Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ward 27 News - July 31, 2014








July 31, 2014

  1. Welcome Letter from Kristyn Wong-Tam
  2. Construction in the Downtown
  3. Park Updates
  4. Summer and Fall Events
  5. Ward 27 Development Update
  6. July 2014 City Council Highlights

1. Welcome Letter from Kristyn Wong-Tam

Dear Constituents,

Toronto is alive with the sights, sounds, and experiences of summertime. Ward 27 is home to some of the largest cultural celebrations in our city.  We’ve already successfully hosted WorldPride 2014, NXNE and the PanAm Games One-Year Countdown Kickoff, with several more exciting events planned this season.

The month of August will see the launch of Open StreetsTO, an all-ages, family-friendly program that will take place two Sunday mornings on Bloor Street and Yonge Street that will bring out new entertainment, business opportunities and promote healthy, active living. My office has been collaborating closely on this project, as well as a new open-air community market that will take place at 11 Wellesley Street West on Fridays between 11am and 4pm, starting on August 15. Ward 27 will also be hosting Buskerfest on Yonge Street, multiple TIFF events, and Toronto’s signature cultural event, Nuit Blanche.

The vitality of Ward 27 is impossible to miss. Looking back at the last few years, I am mindful of how much we have accomplished as a community. We hosted the historic Celebrate Yonge festival, piloted Toronto’s first parklet program on Church Street, asked the Province of Ontario to remove Toronto from the jurisdiction of the OMB, initiated major new heritage studies to preserve our iconic neighbourhoods, started important work on the revitalization strategy for the Downtown East, renovated Barbara Hall Park in time for World Pride, secured significant new parkland, rolled-out monumental new public art projects, made significant public safety improvements in our communities, and upgraded street improvements with superior design and new greening strategies. This is only a partial list, but it demonstrates just how much can be done when we work together.

I hope that you will continue to stay in touch over the coming months. Ward 27 is never short on community events and significant projects. Your engagement is vital to Toronto and we are best when we all come together in collaboration.  As the residents, business owners, and community members of Ward 27, I thank you for the incredible opportunity to serve you and your family over the last three and a half years; and look forward to updating you again in the fall.

Due to City policy on communications in an election year, this will be my last councillor e-newsletter before October 27. Over the coming months, information on upcoming events and news from the Ward will continue to be posted at www.ward27news.ca. To find information of the final session of City Council in August, please click here; for information on the final session of Toronto East York Community Council, please click here.

Wishing you a safe, healthy and happy summer and fall,

Kristyn  

2. Construction in the Downtown and Traffic

Construction Coordination

Toronto is facing an unprecedented amount of construction on our roads and it is causing frustration for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike.  The City is updating a significant amount of its aging infrastructure, including roads, bridges and watermains – critical infrastructure reaching its end-of-life.  This is truest in Ward 27 where we are home to some of earliest and oldest neighbourhoods in Toronto.

Private companies are busy, too.  The City is experiencing significant growth – especially in the downtown core – and this has led to a demand for increased services.  A lot of the work that you see taking place is private construction which also adds stress to our roads as lanes of traffic are utilized temporarily to accommodate this work.

Organizations such as Enbridge, Toronto Hydro and telecom companies also continue to upgrade their infrastructure. Since most of their infrastructure is buried under our roads, they need to cut into the roads to do their work. This often means lane closures and more pressure on our transportation routes, sometimes on an unplanned, emergency basis.

However, instead of simply allowing work to take place on a completely ad hoc basis, the City has taken significant steps to plan the work in order to minimize disruption wherever possible.

Five years ago, the City established the Major Capital Infrastructure Coordination (MCIC) division that acts as a coordinating body for all groups – not just city agencies – that perform construction work in the city.  MCIC connects with all groups to make sure that all long-term work is coordinated and that all agencies are aware what other organizations are doing.  This coordination often enables work from different groups to be bundled together, avoiding repeated work and disruption. Additional efforts include accelerating construction projects whenever possible, implementing signal timing changes on parallel roads and limiting short-term work on nearby roads.

While the City is making every possible effort to minimize disruption, there is no denying that delays occur.  The City continues to take significant steps toward getting this work done effectively through its short term and long term coordination as it enhances our transportation network now and in the future.


Wellesley & Queen's Park

The City of Toronto is resurfacing the road on Queen’s Park Crescent and reconstructing the road and sidewalks, and completing cycling and traffic signal improvements on Wellesley Street West. This project is part of the 2014 Capital Construction Program.

This work will take place on Queen’s Park Crescent from College Street to Bloor Street West and Wellesley Street West from Queen’s Park Crescent West to Yonge Street. Work is expected to be completed for December, 2014.

Your co-operation and patience during the construction period is crucial and appreciated.

Construction Details:
Queen’s Park Crescent – July 21st to Sept 22nd 2014
Work Includes:
Road Resurfacing and sidewalk reconstruction
Reconfiguration of the Hoskin Ave and Queen’s Park Crescent intersection, including Separated Bike Lane Construction from Hoskin Ave to Wellesley St W
Traffic Restrictions – Minimum of two lanes of traffic at all times on a one-way section of Queen’s Park Crescent

Wellesley Street West – July 21st to December 2014
Work Includes:
Road & Sidewalk Reconstruction
Separated Bike Lane Construction
Watermain Service Transfer
Traffic Signal Improvements
Traffic Restrictions – Maintain one lane of traffic in the eastbound direction at all times, however,
Westbound traffic will be closed during construction

Construction Notice
Work Hours
Work will typically take place from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday, with work after hours and on weekends as required.

Disruptions
As with all construction projects, there will be noise and temporary inconveniences. In order to complete the work effectively and in a safe manner, some pedestrian and traffic restrictions will be necessary.

