Priorities

2016 Budget

The City of Toronto provides many services to residents – ranging from garbage collection to emergency services. The budget is the financial plan that breaks down how the City will raise and spend its money to serve its people and meet its priorities.

The process begins when the City’s divisions, agencies, boards and commissions draft their budget submissions internally based upon what they think they will need to deliver a certain level of service and what investments need to be made in our infrastructure.

City Council will meet on February 17 & 18 to review and approve the final 2016 tax supported operating budget and the 2016-2025 capital budget and plan.

You can be involved in the budget process and share your views at the Budget subcommittee meetings. If you are unable to attend any of these meetings, please feel free to write a letter to the subcommittee.

I will also be holding a budget town hall in Ward 16. This will be a great opportunity for me to get your feedback prior to the City Council meeting of February 17 & 18. Details for this meeting will be sent through my E-Newsletter, I encourage all residents to attend.

For more information on this year’s budget process and a detailed overview of the preliminary budget, please visit the 2016 Toronto Budget.

Protecting Green Space

Green spaces consist of ravines and woodlots or naturalized areas such as man-made parks and playing fields. According to the City of Toronto Official Plan, Ward 16 is already parks deficient.

It is essential to preserve existing green spaces because they serve many public interests. They are used for recreational purposes, dog walking, they have an aesthetic and visual appeal, they serve as a community gathering place and they raise property values.

Our parks and our playing fields contribute to our quality of life. They fulfill ecological, social and environmental functions, both today and into the future. The benefits to the community are immeasurable.

The City, the Province and school boards must work together to develop strategies for preserving our green space. Only through collaboration can we ensure these community hubs are enjoyed for decades to come. Once they are lost they are gone forever.

Bannockburn

A recent effort to preserve highly-used green space has revolved around the Bannockburn playing fields. The fields are owned by the TDSB, which is attempting to sever and sell the green space – likely to a developer. I have been working with the local community, our local TDSB Trustee and MPP as well as senior staff to try and preserve this community asset.

Please visit the website for more information and don’t forget to sign the petition.

Managing Growth

We all know that development is going to occur in Ward 16. Our City is a very desirable place to live, work and play. My objective is to promote responsible development practices and engage communities and ensure we manage our growth properly.

I am committed to the pursuit of more future-focused planning strategies. When growth occurs, we must reinforce our communities with adequate soft infrastructure such as community centres and hard infrastructure such as storm water management facilities. By thinking ahead and planning comprehensively, we will ensure our communities continue to enjoy a high quality of life in Eglinton-Lawrence.

My approach to development is one of conversation and not confrontation. The community should be involved in the process and engaged in the decision-making process when possible. I have held many consultation meetings and working group sessions to discuss active development applications. I look forward to working with residents, stakeholders and City Planning to pursue forward-thinking planning decisions while keeping constituents informed and engaged.

Safe Streets

Throughout Toronto, and especially in Ward 16, motorists are cutting through neighbourhood streets in an effort to beat the traffic. This is unsafe. We must get traffic moving on arterial roads and reduce drivers’ incentive to pursue shortcuts through neighbourhoods.

As a mother of two small children, one of my key priorities is to protect our most vulnerable as they walk and cycle to school. I am committed to explore the many options that are required to make our local streets safer, especially for our children. We must continue to enforce the rules that we already have (i.e. tagging and towing vehicles illegally blocking rush-hour routes). A free-flowing arterial road means drivers have less incentive and inclination to venture onto smaller streets in search of a bypass or shortcut. We must be willing and able to utilize the whole toolbox of traffic control measures that are available to keep our local streets local. In addition, we must continue to make key investments in our strained public transit system so it remains a viable mode of transportation for commuters and visitors.

Only through a combination of these measures can we really get Toronto moving while keeping our pedestrians and cyclists safe. In the immediate term, I will be looking at where traffic calming measures are needed in the ward and what policy tools are available to mitigate the impacts of traffic spillover on local streets. I look forward to working with residents, city staff and my colleagues to protect our children and secure their ability to walk and cycle safely to school.

I believe in taking a business-like approach when managing Toronto’s books. Council decisions must be evidence-based, fiscally prudent and respectful of each and every tax dollar.

Given the hundreds of millions of dollars of pressures facing the City and the multi-billion dollar State of Good Repair backlog, it will be a challenge to keep tax rates low while investing in key priorities. There are major demands on the transit system, water infrastructure, roadways and affordable housing infrastructure – to name a few.

In the coming years, my focus will be on making informed decisions that provide taxpayers with the best value for their money. We must find efficiencies in government if we want to keep taxes among the lowest in the region while addressing budgetary pressures and making key investments.

Helping Businesses Succeed

As someone with a private sector background, I appreciate the value of our businesses and understand the importance of supporting our business community. My goal is to help business owners and operators navigate the municipal apparatus so they can focus on being competitive and on doing the things that make them successful. When businesses do not need our help – we must get out of the way.

Businesses in Toronto must be supported and promoted because they bring jobs, investment and prosperity to the City. They are the key driver behind our high standard of living. When Toronto’s businesses succeed, its residents succeed.

Toronto features a variety of incentive and support programs. The City’s cost-effective business and investment climate makes the landscape an attractive one. In addition to Toronto’s many competitive advantages,the City of Toronto offers support programs and incentives that can help reduce your costs, grow your business, expedite development and resolve municipal issues.

I strongly encourage businesses facing municipal issues to utilize the City programs that are in place and to reach out for assistance.

Investing in Vital Infrastructure

The City of Toronto performs an important public works function as it finances, constructs and inspects key infrastructure. Toronto faces a major challenge in shrinking the State of Good Repair backlog. Stable and reliable capital investment is required to renew the City’s aging infrastructure assets. The City faces substantial State of Good Repair backlogs for its transit, transportation, affordable housing, hydro and water infrastructure.

For instance, Toronto Water has over $28 billion in water and wastewater assets. It manages hundreds of billions of litres of water each year, which takes a toll on pipes connections and equipment – some of which is decades old and approaching the end of its lifespan. Capital pressures related to infrastructure are only exacerbated by the most recent extreme weather events – most notably the recent flood and the ice storm.

We must address the State of Good Repair Backlog through effective planning, financing and project management. The backlog must be eliminated and projects must be completed on time and on budget with minimal disruption to residents. Investing in vital infrastructure must be a priority. The investments we make today will benefit future generations tomorrow.

Engaging Communities

It is crucial the general public is afforded the opportunity to provide input into the decision-making process. After all, civic engagement forms the foundation of our system of democratic governance.

I have and will continue to reach out to our communities to both define the public good and make better-informed decisions that contribute to that definition.

When we work together we achieve far more than when we work apart. Meaningful solutions are the product of our differing perspectives and our collective experiences. For me, civic engagement manifests itself into many forms: budget town halls, working groups, community consultations and a variety of forms that bring decision-makers together with those who are most impacted by decisions.

Please subscribe to my newsletter for regular community updates and notices.

Planning and Development

It is very important for residents to be able to access information on proposed developments in their ward and beyond ward boundaries. I encourage residents to review the links below for more information on active proposals in the area and information on how to navigate the development process. For more information, please consider my office as a resource and contact me anytime for additional information.

Map of active development applications in Ward 16 and information on each proposal

Information about recent Building applications in Ward 16 and information on the status of each application

A guideline to the City’s planning approval process