Joe Mihevc is Toronto’s city councillor representing Ward 21, St. Paul’s West. He is an advocate for strong neighbourhoods, healthy communities, a clean environment and safe streets.

Learn more about Joe

On February 10, I brought a motion to Council asking for greater attention to be placed on the City’s relationship with our colleges and universities.  I suggested that there is much to be gained from broadening our partnership with these institutions of higher learning.  Fortunately, the Mayor and Council agreed, and the motion passed.

The City of Toronto already maintains a valuable working relationship with the local postsecondary institutions.  For instance, it is common for city councillors to speak in university classrooms, or for students to complete placements in City offices.  Sometimes, professors give advice to city staff working on specific projects.  To give one example, Professor David Hulchanski’s work on the polarization of incomes in Toronto has had a strong influence on the city’s priority neighbourhood strategy, and various poverty reduction strategies.  Looking forward, there is still much room to grow our cross-sector approach to city-building.

Going above and beyond

I would like to see us go beyond these basic initiatives.  What would this look like?  There are some great examples of postsecondary-municipal institutional partnerships from elsewhere in Canada and around the world that can provide models and options for us to try out here in Toronto.

In Kingston, Queen’s University has established a Town-Gown Relations department within its Student Affairs division.  The department helps students navigate their relationship with the surrounding community, from adjusting to living in a new city to playing an active role within it.

The United Kingdom’s Knowledge-Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a non-partisan entity that allows for more efficient sharing of information and expertise between academia and industry.  According to their website, there are over 700 partnerships running at any given time.  The shared information supports entrepreneurship for the companies, and improves access to data and research opportunities for the higher education partners.

What kind of information can we exchange with higher education?

In the past, the study of cities was limited to a small number of university departments – even political scientists were not very interested in this “junior” order of government.  Yet, our cities have grown and merged, and so has intellectual interest.  Social and health sciences, business, and engineering all contribute to the knowledge pool on how best to organize our municipal affairs.

Universities are ahead of the curve when it comes to recognizing their potential to advance and influence municipal affairs.  They have established multidisciplinary research centres, like York University’s City Institute, as well as the Cities Centre and the Centre for Urban Studies and Community at the University of Toronto.  They study everything from housing and homelessness to governance, land, and infrastructure.

There is a wealth of untapped knowledge in the academic world of which city-builders and policy makers need to make use.  On the other hand, City of Toronto departments can contribute key civic issues and struggles that will help keep academics abreast of trends and allow them to produce more applicable reports.

It is my hope that we can bring the brainpower, talent, expertise and specialized skills of the colleges and universities together with the city-building capacity of Toronto.  Open dialogue will enable us to develop a system of mutual cooperation and inclusive planning processes, and to develop the City’s economic, cultural, and creative resources.  Together, we can more thoughtfully address the pressing issues faced by our city and shared by our institutions of higher learning.  By consciously choosing to collaborate in a more thoughtful way, we can build a better city.

Prolonged, cold temperatures are having an impact on private drinking water pipes in many homes or buildings, as well as water meters and the City’s watermain distribution system. Since Saturday, February 14, Toronto Water has responded to 102 watermain breaks, and has received over 1,400 ‘no water’ and 200 leaking/frozen water meter calls through 311.

Crews are working as fast as they can to respond; however,they are currently experiencing a delay in responding to service calls. Crews are finding that the majority of ‘no water’ calls are due to frozen pipes on private property.

Here are tips on how to prevent pipes from freezing and what to do if they are frozen. See www.toronto.ca/frozenpipes

The City budget is a financial plan that describes the money the City will raise and spend within a year.  Every year City staff put forward a recommended budget and then the Mayor and City Council, with input from Toronto residents and businesses, make choices about the City’s services and programs.

Stay engaged and to find out more about the budget and process click here.

 

It’s that time of the year again – winter!  A Canadian winter can sometimes mean a lot of snow, and the City of Toronto is ready.

Here are a few things that you can expect as we gear up for another winter in Toronto.

Prior to the onset of a storm, Transportation Services will be applying a layer of salt brine to hills and bridges throughout the city.  The application of salt brine is intended to prevent the snow from bonding to the pavement and to make it easier to plow the snow to the side of the road.

As soon as the snow begins, Transportation Services sends out its fleet of salt trucks to the expressways and main roads.  Local roads and laneways are salted soon after this.  When two centimeters of snow has accumulated then plowing will begin on the expressways and, when five centimeters has accumulated, plowing will begin on the main roads. Plowing on the expressways and main roads will continue until the operation is complete. (more…)

The City of Toronto is opening 15 outdoor rinks tomorrow, including Nathan Phillips Square, the new, covered rink and skating path at Greenwood Park, and the ice-skating trail at Colonel Samuel Smith Park. It’s time for Torontonians to lace up their skates and enjoy a outdoor skating season.

Weather permitting, 15 outdoor rinks will open on Saturday, November 22 and operate until the season ends on March 22. The 36 other outdoor rinks will open Saturday, November 29 and operate until February 22.

More information about Toronto’s outdoor artificial ice rinks, including a map of rink locations, schedules for each location, closures, learn-to-skate programs and helmet/equipment requirements, is available here. (more…)

If you are a senior or disabled resident of Toronto, the City will clear snow from the sidewalk in front of your home in areas where the service is not provided by a machine.

The City of Toronto provides sidewalk snow clearing in most of Toronto, however there are areas – mostly in older, central parts of the city – where equipment is unable to clear sidewalks due to insufficient sidewalk width for the plows, lack of boulevard space for snow storage and on-street parking.

For more information and a map outlining the areas where the City provides mechanical sidewalk snow clearing, click here.

Seniors and disabled residents living in areas where the city does not clear sidewalks are asked to contact 311 to register for the program. Please note that the service applies to the sidewalk in front of your home and does not include driveways or walkways leading up to the home.

All participants in the program must renew annually to continue to receive the service.

After one of the most challenging winters in recent memory last winter, the City of Toronto is getting ready to once again deal with snow and ice on city streets.

The infrastructure beneath the streets also feels the chill. Cold weather and rapid swings between thaw and freezing temperatures put water pipes under stress. Crews are ready to respond to watermain breaks 24/7, 365 days a year. The City is also offering tips to residents to prepare the pipes in their home for winter’s onslaught.

Our fleet of equipment consists of 600 snow plows, 300 sidewalk plows and 200 salt trucks.

The City’s first priority during a snowfall is to keep the main roads clear for emergency and TTC vehicles. After that, crews move on to the local roads and usually complete clearing these roads between 14 and 16 hours after the storm ends.

As soon as the snow begins, Transportation Services sends out its fleet of salt trucks to the expressways and main roads. Local roads and laneways are salted soon after this. When 2.5 centimetres of snow has accumulated, plowing will begin on the expressways and, when five centimetres has accumulated, plowing will begin on the main roads. Plowing on the expressways and main roads will continue until the operation is complete. (more…)

Prices effective November 1, 2014

In December 2013, City Council directed City staff to undertake consultations in 2014 regarding the proposed changes to the Pollution Prevention (P2) Program and subsequent Sewers By-law, Municipal Code Chapter 681. These changes include:

  1. creation of a subject pollutant threshold reporting list;
  2. changes to the dental office submission requirement;
  3. changes to the grease interceptor requirement;
  4. creation of a Best Management Practice (BMP) for the automotive refinishing sector; and
  5. creation of a Best Management Practice (BMP) for mobile washing business operations.

For details, click City Council Decision at its December 2013 meeting. (more…)

From the Halls of Higher Learning to City Hall: Improving ‘Town-Gown’ Relations in Toronto

On February 10, I brought a motion to Council asking for greater attention to be placed on the City’s relationship with our colleges and universities.  I suggested that there is much to be gained from broadening our partnership with these institutions of higher learning.  Fortunately, the Mayor and Council agreed, and the motion passed.

The City of Toronto already maintains a valuable working relationship with the local postsecondary institutions.  For instance, it is common for city councillors to speak in university classrooms, or for students to complete placements in City offices.  Sometimes, professors give advice to city staff working on specific projects.  To give one example, Professor David Hulchanski’s work on the polarization of incomes in Toronto has had a strong influence on the city’s priority neighbourhood strategy, and various poverty reduction strategies.  Looking forward, there is still much room to grow our cross-sector approach to city-building.

Going above and beyond

I would like to see us go beyond these basic initiatives.  What would this look like?  There are some great examples of postsecondary-municipal institutional partnerships from elsewhere in Canada and around the world that can provide models and options for us to try out here in Toronto.

In Kingston, Queen’s University has established a Town-Gown Relations department within its Student Affairs division.  The department helps students navigate their relationship with the surrounding community, from adjusting to living in a new city to playing an active role within it.

The United Kingdom’s Knowledge-Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a non-partisan entity that allows for more efficient sharing of information and expertise between academia and industry.  According to their website, there are over 700 partnerships running at any given time.  The shared information supports entrepreneurship for the companies, and improves access to data and research opportunities for the higher education partners.

What kind of information can we exchange with higher education?

In the past, the study of cities was limited to a small number of university departments – even political scientists were not very interested in this “junior” order of government.  Yet, our cities have grown and merged, and so has intellectual interest.  Social and health sciences, business, and engineering all contribute to the knowledge pool on how best to organize our municipal affairs.

Universities are ahead of the curve when it comes to recognizing their potential to advance and influence municipal affairs.  They have established multidisciplinary research centres, like York University’s City Institute, as well as the Cities Centre and the Centre for Urban Studies and Community at the University of Toronto.  They study everything from housing and homelessness to governance, land, and infrastructure.

There is a wealth of untapped knowledge in the academic world of which city-builders and policy makers need to make use.  On the other hand, City of Toronto departments can contribute key civic issues and struggles that will help keep academics abreast of trends and allow them to produce more applicable reports.

It is my hope that we can bring the brainpower, talent, expertise and specialized skills of the colleges and universities together with the city-building capacity of Toronto.  Open dialogue will enable us to develop a system of mutual cooperation and inclusive planning processes, and to develop the City’s economic, cultural, and creative resources.  Together, we can more thoughtfully address the pressing issues faced by our city and shared by our institutions of higher learning.  By consciously choosing to collaborate in a more thoughtful way, we can build a better city.