TTC Service
TTC service will continue on Queen’s Park Crescent and Wellesley Street West and all bus routes will be maintained during construction. Service disruptions, bus stop relocations, and routing changes will occur due to construction, particularly for the westbound Wellesley St West bus route, which will require a route diversion. For information related to routing changes for the affected TTC route, please refer to the TTC web site at www.ttc.ca

Parking Restrictions & Allowances
Construction will require temporary partial closure of private driveways/entrances. Where the property has two entrances, one entrance will be kept open at all times.

Further notice will be given prior to the temporary closure.
During construction, on street parking will be prohibited and residents are asked to park on adjacent side streets where it is permitted.

Boulevard Work
Sidewalk reconstruction will be undertaken in front of properties on the north and south sides of Wellesley Street West and all sides of Queen’s Park Crescent. Property owners in the affected area are reminded to remove any privately owned items from the boulevard. The City will not be responsible for damage to any privately owned items installed on the City’s property.

Garbage Collection & Store Deliveries
Garbage collection shall remain unchanged, with access restrictions due to construction. Business will continue to receive store deliveries; however access restrictions will prevent deliveries from being store front during construction.
For more information:

Project website
www.toronto.ca/constructioninfo
Project Contractor:
Rabcon Contractors Ltd.
Gaetano Rabito
Office: 905-888-6281;
Cell: 416-791-0466

Consultant Field Ambassador:
Taras Pawluk
Cell: 416-806-1763
taras.pawluk@wspgroup.com
24 Hours: General Inquiries 311
TTY 416-338-0889


Church Street and Wood Street

Important maintenance is taking place on water mains on Church Street south of Wellesley Street and on Wood Street east of Yonge Street. Area water infrastructure is reaching its end-of-life and crews are working to re-line the pipes with a durable and long-lasting new layer that will ensure reliable water service for years to come.

Crews are making efforts to minimize disruption on Wood and Church Street by working between morning and evening rush hours to maintain lanes and sidewalks in the morning and evenings. Some disruption will be ongoing, however. Work is expected to be completed for early September, 2014.


Charles Street East

Necessary upgrades are now underway for the water mains on Charles Street, east of Yonge Street and west of Jarvis Street. With the major population growth our neighbourhoods are experiencing, this work is essential to provide adequate water pressure to residents living in the area. Additionally, resurfacing work will take place during road restoration that will significantly improve upon current conditions.

Work is targeted for completion as early as October 31, 2014. This work is separate from, and a pre-requisite to, the streetscape improvement plan presently being developed for Charles Street and Hayden Street between Yonge Street and Church Street.
 
3. Park Updates

Chorley Park Trail – Status Review

Following the public meeting held at Rosedale United Church on July 9, 2014, I directed City staff to re-assess the trail design and construction project with additional neighbourhood consultation. The City's Public Consultation Unit is now currently organizing a stakeholder working group that will be representative of local residents, resident groups and trail users.

An open call for applications for the working group will be published at the end of this summer and a first meeting of the working group will be scheduled in September, 2014. It is anticipated that three working group meetings, spread across September – November, 2014, will be held. I thank you for your patience as we anticipate further details to be published by the Public Consultation Unit, soon.

For up-to-date information, including the slide presentation and summary of public feedback from the June 9 meeting, please visit the project web page: www.toronto.ca/chorleytrail

If you have any questions or concerns about the stakeholder working group, please contact my office (councillor_wongtam@toronto.ca; 416-392-7903) or Jason Diceman, Public Consultation Unit (jdicema@toronto.ca; 416-338-2830).


Ramsden Park Revitalization

After multiple stakeholder discussions, three rounds of public consultation, dog off-leash area working meetings and two site walks, the multi-million dollar revitalization of Ramsden Park is being ambitiously moving forward by Councillor Wong-Tam. PMA Landscape Architects has presented multiple concepts at the public meetings. PMA is now incorporating the feedback they received and fine tuning design concepts and details for neighbourhood approval. A final Open House meeting to review the plans will be held on September 8 at 6:30 pm at Belmont House, 55 Belmont Street.  Please click here (http://ramsdenparkconsultation.com/) to view the concepts and review the minutes of previous meetings.


Queen's Park North Master Plan Consultations

Toronto has initiated consultations for Queen's Park North to draft a new master plan to guide the park's use, maintenance, and improvements into the future. Stakeholders are being contacted presently and broad consultations will take place in September. If you are a regular visitor to the park or live in the neighbourhood, your input is valuable and Toronto's Parks department want to hear your thoughts on the following matters:
 
  • What do you like best about Queen's Park North
  • How do you use the Park?
  • How would you like to use the Park?
  • What improvements does the Park need?
  • What Challenges exist in the Park and how would you address them?
For those of you who have contacted our office in the  past to be engaged in this process, you should have heard from the consultation team. If you have not, or would like participate in the consultation process, please email queensparknorth@gmail.com today.


Moss Park Master Plan Consultations

In May of this year, I was joined by local residents and users of Moss Park to discuss the future of this well-used green space in the heart of the Downtown East.  Moss Park is situated beside the John Innes Community Centre, Ward 27's only community recreation facility and the Moss Park Arena, one of the few downtown indoor ice rinks.  Both of these facilities are being used to their full capacity and are in need of refurbishment and expansion.

As part of the Downtown East Revitalization, I have asked staff to begin a Master Plan process to look at the future of this whole site, including the Arena and Community Centre.  As the local community grows and evolves, I feel it is important that we develop our city services to match the needs of the local neighbourhood.

More consultation will follow as this Master Plan process unfolds and I will endeavor to keep you updated.


Allan Gardens Playground Update

Excavation for the new Allan Gardens Playground began in May.  The contractors uncovered archaeological artifacts dating back to the original building foundations that existed prior to when the park was built.  This discovery has launched a provincially mandated Archaeological investigation.  The investigation is focussed on a few 'out buildings' (sheds/garages) that were situated within the footprint of the proposed playground in the late 1800's, early 1900's. The artifacts are fragments of ceramic dishes, clay pipes, metals - all fairly typical of turn of century household items.

