Issues

  1. Transit
  2. Property Taxes
  3. Planning
  4. Noise
  5. Heritage Preservation
  6. Garbage
  7. Environment
  8. Cycling
  9. Co-ops

Transit

By 2021 Toronto's population will grow by half a million. Critics say we can't afford a new network of subways and more public transit.

I say, we can't afford NOT to.

Let's invest in a better, bigger, and cleaner TTC.

I'm proud of results I've achieved supporting public transit over the years and working with then-Councillor Olivia Chow to create a new discounted Metropass for University and College Students as well as the new transferable Metropass.

As your City Councillor I will:

  • Support the Transit City Campaign and the TTC Ridership Growth Strategy to reduce fares and improve service.
  • Fight to create a program to offer Seniors free service during non-peak hours.
  • Push the Federal and Provincial governments to make good on their promises to invest in public transit.
  • Ensure that new investment in transportation goes to the TTC.
  • Support and speed up the building of a fixed-link to Pearson airport.

The cost to tear down the Gardiner is reported to be $758 million.

This amount would finance almost the entire TTC capital budget for 2007.

With that money we could drastically increase transit service, buying over 1000 new hybrid buses, over 250 new subway cars, or over 150 new street cars.

Property Taxes

Higher property taxes in our neighbourhood are a direct result of the disastrous policy which created the "Current Value Assessment" system. This system, imposed by the provincial government has caused skyrocketing tax rates in our neighbourhood - in some cases driving seniors out of homes they have owned for many years. As your Constituency Assistant for the last seven years I have:

  • Helped individual property owners fight their tax increases through community information sessions and assisted in appeals
  • Fought to preserve the quality of our social services despite provincial government downloading which has burdened the city with $300 million a year in responsibilities with no new revenue sources.

The Problem: Our property taxes should not be assessed based on the current selling price of homes in our neighbourhood.

My pledge to you: I will work hard, every day to fight for a fair property tax system while curbing urban sprawl that destroys our environment.

Monster houses in the suburbs with huge lots should be taxed more, while older, smaller houses in our downtown community should be taxed less. (This is called Unit Value Assessment) This way, urban sprawl into the suburbs can be contained through property taxes. Higher density areas, like our own, should be rewarded with lower taxes and vice verse. After all, high density neighbourhood requires less funding subsidies for critical infrastructure like transit, roads, sewages and garbage pick up.

Millions of dollars in commercial education taxes are taken out of our city by the provincial government. As your Councillor, I will work hard to ensure that our tax dollars are kept in Toronto for Toronto's children, and to lower small business taxes.

Planning

As a former City Councillor and as your Constituency Assistant for the last seven years I am proud of my record defending neighbourhoods from overdevelopment, fighting for community concerns at the OMB, and ensuring the preservation of heritage homes and buildings.

I look forward to serving you as Councillor in Ward 20 – as the standard bearer of the proud progressive tradition that has included Dan Heap, Dan Leckie, Jack Layton, Dale Martin, and of course, Olivia Chow.

As your City Councillor I will work to change the way we plan our neighbourhoods:

  • Preserve diversity:
    with a mix of accommodation, including affordable housing and seniors housing for a diverse community accommodating people of all ages through their lifetime.
  • Put the community first:
    Establish residents' community panels to meet with planners and review developers' proposals so community input comes ahead of planning reviews.
  • Make buildings fit:
    Establish a design review panel to provide oversight for the aesthetic look and feel of buildings.

Noise

As a former City Councillor and as your Constituency Assistant for the last seven years I am proud of my record serving this community.

In consultation with the community I worked to develop new licensing rules for night clubs to reduce noise and disturbances, improving the quality of life for downtown entertainment district residents.

I look forward to serving you as Councillor in Ward 20 – as the standard bearer of the proud progressive tradition that has included Dan Heap, Dan Leckie, Jack Layton, Dale Martin, and of course, Olivia Chow.

As your Councillor I will:

  • Reduce the number of nightclub patrons permissible in a given area of the city
  • Press for tougher noise by-laws
  • Create a tickets-for-noise policy where by-law officers and police can hand out stiff penalties, on the spot, for noise violations.
  • Take the onus off neighbourhood residents in collecting dossiers on bars and nightclubs that violate noise by-laws.

Heritage Preservation

As a former City Councillor and as your Constituency Assistant for the last seven years I am proud of my record ensuring the preservation of heritage homes and buildings.

  • Worked with the community to create the Harbord Village Conservation District
  • Initiated the Queen Street Heritage Study which will help to sae Queen Streets dynamic nature from degradation and from an influx of Big Box stores. Queen Street West will be the first street in Toronto to receive heritage protection.
  • Initiated an Annex Heritage Study
  • Joined with community activists to secure heritage protection for the historic St. Stephen-in-the-Fields Church on Bellevue. Now I'm helping the Church by renting space for my campaign office. Come in and check out this magnificent gothic building.

I look forward to serving you as Councillor in Ward 20 – as the standard bearer of the proud progressive tradition that has included Dan Heap, Dan Leckie, Jack Layton, Dale Martin, and of course, Olivia Chow.

