Council Recap - December

Net Zero by 2040

Council has adopted an ambitious strategy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Toronto to net zero by 2040 – 10 years earlier than initially proposed. Toronto is now one of only three big cities in North America with a 2040 target. The strategy also includes several interim targets of reducing GHG emissions (based on 1990 levels) to 45% by 2025 and 65% by 2030. Achieving these targets requires rapid action to scale up existing programs and significant investment and coordination will all levels of government. Actions and targets to be achieved by 2030 have been identified for areas including building construction, transportation, and waste.

Parking in New Development

The City has lowered the number of parking spaces developers must provide in new condo developments, a move designed to reduce congestion and car emissions by decreasing the number of cars. It is also expected that the cost saving will help make units more affordable.

The legislation specifically states that unit purchasers who don't have a parking space are not entitled to obtain permission to park on nearby streets.

John supported the general parking reduction but opposed a part of the bylaw which reduced visitor parking by 75%. His attempts to amend the bylaw to reduce that decrease and to allow local councillors to weigh in on the amount of visitor parking in each development was defeated.

Vacant Homes Tax

The final implementation details of a plan to tax vacant homes will take effect early in 2023. Beginning next month, city staff will develop a list of properties subject to the tax. A home is considered vacant if it has been unoccupied for more than six months in the prior calendar year. The tax is intended to create a disincentive to keeping properties vacant, thereby increasing the housing stock. Revenue collected will be used to fund affordable housing programs.

City Cycling Plan

Bikeway installation has been unprecedented during the pandemic and 65 km of these recent additions are now permanent. These new routes have increased cycling activity by 65%. An additional 100 km of new routes was also approved by Council for implementation over the next three years. This will include a route on Sheppard Avenue East from Doris Avenue to the East Don River and connecting to the bike lane recently installed on Willowdale Avenue.

Regulating Deliveries

Council has opted into a provincial pilot that will permit the use of cargo e-bikes on roads, bike lanes and cycletracks to help meet increasing demand for local deliveries, reduce traffic congestion and reduce greenhouse emissions. Council has also prohibited the use of micro delivery devices (i.e. delivery robots) on City sidewalks pending consultation with the tech sector, and a discussion of opting into an upcoming provincial pilot on their use.

Support for Natural Rinks

Natural ice rinks are an important tradition in Canada and have had a strong presence in many Willowdale parks. When City staff expressed reluctance to support local volunteer groups this year, John placed a motion compelling the City's ongoing support. This motion was withdrawn after an agreement was reached with senior staff to continue supporting our local volunteers.