The contractor and city staff are working closely with the Province to move forward with the required Archaeological reviews of the site and the contractor has completed as much work as possible in areas that are not a part of the review.

We are advised by Parks, Forestry and Recreation that they still expect the playground to be complete in September of this year.

Inaugural Urban Harvest Festival comes to Allan Gardens!

Sunday, September 28, 2014; 12-3pm
The Friends of Allan Gardens, Food Forward, Building Roots and Cater Toronto present the Urban Harvest - A Fall Food Festival.

This free, family-friendly event will be a chance to participate in food and urban agriculture demonstrations, sample tasty treats from local start-up caterers, press your own cider and enjoy musical performances and entertainment!

Councillor Wong-Tam also invites the community to join her in cutting the ribbon on the highly anticipated new Allan Gardens Playground.


4. Summer and Fall Events

11 Wellesley Market (starting August 15)

Councillor Wong-Tam is proud to announce Ward 27’s newest open-air market at 11 Wellesley West.  Together with Ryerson University, Food Forward and the Bay Cloverhill Community Association, we have been working hard to ensure that the new 11 Wellesley Market will be open Friday August 15. The site has been made available by Lanterra Development and the market is scheduled to take place every Friday from 11 am to 4 pm until the end of September. Watch out for our announcements, special themes and list of exciting vendors comprised of local businesses and social enterprises. There will be specialty food vendors, purveyors of fine craft and locally made, unique products. Support small businesses and meet your neighbours. Visit http://www.ward27news.ca for regular updates.


Open Streets (August 17 & 31)

Councillor Wong-Tam is pleased to announce the launch of the Open Streets TO, the newest recreational and cultural event unlike any other in Toronto. The program will take place between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm on Sunday, August 17 and Sunday, August 31, 2014. The 5.2 kilometre route will comprise Bloor Street (between Spadina and Parliament) and Yonge Street (between Bloor and Queen), connecting some of Toronto's most diverse neighbourhoods.  Open Streets TO will open Toronto streets to residents and businesses. People movement will temporarily replace car movement. Toronto streets become “paved parks” where people of all ages, abilities, and social, economic, and ethnic background can come out, enjoy the neighbourhoods and improve their health through free and fun physical activity.  For more information about the program, or to volunteer, please visit www.openstreetsto.org.


TIFF

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will be taking place from September 4 through September 14, 2014. This year's festival will feature over 300 films from more than 60 countries. Events will be taking place across Toronto during the ten day event, including Ward 27. To find more information about what films are showing and what events are taking place near to you, visit www.tiff.net through August.


Scotiabank BuskerFest

Ward 27 will once again welcome Scotiabank BuskerFest to the historic and vibrant Downtown Yonge neighbourhood. BuskerFest is organized by Epilepsy Toronto as their largest fundraiser of the year. Last year's event was an amazing success and in partnership with the Downtown Yonge BIA, Scotiabank BuskerFest is once again set to transform the longest street in the world into a stage for all things quirky, funky, impressive and weird. Scotiabank BuskerFest will run from August 21 to August 24 and takes place along Yonge Street between College and Queen.


5. Ward 27 Development Update

Over the past few years, many of you have come out to development meetings to share your views about new development being proposed for Ward 27. August 12th will be the last Toronto and East York Community Council meeting of 2014 and an opportunity for you to share your views on the Final reports for some of these applications.

There are 11 planning reports coming forward to the August 12th meeting of the Toronto and East York Community Council

TE34.22         Final Report - 50 Bloor Street West - Zoning Amendment Application
TE34.23         Final Report - 50-60 and 62-64 Charles Street East and 47 and 61 Hayden Street 

                                           - Zoning Amendment Application
TE34.25         Final Report - Davenport Terrace - City-Initiated Zoning Amendment
TE34.26         Final Report - 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 14 and 16 Elm Avenue, 120 and 125 Mt. Pleasant Road,  

                                             and the former Elm Avenue - Zoning Amendment Application - Final Report
TE34.27         Final Report - 186 and 188 Jarvis Street - Zoning Amendment Application
TE34.28         Final Report - 70 St Mary Street - Official Plan and Zoning Amendment Applications
TE34.29         Final Report - 481 University Avenue, 210 Dundas Street West, 70 Centre Avenue and

                                             137 Edward Street - Zoning Amendment Application
TE34.31         Final Report - 5 to 25 Wellesley Street West and 14 to 26 Breadalbane Street 

                                           - Zoning Amendment Application
TE34.32         Final Report - 27-37 Yorkville Avenue and 26-32 and 50 Cumberland Street 

                                           - Official Plan and Zoning Amendment
TE34.93         Yorkville - East of Bay Planning Framework (Available at end of next week)
TE34.94         Downtown East Planning Study - Official Plan Amendment - Status Report

All of the recommendations and reports can be viewed on the City's website here.

Each report will also include a link where you can register to speak to the item or make a written submission to share your views with myself and the Councillors of the Toronto and East York Community Council.

Should you have any questions about these reports, please feel free to contact my office.


6. July 2014 City Council Highlights

Eglinton Connects plan           
Council approved Official Plan amendments to implement the Eglinton Connects Planning Study in support of intensification along the Eglinton Avenue corridor, where Metrolinx is currently building the Eglinton Crosstown LRT (light rail transit) line – much of it to be underground. The new Eglinton Avenue envisioned will be an attractive avenue supporting residential living, employment, retail uses and public uses, and will balance all forms of mobility/transportation.

City's response to 2013 ice storm  
Council considered a review of the City of Toronto's emergency response to the December 2013 ice storm and adopted a series of Executive Committee recommendations to improve the City's ability to mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from future emergencies of that scope.

