Councillor's Report - Councillor Jennifer McKelvie
A focus on our environment and transit
I hope you had a fantastic summer. Our team has been busy at events in West Rouge over the summer, and the weather cooperated for most!
We had a lot of fun at the West Rouge Fun Fair in support of West Rouge Public School. There was a good turnout, great music, and hopefully a lot of money raised for the kids! I also dropped by the West Rouge Parking Lot sale at the West Rouge Community Centre on Saturday, June 8th. It was great to see members of the community, including the West Rouge Community Association at the Port Union Waterfront Festival. As always, there was a terrific turnout; we truly live in a fun and vibrant community.
Focus on environment
Rouge Beach continues to be flooded from record-high lake water levels. It’s amazing to think about where this water comes from. It’s spring melt from the huge catchment of the Great Lakes, with water draining slowly from Lake Superior all the way through the Great Lakes system. Over the summer, there were approximately 80 million litres per second of water flowing out of Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River. Rouge Beach is part of a natural wetland that is more than capable of absorbing the impact of higher water levels; in many ways it's doing its job and preventing a worse outcome for the area. The unfortunate consequence is a loss of parking. My office has been in touch with the TRCA and City Staff for information, updates, and long-term strategizing on how to manage the flooding and to document changes to the area. We are very interested in supporting opportunities that will improve infrastructure in the area in the long term.
In June, I had the honour of launching the City of Toronto’s first resilience strategy on climate change (www.toronto.ca/resilience). The strategy lays a foundation for preparing for climate change and the more extreme, both hotter and wetter, weather that we will face. An important component involves flood resilience. The strategy proposes centralizing our resources for better planning and prioritization, updating existing flood mitigation programs, and building more blue infrastructure. I introduced a member’s motion at City Council to institutionalize the strategy in day to day decision making, which was passed with support from across the political spectrum. I will continue to advocate for the full implementation and funding of the strategy.
On June 15, 2019, the Government of Canada announced the completed transfer of Toronto Region Conservation Area (TRCA) lands to Parks Canada for Rouge National Urban Park. Throughout this process, the City of Toronto acquired "right-of-way" (ROW) lands from the TRCA. These ROWs in Rouge National Urban Park will be used for safety improvements in the park, including future road widenings, pedestrian walkways or bike paths as needed. We're making good progress on reforming the Rouge Park and improving its oversight and organization.
Latest on transit
Since the last issue of West Rouge Life, the province released their transit plan, which outlines a multi-stop Scarborough subway from Kennedy Station to McCowan and Sheppard, as well as a subway line along Sheppard Ave. East to the planned McCowan subway station. We await further details on funding, timelines, construction plans, and more. The multi-stop subway is a welcome announcement, and the transit line on Sheppard will complement the Eglinton East LRT and will help to create an integrated transit network for Scarborough. In their April budget announcement, the Province of Ontario promised $5.5 billion to deliver a 3-stop Scarborough subway by 2030. I look forward to more details and firmer commitments, but hope the province, the city, and the federal government can cooperate proactively to get transit built soon in Scarborough.
On April 9th, 2019, I was delighted that our City's Executive Committee voted 7-1 to back my goal to end any phasing of the Eglinton East LRT to Malvern Centre and to build the LRT in full. This was a huge win. History has shown us that whenever Scarborough transit projects are broken up into phased stages, nothing gets built. The Eglinton East LRT will provide transit, as well as foster economic and housing developments to eastern Scarborough residents. Stops at UTSC and the Toronto Pan Am Sports and Aquatics Centre will bring students and visitors more easily to our area. There is still much work to do, as the project remains unfunded, and I will continue my advocacy efforts to secure funding for this important local infrastructure investment.
To learn more about the initiatives we have underway, please visit our website at www.jennifermckelvie.ca. To stay informed about our local issues, you can also sign up for our newsletter on our webpage. You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the handle @McKelvieWard25. As needed, I am also happy to meet with residents at their homes, at local community centres, or at our office at Scarborough Civic Centre. If you have a concern we can help you with, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone us at 416-338-3771.