Ward 43 Residents Update September 2016

September 2016

Facebook: Councillor Paul Ainslie

www.paulainslie.com

Twitter: @cllrainslie

Facebook: Paul Ainslie

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Dear Ward 43 Residents,

Back to School!

With the return to school our minds turn to the safety on our roads.  Last February I brought this matter to City Council requesting the installation process for school crossing guards to be reviewed by the Toronto Police Services to understand why all of my request for placements are being denied on a regular basis.  True to government form…..This matter has now been placed as an item for review under the Transformational Task Force (TTF) interim report released on June 16, entitled The Way Forward: Modernizing Community Safety in Toronto.   The report recommends the placement of school crossing guards be placed under the preview of the City of Toronto.  Your comments on the task force recommendations including those on crossing guards are welcome by emailing thewayforward@torontopolice.on.ca with a copy to councillor_ainslie@toronto.ca.  I look forward to hearing from you.

The planning for a Community Hub in Scarborough East is moving forward.  Several meetings have taken place at the Sir Robert Borden BTI, 200 Poplar site and at City Hall.  I am working with the province, City staff and stakeholders who have come forward with the desire to operate a Community Hub at this location.  The prospects are very positive.

The Toronto Ward Boundary Review (TWBR) team is seeking feedback from the public on two items outlined in the Toronto Ward Boundary Review on the revised option 2 which has 44 Wards and incorporates the refinements suggested during the TWBR public consultation process in August – November 2015 as well as a Ward option that is aligned, where possible, with the boundaries of the 25 federal and provincial ridings. There are two ways to provide comments: complete a survey (Online or in PDF) or attend the September 15, 2016 7pm- 9pm public consultation at the Scarborough Civic Center. Visit Report for details.

The TTC will be discussing all community bus requests including my proposal for Ward 43 this Fall together with a Wheel Trans Review.  The report encompasses a strategy including routings, phasing, benefits, and cost implications. Please view the report and advise me of your comments.  I will advise you of the meeting date as soon as it has been scheduled to allow for comments or your attendance. You may review the Study Here under community bus enhancements.  You may also begin to send in your comments and need for a community bus in Ward 43 via E-mail: wtconsult@ttc.ca Telephone:
416-397-8699, TTY 416-393-4555.

Please continue to contact my office with any municipal issues my constituency office located at the Scarborough Civic Centre is available to receive you.

City of Toronto Councillor

Paul Ainslie

Ward 43 – Scarborough East

Breaking, Not Making, Our Hospitals Better

“Improving access and connections in health care is another way we are putting people and patients first. I look forward to the panel’s advice, as we work to provide better access to quality health care for the people of Scarborough and West Durham region.”

Dr. Eric Hoskins  – Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

When it comes to spending tax dollars at any level of government the one comment I hear over 99% of the time being told to politicians is “You better not waste my money….”.

In Scarborough we have two hospital systems: the Scarborough Hospital (General and Birchmount sites) and the Rouge Valley Health System (Centenary and Ajax/Pickering sites).

In 2013, the Central East Local Health Integration Network (CELHIN) initiated the “Facilitated Integration Process” to look at how the two hospital systems could work more closely together.

The end result? The Board of Directors of both hospitals initially proposed a merger which would create the seventh largest hospital corporation in Ontario. The Rouge Valley Health System Board ultimately voted officially to proceed, and to the surprise of many, the Scarborough Hospital Board voted against the merger.

20,000 residents gave their input through a website, telephone townhalls, online surveys, and community roundtables……back to square one everyone went.

Health Minister Deborah Matthew stated “ I still have some hope it will eventually happen.” But she then went on to say her government would not force a merger. “We have seen examples where mergers were forced and decades later they are not working as one organization.”

http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/03/23/ontario_health_minister_deb_matthews_wont_force_scarborough_hospital_merger.html

May, 2015….The Ministry of Health announced an Expert Health Panel to address infrastructure needs as well as improve access and integration of acute health care services in the Scarborough and West Durham region.

The guidelines set for the panel were to a develop a plan to address how hospitals in the region can work together to deliver acute health care programs and services in a way which meets the needs of local residents. It would provide recommendations on program and service integration, as well as infrastructure needs for both the Scarborough Hospital and the Rouge Valley Health System.

The final report and its recommendations can be found here:

http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/news/bulletin/2015/docs/scarborough_west_durham_panel_20151218.pdf

The report has a date on the cover “November 2, 2015”….It was released publicly in the middle of December, 2015…..

Bizarrely….amongst the report’s many recommendations is one which breaks up the Rouge Valley Health System, and merges the Centenary site with the two Scarborough Hospital sites.  The Ajax-Pickering site would join the Lakeridge Hospital.

It takes health care which has been advancing on a regional basis BACKWARDS to one which will follow the municipal boundaries of the City of Toronto and Durham Region.

It seems a peculiar recommendation considering Rouge Valley has worked very hard under the Ministry of Health to establish itself as a regional health care provider.  With millions of dollars we achieved an integrated health care system….and probably many millions more of our tax dollars could be spent to take it all apart.