Next phase of waterfront revitalization   
Council directed staff to undertake a review of progress on the revitalization of Toronto's waterfront under the tri-government partnership called the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Initiative. The initiative was formally launched with federal, provincial and municipal funding commitments in 2000.

Plan for major King Street development           
Council approved a revised development proposal for 260-270 and 274-322 King St. W. – known as the Mirvish-Gehry proposal – on the north side of King Street between John Street and University Avenue. The proposal, which was revised in response to issues raised during evaluation of the development application, will create a landmark building in the heart of Toronto's Entertainment District. Council also addressed traffic and parking issues associated with the development.

Exploring transit affordability    
Council voted to work on a policy framework for transit affordability in Toronto. The policy work will clarify assumptions, goals and funding requirements for transit discounts offered to low-income residents and will explore additional reductions for seniors. The goal of the policy framework is to achieve transit-fare equity for all Toronto public transit users.

Payment for water services     
Council supported a motion calling on staff to look into the possibility of allowing Toronto residents who receive and pay their water bills electronically to opt for monthly water-usage invoices instead of the current practice of being billed three times a year.

Establishment of local appeal body
Council approved the establishment of, and guiding principles for, a local appeal body to hear appeals of Committee of Adjustment decisions on minor land-use variances and consent applications. The City of Toronto Act authorizes the City to create a local appeal body as an alternative to using the Ontario Municipal Board for such appeals in Toronto. Work on the local appeal body included public consultation.

Youth-focused transitional housing   
Council directed staff to report on the feasibility of allocating 25 per cent of the beds in an existing youth-shelter facility to LGBTQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning, and two-spirited) youth. The City's emergency shelter system currently has a total of 520 beds available for youth experiencing homelessness, located in 12 shelters operated by community agencies.

City of Toronto's media access       
Council adopted a motion stating that all media outlets that are members of the City Hall Press Gallery are to be included when the City, the Mayor or other members of Council invite media to an event such as a news conference held at City Hall or another City of Toronto facility. In addition, City staff may only provide support services for events to which media are invited when the space is large enough to accommodate the expected numbers of media representatives.

Code of Conduct           
Council adopted the Integrity Commissioner's finding that Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti violated the Code of Conduct for Council members. Council voted to suspend Councillor Mammoliti's remuneration as a Council member for 90 days starting September 1 and to request a legal expert's review of the Integrity Commissioner's report to determine whether there are grounds for further investigation. Council also received, for information, a report from the Integrity Commissioner concerning Mayor Ford and the Code of Conduct.

Newcomer employment     
Council adopted an agenda item about the employment of newcomers to Toronto. The report, which says the City will continue to support newcomers in the local labour force through partnerships with governmental and community organizations, presents a strategy to guide the City's work with newcomers. According to the report, newcomers' challenges in finding suitable employment in Toronto include language barriers, lack of credential recognition and limited Canadian work experience.

Planning study for Bloor Street West   
Council adopted a motion directing City Planning staff to undertake a review of the properties on Bloor Street West between Keele Street and the Humber River from an urban planning perspective. The review, which is to include community consultation, will result in a vision and planning framework for development of a portion of Bloor Street West between Keele Street and the Humber River that is attracting the interest of developers.

Addressing heat emergencies   
Council directed City officials to take steps that will help to prevent heat-related illness and deaths that could occur when Toronto experiences extremely hot weather. Council specified that the City's heat emergency preparedness and management are to include plans to provide outreach services to populations most vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat.

Review of cold weather protocols/services    
Council approved the transfer of responsibility for co-ordinating Toronto’s cold weather alert and response program from Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to the Medical Officer of Health as recommended in a recent review of cold weather protocols and health impacts. The Shelter, Support and Housing Administration division will continue its leadership role in providing cold-weather-related services to Toronto's homeless populations. Council also gave several related directives, such as calling for expansion of the Out of the Cold program.

Toronto Centre for the Arts     
Council authorized a contract with an architectural services company to reconfigure the Main Stage Theatre of the Toronto Centre for the Arts, originally called the North York Performing Arts Centre. The project will divide the 1,750-seat Main Stage Theatre into two smaller venues for use by community arts organizations.

Sam the Record Man sign                    
Council authorized staff to work out a formal agreement between the City and Ryerson University to display restored Sam the Record Man signs on the roof of the 11-storey, City-owned building at 277 Victoria St. beside Yonge-Dundas Square. The location is near the sign's original location at the former Sam's store on Yonge Street – a site now occupied by a new Ryerson building.

Item from City Council's special meeting on July 7, 2014

Appointments
Council appointed councillors to fill vacancies in Wards 5 and 20 for the remainder of this term of Council. James Maloney was appointed councillor for Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore. Ceta Ramkhalawansingh was appointed councillor for Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina.

August 2014's City Council meeting decisions will be posted at www.toronto.ca/council.

Missing boy located, Tyler Baker, 16

Toronto Police Service
News Release

Missing boy located, Tyler Baker, 16

Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 7:53 AM
51 Division:  416-808-5100

The Toronto Police Service would like to thank the media and the public for their assistance locating a missing boy.

Tyler Baker, 16, was last seen on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in the Mutual Street/Dundas Street East area.

He was located on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.

For more news, visit TPSnews.ca.

Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu, Corporate Communications, for Detective Constable Terry Prevost, 51 Division

#Fraudchat: romance scams, Thursday, July 31, 2014, 1 p.m., EST

Toronto Police Service
News Release

#Fraudchat: romance scams, Thursday, July 31, 2014, 1 p.m., EST

Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 5:00 AM
Financial Crimes:  416-808-7300

At 1 p.m., EST, on Thursday, July 31, 2014, Janet Sherbanowski, Executive Director of the Crime Prevention Association of Toronto, will be appearing as a guest on #Fraudchat. She will highlight important online and community resources that members of the public can use to protect themselves and their families from romance scams.

