All posts by Ward43

March Break Fun and More To Come

Dear Residents of Ward 43,

Spring and March Break are right around the corner with students excited to have some time off.

If you’re looking for something to do during March Break the City of Toronto offers free and affordable activities for every age all week long, starting on Monday, March 12 to Friday, March 16. You can have your last skate of the winter at a number of skating rinks across the city or head out for your first swim of the season at one of the City’s public pools.  Activities and programs at Toronto’s parks, museums, and the Toronto Public Zoo are ready for you to visit. Check out this news release: http://bit.ly/2Fmahny for more activities offered this March Break!

Youth employment opportunities available.  Spring job fairs to connect young people with job opportunities have been launched across the city. The Scarborough Civic Centre will host an event on May 9th, from 10am-4pm as part of the City’s ongoing programs. For more information check out this link: http://bit.ly/2rvDnKR

The City will be conducting its fourth homeless count and Street Needs Assessment (SNA) survey on April 26. Volunteers and members of community agencies and city staff will head out to survey people experiencing homelessness about the services they need to achieve permanent housing. The information gathered will help the City shape improvements in current programs to plan for future service delivery.

#TacklePovertyTO is a series of free panel discussions being held to generate public input on the next phase of the City’s poverty reduction strategy. The #TacklePovertyTO panels are scheduled for five Monday evenings from 6-9pm at Toronto City Hall, From Monday, March 12 to Monday, April 23.  For more information please view: http://bit.ly/2oXR6Xj.

Don’t forget, my office along with the Guild Renaissance Group will be hosting The Guild Alive with Culture Arts Festival on the Guild Park and Gardens grounds this coming July 28th and 29th

Visit the festival page often for updates at www.guildalivewithculture.ca!

 

All My Best,

Paul

What Can Open Data Mean To You?

Dear Torontonians,

Often I am asked “What can Open Data do to make our lives (my life) better in the City of Toronto? Well here is a short story I borrowed from New York City. There, they created an Open Data By-Law!!

Here is the link: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/reports/2015/NYC-Open-Data-Plan-2015.pdf

And here is your story! I read it out loud at the end of the last Executive Committee…I called it everyone’s bed-time story since it was close to 11AM!

“You’re walking down the street when it starts to rain, so you duck into a bus shelter. Near the bus shelter is a coffee shop. The owner of the coffee shop decided on its location after using free market research information on neighbourhood demographics and localized business conditions.

When the owner’s bank wanted foot traffic numbers to support her loan application, her niece, a master’s student at a local university, made blocklevel estimates of pedestrian volume.

Inside the coffee shop, a group of high school students is hard at work on a paper for their environmental science class. They’re analyzing the effects of climate change on different tree species. The data they’re using isn’t comparing far-off conditions – it’s from trees planted in their neighborhood. If their paper is the best in the class, they’ll meet with City agencies to put their recommendations into action.

Construction is going on in the park across the street. Community members used data on the neighborhood to decide where they wanted to spend a discretionary grant. The construction company saw the bid through an app that uses machine learning and City data to suggest business opportunities specifically matched to the size and expertise of the company. The company is small, and had never considered working with the City – now it’s planning on bidding on two more contracts next year.

Two City inspectors enter a building further down the street. They have just spent the morning inspecting buildings to make sure that they are safely up to code. In order to increase the effectiveness of their inspection process, they use a predictive model developed by their agency’s analytics team.

It continues to rain. Operational centres for different agencies use 311 service requests for street and building flooding to deploy immediate resources. They’ll also overlay this rainstorm’s data against past storm information to find hot spots to target infrastructure repairs and additional investment for long-term resiliency.

 

Sweet Dreams!!”

…..And this is what Open Data does in New York City……and it can do this and much more  for the City of Toronto and its residents!

All my Best,

Paul

Letter to Editor of Toronto Star Re: Homelessness

Re: Toronto needs a long-term solution to homelessness

I wanted to point out a few things your editorial missed when we talk about dealing with homelessness.

