to comment.
The Scarborough Community Open House is Thursday, January 17 at the Scarborough Civic Centre Rotunda (150 Borough Drive) from 6 to 9 p.m. **Please note that this is a pre-scheduled City Council day and I may be in Council on this date – if we wrap early I will be in attendance for this meeting.
Governments and local youth groups come together to open the new Don Montgomery Community Recreation Centre multi-purpose youth space
Provincial MPP Lorenzo Berardinetti (Scarborough Southwest) and City of Toronto Councillor Michelle Berardinetti (Ward 35 Scarborough Southwest) joined representatives from the African Canadian Legal Clinic (ACLC) and Build It to Suit Youth (BITSY) to officially open the multi-purpose youth space at the Don Montgomery Community Recreation Centre.
Mural Art in Ward 35
Unveiling of St. Dunstan’s Mural Routes
I was pleased to join with our Catholic School Trustee, Nancy Crawford, Principal Allan McMillan, Superintendent Michael McMorrow, Father Jeffrey Masterson of St. Dunstan’s Catholic Church, artists and representatives of Mural Routes and other guests as we celebrated with the children of St. Dunstan’s Catholic School the unveiling of their mural which is now located on the side of the school at 14 Pharmacy Avenue.
How to Save Toronto’s Tree Canopy 5 Cents at a Time
The existing Tree Canopy in Toronto is under threat by several invasive species and an aging tree population. We need to extend an olive branch to major city retailers to donate bag sale proceeds to the City’s tree canopy program. Major retailers will be the target of the campaign because they are responsible for the largest portion of bag use and resulting revenues.
Bed Bug Update – June 6, 2012
At its meeting on June 6, 2012, Toronto City Council unanimously approved $250,000 for the reconstitution of the Bed Bug Control Team and also requested the Province of Ontario to match this funding for 2012. The Medical Officer of Health and the Chair of the Board of Health are involved in ongoing discussion with the Province regarding potential provincial contributions to the effort.
With this new City funding, the Bed Bug Team will be providing the following services:
1. Field inspections/unit assessments in response to bed bug complaints.
2. Financial support for extreme cleaning/unit preparation for vulnerable clients.
3. Public Health Nurse support to vulnerable clients through nursing assessments and linkages to appropriate social supports essential in dealing with their living conditions and/or personal health issues.
To file a bed bug complaint, or to request one of the services listed above please contact Toronto Health Connection by calling 416-338-7600 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 22, 2012
This week, my staff and I attended two TCHC community meetings regarding the bed-bug issue that has impacted tenants at various buildings in Ward 35 and throughout the city. Bed bugs are parasitic insects, usually located in mattresses and bed sheets, feed on human blood and most commonly found in multi-residential buildings.
Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit
One of the most important issues facing our community is the Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit line (LRT).
I had planned to host a TTC Townhall Meeting at the end of the month with TTC and Planning staff so that information could be presented and questions addressed. However, the T.T.C. Chair has convened a Special Meeting of Toronto Council for this Wednesday (February 8th) to decide on this project and as a result I need to hear from you now about your preferences.
Outdoor Rink at 313 Pharmacy Avenue
As you know from my January e-newsletter, Ward 35 does not currently have any outdoor rinks. That is changing thanks to the hard work and planning of rookie rink builders Nick Pappas and Rob Poulin. Despite several challenges, and more than once going back to the drawing board they persevered. Generous donations from Crupi and Sons and RONA have also eased their stress. In my capacity as City Councillor I have been working closely with local businesses to support community initiatives and social agencies. Rona donated all the wood, screws and duct tape. Crupi was more than happy to donate $717 to buy the film to line the rink – very important for keeping the water in one place long enough to freeze! Now for the weather to co-operate.
Fabulous News, Ward 35 Friends and Neighbours!
It was a whirlwind day at Council but the 2012 budget has finally passed.
As a Member of Budget Committee and your City Councillor, I am proud to say that we’re on our way to fiscal responsibility while saving the programs and services that matter most to Torontonians. City Council approved a balanced 2012 Operating Budget of $9.4 Billion and Capital Budget and Plan of $14.8 Billion.
Banning the Possession, Sale, and Consumption of Shark Fin Products in Toronto
On October 25th, City Council supported the recommendations of the Licensing and Standards Committee to prohibit the sale of all shark fin products with a vote of 38 – 4. This is a proposal that I fully support and for which I have been a lead advocate.