Members of the public can follow Janet Sherbanowski on Twitter at @sherbanowski.

This chat will focus on romance scams, how to recognize, report and avoid being a victim of fraud. Transcripts of all chats can be viewed on the #Fraudchat Storify channel.

To follow #Fraudchat, members of the public simply need to log on to Twitter from 1 p.m., to 2 p.m., EST on Thursday afternoon and follow the #Fraudchat hashtag. An application such as Tweetdeck, which allows users to separately view tweets containing this hashtag, is also helpful in following the chat.

About #Fraudchat
#Fraudchat is a weekly Twitter chat that takes place every Thursday, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST on Twitter. Launched in November 2012, this program seeks to educate and exchange ideas with the public about financial crimes and fraud. The moderators for this program are members of Financial Services Commission of Ontario and detectives from the Toronto Police Service Financial Crimes Unit.

Since November 2012, the Financial Crimes Unit has partnered with the Financial Service Commission of Ontario to educate the public about financial crimes and fraud through the use of social media.

Media enquiries
For more information about #Fraudchat, please contact the TPS Financial Crimes Unit at 416-808-7300 or the Financial Services Commission of Ontario at 416-226-7803.

For more news, visit TPSnews.ca.

Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu, Corporate Communications, for Staff Inspector Mary Lee Metcalfe, Financial Crimes Unit

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Glen Murray MPP Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Join us this summer for events in your neighbourhood

August 6th
Join MPP Glen Murray and the Community Corner for a
free Open House and BBQ!


Wednesday August 6th, 2014
Community Corner
200 Wellesley Street East
4pm-6pm

Meet your MPP, learn about services at the Community Corner, meet your neighbours and enjoy a hot dog and a drink!

For more information on The Community Corner's services, please contact 416-964-6657  or  check out: www.stjamestown.org.

 August 8th

Join MPP Glen Murray for a Regent Park Town Hall

Friday August 8th, 2014
246 Sackville avenue
Community Room
6pm - 8pm

Hosted by MPP Glen Murray, please join us to discuss issues such as:
The Islamic Community Centre and Prayer Space, Youth Employment and Safety, The Regent Park Redevelopment and Taxi Insurance.

Halal Food and Beverages will be served

_____________________________________________________________________


We're Moving! New Location September 1, 2014


Our constituency office will be moving to a new location.
Starting September 1, 2014, you can find us at:


120 Carlton St., Unit # 318
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 4K2
Tel: 416-972-7683
Fax: 416-972-7686
Email: gmurray.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Web: www.glenmurray.onmpp.ca

Missing man, John Harnden, 63

Toronto Police Service
News Release
Missing man,
John Harnden, 63

Missing man, John Harnden, 63

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 4:05 PM
51 Division:  416-808-5100

The Toronto Police Service is requesting the public's assistance locating a missing man.

On Friday, July 4, 2014, John Harnden, 63, was last seen in the Centenary Hospital area of Scarborough.

He is white, 5'7", slim build, grey/green eyes, balding short hair and glasses. 


Police are concerned for his safety.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5100, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637), or Leave A Tip on Facebook. Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.

For more news, visit TPSnews.ca.

Constable David Hopkinson, Corporate Communications, for Detective Michelle Compbell, 51 Division

Toronto Public Health shares food safety tips for summer

City of Toronto Media Relations has issued the following:
==========================================

News Release:  July 30, 2014

Toronto Public Health shares food safety tips for summer

As Toronto residents enjoy the warmer weather with backyard barbecues and picnics, Toronto Public Health is reminding families to think about food safety. Following a few basic rules can go a long way in preventing a food-borne illness this summer. Simply clean, separate, cook and chill.

"Summer is a time when family and friends get together for barbecues and picnics, so it's important that people are aware of safety issues when handling, preparing and storing food," said Dr. David McKeown, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health. "Knowing how to properly handle poultry, meat, and other foods that can pose health risks can help families avoid illness."

People should also use good food-safety practices when preparing, transporting and serving food, as well as when handling fresh fruits and vegetables.

More information and several helpful fact sheets about food safety are available at http://bit.ly/1sZf3tU.

The website and fact sheets include tips on:
- how to properly wash your hands, utensils, food contact surfaces and foods
- how to avoid cross contamination of food
- how to cook poultry and ground meats, and
- how to store food when travelling or on a picnic.

This news release is also available on the City's website: http://bit.ly/1nIYS0N

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

- 30 -


Media contact: Kris Scheuer, Toronto Public Health, 416-338-8020, 416-677-6658 (cell), kscheue@toronto.ca

City of Toronto asks residents to help keep streets safe by reporting vegetation growth near stop signs and traffic signals

City of Toronto Media Relations has issued the following:
==========================================

News Release:  July 30, 2014

City of Toronto asks residents to help keep streets safe by reporting vegetation growth near stop signs and traffic signals

The City of Toronto is asking residents to contact 311 to report locations where summer vegetative growth is obstructing traffic signals and stop signs. The City will dispatch staff to the location to clear the obstruction.

"To protect public safety, we are asking residents to act as our eyes on the street to help us identify and address situations that are potentially unsafe for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers," said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34 Don Valley), Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.

Residents can be helpful by providing the exact geographic location of the vegetation that needs to be cleared, such as eastbound on St. Clair Avenue approaching Mount Pleasant Road.

Transportation Services staff and Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff perform proactive maintenance, but in some areas there has been more vegetation growth than usual.

Residents are also reminded to prune trees and shrubs on their property so they don't obstruct roads and sidewalks, to ensure that travel routes are passable for those with mobility issues.