Let’s start with the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) which is funded by the provincial government. ODSP is for individuals with disabilities who can’t work. It comes in two payments each month. The “basic allowance” for all your expenses is $649. The “housing allowance” is capped at $479. Ever try to find a place your family, let alone a one bed-room apartment in Toronto for less than $500?

The result? ODSP recipients take money which should go to food and clothing to pay for rent. And that is if you are lucky in this tight rental market to get something so cheap. ODSP recipients who cannot do both, get evicted, and end up in shelters. The ODSP has to be raised. City Council has urged the provincial government repeatedly to do this.

Let’s talk Legal Aid. Another chronically under-funded provincial program. I represent two of the City’s Neighbourhood Improvement Areas. The number of people I talk with who have mental health and/or addiction issues trying to stick-handle their way through our court system without a lawyer is staggering. No permanent address? No Legal Aid lawyer? These people often end up in jail. The City’s shelter system at 96 percent capacity, sees them staying in jail. (The goal is 90 per cent capacity)

We keep people in jail because there is no public money for a lawyer, they have no home address, and they have health issues, no room at the shelter….so they stay in jail? If they are lucky now they sleep on a cot in a hallway. If they have a family, maybe a cramped room in a strip motel?

As the editors said, we need a long-term solution. Shelter beds are not the answer. Properly funding ODSP, Legal Aid, and our health system are long term goals which should reach!

All my Best,

Paul

EASTERN SCARBOROUGH NEEDS A JOB SKILLS TRAINING CENTRE!!! NOW!!!

 

Dear Ward 43 Neighbours,

With the closing of Sir Robert Borden School BTI (Business Technical Institute) located at 200 Poplar Road we have an excellent opportunity to open a Job Skills Training Centre/Community Hub. Our community needs the province to act now!!

The youth unemployment rate in Scarborough East stands at 12.7%, in sharp contrast to the City of Toronto’s current youth unemployment rate of 7.5%.*** The Province needs to act immediately to help Scarborough residents, especially our youth to meet their full potential, by ensuring they have the necessary training to find sustainable full-time jobs. A Job Skills Centre/Community Hub at Sir Robert L. Borden would help bring these tools into our community. We do not need a developer to buy the property so they can build 200- 300 townhouses!!

I need you to join me in telling the Hon. Mitzie Hunter, our M.P.P, and Minister of Education, to act now! The Province must take all the necessary steps to secure this property for a badly needed Job Skills Training Centre/Community Hub.

Please contact the Hon. M.P.P Mitzie Hunter to voice your support and tell her to halt the sale of this property. The priority is to build an eastern Scarborough Job Skills Training Centre/Community Hub. Email M.P.P. Hunter at: mhunter.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org Tel: (416) 281-2787. Please copy me on your correspondence. My email is councillor_ainslie@toronto.ca

I appreciate your time and consideration to this very important issue.

All my Best,

Paul Ainslie, City Councillor
Ward 43 Scarborough East

***The 2011 Census Canada statistics reports that 50% of residents in eastern Scarborough have a post-secondary education. This further indicates better choices are needed to further job opportunities. A Job Skills Training Centre would help many residents make a good choice of pursuing a career in the trades to find good paying jobs with lifetime skills to financially succeed.

Early November Update

Dear Ward 43 residents,

I am very happy to say that on Monday November 6th, 2017 at 8am our cheerfully awaited Christmas tree arrived at Nathan Philipps Square. Weller Tree Services is the company that has been in charge of supplying the perfect tree to the City of Toronto since the 1960s.

Also eagerly awaited is the 51st annual Cavalcade of Lights which will launch the holiday season on November 25th at 7 pm at Nathan Philips Square. This event will include a skating party, live musical mainstage performances, special pop-up performances, a fireworks display and of course the lighting of Toronto’s official tree. For a full program of the Cavalcade of Lights please visit this website: https://goo.gl/uLx4eh

I am proud to let you know that the City of Toronto has been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for the second year in a row. This national competition is organized by MediaCorp Canada Inc. and is now in its 18th year.

The competition evaluates different organizations and identifies those who offer the most progressive and innovative programs and exceptional workplaces for their employees. The areas of evaluation include physical workplace, the workplace atmosphere and social, health, financial and family benefits, vacation and time off, employee communications, performance management, training and skills development and community involvement.

