Thank you to everyone who was able to attend our Annual General Meeting this week at the Central YMCA. Special appreciation to our guest speakers: MPP Kristyn Wong Tam, Councillor Dianne Saxe, MPP Jessica Bell and Constable Anthony Lamanna. There was an interesting display of developments in the area, a positive Treasurer's report and an update on the past year's activities in the neighbourhood. The priorities for 2024 and board vacancies were discussed.
Toronto Centre MPP Kristyn Wong Tam explained she moved from her former position as Toronto Centre City Councillor to the provincial level since many of the decisions affecting the City were made at Queen's Park. In addition to being a resident of Bay Cloverhill neighbourhood, anything relevant to residents is important to them. The provincial budget consultations are ongoing in the province with no date yet set for consultations in Toronto. MPP Wong Tam is the critic for
University Rosedale Councillor Dianne Saxe comes from a background in provincial politics. She recognizes that City Hall faces many financial and legal obstacles from the current Ford government that doesn't care about Toronto. Councillor Saxe works with a collegial group of Councillors to get things done, including more than 59 motions in the past year from issues such as hate speech, parking, heat control in rental housing. She is also on many boards and participates in 20 resident associations and 18 BIA's. Councillor Saxe advised there are three major city consultations ongoing about the budget, micro mobility devices and main street density (as of right zoning to increase the missing middle development). As an avid cyclist, she noted that the city's cycling network continues to grow. The City's Official Plan Amendments, including affordable housing requirements for developments are on hold, as the provincial government has delayed review of the changes.
University Rosedale MPP Jessica Bell started as an environmental activist when she came to Canada around 2009. MPP Bell encourages residents to be active, and have hope and faith.
Constable Anthony Lamanna is our neighbourhood Community Relations Officer from Toronto Police Service. He believes the City is a safe place, despite media coverage of specific crimes. Constable Lamanna acknowledged the tragedies in the Middle East and the many protests that are ongoing in the City. He explained that hate motivated crime includes an element of hate to an identifiable group such as race or religion. Constable Lamanna apologized for the long wait times for non-emergency calls caused by understaffing. He encouraged residents to let the police know about any issues of concern. Constable Lamanna is a Crime Prevention Officer who shares his know how about how to navigate the city safely. He conducts a safety street walk for residents where he is not in uniform and gives tips on how to avoid confrontations, talk to the street involved community. His advice is to have a plan and plan your outings. Personal safety presentations are available at 52 Division and on site risk assessments are offered for condo buildings.
The Fall 2023 update presentation was made, see the following file at the end of the post. Norm Waite has decided to step down from the Board, after many years of service to the community, including as Treasurer and President. Meetings are held with politicians, the City's Planning Department and developers to improve the neighbourhood. We are part of various advocacy efforts, including FoSTRA, Avenue Road Safety Coalition, Ontario Place etc. The current and planned public realm improvements were reviewed, including the four Toronto Centre participatory budgeting projects for 2024. A review of completed buildings, projects under construction, approved and proposed developments for the area, and adjacent to our neighbourhood, was presented. The MacDonald Block reconstruction is over budget and completion has been extended by two or three years. Our 2023 accomplishment and 2024 priorities to make the Bay Cloverhill area better were detailed.
There are two vacant executive positions. Currently building representatives with six month's service are eligible to be nominated for the board. In order to increase the pool of possible candidates, we may expand the eligibility to include individual members. Anyone with particular interests or passions is encouraged to volunteer to serve on a committee or help with a special project.