This news release is also available on the City's website: http://bit.ly/1rGt6ki

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

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Media contact: Steve Johnston, Strategic Communications, 416-392-4391, sjohnsto@toronto.ca

City of Toronto's recreational sites on Simcoe Day holiday Monday

City of Toronto Media Relations has issued the following:
==========================================

News Release:  July 30, 2013
 
City of Toronto's recreational sites on Simcoe Day holiday Monday

The City of Toronto encourages residents to take advantage of the City's attractions and recreational sites that will be open for residents and visitors to enjoy on Simcoe Day – Monday, August 4.

Swimming, parks and community centres
All City of Toronto parks, outdoor swimming pools, wading pools and splash pads will be open on Monday. Indoor pools and community centres will be closed. More information about locations and hours of operation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/swim or by calling 311. Water quality reports for local beaches are available at http://www.toronto.ca/health/swimsafe/index.htm.

Golf
All five City-run golf courses will be open and offer holiday rates on August 4. More information about hours and locations is available at http://www.toronto.ca/golf.

Riverdale Farm (201 Winchester St.)
Featuring traditional farm animals, Riverdale Farm is the perfect place for animal lovers. Families can enjoy a self-directed tour and can visit the farmer at 11:30 a.m. at the lower Francey Barn. The farm is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission and activities are free. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/zoo/ or by calling 416-392-6794.

High Park Zoo (Deer Pen Road)
The High Park Zoo, featuring domestic and exotic animals, is open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk. The llama pen is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekends and statutory holidays. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/zoo/  or by calling 311.

Toronto Islands (ferry located at the foot of Bay Street)
Just minutes away from downtown, the Toronto Islands are a great place to walk, cycle, explore and view the city skyline. Getting there by the ferry is half the fun. Arrive early to avoid long lineups. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/island.

Greenhouses (19 Horticultural Ave. and 151 Elmcrest Rd.)
A wide variety of flowers are in full bloom at Allan Gardens Conservatory and Centennial Park Conservatory. Both conservatories are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Information is available by calling Allan Gardens Conservatory at 416-392-7288 or Centennial Park Conservatory at 416-394-8543 or visiting http:// toronto.ca/parks/parks-gardens.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

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Media contact: Parks, Forestry and Recreation media line, 416-560-8726, pfrmedialine@toronto.ca

Missing boy, Tyler Baker, 16

Toronto Police Service
News Release

Missing boy, Tyler Baker, 16

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 8:31 AM
51 Division:  416-808-5100

The Toronto Police Service is requesting the public's assistance locating a missing boy.

Tyler Baker, 16, was last seen on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in the Mutual Street/Dundas Street East area.

He is described as Aboriginal, with a tanned complexion, 5'9", thin build, brown eyes, and short brown hair with blonde streaking. He was wearing a red striped shirt and black track pants.

He has no money and is not familiar with Toronto.

Missing boy
Tyler Baker, 16

Police are concerned for his safety.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5100, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637), or Leave A Tip on Facebook. Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.

For more news, visit TPSnews.ca.

Constable Victor Kwong, Corporate Communications, for Detective Tim Walther, 51 Division

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Promise to Focus on the Road

Toronto Police Service
News Release

Promise to Focus on the Road, Tuesday July 29, 2014, 8 a.m., Shops on Steeles, Steeles & 404, 2900 Steeles Ave E, Markham, Northeast corner of Don Mills Road and Steeles Avenue.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 8:14 AM
Traffic Services:  416-808-1900

Traffic safety continues to be a priority for the Toronto Police Service.

On Tuesday, July 29, 2014, at 8 a.m. the Toronto Police Service in co-operation with York Regional Police (YRP) and the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) launch a distracted driving awareness campaign.

Since 2009 the Toronto Police Service has laid almost 75,000 charges under the Highway Traffic Act section 78.1, this section addresses numerous forms of distracted driving offences, the current penalty for distracted driving related offences is $280.00.

A split second is all it takes to dramatically change the rest of your life. That is why the CAA Traffic Safety Coalition is reminding drivers to avoid distractions behind the wheel ahead of the upcoming long weekend.

CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) in partnership with members of the CAA Traffic Safety Coalition will launch a six-week long distracted driving campaign encouraging drivers to focus on the road.

"We urge you to talk to your family and friends about the dangers and consequences of distracted driving and to focus on what’s important, driving and arriving safely at your destination," said Teresa Di Felice, Director of Government & Community Relations & Driver Education, CAA SCO.

"When operating a motor vehicle, drivers must focus on the task at hand; distractions regardless of its form put everyone’s life at risk including your own. Make the right choice to not drive distracted, make the promise to focus on the road" said Acting Superintendent Suzanne Redman of Toronto Police Service Traffic Services.

The Toronto Police Service is asking drivers to make a promise to their friends and family to end distracted driving and focus on the road.

Help reduce distractions behind the wheel:

Before you drive:

• Turn off your mobile device
• Stow and secure loose objects
• Pre-set climate control and radio
• Pre-program your GPS

While you are driving:

• Allow phone calls to go to voicemail
• Do not text, surf the web or read emails
• Do not eat, drink or smoke
• Do not fix hair or apply makeup
• Keep your eyes on the road
• Be aware of pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-1900, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637), or Leave A Tip on Facebook. Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.

For more news, visit TPSnews.ca.

Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu, Corporate Communications, for Traffic Services

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fair Policing Not Black and White



By Kevin Masterman, Toronto Police ServicePublished: 5:03 p.m. July 25, 2014 
Updated: 6:05 p.m. July 25, 2014

When a Toronto Police officer is in your neighbourhood, the intent is that they are in the right place, at the right time, to prevent crime and catch criminals in the act.

Green dots represent homicides in Toronto from 2008 to 2013. The areas in red, show the areas where the greatest number of Community Safety Notes are written.




It’s a place-based approach to policing that targets crimes and safety issues in areas, not people.