You can find a full list of Canada’s Top Employers for 2018 and the reason for their selection as well as a schedule of other award announcements posted at https://goo.gl/GCeH

On November 8th, 2017 Toronto Public Health (TPH) officially opened its doors to the city’s first permanent supervised injection service. This service is located inside The Works at 277 Victoria St.

Research has shown that supervised injection services reduce drug overdoses, save lives and limit the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C related to unsafe injection practices. Aside from supervised injection services those who use these health services will also be provided with sterile injection supplies, education on overdose prevention and intervention, health counselling services and referrals to drug treatment, housing, income support and other services.

I hope you found this brief news recap informative. If you have any questions or comments related or non-related to this post please flip me an email at councilor_ainslie@toronto.ca

 

Best,

Paul

 

Recap on September and what’s to come in October

Dear Neighbours,

As we begin a new fall season I would like to wish each and every one a Happy Thanksgiving! With Halloween and my Annual Halloween Haunt just around the corner I would like to remind all households to keep warm, safe and to keep in mind food allergies when handing our treats. Speaking of Halloween, don’t miss out on my Annual Halloween Haunt on October 28, 2017 at the Guild Theatre in the Guild Park and Gardens from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If you’ve missed anything during our quick month of September there’s no reason to worry because here is what you’ve missed so far.

The new arts facility which will be located at the Guild Park and Gardens, in 2020, has been named the “Clark Centre for the Arts” in honour of Rosa and Spencer Clark, the founders of the Guild of All Arts in 1932.

A successful Community Environment Day was held on Saturday September 9th, 2017 at the Morningside Work Yard from 10am to 2pm. Where we welcomed residents and informed them of many environmental tips when it came to proper disposal of household electronic items. We also welcomed donations of school supplies and old electronic appliances for schools.

The Toronto International Film Festival was scheduled for September 7th to the 17th. The lineup of films and starts that graced Toronto with their presence was not a disappointment. This festival definitely turned on the lights in our city leaving portions of King Street closed due to the annual TIFF street festival. Nonetheless the annual festival is a staple for saying goodbye to summer and welcoming fall to our city.

On the late morning of September 14, 2017 news of the passing of MP Arnold Chan of Scarborough-Agincourt spread throughout the country. He had endured a two year long battle with cancer. He was a great man and friend and he will be missed.

The application process for the City of Toronto’s sixth cycle of Protégée Program is now live. This program pairs young female Torontonians with female City Councillors for six months. Learn about the opportunities for women in local government, gain hands-on experience and understand the multi-faced rose of a City Councillor and City Staff. The application deadline is October 15, 2017 for more details visit https://goo.gl/bSb81x

There will be a public transit information session with Metrolinx and the City of Toronto regarding New SmartTrack/GO stations on Tuesday October 10, 2017 at the Scarborough Civic Centre from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

There will also be a public information meeting on the Guild Park and Gardens Trail Master Plan on Monday October 16, 2017 at the Guild Inn Estate from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

I hope many of you can make it out and give us your input on these two matters.

Looking forward to a crisp and eventful October!

Best,

Paul

Summer 2017

Dear Residents of Ward 43,

 

As summer 2017 is coming to an end I hope all the students of Ward 43 are enjoying the start of a new school year. This summer has been full many events. I hope everyone had a chance to catch up with neighbours at one of our many community BBQ’s, and of course at the annual Guild Alive with Culture Festival which was held on the beautiful grounds of the Guild Park and Gardens!

 

To kick off the summer we had our annual Seven Oaks BBQ on June 6th, 2017. Although we did have a wet start, the Seven Oaks community still showed their bright faces to celebrate. I sure enjoyed myself…

 

Our Elizabeth Simcoe BBQ on June 20th, 2017 was timed perfectly with school just being let out for the summer, so kids and their families had lots of time to enjoy our BBQ after a long day of school, for an early taste of summer vacation.

