Councillor McMahon does not support extending the runway at Billy Bishop Airport.
The vision for Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport has always been a local airport to handle short flights with small propeller planes. The tripartite agreement between the City of Toronto, Toronto Port Authority and the Federal Government solidified this conception into a public agreement which was signed by all parties.
Porter Airlies revealed, with no advance notice that it planned to purchase jets which require an 1102 feet (336 metre) runway extension at the Billy Bishop Airport. The runway extension required to accomodate Porter Airlines’ request represents a major change not just to the physical environment and auditory impact of the Island Airport, but a violation of the spirit of the tripartite agreement.
Councillor McMahon encourages Porter Airlines to use Pearson Airport as its base for medium/long haul flights as every other airline wishing to land in Toronto does. She cannot support a small local airport into a second major air traffic hub.
As she has made aware, Councillor McMahon opposes the construction of a casino in our city. She believes that casinos damage the social environment in cities and do not offer the economic benefits they advertise. They negatively affect local businesses and prey on the impulses of the addicted and vulnerable. She believes there are alternative, more innovative and less damaging ways to solve Toronto’s financial troubles. Councillor McMahon has heard from many Ward 32 residents and fellow Torontonians of their opposition to the casino at the five consultations held across the city.
Therefore, Councillor McMahon will not be supporting any proposal to place a casino in our city.
Image of the Silverbirch Boathouse from the City of Toronto Archives (1934)
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:
- There is no desire for a private entity inside the Silverbirch boathouse;
- As it stands today, the facility is not operating in a satisfactory way;
- An array of good ideas for how the facility could be run;
- Residents did not feel engaged in the process;
- Current permit holders deserve proper communication and process with respect to the future of the facility.
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:
- The building will be preserved and restored;
- Only the use of the building may be changed;
- The Boathouse will not be sold;
- The building will continue to contain boats although they may be for rent as well as storage;
- If no successful applicant is selected, the building will continue to be available to existing permit holders;
- One potential use of the building could be as public boat rental facility with a small community café. However, this is open for discussion and nothing has been decided yet;
- The process to find an operator will be transparent and no clandestine deals will be made!
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.
If you haven’t signed up for our e-newsletter, in which the Councillor communicates often about issues such as this, sign up online or contact the Councillor directly.
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:
- Clean up around your house and yard to remove attractants such as accessible garbage;
- Teach kids to Be Big (stand up and raise your arms in the air), Be Mean (sound angry, stomp your feet, and throw something at the coyote), Be Loud (yelling “Go Away Coyote” so people nearby will come help), and Never Run;
- Never feed coyotes as they will lose their natural fear of people;
- If you encounter a coyote while walking your dog, gather your dog in your arms. If this is not possible, keep it on a short leash as you move toward an area with increased activity;
- Can clangers and coyote shakers are frugal and easy-to-make methods of coyote prevention.
- Join the Beach Coyote Coalition to learn more about how we can maintain peaceful co-existence in our community. Email email@example.com to sign up for their upcoming meetings.
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