According to WildAid, up to 73 million sharks are killed every year to make shark fin soup and related food products. The practice is often brutally inhumane, and leaves most of the shark unused. Shark meat is not considered to be healthy for human consumption as it usually contains high levels of mercury and other toxins.
Support for our Public Health Nurses
This past June, the Executive Committee rejected an offer of temporary funding from the Province of Ontario for two public healthcare nurses. The concern with the funding offer was that it was too restrictive and required the City to hire the nurses on a permanent contract with temporary funding.
Considering that the City is offering buy-out packages to City staff to reduce staffing numbers, it was apparent that hiring additional staff while trying to reduce staff numbers did not make sense. However, given that the Province was offering funding for temporary staff, I was determined to find a solution.
This is an issue close to my heart as my mother is a retired nurse with a 35-year career in the healthcare sector. More so, it concerned me that residents in my Ward and across Toronto get the care they deserve in managing the bed bug probem. I met with senior Provincial Ministerial staff and confirmed that there is no incremental expense to be incurred foroverhead administration and that the nurses could be hired on a temporary contract. As a Budget Committee member, I advocated for the City to approve acceptance of Provincial funding for three permanent Public Health Nurse (PHN) positions. Council voted unanimously to accept the provincial funding and hire the nurses.
Toronto Public Libraries
I publicly stated in July 2011 that I do not support the closure or privatization of any libraries. Our Toronto Public Library is a very valuable resource for all residents of Toronto ranking among the best systems in the world. Our libraries offer a place of respite and learning for students, young children, and families.
Accessibility to books and promotion of literacy is a vital component to succeed in today’s competitive world and an important tool to combat poverty. Most of all, libraries are places of education, information and self improvement. They are a place for everyone to gain knowledge, reflection, and solitude in a busy city. An educated populace is a benefit to the City of Toronto.
Flooding Issues in Ward 35
As you recall, the City of Toronto was impacted by severe weather and heavy rain fall this past August 21st, 2011. This led to localized flooding and water clogged basements – my own home flooded.
The City of Toronto encourages homeowners to take action to reduce the risk of basement flooding. To assist homeowners, the City offers a financial subsidy (maximum of $3,200.00) per residential property to install flood protection devices. Before doing any work, please carefully review the Toronto Water website or call 311. More information is available on the city website including how to apply for a subsidy and the application form.
I have initiated several motions on behalf of our community;
1. A Motion to Toronto City Council that calls upon the Government of Ontario to require the installation of back water valves in all new residential developments across the province including within our city and community. This would also apply in instances where homeowners undertake significant renovations in basements which are used for living space.
2. A Motion to Toronto City Council that asks the Government of Ontario to work with the private insurance industry to (a) encourage the installation of back water valves and sump pumps with financial incentives related to premiums and (b) prohibit insurance companies from cancelling insurance policies for homeowners who have experienced flooding but who are willing to install back flow valves and sump pumps to reduce the risk for future flooding.
3. I have moved a measure before the City of Toronto Public Works and Infrastructure Committee to make the city’s downspout program mandatory for all Toronto residents and to eliminate most of the exemptions that too many residents have received. The flow of water into the city’s drainage systems from downspouts is a major contributor to flooding.
4. Regrettably, prior to my election to City Council as your representative no effort was made when the city commenced its Environmental Assessment process to include our Ward 35 community in the review. Therefore, I have submitted a motion to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee to ensure that our community is added to the Environmental Assessment process so that the major infrastructure programs being considered will benefit our Ward 35 community.
Core Service Review
from Joe Pennachetti, City Manager
The Core Service Review is now complete. The public consultations, deputations at Committee meetings and the KPMG report have reaffirmed that the services we deliver to the residents and businesses of Toronto are highly valued and central to the effective functioning of the city.
2012 Budge Forecast
from Cam Weldon, Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer
The tax supported surplus for 2010 was $367 million. The surplus was generated by higher revenues than expected (notably the land transfer tax) and lower than expected costs (notably welfare caseloads). Based on the 2010 results, we adjusted our budgets for these and other items in 2011. As a result, the expectation is that the surplus for 2011 will be much smaller than it was in 2010.
The City of Toronto wants to eliminate graffiti vandalism from city buildings and infrastructure as well as private property to make our environment a more attractive place for everyone. Municipal Licensing and Standards is working with Transportation Services to develop a new plan to deal with graffiti and coordinate the actions of municipal divisions, agencies, boards and commissions along with the community at large.
