PLATFORM

|Improving The Governance Model | Fluid Accessible Transportation | Thriving Small Businesses |
|Vibrant Inclusive Neighbourhoods|

Toronto is a world-class city.  Today, it sits at 2.7 million with an expected population growth to exceed 3.8 million by 2041.  The current systems and infrastructure are feeling this pressure and each community is responding accordingly and impacted differently.  Toronto can lead the world toward becoming a sustainable, thriving city, and reap the economic and social benefits.


Improving Our Governance Model

Social, Environmental and Economic Governance

  • Social, environmental and economic governance are not stand-alone issues.  By integrating these elements into each policy and decision that is made, the City will become more resilient and sustainable. We cannot make changes to city infrastructure or policy without formally considering the impacts to the environment, to the city’s social fabric, and to the economy.

Transparency & Accountability

  • In an effort to improve the transparency regarding councillor performance, I will put forward a motion to introduce a score card system to report on relevant metrics (e.g. attendance, voting record, expenses, and other key performance indicators).  If the motion is rejected, I will self-report and encourage my peers to do the same.  The residents will know how I am representing them and spending / investing their tax dollars to improve our community.

  • I believe that there is a tremendous opportunity to improve and modernize the city’s engagement process. We need to modernize it to ensure a broader group of stakeholders are heard. We also need to have more thorough reporting on the feedback received from the public. 

  • Formalize structures to increase productive dialogue with community partners, relevant associations, and citizens to help shape policy from the bottom. 

  • I commit to carrying out a maximum of two-terms in council.  I firmly believe that this is necessary to allow qualified individuals, with diverse backgrounds the chance to bring forward fresh new ideas and perspectives related to the issues that affect us all. When an incumbent runs, the chances for a new person to become elected are less than 10 percent. I will also put forward a motion to introduce as a standard.

 Image depicting three priority areas that were identified through research and engagement with the residents of Beaches-East York (please see below for more detail on specific initiatives). The pink circle illustrates that environmental, social and economic issues must be integrated into our policies.

Image depicting three priority areas that were identified through research and engagement with the residents of Beaches-East York (please see below for more detail on specific initiatives). The pink circle illustrates that environmental, social and economic issues must be integrated into our policies.


Fluid Accessible Transportation

Cycling Infrastructure

  • Get the 10-year cycling plan back on track; Ensure that cycling infrastructure is integrated and implemented cohesively with the BikeShare, TTC plans, Toronto Parks, with secure locking options; Begin planning beyond 10 years for the cycling network and review alternatives to using main arteries (evaluate park network); Woodbine bike lanes - Examine the feasibility of introducing a reversing lane on Woodbine avenue to alleviate gridlock; Examine the feasibility and cost of removing the bike lanes from December through February; Streamline the process and reduce associated city fees for property owners on Woodbine to install parking pads, where it makes sense; Carry-out a lessons-learned exercise on the Woodbine bike lanes implementation – “A good idea, poorly implemented.”

Public Transportation

  • Advance large-scale transportation projects and secure appropriate funding for the Relief Line South (and North) and LRT; Modernize subway system by introducing Wifi on all lines; Reduce the number of short-turns during evening rush hour; Review the location of bus stops to minimize the impact on small-businesses; Adopt a policy whereby as buses age, they will be replaced with electric alternatives.

General Accessibility

  • Increase the number of tactile walking surfaces and Accessible Pedestrian Signals in Beaches-East York;  Work with TTC to make significant improvements to the Wheel-Trans service.

Driving

  • Driving is a necessary means for many.  By improving our public transportation and cycling networks we aim to relieve some of the congestion on the roads.  Other opportunities to examine include: Toll lanes, Encourage ride-share though car pool lanes and City operated mobile application (like Uber ride-share uses); Mimic Chicago model for taxing Uber and Lyft.

  • Create a near-miss easy reporting app allowing the city to track information to prioritize high-risk areas; Modernize collision reporting; Streamline the process for making changes to intersections that require safety measures in order to expedite these issues; Ensure that there are no delays in in the installation of the 800 red-light cameras in 2019 and advocate the province for enforceability.

  • Gridlock costs Toronto’s economy billions of dollars per year. Driving is a necessary means for many but we must work to significantly reduce the number of single occupancy cars on the road.  This will result in reduced congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, improved local air quality, increased safety, and financial savings. We can achieve this by looking at ‘Fluid Accessible Transportation’ holistically. 

    We must improve our public transportation and cycling networks to relieve some of the congestion on the roads while examining other opportunities such as:

    • Establishing carpool lanes on major highways;

    • Work in partnership with Metrolinx to expand and improve SmartCommute;

    • The city should lead by example by creating flexible work schedules and four-day work week for city employees (where possible);

    • Examine feasibility of alternative modes of transportation that are being used in other major cities e.g.: Cable cars and ferries;

    • Work with private sector to introduce smart city technology when new construction takes places (balanced by cost benefit).

  • Create a near-miss easy reporting app allowing the city to track information to prioritize high-risk areas; Modernize collision reporting; Streamline the process for making changes to intersections that require safety measures in order to expedite these issues; Ensure that there are no delays in in the installation of the 800 red-light cameras in 2019 and advocate the province for enforceability.

  • Develop strategic plan to begin expanding charging stations and electric car infrastructure.


