Planning, parking and people power

Happy Spring everyone!

It’s great to finally be outside enjoying the sunshine and smiling faces. I hope some of you were able to take part in all the Jane’s Walks this past weekend.  Gene Domagala and Steve Wickens ran some fabulous ones in our ward. Stay tuned for more walking opportunities with our upcoming Safety Walk and Tree Tour in June.

Development Planning
We want to become more proactive in our plans for our neighbourhoods.  Who knows best about their neck of the woods besides the people who live there?  We hosted a Planning 101 Workshop May 16 at Malvern CI .  Our city planners gave give us a presentation about the process and then we broke out into smaller groups to discuss our ideas and dreams for our community. We are also in the process of forming our Jane Jacobs Ward 32 Planning Panel.  We will include local experts with some of our members of the Ward 32 Vitality group.  Representatives from our local residents’ associations will be invited as well.  The panel and developers will work together to help create buildings that will help revitalize our neighbourhoods while helping to retain the integrity of our areas.

Parking
Can you believe most of the calls to our office are about cars?  We are working on some issues to hopefully alleviate some of the problems.  Then maybe future calls will be about ideas like gardens or trees or walking! Nevertheless, we know many of our areas are very congested especially the Beach. I personally take the bus, bike, or walk as much as possible. It’s a ‘catch 22’ for us, as we live in a beautiful area of the city and at the same time we cannot blame others for wishing to visit. Our merchants are happy with visitors to Ward 32, which help them stay in business; especially in the cooler months.

One success we’ve had on the parking front was lifting an antiquated No Parking policy on the south side of Eastern Avenue which freed up 15 parking spots. Le Papillon restaurant and neighbours are happy. We are working with the City parking group and BIAs to sort out other areas.

Parking Pads continue to be a difficult topic at Toronto/East York Community Council. There are some councillors who have moratoriums in their wards and always vote against parking pads. We are trying to establish guidelines that are strict enough to appeal to these councillors so that they can consider supporting some parking pad installations. In our area of the city, we need to be mindful of our storm water management and flooding problems. These are exacerbated every time we pave paradise! While door knocking during the campaign, we stumbled upon some extremely green parking pads – one on Willow north of Pine and one on Kenilworth north of Queen. Check them out when you are out strolling around the streets next time.

People Power
Did you know the most calls to 311 from all over Toronto come from Ward 32?  Yes, we are an extremely engaged community!  So let’s channel that energy into positive projects for our neighbourhoods.

Our fourth Town Hall Vision Team session was May 12 at Malvern. Our grassroots groups are already generating great ideas! The farmers’ market group is hoping to have its market up and running Sundays 9 a.m. til 2 p.m. in Jonathon Ashbridges Park. The community garden/greening group has its eyes on a few bare, orphan patches of land which it intends to beautify. Ward 32 Vitality group, Transportation group, Preservation group, and Community Use of Schools group are all going gangbusters too! It’s never too late to join in the fun.

How Green are You?
Eco Challenge – I heard that Councillors De Baeremaeker and Del Grande are always neck and neck as the wards with the most participants at their Environment Days.  Well, there’s a new kid in town – or rather, the Eco-Witch of the East, and there is NO way they are winning this year.  Ward 32 is!  So mark your calendars for a different location and different time – May 26 at Ted Reeve Arena from  4 to 8 p.m. for our first Enviro-Day Green Festival!  Music by the Lost Boys (Ice Masters of Fairmount Park skating rink), BBQ by Community Centre 55 (we promise Gene won’t be cooking), and environment groups galore.  What more could you ask for (besides a visit from David Suzuki)?

Bixi Bike Rental
Try out this new awesome bike rental service downtown! It started in Montreal and is now world-wide (www.toronto.bixi.com). We want it to expand to Ward 32 – hopefully next year. In the meantime, go for a spin next time you are downtown.

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