I’m excited to release City Planning’s first ever Annual Report. This document provides a snapshot of our accomplishments in 2013 and lays out a framework for our priorities in the year ahead. My opening remarks can be found below and the full document can be viewed by clicking on the report cover image at the bottom of this article.
Our city is transforming before our eyes! Toronto is at a momentous point in its history, capping out a decade of rapid growth to become North America’s fourth largest city. Every year, thousands of new residents come to call Toronto home, their arrival a symbol of belief in the opportunity this great city provides.
Growth holds the potential for inspirational architecture, a spectacular waterfront, vibrant neighbourhoods, streets that are for people, and green spaces that knit our communities together. Growth also brings new challenges as communities contend with change, as our infrastructure creaks under the strain, and as we continue to negotiate our shared values. Using our Official Plan as our guide, the City Planning Division seeks to shape growth and manage change in a manner that enhances quality of life within all of Toronto’s diverse communities.
This Annual Report is the first of its kind within our Division, and represents a snapshot of how our actions in 2013 touched the lives of the people of Toronto. Where Torontonians work and live, how we move around, how we play – even the quality of the air we breathe – is directly impacted by the work we do in collaboration with our Divisional partners.
The need for an Annual Report was identified as a key action in our Strategic Plan as we continue to move the Division towards adopting a culture of best practices. Our objective is to outline our accomplishments in a transparent manner that makes clear the breadth of work delivered this past year, the value City Planning adds to the City of Toronto, and priorities for 2014.
This report captures the quality, professional service delivered by the City Planning team, our increasing operational efficiency, and our ability to manage and deliver the unprecedented volume of development experienced over the past five years. I am proud of our measurable impact on key quality of life indicators. For this reason, we have structured the Report to align with the key themes of our Official Plan.
In 2013, City Planning created and launched its first Strategic Plan, a five-year guiding document that operationalizes how we implement the Official Plan and serves as a foundation for achieving important cultural shifts within our organization. Feeling Congested?, the review of the Official Plan’s transportation policies, pioneered innovative consultation techniques and reached thousands of residents. We also completed a series of landmark projects in 2013, including the Tall Building Guidelines, the Harmonized Zoning By-Law, and many spectacular public art installations and civic improvements projects. Throughout the year our staff received 606 development applications, 3,162 committee of adjustment applications, held 384 non-statutory public meetings, and approved 16,174 residential units and 471,691 square metres of non-residential construction.
2014 brings opportunities to strengthen the completeness of our communities and to build on the growing momentum for mid-rise buildings along Toronto’s Avenues. The continued roll out of our Strategic Plan will ensure we remain connected to our vision, and become more effective and efficient as Division. Through Growing Conversations, a process launching this winter, we will engage communities by exploring innovative ways to broaden participation and to introduce planning to new audiences, such as youth and recent immigrant communities.
In closing, I must stress that the successes of the past year are an outcome of interdivisional collaborations, as well as of the many meetings, conversations, and working groups held with stakeholders and residents of this city. Thank you so much for your energy and inspiration!
Bring on 2014, and let’s continue to build a great city, TOgether.