 

The Guild Alive with Culture Festival took place on July 29th and 30th, 2017. This year we celebrated the Festival’s 10th anniversary! We had well over 5000 attendees to celebrate with us. We had many returning artists and community groups and also many new participants for our 2017 line up. For photos and the list of our booth line up and performers please visit www.guildalivewithculture.ca

 

The Heather Heights Woods Community BBQ and Playground Grand Opening was originally scheduled for June 26th but due to harsh weather conditions (no surprise this summer!) we had to cancel the event. Our office eventually rescheduled the BBQ and Playground Grand Opening for August 10th, where we received nothing but good weather and happy attendees.

 

Our Cornell Park BBQ and Movie Night had an amazing turn out. We had a large number of attendees for the BBQ and later stay for the movie. Thank you to CUP 416 in particular for capping off the evening with popcorn and a well attended showing of “Finding Dory”!

 

Last but not least was our Mornelle Court BBQ brought to you by Mornelle All-Stars, Toronto Community Housing, Second Chance and my office.

 

I hope you all were able to make it out to and enjoyed at least one of these events in our home of Scarborough East.

Thank you to everyone for an amazing summer and here’s to the school year 2017-2018!

 

All my Best,

Paul

Job Skills Training Centre Needed

July 6, 2017

Dear Ward43 Residents,

I am reaching out to residents to contact Mitzie Hunter M.P.P. to ask for immediate action be taken for a Scarborough East Job Skills Training Centre/Community Hub.  With the school closure of Robert L. Borden BTI at 200 Poplar Road an excellent opportunity to open a Job Skills Training Centre/Community Hub is long overdue.  The province government needs to act now to ensure the site is not sold to a developer.  We need youth employment not 200 – 300 townhouses.

The unemployment rate in Scarborough East stands at 12.7%, in sharp contrast to the City of Toronto’s current unemployment rate of 7.5%.  The Province needs to act now to help Scarborough residents, especially our youth meet their potential by ensuring they have training to find sustainable full-time jobs.

Please contact the Honourable Mitzie Hunter M.P.P. to voice your support and tell her to halt any sale of this property. The priority is to build a Scarborough Job Skills Training Centre/Community Hub. Please Email M.P.P. Hunter at: mhunter.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org or call Tel: (416) 281-2787.  Please copy me on your correspondence Councillor_Ainslie@toronto.ca.

The 2011 Census Canada statistics reports that 50% of residents in eastern Scarborough only have a post-secondary education. This further indicates access to better job opportunities are badly needed.  A Job Skills Training Centre/Community Hub would help residents have the services required to see the Neighbourhood Improvement Area designations removed once and for all

All My Best,

Paul W. Ainslie

Military Trail Valley Road Closure Update

July 7, 2017

Dear Neighbours,
I submitted an Administrative Inquiry to seek information regarding the Military Trail Road Closure from Ellesmere Road to Highcastle Road for Emergency Road and Watermain Repair, Contract 16TW-OS-27CWD.

Please review the answers from Toronto Water and Transportation Services:

 

  1. Why is Military Trail not a priority to repair as is being done with other roads in downtown Toronto?

The watermain break discovered on April 3, 2017 had been running for a period of time before it was identified, and as a result significant damage to the road occurred. This damage includes:

  • numerous locations where the roadway has broken up (severe cracking and potholes);
  • large deviations and distortions of the pavement surface;
  • grade depressions and water ponding on the travelled portion caused by the water runoff from the watermain break; and
  • pavement edge surface loss with broken edges of pavement at many locations that extend more than a metre inward from the edge of the surface asphalt.

Given the extent of the damage, a geotechnical review of the pavement structure and a permanent repair needs to be completed before the road can safely be reopened to the public.

2. Why did it take several weeks for Toronto Water to advise Transportation Services Scarborough District that a section of the road on Military Trail had collapsed making it unsafe to reopen causing undo delay for repair?
Toronto Water staff have been in frequent communication with Transportation Services staff throughout the initial project and during the subsequent emergency repair without delay.