Garbage

    As your Councillor I will:

  • Advocate to cut out garbage at its source
  • Extend a mandatory green bin program in all buildings in Toronto
  • Impose penalties for those who do not recycle or use their green bin.
  • Encourage the re-use of products by bottle and can return programmes
  • Explore the use of new technologies in the production and treatment of waste, ensuring that any new methods of handling waste will be safe for people and the environment.

Environment

Building a Clean and Green Future for Toronto.

As a former City Councillor, an avid cyclist and environmentalist I am proud of my record of getting results for our environment:

  • Arranged for the planting of 200 trees along College Street from Spadina to Bathurst as part of the College Street revitalization plans.
  • Worked with the community to get the TTC to transfer the lands known as Ecology Park on Madison avenue to the city so we could improve the park space.
  • Secured improvements for Taddle Creek Park, Victoria Memorial Square, Clarence Square, Bellevue Square, Grange Park, Sibelius Park, Walmer Road Circle, and the Bedford Parkette.
  • Worked with the waterfront community to see the magnificent HtO park built on the shore of Lake Ontario.
  • Worked hard to support the 3-minute idling by-law.
  • Proposed to the Mayor's roundtable on the Environment that our ward be a pilot project for creating green energy for our city.

I look forward to serving you as Councillor in Ward 20 – as the standard bearer of the proud progressive tradition that has included Dan Heap, Dan Leckie, Jack Layton, Dale Martin, and of course, Olivia Chow.

As your Councillor I will:

  • Solarize downtown to make it as easy for citizens to go solar as it is to rent a hot water heater.
  • Install wind generation in our city green up and solarize the Green P parking lots.
  • Make landscape protection part of the building permit approvals to protect trees and plants from construction.
  • Launch an Adopt-a-Tree program to protect city-planted trees and encourage new planting.
  • Push the province and federal government to invest in our public transit system.
  • Work with cycling groups to investigate new routes and bikeways, install more bike lockers and permit bikes all day on the TTC.
  • Make the green bin program mandatory in building.
  • Rigorous enforcement of the three-minute idling by-law.

"Helen Kennedy has an impressive grasp of what it takes to create sustainable communities" - Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party of Canada.

Cycling

As a former City Councillor and as your Constituency Assistant for the last seven years I am proud of my record advocating for bicycle lanes and safety measures for cyclists.

  • Extended bike lanes along College Street from Spadina to Bathurst.
  • Helped to create the Dundas East Bike Lane to connect downtown with outlying areas.
  • Worked with the TTC to ensure our community was serviced with the new "Ride it and Rack it" bicycle racks on buses.

I look forward to serving you as Councillor in Ward 20 – as the standard bearer of the proud progressive tradition that has included Dan Heap, Dan Leckie, Jack Layton, Dale Martin, and of course, Olivia Chow.

As your Councillor I will:

  • Work to legislate side guards for trucks driving on city streets to protect cyclists from injury.
  • Explore the possibility of a Bloor Street bike lane.
  • Work to allow bicycles on the subway all day.
  • Increase the provision of bike lockers to prevent theft.
  • Continue to support community initiatives to close streets to cars - like the Pedestrian Sunday's in Kensington Market.

Co-ops

My vision for Toronto includes more co-op housing.

Co-ops are a vital part of our community.

My vision for our community and City is shaped by the cooperative vision. I believe we need to engage people and include them in the management of Toronto, just as cooperatives engage their members. Co-ops should be celebrated - and emulated – for their self management, non-profit structure. I applaud and admire their culture of interdependence and learning among engaged and active members.

Arcadia Co-op, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, is a jewel in our city. The Artists' co-op has done some of the most advanced green improvements that have ever been achieved in Toronto. Their roof top garden and installation of solar panels are examples of the innovative work that can be done by visionary citizens working together. Arcadia's solar panels are the biggest installation of solar panels in North America and saved the co-op $8500/month in energy bills. These initiatives capture the co-operative spirit at its best - and it is a perfect model for Toronto.

I pledge to:

  • Work to ensure that Ontario's share of $312.3 million for affordable housing resulting from the NDP federal budget will be directed to affordable co-op housing. Working with the Toronto Affordable Housing Office, I will continue the long tradition of building co-ops in downtown Toronto. 2,226 units of affordable housing are under development in Toronto, with over 600 units of family housing around the SkyDome – let's make some of them co-ops!
  • Work with our MP and former Councillor Olivia Chow to fix the Section 95 co-ops and restore the funding subsidies so more affordable housing units are created for low-income Torontonians. The very existence of some co-ops are at risk as the federal government looks to undermine Section 95, and we must do everything we can do to save them.
  • Work with the new Agency for Co-operatives Housing to help serve the unique needs of co-op members.

I congratulate the co-op movement for achieving the historic service agreement with the federal government after ten years of lobbying. And I look forward to serving you as Councillor in Ward 20 – as the standard bearer of the proud progressive tradition that has included Dan Heap, Dan Leckie, Jack Layton, Dale Martin, and of course, Olivia Chow.