Hello again, autumn!

It has been a busy few weeks in our neighbourhood. I am excited to share with you announcements for two new projects in our ward. As City Council reconvenes in October, I look forward to continuing to work with you and advocating for the residents of Scarborough–Rouge Park.

Rouge National Urban Park Welcome Centre

On August 27, I had the pleasure of announcing the Welcome Centre of the Rouge National Urban Park along with Mayor John Tory, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and our local MP Gary Anandasangaree. After many years of discussion and planning, the federal government is committed to moving ahead with plans to build a new Rouge National Urban Park Education and Welcome Centre in our ward. The facility will be located in Toronto Zoo Parking Lot 4. This is a major step forward on preserving our local greenspaces for generations to come.

With the location now confirmed, the $15 million that has already been allocated can now be released. This Welcome Centre will be a game changer in serving as a hub and magnet for the 7 million Canadians who live within a one-hour drive of the park – that’s one in seven Canadians. I think it’s extremely important that everyone in the Greater Golden Horseshoe knows that they don’t have to drive for 3½ hours to Algonquin Park for an authentic and pristine experience with nature – they can kayak, canoe, hike and enjoy beautiful wildlife right at their doorsteps in a park 19 times larger than New York’s Central Park.

Autonomous Shuttle Pilot

Announced in September, the city is working closely with the TTC and Metrolinx to launch a public transit trial that will transposrt residents in West Rouge to the Rouge Hill GO Station with driverless, electric shuttle buses.

This pilot is expected to be 6-12 months in length and will see a joint funding commitment of $1.15 million, funded in partnership between the City of Toronto’s Transportation Services department, the TTC, Metrolinx and Transport Canada via the Program to Advance Connectivity and Automation in the Transportation System. This is a ground-breaking trial that could pave the way for the transit of the future: automated, localized and emissions-free.

We are the only community in Toronto that has a trial of this kind planned. Cities inGermany, Australia, Switzerland, Greece, China, the Netherlands, and the UK have either had a trial of these buses or have put them into regular use.

At this time, partners involved are seeking input from the community before finalizing arequest for proposals. We need residents to sound their opinion on multiple deliverables, including the finalized shuttle route and the technology powering the shuttle. The first public consultation will be a drop-in event, taking place on October 2, from 3:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the West Rouge Community Centre, 270 Rouge Hills Drive. If you are unable to attend this consultation, you can still be part of the conversation by providing feedback directly to my office, or learning more about this exciting project at www.toronto.ca/avshuttle.

Upcoming Event

I will be joining you at this year’s Southeast Scarborough Pumpkin Parade at the Port Union Community Centre park from 6 – 8 p.m.on November 1. We look forward to seeing you with your pumpkin creations! 

As always, please get in touch with my office for help with municipal issues. We are open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and can be reached at 416-338-3771. Sign up for our e-newsletter at www.jennifermckelvie.ca, and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter via my handle, @McKelvieWard25.