If you find graffiti on your property, it is your responsibility under the graffiti bylaw to clean it. If you see graffiti on any other property, City or private property, call 311 or report it online. Hate or gang-related graffiti is considered graffiti vandalism and a crime, and such graffiti is removed within 24-hours of notification.
Art murals are often an important deterrent to graffiti and can dramatically improve the look of our neighbourhoods. If you are interested in seeing information about creating a mural, visit the
Motion of Condolence
On March 11, 2011, Japan was struck by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake; the highest ever observed in Japan. The people of Toronto stand in solidarity with the people of Japan. Click here to read more.
Thank you to the students of Oakridge Junior Public School , Warden Avenue Public School and Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School for making 1000 beautiful paper cranes.
Aftermath of Japanese Earthquake on Toronto
Large scale natural disasters have continued to impact people around the world as we’ve just seen with the devastation caused by tornadoes in the southern United States. These tragedies highlight the need for emergency preparedness contained in my Motion that was approved by the Executive Committee at the May 24th meeting. Continue Reading
The future of the three Toronto Zoo, African Elephants – Iringa, Toka and Thika – is an issue the community feels very strongly about. I have received hundreds of emails from citizens expressing their concern. On the first weekend in November 2011, I travelled to California to visit the PAWS Sanctuary.
Danforth Gardens and Regents Parks
I’ve heard from many residents about the need to improve several parks across our Ward. The first two parks to get new playground equipment will be Danforth Gardens and Regents Parks.
December 2011 Update: A contract has been awarded for the construction of playgrounds in these two parks. The contract was awarded in October as we had to wait for approval of the Notice of Motion of the additional funding for Danforth Gardens Park. The contractor has placed the order for both of these playgrounds and it will take approximately 6 to 8 weeks for delivery from the play equipment manufacturer. This will mean that construction will begin as weather permits in early spring. The existing play structures will remain in place until then to allow for its use. Both playgrounds are tentatively scheduled for completion by early summer depending on weather conditions. I will inform you of the construction start date in early spring.
May 2012 Update Continue Reading
June 15, 2012: Regents Park Grand Opening Continue Reading
Homeless Shelter and Rooming Houses
The well-being of the community is of paramount importance to me. In response to concerns from residents, I have conducted several meetings with Toronto Police, Municipal Licensing & Standards and Shelter, Support & Housing staff.
Birchmount and Pharmacy Cycling Lanes
Over the past few years I have spoken with many local residents concerned about traffic safety and the surprise implementation of the cycling lanes on Pharmacy Avenue and Birchmount Road.
November 2011 Update: Although the removal and restoration of the markings were originally planned for the Spring of 2012, the city was able to take advantage of the availability of some very specialized equipment to expedite the removal of the bike lanes and markings. However, given the ever deteriorating weather conditions (colder overnight temperatures) and the long list of safety related competing priorities already scheduled, they will not be able to reinstate the final pavement markings until the Spring of 2012. The reinstatement of the markings in the Spring of 2012 will begin as soon as weather conditions permit.
Off Leash Dog Park
I am very pleased to announce that the first off-leash dog park in Ward 35 is now complete. Our area is home to many proud dog owners who had requested an off-leash area. Located near the Warden Woods parking lot, the new off-leash dog park is easily accessed by Ward 35 dogs and their owners.
City staff conducted a full review of Ward 35′s parks to determine the best location of an off-leash area. After setting up the Off-Leash Area for Dogs Committee, residents spoke out about preferred locations. I would like to thank those Members of the Committee who volunteered their time and ideas.
Off-Leash Dog Park Committee Meeting: Monday, October 17th – 6pm – 8pm
Welcome all doggie owners! Many residents have expressed their interest in an off-leash dog park.
Please click here for more information if you are interested in being part of an Off-Leash Dog Park Sub-Committee.
Please click here - People, Dogs and Parks Off-Leash City Policy -for more information on creating an off-leash area.
Privatization of Garbage Removal Services
Many people have contacted my office to express their views on the issue of outsourcing solid waste collection and recycling servies.
One of the very first actions that I took as your Councillor was obtaining city recreation programming for this new public landmark. Residents have told me that the new community centre has made their neighbourhood a wonderful place to live.
The original concept of the centre has been made even better and more responsive to your needs through my efforts at Toronto City Hall. Here is a summary:
Thanks to all the people from Ward 35 that came out to give us the programs they most want to see offered in the new Warden Hilltop Community Centre.
It was a strong win for our community on Tuesday, February 10th. The Warden Hilltop Community Centre was slated to be contracted privately, but we fought to have the City maintain control of core programs. Please click here to read more.