Night Economy Review – final report

Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Attention: Nancy Martins

Dear Chair Gord Perks and Members of the Planning and Development Committee,

FoNTRA’s members are 35 Residents Associations with the area bounded by Bloor, Bathurst, Sheppard and the Don Valley Parkway.

Most of the members of our member resident associations, like members of other RAs across the City, have little experience with the current Noise Bylaw, little knowledge of the City’s zoning, no knowledge of the City’s night economy objectives, and no direct experience with the issues caused by current night economy type establishments, which do not operate over night.

What we have heard to date

Some residents participated in initial discussions about general ideas for changes to regulations for bars, restaurants and entertainments venues including permitting night clubs etc. in areas of the City beyond the Downtown. The main message we heard from residents from the affected areas that the entertainment establishments were extremely noisy and disruptive, and that their patrons on the street, were noisy too. And that making complaints often did not result in successful outcomes. The changes to the regulations now being presented in the staff report were not discussed in any detail at these consultations. We note that 73% of noise related complaints received by the City were about noise from bars, restaurants and entertainment establishments. Further, the Toronto Medical Officer of Health has expressed her concerns about the health impacts of high levels of noise. We need a much different and stronger system to address these issues.

We need an integrated and comprehensive public review process to consider the 3 interrelated reports that are to be considered by different Committees

The MLS report at the Tuesday ECDC meeting makes many detailed recommendations which are for information only, and there is no information as to its next steps. The Planning report is at the Thursday PHC meeting with recommendations for adoption. The Noise Bylaw Report will not be on an agenda until January.

There is only a week to reach residents across the City and for them to submit their comments. Each report is complex. We need more time to review each report but also to understand how the three will work together to provide effective program that works for the night economy industry and for the residents of the City.

The EC8.13 MLS report recommends that its proposals not to come into effect until 2025.  So there is time for further public consultation and consideration on all three reports together to help ensure that the Night Entertainment initiative will work well for residents as well as businesses. Other municipalities have been successful. Vancouver’s restaurant, bar and entertainment review: states “Recommendations that achieve a workable balance between two important goals: increased opportunity for live entertainment and neighbourliness. Toronto’s objective needs to emulate that of Vancouver.

Therefore, FONTRA on behalf of its 35 Resident Associations and their members recommends:

  1. That consideration of PH8.2 Recommended Amendments to Zoning By-laws for Bars, Restaurants and Entertainment Venues as part of the Night Economy Review – Final Report be deferred to provide for further public consultation in conjunction with the recommendations along with EC8.13 Recommended Amendments to Chapter 545 Licensing for Bars, Restaurants and Entertainment Venues as part of the Night Economy Review and the consideration of relevant aspects of the Noise Bylaw Review.
  2. That City Planning and MLS undertake a joint public consultation process and undertake other measures to provide information and receive public input to the proposals in this report and EC8.13 and submit amended reports following the consultations, and that the scheduling of the Noise Bylaw Review Report be adjusted to consider the results of the consultations.  

Yours truly,

Geoff Kettel
Co-Chair, FoNTRA

Cathie Macdonald
Co-Chair, FoNTRA

CC: Gregg Lintern, Chief Planner, Executive Director, City Planning Division,
Carlton Grant, Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards Division

Photo: Ryan, via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED