York Centre 2021 Virtual Town Hall

Thank you to everyone who attended and submitted questions to the York Centre Town Hall 2021!
This time we were joined by Mayor John Tory and Dr. Eileen de Villa to discuss the future of York Centre, what action is the local government taking to address the pandemic, and what can be expected in the future.

Screenshot from the virtual town hall
Pictured: Councillor James Pasternak with Mayor John Tory and Dr. Eileen de Villa at the virtual York Centre 2021 Town Hall

If you have missed the town hall, would like to watch the video and see the summary notes, please scroll further!

York Centre Town Hall 2021 – Summary Notes

Speakers

Councillor James Pasternak

Mayor John Tory

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa

Question and Answers

How can I get more involved in helping to plan and develop Downsview?

  • Go on to JamesPasternak.ca/Downsview/ and share your thoughts. We’ll be sure to invite you to our Working Group

As everyone can imagine, most of the questions we’ve received have been on the pandemic and vaccine roll out. A number of them asking about timelines for different age groups. Being cautious of time, we wanted to ask Dr de Villa, if she can provide an overview of what the plans are for vaccine roll out to different age groups. How about children? 18 and under?

  • The immediate priority across the province will be getting the vaccine to the most vulnerable part of the population. People in long-term care facilities, retirement homes, indigenous population. Priority status for health care workers and front line workers. The Province is starting with 80 years old and older; and moving their way down. Vaccine companies are studying the safety of the products for children

How about in terms of the locations? Will there be vaccinations in the north part of the city? I would like to know of any updates or developments about the preparation and staging of the Downsview Hangar Sport and Events Centre as a major designated Covid 19 immunization clinic in early April. When and how will the York Centre community obtain the information once everything is a go? Would Downsview residents be prioritized?

  • Dr de Villa mentioned as part of the City’s immunization plan, there will be many parterres engaged. We will have mobile clinics with the goal to blanket the city with places to get vaccines.

What is happening with the Wilson heights development?

  • The final agreements are yet to be completed between the proponent and Create, the real estate arm of the city. City staff expect the agreements between the developer and the City to be finalized by the end of March. A subsequent site plan application will then be reviewed for Phase 1 of the plan. Construction is expected to begin on the south end of the lot in Early fall 2021.

How has the pandemic affected the plans to develop the York Centre Ward? Is there a delay in timeline for rezoning? Does the City have plans to build a Community Centre in the Sheppard W./Downsview area?

  • Despite the pandemic setbacks, land developers continue to show interest in constructing in York-Centre. Our office is currently working with Northcrest, Canada Lands Corp, City Staff as well as Provincial and Federal levels to deliver the Downsview Community Centre as soon as possible with design expected to begin before the year ends.

How can you be so sure that the covid vaccines are safe and will not have long term (even short term ) side effects? If they are so safe then why vaccine companies like Pfizer and Moderna are exempt from liability? Are these vaccines going to be mandatory? The long term effects of children wearing masks needs to be addressed, and their effectiveness

  • Health Canada ensures the vaccines are safe. There is a rigorous process in place to ensure that vaccines are safe before they hit the market. Millions of doses of the vaccine have been used and have been successful so far. Moreover, the vaccines have been successful in mitigating the fight against COVID-19. There are no long term negative effects of people wearing masks in general.

As recently as 2018 you were opposed to rezoning employment land to anything else but employment. Why the change in your position? 2. The Downsview runway is one of the oldest runways in Canada. Downsview has been a centre of Canadian aviation innovation since 1929. Please don’t allow this history to be obliterated. What will you do to ensure the planners and developers will incorporate this history into their designs?

  • Both Councillor Pasternak and Mayor John Tory ensure that future development will be a great space for the people of York Centre. A commitment for potential public space.

This is a question for Dr. Eileen de Villa. I would like to know if once we get the vaccine, can we get Covid again. Can we carry the virus and transmit it to other people? What if a person already had Covid, do they need to get the vaccine?

  • It is meant for protection against covid. It is still being studying whether if vaccine receivers can spread covid-19.

What new cycling and pedestrian infrastructure is planned for York Centre?

P.S. Love Wilmington Ave. bike lane. Bike trails around the Lord G Ross reservoir and up Dufferin?

  • We’re happy to hear that! We’re working on developing cycling infrastructure in the Duke Heights area and on Chesswood. We’re also actively working with Bike Share to add more stations throughout our ward!

Please give us an update about the Allen East District plan, the lands between the Allen and Wilson Heights.

  • The Allen District Plan is on its last stages of review. A community Consultation meeting is expected to take place in mid-April before the District Plan is officially submitted to the North York Community Council in May. Subsequent individual zoning and site plan applications must later on be submitted and reviewed before any construction takes place.

With the success of ActiveTO, and its approval to continue in 2021, can we in Downsview get permanent cycling infrastructure such as Keele St. and Wilson Ave?

  • We are happy to keep expanding cycling transit and bike lanes in York Centre. The ActiveTO program last year brought a new cycling network to the Ward, which included the Bike Share program. There is a lot of potential in Downsview to expand transit, and we are looking for ways to keep improving the transit network in this area.

For Dr. de Villa: An air quality report found classrooms at one of our schools, Saint Raphael, regularly exceeded recommended carbon dioxide limits. The report states that the school does not have built-in mechanical ventilation and open windows did not improve air circulation. Even though the classrooms had portable air filters the carbon dioxide levels were still too high. What should be done For the teachers and students? Should parents be sending their children to St Raphaels in these Covid times? Would you send your children there or Move them to another school?

  • TPH staff will investigate on the matter and report back on how to improve on the air quality in the school. Councillor Pasternak and Dr. de Villa will be in touch on working on this matter.

If you have any question, please reach out to me via email at councillor_pasternak@toronto.ca or by phone at 416-392-1371.

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