Councillor Perruzza’s Motion regarding Imperial Oil Pipeline

Imperial Oil is looking to replace an existing pipeline spanning from North York to Hamilton. This line crosses the Downsview community by running underneath the Hydro corridor. Local City Councillor Anthony Perruzza presented a motion at City Council on May 14, regarding the replacement of the line in order to ensure that there is greater transparency and accountability in the process. This route carries refined oil product between Imperial Oil’s Waterdown Pump Station in Hamilton and the Finch Terminal near Keele and Finch.

Councillor Perruzza brought this construction project to City Council’s attention in order to provide our local government with an opportunity to become more involved in the proceedings. The project has been under the radar so far, but the City can further contribute to the project by demanding better safety measures and by holding all parties accountable. By becoming more informed, Councillors can spread awareness and advise their constituents on the impact of the project as it unfolds.

If the Ontario Energy Board [OEB] accepts the City’s application, then the City will have the right to participate as an intervenor. While construction projects of this nature have tight timeframes, City Staff want to be able to take the necessary steps to speak with experts in the field and seek legal counsel in order to assess the potential risks associated with the replacement of this pipeline. The environmental impact and by extension, the impact on residents needs to be properly addressed and mitigated.

While there is a public consultation set to happen in July, the information for that meeting has not been widely circulated.

City Council approved the motion at its meeting on May 15, meaning that Councillors as a whole want to participate and monitor the situation responsibly.

Please visit City Council’s website for more details about Councillor Perruzza’s motion: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2019.MM7.17

New bill from Ontario Government gives even more power to developers

By the time you are reading this article, Doug Ford’s Conservatives will have passed yet another bill that will inflict long-term damage on the City of Toronto.

Bill 108 will bring back the planning powers of the OMB over local development, allow developers to threaten endangered species just by paying an extra fee, dramatically weaken heritage protection, and prevent municipalities from using inclusionary zoning bylaws to make sure new developments include affordable homes.

This bill will effectively reduce — and in some cases fully eliminate — community input into local planning decisions. At the same time, it will shortchange new residents, by choking off funding for parks, libraries, community centres, day-care spaces and other services that new neighbourhoods depend on.

The Ford government is giving his developer friends a huge gift, and making everyone else pay for it.

The developer-friendly bill is being rammed through Queen’s Park in less than a month, with only a single day of consultation at committee, giving residents of Ontario little time to respond or fully understand what it will mean.

On May 28, I presented the details of this bill to a packed crowd at St. Roch’s parish, where I was joined by panelists City Councillor Anthony Perruzza, former city councillor and current TRCA Board Member Maria Augimeri and Humber Summit Homeowner Association President Grant Evers. Residents were shocked to hear that the premier would prioritize developer profits over the rights of communities.

The topic on whether a community has say on what is built in their neighbourhood should not be a political one. It is not about right and left; it is about right and wrong.

If you want to help me pressure the conservative government to scrap Bill 108, email me at TRakocevic-CO @ndp.on.ca or call me at 416-743-7272.

The importance of summer camps

With summer just around the corner, children in our community will be spending the summer months attending day camps and overnight camps across the city. Summer camps are essential for guardians who work full-time and require childcare when their kids are off school. However, summer camps are not only a child-care alternative for the summer months, they are also vital in the social development and skill-building of both its campers and staff.

Local York University student, Diana Boa explains her experience, “I had a very positive experience at camp, notably StepSones for Youth Summer Camp, it was one of the things I found myself looking forward to the most. I believe that it gave me lasting memories that I will always carry with me… there I learned a lot. I became more of a team player and more aware of my team spirit with the different cheers and team building activities. But most importantly, StepStones Camp made me aware of how and why we should respect the land we live on, it taught me to embrace nature at a young age.”

Summer camps not only expose youth to different and new activities from those in the classroom, it also allows for a structured opportunity for them to learn and grow. Overnight camps allow children to feel more independent and ultimately instill a sense of self-confidence through various skill building activities like canoeing, swimming, learning to build a campfire all while socializing and creating lasting friendships. It also provides a mental break from academics and ultimately a gateway to new experiences.

Diana explains why summer camp was important to her, “coming from a city like Toronto there are not (in my experience) a lot of possibilities of experiencing that authentic outdoors atmosphere. Also, in my case being in a situation where my family dynamic was unfavourable at the time, it really gave me the chance to get away from that and experience things that I would have never had the chance to do like canoeing, there was no lakes in Scarborough, where I grew up, for me to do that.”

Overnight camps allow for youth growing up in urban settings to connect with the outdoors and the spaces our province has to offer. On the other hand, city-based camps allow campers to experience all the great spaces our city has to offer while remaining active and encouraged to be creative through arts and crafts projects.

Both campers and staff benefit from summer camps. Although I never attended camp as a child, I did work at an overnight camp for over 7 years. There, I found a passion for working with youth and the importance of community. I learned about social justice, emotional intelligence, and being conscious of how my everyday choices affect our environment. To this day, some of my fondest memories and closest friendships were made at camp.