New councillor has long list to tackle at City Hall

Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon (right) listens to the concerns of Mary Hall at The Grinder on Jan. 23. McMahon met with her constituents at three local coffee shops this past Sunday, including The Grinder on Main Street, to discuss various issues and concerns. PHOTO: Phil Lameira

Life as a new councillor is busy, fun, and educational. There is never a dull moment in our ward and down at City Hall! Communication is of the utmost importance to me so I hope to be able to write these columns regularly.

City Hall

The Newbie Councillors are supportive, keen, and energetic. We plan to work together with the incumbent councillors to get things done at City Hall. We’re loyal to good ideas from constituents, careful spending and good execution. We’re not loyal to political parties and lobby groups. City staff has been very accommodating, providing us with information on how their programs work and what they are doing in our wards.

Balance the Toronto budget

In the past few weeks we have listened to city departments, boards, and agencies as they present their programs and financial plans for this year. Now we are talking with citizens to get their input. We are working towards balancing the budget.

One way would be to house the new streetcars at existing TTC properties at Hillcrest, Exhibition Loop, Roncesvalles and Russell. This will likely save a few hundred million dollars, which should be spent on more transit expansion.

I hope you were able to attend the Community Consultation session at East York Civic Centre last week to give your opinion; or one of my four Councillor Coffee Talks at some local cafes last weekend.

Ashbridges Bay LRV Storage

We are working very hard to bring attention to the waste and mayhem that would accompany an Ashbridges Bay LRV Storage facility. Due to the congestion, contaminated soil removal, Martin Goodman Trail, tree removal, and exorbitant financial cost, citizens believe this is the wrong location. We have created a think-tank of engineers to develop alternative plans based on existing TTC properties that are underused.
We are working with the TTC Commission, TTC staff and the Mayor’s office to investigate this further.

Boardwalk Agreement

We have consulted numerous parties about the agreement between the city and the foodservice operator at Woodbine Beach. We are sorting through some misinformation and negotiating solutions for better facilities, better food, bicycle rentals, and freedom for all on our Eastern beaches. More on this after we complete a series of meetings now taking place.

Development in Ward 32

Ward 32 is very popular with developers right now, while at the same time, eight 100-year storms in the past 10 years have underscored the vulnerability of our storm and sewage systems (city-wide). We are working on projects such as Kippendavie, Bellefair and Edgewood with citizens, city staff, developers, and outside experts. We are trying to eliminate basement flooding and ensure new developments fit in with the existing character of our neighbourhoods.

Density city-wide is increasing, so it is difficult to make everyone happy. We are working hard to find compromises that preserve our ward as the best place in the world to live.

We’re looking for local urban planners, architects, historians, builders, etc. who would be interested in forming our Beach Preservation Panel to work with developers from the earliest stages to ensure the integrity of our community is retained.

Constituent List

We have been working hard to answer your emails and telephone messages. Thank you for your patience as we learn the ropes of our computer system, city services, and city hall in general. We are trying to create a Constituency Database from scratch so please call or send us your Name, Telephone number, Address, and Email Address so we can keep you in the loop!

Town Halls

We hosted Councillor Coffee Talks at four local cafes last weekend and hope to repeat them again with a different topic each time. The topic this time was the Toronto budget. Thanks to Red Rocket, Juice + Java, The Grinder, and Caketown for their incredible hospitality (and delectable treats)!

In February, we will run our first two Town Hall Workshops, Feb. 10 at S.H. Armstrong CC and Feb. 22 at Community Centre 55. Jutta Mason, the driving force behind revitalizing Dufferin Grove Park and the outdoor ice rink champion of our city will be our Guest Speaker! Mason is a recipient of the Jane Jacobs Award.

Then we will break into groups to discuss key projects for our neighbourhood. The sky’s the limit. Dream Big!

Local Artists

Our first installation of paintings by Ward 32 artists has arrived at our office at City Hall. This will be a rotating collection showcasing the talents of our local artists. When you are near City Hall, feel free to pop into office B27 and have a look! Thanks so much to Carole Howlett, Pat Hymas, Shirley Jones, Jennifer Cline, and Shelley Cinnamon of the Beaches Guild of Fine Art for coordinating the art selection program and to Ciara Behan and Jim McMahon for their elbow grease in setting it up! Other interested area artists: Please give us a call if you’d like to join in.

Winter Fun

‘Tis the season for skating so why not dress warmly and lace ‘em up one day this winter? We have numerous rinks to choose from. Ted Reeve is a great spot for indoor skating. If you have your longjohns on, try one of our terrific outdoor rinks: Kew Gardens, Monarch Park, Greenwood, East Lynn Park, Glen Stewart Ravine, Fairmount Park, and in the making, Love Crescent Parkette. Please let us know if we are missing any others. Contact us if you have a group of neighbours who are interested in starting your own rink in a park near you. Dorothy Hamill look out!

Feel free to contact us with any of your joys and concerns at councillor_mcmahon@toronto.ca or 416-392-1376.

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