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CouncilWatch - February 2007

Author: 
Toronto Environmental Alliance

In this edition:

1. Community Right to Know Campaign
a. Upcoming Workshops
b. David Suzuki to visit City Hall
c. Update on Toronto Public Health's "Access to Environmental Information" Strategy

2. City Council Update

3. February a Busy Month for Smog and Climate Change in Toronto

4. Transit City

1. Community Right to Know Campaign

This month TEA continues to build and expand the support for Community Right to Know by conducting community workshops, educating and advocating at City Hall and working with labour, environmental and health groups at both the local and provincial levels.

a. Upcoming Workshops:

North Etobicoke/Rexdale
Date: Monday, February 12, 2007
Where: Thistletown Community Centre
925 Albion Rd. (one block east of Islington)
Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm

North Toronto
For the high school students at North Toronto, Northern and Forest Hill Secondary Schools.
Date: Monday, February 26, 2007-02-06
Where: North Toronto Collegiate Institute
70 Roehampton Rd. , Room L8 (basement)
Time: 4pm - 6pm

For more information please contact Lina Cino, Toxics Campaign Co-ordinator at 416-596-0660.

b. David Suzuki to visit City Hall

As the City gets set to enact a climate change strategy, David Suzuki and TEA will pay a timely visit to City Hall and meet with Mayor Miller and a handful of councillors to remind policy makers not to forget the immediate risk that toxics play in compromising neighbourhood health and the environment. Suzuki will urge the City to endorse a CRTK bylaw and will hold a press conference immediately after his meetings at10:30am in the Members Lounge at City Hall.

c. Update on Toronto Public Health's "Access to Environmental Information" Strategy

Toronto Public Health (TPH) recently held stakeholder consultations with industry, community and environmental groups and they also consulted with City Divisions to gain an understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with developing a publicly accessible environmental reporting program in Toronto. A TPH report is expected out in early spring. TEA will keep you informed of it's release and how to get involved at City Hall. Past reports are available at:

www.toronto.ca/health/hphe/enviro_info.htm

Along with reports, this website includes summaries of stakeholder consultations and offers people the opportunity to contribute their opinions via email, phone or fax.

2. City Council Update

Toronto City Council has just wrapped up its first full meeting since the new Council was elected last November. While there were no big environmental issues on the agenda, TEA was there taking every opportunity to talk with the Mayor, Councillors, their staff and city staff about creating a greener Toronto.

So far, things look promising. The Mayor seems serious about reducing smog and greenhouse gases. He wants to reduce smog pollutants in Toronto's air by 20% by 2012.

And the city is on record supporting a 20% cut to greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels as well as to purchasing 25% of the City's energy from green power sources.

The job of putting together a plan for meeting these targets will be in the hands of the new Parks and Environment Committee, chaired by Councillor Paula Fletcher and co-chaired by Councillor Gord Perks.

Stay tuned for updates on what happens at this Committee as TEA continues advocating for aggressive action on energy efficiency and green power production.

3. February a Busy Month for Smog and Climate Change in Toronto

February 19th: Former World Bank Economist Sir Nicholas Stern will be in Toronto talking about his October 2006 report to British PM Tony Blair. Put simply, the report noted we either spend one dollar today to address climate change or spend $20 tomorrow to deal with catastrophic impact of climate change. Sir Nicholas' message will hopefully make it clear it makes economic sense to act now.

February 20th: the Parks and Environment Committee will be hearing from expert witnesses about what should be in the city's smog and climate change plan. TEA will hopefully tell the Committee how important it is to have aggressive targets, timelines and concrete programs for energy efficiency, transit and green power.

February 22: TEA is hosting a think-tank style meeting to strategize about making sure Toronto's smog and climate change plan is the best this country has ever seen. We're bringing together experts from the Toronto area as well as outside the city to give us their best ideas about what should be in Toronto's plan as well as to strategize how we can work together to help provincial and federal climate change campaigns.

4. Transit City

Transit City is a vision for an extensive network of Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) that would offer subway-quality service to Toronto's inner suburbs - Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough - while also reducing air pollution, smog, greenhouse gas emissions, and traffic congestion.

Mayor David Miller has expressed support for the Transit City vision, and during the 2006 election campaign many Councillors also pledged to support transit improvements, yet there is no comprehensive plan for Transit City implementation.

Please join the Toronto Environmental Alliance in urging Council to set a timetable for Transit City corridors to be built across the city.

To sign on to a Call for Action visit: www.torontoenvironment.org/calltoaction

To see a map of the network and offer your feedback visit:

www.torontoenvironment.org/transitsurvey

To find out more come to one of our upcoming workshops:

  • Scarborough - Malvern Public Library, 30 Sewells Rd, Monday February 12, 2007, 6:30 - 8:00 PM
  • Etobicoke - LAMP, 185 5th Street, Tuesday February 20, 2007, 6:30-8:00 PM
  • North York - Driftwood Community Centre, 4401 Jane Street, Tuesday March 6, 2007, 6:30 - 8:00 PM

Pizza and refreshments will be served. RSVP to Beth Jones, TEA Transit Campaign, 416-596-0660, beth@torontoenvironment.org