Looking forward to dialogue on community issues this year

I hope that everyone enjoyed the holidays and I wish you a healthy, prosperous and enjoyable new year. Thank you to the CCRA for inviting me to speak at the November annual general meeting. It was great to meet such a dedicated group of volunteers. As we begin 2018, I look forward to an ongoing dialogue with the community on the issues we’ll be working on in Ward 44.

 School Zone Safety

 In addition to the city-wide School Zone Safety Review that was initiated last fall, my office has requested a review of traffic functions in and around Centennial Road that includes Centennial Road Public School and St. Brendan’s Catholic School.

One measure under review is a reduction of the speed limit on Centennial Road between Lawson and Lawrence. The proposed reduction would be from the current 50 km/h to either a 40 or 30 km/h limit depending on recommendations in a report from Traffic Operations and based on feedback from residents. My office will be canvassing residents along Centennial.

A speed reduction in a street will be considered upon receipt of a petition signed by a minimum of 25 percent of affected households.

UTSC application

University of Toronto Scarborough has submitted an application to amend the zoning bylaw for the site at 3300 Ellesmere Road that is currently a campus parking area. The application is for the development of a new student residence, which would have two buildings at 10 and 8 storeys that would accommodate 750 beds.

A preliminary planning staff report is expected to be presented at Scarborough Community Council on Jan. 16, followed by a public consultation meeting at a later date. More information on this can be found on my website at jimhart.ca/PLANNING.php.

Seniors Housing Strategy

 On Nov. 30, my office hosted a meeting with local senior advocates interested in promoting better options for seniors housing within our community. Currently there are few options, particularly for independent living.

The lively meeting was well attended and the discussion centred around possible locations and types of facilities that would be appropriate. Ideas ranged from single level living accommodation, such as condominiums, to retirement residences.

Although there is a great need for this type of housing here, the challenge will be attracting potential development. I will be working with city staff to explore opportunities for this type of development. My office is also in the process of forming a working group made up of local senior advocates to assist in showcasing our community as a viable area to invest in retirement living infrastructure. If you are interested in receiving updates on this issue, call or email my office.

Short-Term Rentals

New regulations take effect July 1 that will allow residents to rent out their homes or rooms within their homes on a short-term basis through rental services such as Airbnb. The rules allow for the rental of a principal residence only and homeowners won’t be allowed to list secondary suites for short-term rental. A secondary suite is a self-contained apartment in an owner-occupied single-family home that is either attached to the principal dwelling or in a separate structure on the same property.

Entire home rentals will be capped at 180 days a year and the city will create a registry of short-term rental landlords who would have to declare that their rental property is their principal residence. The city will review the new regulations in 2019.

Visit my constituency office is at 5504 Lawrence Ave., call me at 416-392-1373 or email councillor_hart@toronto.ca.