Staff from several Divisions (i.e. Toronto Water, Transportation Services, Engineering & Construction Services and Strategic Communications) have been working collaboratively to resolve problems as they have presented themselves. A summary of communication with Transportation Services staff is follows:

  • Toronto Water and Transportation Services staff meet during January and February to discuss the initial project and information from the Work Zone Traffic Coordinator in Transportation Services regarding the requirements for traffic restrictions is issued in early February. Worked on the initial project commenced later that month.
  • On March 31, 2017, Toronto Water staff were called to investigate a watermain break outside the project limits and turned off the watermain to allow for repairs.
  • On April 3, 2017, Toronto Water issues a road disruption notification indicating that repair work will commence and last for a week. As repair work proceeded, staff became aware of extensive damage to the road structure beyond originally contemplated. Toronto Water and Transportation Services staff are in frequent communication during the first two weeks of April assessing the road damage and extending the closure due to safety concerns.
  • By the middle of April, Transportation Services staff determine the damage is too extensive and the road is unsafe to reopen. This information is conveyed to the Councillor’s office.
  • During the last two weeks of April, Toronto Water, Strategic Communications and Transportation Services staff consult on a public notification strategy.
  • During the first week in May, staff from Toronto Water, Transportations Services and Engineering & Construction Services met to develop a strategy on how to proceed with the rehabilitation of the road.
  • May 13, 2017 Toronto Water staff issued a Construction Update to area residents and on May 18, 2017 Strategic Communications issued a News Release and an update on Twitter.
  1. Why was this road repair not deemed an emergency for repair immediately instead of being pushed to Fall 2017?

Transportation Services and Toronto Water are working as expeditiously as possible to reopen Military Trail. However, there has been significant damage to the roadway surface and sub-surface. As the scope of damage to the roadway has not yet been fully determined, and the watermain rehabilitation is ongoing, it has not been possible to undertake emergency repairs. Furthermore, any interim repairs that could be undertaken might have to be re-done as part of the permanent rehabilitation which would result in an inefficient use of funds.
The full scope of the damage to Military Trail cannot be determined until the geotechnical survey is complete, which in turn cannot be completed until the watermain replacement is finished.
Once the survey has been completed, a repair and rehabilitation plan will be developed collaboratively between Transportation Services, Toronto Water and Engineering & Construction Services. Preliminary timelines suggest that if the road repairs are minor and there are no significant delays to the rehabilitation work, the road may be reopened in late 2017. However, if a major road reconstruction is required, or there are other unforeseen delays, reopening may not occur until 2018

 4. Residents are reporting that no work is currently being done onsite, please advise if this is the case?
This site is essentially now divided into two phases: Phase I being the “original” scope section between Highland Creek and Neilson Road, and Phase II being the “extension” section west of Highland Creek.
Work on Phase I commenced in February 2017 for the segment between Highland Creek and Highcastle Road. With that section now completed, the Contractor is working on the segment between Highcastle Road and Neilson Road. This section has water services which require placement on temporary water bypass. The bypass has been placed and the Contractor is attempting to achieve successful disinfection results so he can turn on the bypass and isolate the watermain. Water quality testing began on April 21, and since then has been unsuccessful on several occasions. Until the bypass is activated, lining activity cannot commence. Therefore, apart from the occasional disinfection and flushing work there will not be much site activity while water samples are undergoing testing. It is reasonable, therefore, for the typical resident to perceive there to be little to no construction activity in this section.
Work on Phase II extension is active since a bypass pipe is not required here. This activity is confined to the section of road that is closed to the public so it may not be obvious that construction is occurring.

5. Why is the road and watermain work in this community not being harmonized to ensure that residents can safely and efficiently travel to and from their homes and are notices in place at the locations?
Given that the required road rehabilitation work was not planned as part of the City’s capital works program, it is difficult to fully coordinate the project as the work will need to be completed under different contracts (one contract is already active and the other has yet to be tendered). Staff from Toronto Water, Transportation Services and Engineering & Construction Services have been working to develop a strategy that is appropriate for the conditions that have occurred.
As a result, the scope of the original watermain cleaning and re-lining project was extended to include the portion from Highland Creek to Ellesmere Road in order to minimize further damage to the road and to rehabilitate the watermain as quickly as possible. A geotechnical investigation of the road structure must be completed to properly assess the road damage and develop an appropriate rehabilitation strategy. Once this is completed, a road rehabilitation contract can be prepared and tendered and further information about the timing of the road work can be communicated.
Regarding notices, on May 13, 2017 Toronto Water staff issued a Construction Update to area residents and on May 18, 2017 Strategic Communications issued a News Release and an update on Twitter. Construction site signage is in place to help motorists detour around the construction area. Further Construction updates will be issued as information becomes available.