“If you want to address stolen vehicles, you need to visit every major TTC parking lot and shopping centre because that’s where most vehicles are stolen,” explains Deputy Chief Peter Sloly. “Unless the specific information is that there is an Eastern European organized crime ring operating there, or descriptors of specific people in other related theft-of-autos, it’s the location where we’re going.”

When laid out on a map of the city, violent crimes, such as shootings and homicides, often cluster – they are not spread evenly over the whole city. Victimization rates do not align to census demographics.

It’s the reason why officers are deployed at different times, in different ways, to different part of the city. When officers go to those neighbourhoods to address a crime or safety issue, they will interact with many people – it could be victims of crime, a suspect, a witness or a community leader.

If there is a reasonable public-safety purpose, such as a suspicion the person had been there for a criminal purpose, a Community Safety Note (CSN) can be submitted to the police records management system.

"Bias is a human condition,
racism is a human failing"

So, when a newspaper headline claims race plays a factor in those stops, specifically that the proportion of young black and brown men stopped by police is higher in Community Safety Notes than the proportion of black and brown men in the population of an area, the Service takes notice.

Understandably, when people feel they are targeted based on who they are, not what they did, the public’s confidence in police can be shaken, something Sloly says erodes the core mission of the police.

“We decrease our ability to solve and prevent crimes when we lose more trust and confidence,” he notes, pointing to allegations of racial profiling – an accusation that has been levelled at police agencies across North America that destroys confidence in police. “Fewer people show up at shooting scenes, fewer people who do show up volunteer usable information, fewer people who volunteer usable information show up to court.”

If an officer makes a decision to stop someone based on race, gender or for any other reason of bias, he has not only broken a code of conduct, he has broken the law. 

Chief Bill Blair says that there is little that shakes the confidence of the public more than the accusation of policing with bias.

“Bias is a human condition, racism is a human failing,” says Blair. “We acknowledge that there is an element of human bias because we’re an organization of human beings.”


Black lines show areas where most shootings have occurred from 2008 to 2013. The red zones show where most Community Safety Notes are written by officers






















Sloly says the organization already has tools in place to root out explicit bias, but the Service is now trying to ensure officers have the policies, procedures and training to ensure biased-based policing does not take place.  Project PACER (Police And Community Engagement Review) is the most comprehensive review and redesign of police practices in North America to ensure fair and bias-free policing. 

Amongst the  31 recommendations is an emphasis on quality community interactions. The Service is now seeing a trend of higher quality community engagements (improved intelligence-led processes, better officer decisions, enhanced communication skills, more respectful interaction, higher value information collection, improved supervision, additional quality control, more accountable information retention, etc.) and a significant reduction in the quantity of Community Safety Notes.

But policing is hardly an exact science with a simple formula. A recent Toronto Star analysis again points to the number of Community Safety Notes is disproportionate to the census data in the area.

Sloly says that it is both unreasonable and impossible to have officer activity or police service-delivery equate exactly with the demographic census figures of a particular piece of geography ( whether an entire neighbourhood or localized to a school or apartment building.)

 “There is no operational plan, nor should there ever be an operational plan that, when you go into community X for public safety reason Y, you can’t make sure that the end result of all of your outputs – the directed patrols, the parking tags, the POTs (Provincial Offence Tickets), the CSNs, arrests, charges… matches up perfectly to the census data for that particular geography. If we did that, it would not be an intelligent plan,” says Sloly, noting police have the responsibility to keep the community safe, not conduct a social-engineering experiment.

Dr. Atiba Goff says the city needs to take a more sophisticated view of the statistics to determine if there is bias in policing. Goff is a researcher and professor with the University of California at Los Angeles Centre For Policing Equity (CPE). 

“The first thing that comes to mind, as a data nerd, is to help folks understand the difference between population benchmarking – comparing the demographics of people getting stopped versus the demographics in the lived area – to a more sophisticated analysis of how we would think about profiling. We have to zoom back out in terms of how we think of law enforcement to a broader picture,” says the researcher, who has worked with police services across North America to address bias, achieving success in both public and officer satisfaction. Goff and the CPE are funded independently, and are not paid by the police services they work with and own any information they collect from those police organizations.

Goff said that, if the assumption is that police officers have shown bias, why can’t that be applied to those working in education, healthcare, employment, wealth accruement and housing? What percentage of the people were discriminated against before even speaking with a police officer?

It is the notion of disparity.

"If we’re not even measuring issues of racial disparity,then we’re not taking it seriously."

“It’s not fair to blame police for things that are happening before anyone gets to a law-enforcement contact,” says Goff. “If we’re not even measuring issues of racial disparity, then we’re not taking it seriously. And I think one of the good things happening in law enforcement around the country is that people are starting to take it seriously.”

His consortium of social scientists has been tasked with evaluating Project PACER, which he says is among the most comprehensive plans to ensure that a police service is free of bias.

“(PACER) is about as good as you can ask for – even those hating law enforcement can acknowledge that. There always will be, and should be, community concerns because of the incredible power given to law enforcement. But, if you’re looking to get better, this is certainly a recipe for it.”

Social psychologist Phillip Atiba Goff,
of the UCLA Centre for Equity in Policing
Audrey Campbell, immediate past president of the
Jamaican Canadian Association
who sits on the PACER Advisory Committee
Chief Bill Blair says the Toronto Police Service is fully committed to implementing the  31 PACER recommendations. The Service has brought community members and academics into the fold of PACER implementation to hold police accountable and give the project greater transparency and legitimacy.

“It would be harder to find a more credible group,” says PACER implementation team Inspector Myron Demkiw, of the community members. “We want them to come in and benchmark our organization on efficacy, on equity, and track us over the course of time to see how we do with the  PACER project until 2016 and track the effectiveness of the implementation.”

Goff says that he’s uninterested in rooting out racists and more interested in the policies and procedures that lead officers into a bias situation.

