On Tuesday, City Council held an important vote on this issue. I want to update you on the decision City Council made and its impacts on the future of the Island Airport.
Despite the way the vote was described in the media, City Council was not asked to approve or deny permission for jets to land at the Island Airport. Rather, the question before Toronto City Council related to specific information and conditions that are required before a final decision can be made. I want to be clear about what was voted on by City Council on April 1st 2014.
City Council unanimously requested:
These are firm conditions that must be met before any changes to the Tripartite Agreement can be considered in March 2015.
Thank you and, as always, please send me your thoughts on what is happening in our neighbourhood and across the City.
I supported constructing an LRT in Scarborough rather than a Subway.
In the summer of 2013, I agreed to explore the possibility of a Scarborough Subway as long as certain conditions were met. These conditions included a substantial Provincial contribution, and a financing plan that would not jeopardize other transit priorities for our City. These conditions were not met, and therefore, I voted for the fully-funded LRT plan.
I was very concerned that the cost of a subway extension would become a financial burden for the citizens of Toronto and, would not serve enough residents. Furthermore, the LRT plan could have been constructed much faster ensuring that residents of Scarborough would not be stranded without rapid transit for an extended period of time.
Unfortunately, City Council voted 24-20 for the Subway extension plan. Although I did not support the decision I respect the will of Council.
Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon
Silverbirch Boathouse—-Moving Forward
Last Thursday we had a very exciting meeting about the Silverbirch Boathouse. The meeting was prompted by news from Parks Forestry & Recreation of a plan to increase public use of the site by issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a private operator to manage the facility. I asked that this process be slowed down and that the community be consulted.
What I Heard at the Meeting:
I was heartened by the high degree of passion and the numerous constructive plans that were offered. After hearing the views of permit holders and residents, I have asked that Parks Forestry & Recreation not issue a RFP and instead investigate options for enhancement and activation that respect the buildings users and heritage. And, Parks, Forestry & Recreation has agreed to do so. No changes will be made to the operation of the facility until Parks, Forestry & Recreation staff develop a strategy to better involve the community to devise a future course of action.
Plans for a RFP and the imminent cancellation of permits have been cancelled.
This decision will ensure that this quiet section of our community remains un-commercialized and peaceful now, and in the future.
I am cognizant that this important and historic building could be better managed by the City. The community wants the Silverbirch boathouse to be run more effectively and transparently, and I believe the answer to this problem is increased community involvement and guidance.
Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff will contact permit holders, keen residents and local community groups soon with a strategy for public input and consultation.
There has been a lot of confusion over potential plans for the Silverbirch Boathouse. I want to set the record straight on what is being considered for the building and invite everyone to a meeting to discuss this issue:
March 28 at the Balmy Beach Club
7 p.m. for those with permits for the building and;
8 p.m. for the wider community.
The Parks, Forestry & Recreation (PF&R) division has decided to issue a Request for Proposals to select an operator for the Silverbirch Boathouse. This is in-keeping with a city-wide policy to ensure publicly-owned facilities are accessible to everyone and that public spaces are animated and vibrant. I am working with PF&R to balance the needs of those who have maintained a space in the facility, or are on the waiting list for a space, with those of the wider community who wish to enjoy our waterfront.
At our public meeting on March 28, I encourage you to ask any questions about the process and to give your opinion on what you would like to see happen with this important building. Nothing is set in stone, and I am committed to making sure our community is involved in every step of this process.
Here are some facts about the plans being discussed for the Silverbirch Boathouse:
We are in the early stages of this process. I am a big believer in animating public space and believe a revitalization of the Silverbirch Boathouse will benefit the entire community. Please come and have your say on March 28.
The Beach Metro recently contained an article about the plans for the Boathouse, please read it for more information.
Education and awareness of animals in our city is key to preventing coyote attacks. There are many ravines and areas in Ward 32 which can serve as a habitat for wild animals. February is the coyote mating season and it is imperative that we all take extra precautions whenever possible to keep our neighbourhoods safe.
Councillor McMahon encourages everyone to learn more about the wild animals that live in our city and how to live peacefully with them. She is continuing to work with Animal Services on increasing education on coyotes and is currently door knocking in the areas directly affected to raise awareness.
Tips for avoiding human-coyote conflict:
Toronto Animal Services are unable to remove a coyote, or any animal, from their natural habitat under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. Councillor McMahon will continue to support policies that balance the safety of Toronto residents with those of wild animals in our city.
For more info on what to do if you encounter a coyote, visit http://www.toronto.ca/animal_services/coyote.htm