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Mayor John Tory's Toronto

We are slowly but surely killing the CaféTO patio program. Shame on us​

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/sta...ling-the-cafto-patio-program-shame-on-us.html

Yup.

Keenan's right.

To be clear, the program isn't literally being killed, but the fees, process and delays are too much and the number of patios will be well off this year, probably by 1/2.

Some fee is fair for using the public right-of-way, to make money.

Though the fee is likely a bit too high, a bit too soon.

But the process needs to be simpler, easier and faster and staff need to be told to turn everything they've done on its head.

By which I mean, they've designed a process that fits their (staff/City) 's convenience and needs and not considered the outcome.

We will take applications when we're ready, we'll issue them when we've gotten to them etc etc.

Here's how you do it!

First ask, when do restaurants want to be able to put their patios out by? I'll go for May 1st. What do they need to do to make that happen? Well, order the relevant furniture and barricades. How long does that take? Allow 4 weeks, so they have to have their permits in hand no later than March 31st, to have the set-up done by May 1st. Allow extra time for everyone involved. Permits should be in the hands of everyone who applied by February 28th for the coming year, now set the intake date for the applications and budget the required staff so you can hit that target.
 
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Yup.

Keenan's right.

To be clear, the program isn't literally being killed, but the fees, process and delays are too much and the number of patios will be well off this year, probably by 1/2.

Some fee is fair for using the public right-of-way, to make money.

Though the fee is likely a bit too high, a bit too soon.

But the process needs to be simpler, easier and faster and staff need to be told to turn everything they've done on its head.

By which I mean, they've designed a process that fits their (staff/City) 's convenience and needs and not considered the outcome.

We will take applications when we're ready, we'll issue them when we've gotten to them etc etc.

Here's how you do it!

First ask, when do restaurants want to be able to put their patios out by? I'll go for May 1st. What do they need to do to make that happen? Well order the relevant furniture and barricades. How long does that take? Allow 4 weeks, so they have to have their permits in hand no later than March 31st, to have the set-up done by May 1st. Allow extra time for everyone involved. Permits should be in the hands of everyone who applied by February 28th for the coming year, now set the intake date for the applications and budget the required staff so you can hit that target.
I reached out to one of my favourite local bars to ask if they would have a CafeTO street patio again this summer (they did the past 2 years) and they responded saying unfortunately not, with the reason being that "the city isn't serious about supporting small local businesses" - I'm guessing the costs are prohibitive now?
 
I reached out to one of my favourite local bars to ask if they would have a CafeTO street patio again this summer (they did the past 2 years) and they responded saying unfortunately not, with the reason being that "the city isn't serious about supporting small local businesses" - I'm guessing the costs are prohibitive now?

I don't think the revised fees are terrible; but the initial proposal was excessive. Many businesses may have opted out after the first look at the fees before Council revised them down.

Either way, certain folks at the City, by intent or by apathy have made the process more arduous and painstaking than it needs to be.
 
It's like the ridiculous street food cart (a la cart program) during Miller's time.

AoD

Its not quite as bad (for that one, the Board of Health wanted to approve the menu for goodness sake!)

But it suffers from the same attitude in program design. How can we at the City empire-build and generate revenue and staff for our business unit; instead of how can we serve the citizen better!
 
I think the May long weekend is sort of the unofficial kick-off of patio season, and it is offensive not to be in a position where places can open their patios by then. It's not that hard, and we've done it for three years now.
This is what I don't understand, because it's not a moving target. Why is the city not capable of setting up the patios in early May in advance of this date??
 
This on CafeTO coming to Council next week:

MM7.16 - Improving CaféTO - by Councillor Paula Fletcher, seconded by Councillor Alejandra Bravo​

Notice of Motion
Consideration Type: ACTIONWards: All
Attention
* Notice of this Motion has been given.
* This Motion is subject to referral to the Executive Committee. A two-thirds vote is required to waive referral.

Recommendations​

Councillor Paula Fletcher, seconded by Councillor Alejandra Bravo, recommends that:

1. City Council direct the City Manager to review the CaféTO program by the end of 2023 and to report to the Executive Committee with:

a. improvements to ensure that the permits are issued well in advance of the expected installation date;

b. improved communication strategies to businesses and Business Improvement Areas;

c. any other improvements incorporating feedback received from stakeholders;

d. consideration of whether any 2023 fees should be refunded or the 2024 fee schedule modified; and

e. what additional financial assistance could be provided to participating restaurants for capital costs associated with installing the patios.

Summary​

CaféTO is one of the signature programs of the City. Its success is crucial to supporting small businesses and creating a vibrant streetscape, especially crucial as businesses continue to recover from the pandemic.

After issues were identified by local businesses in May, I was pleased to see that staff elected to install all CaféTO locations that had been technically approved while the permits are still being reviewed.

This is a temporary fix and I am hoping that a more thorough review of the program will ensure its smooth operation going forward.

I know City Council is committed to making CaféTO wor
 
Sometimes things work properly - really!

About 10 days ago i used the 311 Forms to e-report a smallish dead tree at my front door.

On Monday, someone came to inspect and sprayed the Orange Dot of Death.

Today the crew came and cut it down.


Of course it would probably be cheaper if these folk were proactive and marked and cut trees as they see them while driving around but this was pretty fast service. (Of course, no new tree yet but I assume it might be fall 2023 or spring 2024.
 
A good read on libraries and their modern role and the current major challenges they face with a Toronto focus, though it covers other cities as well all facing the same core issues.


Summary:
Librarians have been seconded by municipal governments to be social service workers but without any agency to act as such, no training on such a job, and near zero extra funding to do so.
With some careful redeployment of staff and services this change was effective and tenable for a brief period of time a decade ago, but now the demands and challenges of this new role, including physical violence, have moved beyond the capabilities of staff to handle and they are at a breaking point.
Libraries are stuck between the idea of being a "true public space" and maintaining a space that is safe for their own staff to work, and there is no easy solution to balance these competing demands.
 
Not quite sure what this means but ...

Please note, TOMaps (opens in new window) will be decommissioned and replaced with a new Toronto Maps application starting June 20, 2023.

Browse a wide selection of maps below. For additional geographic data, visit Open Data. Some digital and published maps are also available for purchase.

It means TOMaps is replaced by this:


Much more sophisticated tool.
 

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