“As social scientists, we know that attitudes predict 10% of behaviour at best. So, if the behaviour is racial profiling… than officers’ attitudes are only 10% of the problem. The rest of the problem is the policy, the response of the community, the context of the neighbourhood and interacting with the person’s personality. So, if their attitudes are a smaller part of the problem, the accusation (that they are racist) is not as important to me as a researcher. I don’t care who is racist and who is not. I care a lot more about disparities that are objectionable.”


"Our (black) community felt like they were being targeted more than any other community"

Immediate past president of the Jamaican Canadian Association Audrey Campbell is not someone considered an easy audience when it comes to the issue of racial profiling. But she is one of 16 community members representing a wide variety of groups that provided input on the PACER recommendations and is seeing them through. 

“Our (black) community felt like they were being targeted more than any other community and they were being disadvantaged because of it,” says Campbell, who has felt she has been stopped by the police because she was out of place as a black woman in a tony area of the city.

Campbell says that hearing from the community allows officers to understand where people are coming from.
“If you came up to me and said ‘Hey, what are you doing in this neighbourhood?’, then, all of a sudden, that’s when the fight starts. That’s when I say ‘I pay my taxes. Does that mean I can’t walk anywhere? I don’t look like I can’t afford to live in the neighbourhood?’” says Campbell. “It’s all in the training and in the approach. It’s all how you engage the community.”

She underlines the need for better training in the recommendations, recently having participated in the Fair and Impartial Policing training alongside Chief Bill Blair and senior officers.

“I thought it was eye-opening to be frank – the implicit bias. People don’t realize that they have biases. Everyone does,”

Fair and Impartial Policing training is currently being rolled out to all TPS officers. 


"People don’t realize that they have biases. Everyone does"

Dr. Lorrie Fridell, who delivered training to community members and senior managers, said having biases is human, acting on them is wrong.

“This isn’t some people, this is basically all of us who have implicit biases that impact on our perceptions and behaviour. The problem is that we need to be aware of it and we need to ensure our behaviour is bias-free,” says the University of South Florida professor.

“I have come to believe that police in North America are well-intentioned individuals who want to police in a fair and impartial manner,” Fridell said. “The issue is that we hire police from the same population as the rest of us and what social psychologists tell us is that we have biases.”

She says, once people have accepted that we all have biases, the training works to reduce and manage those biases, noting that they make policing unsafe, ineffective and unjust.
Dr. Lorie Fridell, delivers Fair & Impartial Policing training to Toronto Police Command and community members at the Toronto Police College























“It makes you over-vigilant against some people and under-vigilant against others,” she says, noting a role-playing exercise that finds officers were able to find a gun in the small of the back of a male suspect more often than a female suspect because they have a bias that men are more violent. The bias displayed there could cost someone their life.

She teaches officers to slow down in non-emergency situations and examine in their own mind: Is their behaviour being affected by bias?

“Implicit biases fill in, with stereotypes, people we don’t know,” she says, of the instant information your brain will give you when encountering any situation – such as assuming a poorly dressed man is homeless.
She says another danger is allowing bias by proxy.

“A person will call police to say they see a suspicious person on their street but, when questioned, all that is suspicious is that they are a black person,” she says, of having police question why the call is being made, not blindly respond to it.


"But they’re going in there with the real purpose of balancing out those policing tools and using them appropriately, focusing on prevention and not defaulting automatically to the enforcement aspect"

Sloly says PACER not only addresses training but the whole constellation of police practices, including piloting the use of body-worn cameras to record police interactions with the public.

Chief Blair supports the use of body-worn cameras, noting cameras in cars have proved successful.
“The best cop will always want the best evidence of their best performance. The most cynical community member will always want the best evidence of poor police performance. And the research shows, clearly, that the majority of evidence is good cops doing good police work,” says Blair, noting body-worn cameras have the dual effect of protecting police against malicious complaints while instilling trust in the public that, if there is a problem, it can be looked into definitively. “At the end of the day, when a camera hangs off a lapel and it captures these engagements in audio and video, that’s the ultimate proof.”

Evidence has also been found that body-worn cameras moderate the behaviour of both officers and the people they are coming into contact with in the community.

The Service has made substantial public-safety strides in recent years to produce double-digit crime reductions. The Service is now making similar advancements with public trust through Project PACER, along with the use of progressive place-based Neighbourhood Policing Strategies. “Teams of Neighbourhood Officers have been given two-year assignments in small neighborhoods that have suffered from high crime rates but who are filled with good decent people trying to provide for their families and contribute to society,” Sloly says, of the officers who work in communities such as Dixon Road, Woolner Avenue or Regent Park.
Neighbourhood TAVIS officers in Moss Park. They are working in 51 Division this summer to prevent violence that typically occurs over the summer months























These teams patrol their neighborhoods, on foot, with a mandate to identify community leaders, mobilize community resources, build local capacity, form problem-solving partnerships, prioritize local safety issues and prevent/suppress local crime.  The Neighborhood Officers still respond to emergencies and conduct enforcement as required to address immediate criminal activity.  

“But they’re going in there with the real purpose of balancing out those policing tools and using them appropriately, focusing on prevention and not defaulting automatically to the enforcement aspect,” says Sloly.
He says this type of community policing has led to better community relations as well as reducing crime and victimization rates. He noted there is still work to be done before reaching the goal of bias-free delivery.
Audrey Campbell says she believes the Service is genuine in its ambitions to police fairly and ultimately believes in Project PACER.

“One of the things I want people to realize, including the police, is that the organizations that are at the table are there because we believe. We believe that TPS is sincere about this initiative. If we did not believe that, we would not be at the table,” she says. “Because, at the end of the day, we have to go back to our community, we have to give reports and we have to justify whether we want to support the decisions taking place.”