Thriving Small Businesses

In order for our small businesses to thrive we must create an environment where all business owners are enabled.  I do not believe that the government should cap rents.  My first objective will be to create a multi-stakeholder group to identify all of the barriers preventing business owners from success.  This list will subsequently be dissected and an execution plan will be developed and tackled to create the thriving small businesses that out communities depend on:

Property Owners

  • Measures must be put in place to ensure that property owners are held accountable for the state of their store fronts; they must be responsive to stakeholders.

Role of the Business Improvement Associations (BIA)

  • Change the mandate of the BIAs to include providing supportive services to existing, new and prospective business owners to navigate bureaucracy; Ensure diverse business representation on the Board of Directors (BOD) (e.g. retail, food and beverage, services); Increase transparency of budgets and project allocations and allow for community input into capital spend; Assist with social media and community business marketing and outreach.

Role of the City of Toronto

  • Identify efficiency measures related to permitting (remove red-tape) – Urgently needed!

Attracting tourists and new comers

  • Identify opportunities to make the streets more consistent with the “complete-streets” guidelines including sidewalk or parking improvements and new street furniture; installation of new signage and banners to improve wayfinding; Attract tourism including visitors from other parts of town; continue to implement streetscaping projects (without red-tape); Create an easy way for community residents to play a greater role in all of these elements related to improvements.

Other Business

  • We must carry out a comprehensive gap assessment on what is missing on our main streets and proactively outreach to business owners in other parts of Toronto, the GTA and southern Ontario to fill our storefront and create a more fulsome shopping and dining experience.

  • Cannabis and its role in our community - Begin strong and proactive engagement with the residents of Beaches – East York with respect to cannabis retail; fight for the municipalities to get excise tax to invest in youth programs and public education.


Vibrant Inclusive Neighbourhoods

Affordability

  • Increase housing inventory by supporting  gentle density including low-rise & mid-rise condominiums and apartment buildings; Remove barriers for creating laneway housing (currently approximately $40k for application); Ensure affordable housing units are included in new buildings.

  • Make the Childcare Growth’s Strategy a reality (ensure 50 % of kids aged 0-4 to have access to licensed childcare - this currently sits at 34 %). We can achieve this by supporting a thriving workforce for early childcare educators, building capacity to meet the demand, and improving the affordability with public / private investment (for all income families) and fee subsidies (for families in financial need; Introduce measures that protect families from predatory business practices (e.g.: mandatory year-round childcare).

Livability

  • Integrate greenspace into all new development projects; Review green standards and remove the ability for builders to apply for an exemption for green roof standard; Follow Chicago’s suite and work to get municipal government buildings on renewable energy; Ensure there are maintained ravine protection measures; Incentivize home-owners to pursue green initiatives including porous driveways, renewable energy, water recycling, green technology and energy efficiency standards.

  • Prevent water quality impacts to watersheds and Lake Ontario by developing a long-term plan to ensure underground infrastructure has the capacity to support the growing population; Ensure greater interdepartmental coordination and increase public education about what can be dumped in sewers and sinks.

  • Optimize section 37 funds (when applicable) through meaningful engagement with community and ensure affordable housing offset is not pushed to another part of town (as currently proposed, especially in relation to Danforth development).

  • Tear-up Tuggs Inc. monopoly at the lakefront and put the property out through a fair bidding process; Ensure that there are youth recreation programs that support the needs of modern families.

  • Shared spaces - Increase murals, entertainment options, artisan markets, increase the number festivals (food, wine/beer, arts, music and special themes [e.g.: holidays]); Collaborate with community partners and police services to ensure that crime prevention programs are in place.

  • Parking and bike storage: Closely examine parking options and identify opportunities with community partners.  Ensure that there is adequate secure bike storage at subway stops (urgently needed). Attract partners to create and construct a multi-use facility to increase vehicle parking, secure bicycle storage, childcare, commercial space, which hosts a roof-top amphitheater.  This facility will be state-of-the-art green standard building with near-zero emissions.

Poverty Reduction

  • Support Poverty Reduction Strategy and review improvements that can be made (currently ad hoc and looks at 4 year election cycle); Mature partnership programs that support vulnerable and at-risk youth to ensure that they develop the necessary skills and confidence to thrive in our city; Prioritize the repair of (TCHC) properties; Ensure the city delivers on their commitment to supporting Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) by providing $2.6 billion over ten years to prevent boarding-up 7,500 homes.

Inclusivity

  • Create inclusive communities that provide equity, support and opportunities for work and leisure; Ensure that accessibility requirements are adhered to throughout our City; Prepare for the demographic shift of the Baby Boomers – Ensure that there are modern active living centers that are included within our communities – This will take partnership between private and public sector to ensure we are ready.

Safety and Security

  • Work with crime prevention services and increase our focus on community policing to create strong and positive relationships with at-risk-youth and the residents.  The Danforth Garage is an incredible opportunity to achieve this in Beaches-East York; Ensure that our communities have safe and well-lit spaces for youth to gather; Modernize neighbourhood watch programs.

  • Safe streets and intersections (will be discussed further in Fluid Accessible Transportation); Safe waterfront – increased education for public on water safety.

Valerie has extensive experience in stakeholder engagement and community development. Please contact her to provide feedback and your ideas on the priorities that have been proposed.

info@vmaltais.com