Investments in the Centennial community for 2022
On February 17, City Council approved the 2022 city budget after a thorough review. The budget includes a residential tax increase of 2.9 percent, as well as an increase to the City Building levy of 1.5 percent, for a total of 4.4 per cent, resulting in an additional $141 per average household.
We continue to have budget constraints as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the third consecutive year, city-led mitigation strategies will result in significant savings of $494 million. Despite these cost-saving measures, we continue to require $1.4 billion in necessary relief funding from other levels of government. This shortfall is largely a result of reduced transit revenue due to decreased ridership, which had only reached 48 percent of pre-pandemic levels at the end of 2021.
As the Vice-Chair of the Budget Committee, I believe that this budget maintains fiscal responsibility while ensuring that we make the necessary investments in our community.
Local Park Upgrades
Upgrades are planned for the Heron Park Baseball Diamond this year, thanks to funding from the City of Toronto and the Jays Care Foundation. This year’s budget also includes engagement and design for playground improvements at Bill Hancox Park and Wanita Park, with installation planned in 2023.
Proposed improvements at Bill Hancox Park could include new accessible play equipment for ages 2 to 12 years, woodchip playground surfacing, an accessible ramp, new seating and upgraded pathways, a ping pong table, a picnic table with game board and upgraded gardens. Local residents can provide their feedback on the options by visiting toronto.ca/billhancoxplayground until March 18.
The engagement for Wanita Park playground will launch later this year and we will share it with you here.
Investing in Road Safety
With a combined capital and operating budget of $64 million city-wide in 2022, the Vision Zero Road Safety Plan program continues to focus on reducing traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto’s streets. Eight additional School Safety Zones will be installed in Scarborough–Rouge Park in 2022, including William G. Davis JPS and Joseph Howe SPS.
The budget also includes $9.5M in funding for 2022-2023 allocated to the widening of Port Union Road. The project involves the addition of a second northbound lane, complete sidewalks on both sides, raised cycling lanes and centre-turn lanes in some locations. Construction is planned to begin this spring. You can learn more at toronto.ca/portunion.
The city has committed to $20M annually between 2022 and 2026 to support cycling infrastructure across Toronto. Locally in 2022, bike lanes are planned for installation on Lawrence Ave. East between East Ave. and Rouge Park.
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You can share your thoughts on the features and equipment for the new playground at Bill Hancox Park until March 18 at toronto.ca/billhancoxplayground.