  1. Advise if the road repairs on Military Trail can be addressed immediately for vehicle access

It is not possible at this time to provide safe vehicular access via Military Trail. Providing this access will be subject to the determination of the full scope of roadway damage and the completion of repairs or reconstruction accordingly.

 Background

What was the original scope of work to be performed?

The scope of work included the cleaning and structural re-lining of the watermain on Military Trail from Neilson Road to Highland Creek as part of the Council-approved Capital Works Program. It also included the replacement of the City-owned portion of any substandard water service pipes. See attached February 6, 2017 Construction Notice.

Why is the road closed?

During construction, and unrelated to the project, a section of the watermain (west of the original work location) broke which caused significant damage to a section of the road. For this reason the road closure was extended on April 3, 2017 because it was no longer safe for vehicular traffic.

What work must be done before the road can be open for vehicles?

The scope of the original watermain cleaning and re-lining project was extended to include the portion from Highland Creek to Ellesmere Road in order to minimize further damage to the road and to rehabilitate the watermain as quickly as possible. This work is currently underway and expected to be completed this fall. See attached May 3, 2017 Construction Update.

In addition, while the watermain is being rehabilitated, a geotechnical investigation of the road structure must be completed to assess damage and develop an appropriate road rehabilitation strategy. Once this is completed, a road rehabilitation contract will be prepared and tendered and further information about the timing of the road work can be established and communicated to the public.

All my Best,

Paul Ainslie

City of Toronto Councillor

Scarborough East – Ward 43

Canada 150 Fever

Happy Canada Days Ward 43-ers,

There will be a number of events to attend this weekend in the City of Toronto to Celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday!

Left and right you’ll see signs of Canada 150 celebrations. The addition of a maple leaf to the famous Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square is probably the most obvious of Canada 150 fever.

On a smaller scale, take a look at those famous red coffee cups you’ve been carrying around, Canada 150 fever that’s right. Tim Horton’s Canada 150 coffee cups have been gracing our presence since mid-April as a part of an earlier wave of Canada 150 celebrations.

Across the city there will a handful or events where you, your family and friends can come out a show off you red and white pride. In the eastern end of our city, our home, Scarborough’s annual Canada Day celebration in Thomson Memorial Park will run from 10 am to 4 pm. From 4 pm to 5:30 pm a parade will start west of the Scarborough Civic Centre on Brimley Rd and will end at Lawrence Ave E.

The Scarborough Museum on 1007 Brimley Rd. will be celebrating how Canada has created such a diverse community. Featured programs include traditional and contemporary local crafters, interactive printmaking of Canadian symbols, a pie-eating contest, blacksmith demonstrations, leather working, traditional fiddler-and-caller square dancing and more.

For those longing to submerge themselves in this Canada 150 Fever there will be a four-day festival in Nathan Phillips Square. The festivities will begin this Friday at 5 pm, this four-day music festival will feature the Barenaked Ladies, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ron Sexsmith, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, dvsn and Belly, for more details on show times please visit http://bit.ly/2qBtvxb

Canada Days Celebrations at the Scarborough Civic Centre will take place from 2 pm to 11 pm, with a fireworks finale at 10:55 pm, visit http://bit.ly/2seKlyW and for more Canada Days celebrations across the City of Toronto check out www.toronto.ca/canadadays

I’ll be wearing my read and white pride participating in the parade this Saturday July 1, 2017, west of the Scarborough Civic Centre on Brimley Rd. Hope to see you there!

How will you wear your red and white pride?

 

Best,

Paul