Education….transportation… economic development are but a few examples all being dealt with on a regional basis.  Why treat our health care differently?

In a number of conversations I have had with governing M.P.P.s I have asked about the Expert Panel recommendations.  The general answer is “Health care will be better”.  When I ask about specifics I continue to get “Health care will be better.”

The Expert Panel Report on West Durham and Scarborough conclusions are incorrect and inconsistent with data:

  1. Scarborough and Durham are different communities. The Scarborough border is a functional divide between Durham and Scarborough.

NOT TRUE: The Rouge Valley Community is a functional and integrated health care community that DOES NOT divide on municipal boundaries.

  1. A clear strategic direction is required for acute program and service delivery across both regions.

NOT TRUE: The Regional Cardiac Care program has provided a clear and effective strategy for the effective and efficient delivery of regional services across the Central East LHIN.

  1. Existing governance and management structures do not optimally or comprehensively support integrated service planning and delivery.

NOT TRUE: The Central East LHIN has made very good progress in regionalization, transformation, with integration of multiple services including Cardiac Care, Thoracic Surgery, Vascular Surgery, Oncology, Nephrology and Diabetes.

The Rouge Valley Health System has demonstrated a commitment and exemplary contribution to CELHIN system transformation. Not just in cardiac care but for the system as a whole.

It is not just me who is very skeptical, and has a lot of questions about the basis of the recommendations, the process, and the ultimate goal of the Expert Panel.  Physicians, other hospital staff, local residents, prominent business leaders from Scarborough and Durham have created a “Save Our Hospital” group to make sure concerned voices outside of the political realm get heard… and get the answers we all deserve!!

You can view the website here and also sign a petition of support if you feel as strongly as we do about the importance of our health care system:

http://keeprvhstogether.com/

 

Support the advancement of our health care system!

Sincerely,

Paul Ainslie

LRT vs. Scarborough Subway

Dear Ward 43 Neighbours,

I continue to serve my community in a very fiscally responsible manner. I have always been upfront with my residents, voting to improve services and ensure Ward 43 receives the respect, programs, and services we require to be a successful community. Last month in City Council I was faced with an important public transit vote, I will not vote for a project which is fiscally irresponsible, and does little to benefit our Scarborough community.

I am a big fan of subways. I always have, and I always will like subways. I cannot however, support a line just to say we put in a few stations without being financially responsible.

In July I voted for a subway to replace the Scarborough SRT. My decision was based on the fact the province had made financial commitments to fully fund a subway, up to $1.89 billion dollars. Council also requested the Federal government to support a subway. City Council’s vote outlined if we didn’t receive a proper commitment for the funding, from both levels of government, we would be building a Light Rapid Transit (LRT).

These commitments were not met. The province made a partial commitment, and the Federal government offered $660 million with a long list of conditions. In October City Council had a choice of two options for Scarborough:

1) LRT- (7 stops) – fully financially funded with no property tax increases.
LRT = NO Property Tax Increases

2) Subway – (3 stops) – to replace only the SRT with a never ending financial increase to all taxpayers through property taxes: SUBWAY=$1.8 Billion Tax Increases Every Year for 30 Years

– $910 million property taxes/development charges
– $450 million Automatic Train Control
– $250 – $300 million in construction cost over runs
– $30 – $40 million dollars annually for maintenance (for 60 years)
– A 1.6% dedicated transit property tax increase on top of the usual property tax requirements. (For the next 30 years)

I voted for the fully funded LRT. The subway received more votes; as a result, we will be paying property tax increases of 3 – 5% annually for a very long time to cover the costs of a subway which does not serve our Scarborough community in the manner we expected for the costs we will incur.

Voting for this subway line was not the fiscally responsible action for me to take. I was elected to make sure we get the best value for our tax dollars. I pay taxes too.

The LRT would not go on a street. It would have been in a hydro corridor. The subway will require McCowan Road to be dug up completely from Eglinton to Sheppard Ave.

The City of Toronto faces a huge backlog of repairs which have to be made right across the City. It is already difficult to fund the necessary repairs to our aging infrastructure. Our existing roads are badly in need of repair. We have community centres, libraries and playgrounds which desperately need to be updated. My concern is the added financial pressures will jeopardize our ability to pay for any of these improvements.

My priority is to serve the residents of Ward 43. Neither LRT nor subway route goes anywhere near our Ward. The reality is buses are the main public transit option available to families living in Ward 43. The 3 stop subway will negatively impact the quality of TTC bus service for our area. The City needs to be investing in proper rapid transit to meet today’s transit needs as well as the future needs of our growing community. We need to find better, faster ways to move more people to where they need to be. We need a reliable system which is safe, clean and affordable. We need a system which people from across Toronto can rely on to get to work, school, shop and travel to meet their needs.

In short, as a result of Council’s vote to move forward with subways, my constituents will pay higher taxes, the City will have an enormous debt to manage, fewer people will benefit from the investment, and the City will not be in a financial position to move forward with other desperately needed transit and infrastructure projects.

Sincerely,

Paul Ainslie
City Councillor, Scarborough East Ward 43
Chair, Toronto Public Library