Councillor Wong-Tam's Response to MPAC's Statement (August 31, 2017)
MPAC’s willingness to reassess the properties on Yonge Street is a welcome, but short-term solution. While MPAC states they did not consider re-development potential directly, their property valuation approach contradicts their statement. This is demonstrated by their omission of the area's full planning context in their original assessments and their insistence of starting every valuation with a highest and best use application which promotes unchecked development. Otherwise, how could they have missed the four critical planning documents that govern this portion of Yonge Street, namely, the Yonge Street Heritage Conservation District Plan, Area Specific Policy 174 and 382 and Official Plan Amendment 352 and Implementing Zoning By-laws?
The necessary change in policy goes beyond MPAC. The City must determine what kind of new classification makes sense for small, low-rise commercial buildings and then it will be up to the Province to accept that proposal and incorporate it into new law and practice for MPAC. I've created a working group with these exact stakeholders to do just this. We all need to work together to readdress the unfairness of the assessment process for the hardworking small business owners. It's the best way to keep help them and to keep our main streets vibrant.
LET'S GET FRESH!
The Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association invites you to the Nathan Phillips Square Farmers Market, Wednesdays, 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM, July 12 to October 25, 2017!
Tickle your taste buds with fresh produce, meats, cheeses, pastries, preserves, breads, pop-sickles, wines/ciders from Ontario's best farms.
Come pick up something fresh for dinner or plan to meet a Friend for lunch. Support the direct farm industry's, on farm markets and pick your own operations! No market will be held on the following dates due to special events taking place in the Square:
- September 13
- September 20
- September 27
Queen Street between Yonge Street and Bay Street will be closed from 11:30 p.m. Friday, July 7 until 5 a.m. Monday, July 10 for the installation of a new pedestrian bridge at the Hudson Bay Company building. There will also be no access to James Street during this period.Read more →
On the July 8/9 weekend subway service will be suspended on Line 1 between Bloor and Lawrence stations in order to carry out a variety of work. This will include track maintenance work between Rosedale and Davisville stations, and tree removal between Davisville and Eglinton stations.Read more →
Councillor Wong-Tam's Statement on Member Motion 31.21 "Promoting Diversity and Social Inclusion by establishing Intersectionality Awareness Week in the City of Toronto"
In recent years, Torontonians have shifted to a more nuanced conversation about social justice that moves beyond multiculturalism and accounts for multiple forms of structural oppression including colonialism, racism, anti-Black racism, sexism and misogyny.
In the context of this shift, City Staff have tabled reports containing concrete recommendations, such as The Interim Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism and Towards an Action Plan for Transgender Youth.
During the recent budget deliberations, City Council directed Toronto's City Manager to create an “Intersectional Gender-Based Framework to Assess Budgetary Impacts,” in next year's budget.
At the same time, there have been deeply troubling City Council discussion about the notion of Sanctuary City. The vote to defund Pride Toronto was also the catalyst that magnified the need for City Council to delve deeper into the issues of identity, belonging and justice.
A dynamic young, LGBTQ2S+ racialized woman working with my office proposed the creation of an Intersectionality Awareness Week. She diligently did her research and with the input of my office staff, drafted a motion which was wholeheartedly endorsed.
Over the weekend, I was able to connect with Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, the Black feminist legal scholar who first coined the term "intersectionality" about the Toronto motion to create an Intersectionality Awareness Week. She described it as, "incredibly exciting news" and was invited to amend the motion to better reflect her work. The hope was that if the motion was adopted, City Council could partner with local universities to bring Dr. Crenshaw to Toronto to launch the initiative and create broader community engagement, programming and participation in the conversation.
As we move forward, hopefully this conversation continues to grow. The motion was never intended to absolve Toronto City Council or any of its agencies of its institutional racism, sexism or bias. On the contrary, if the perception of such a motion deters that work, then consider it withdrawn.
Toronto City Council has a long way to go counter systemic discrimination in how our city develops policy and budgets. It is what I have spent the past 7 years as a City Councillor, working to address. This motion could have been a first step to help City Council and City staff better understand the experiences that shape the lives of Black, Indigenous, and other racialized individuals in Toronto, and further shift the conversation.
The intention of the motion, which was to advance the discourse about intersectionality and a deeper understanding of who the residents of Toronto are, will ultimately help the City build better policies, programs and services to address their needs, especially those most marginalized.
The paths to true justice are bigger than any one of us and yet require all of us. There's no one perfectly timed effort but rather an accumulation of all our voices, hardwork and commitments. This is something that we can all agree upon, with or without a council motion.
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