Miguel Avila 1004 - 220 Oak Street Toronto Ontario M5A 2E2 June 06, 2012 Re: A Citizens Advisory Committee

For The Toronto Zoo

Dear Chair and Members of the Toronto ZOO Board of Management:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak again on the topic of forming a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for the Toronto Zoo. My Name is Miguel Avila, a proud Latino-Canadian, resident of Toronto and someone very concerned about the present and future management of the Toronto Zoo. Since the last deputation on this topic in May 2009, with my friend Larry Perlman, I have noticed the following improvements at the Toronto Zoo.

1. Greater transparency through the posting of Board (and subcommittee) agendas and minutes on websites of the City and Toronto Zoo.

2. Including the Toronto Zoo in Sun Life's Museum Access Program (MAP)

I believe the Toronto Zoo could go even further to better connect with its patrons, fans and Torontonians as a whole.

For example, I am a strong supporter of the establishment of the Rouge Valley National Park (as are some members of the Toronto Zoo Board). Hopefully this initiative will also allow for the Toronto Zoo to be included in its proposal to the Federal Government at some point. A, CAC for the Toronto Zoo would be a great forum for public input in support this initiative. The Rouge Valley will be conducting Public Meetings in the summer of 2012 for the record... Sadly Parks Canada has not yet included the Toronto Zoo as part of the Rouge Valley National Park for one single reason.... It's Facilities and Management requirement (structure) are entirely different than those of a national urban park. With such Management requirements that are not of the role of Parks Canada.

I dare to suggest that the inclusion of a Citizens Advisory Panel for the ZOO could potentially convince with tangible arguments Parks Canada and the rest of the Shareholders, that it is possible to incorporate the Toronto Zoo in the plans of the Rouge Valley National Park, Therefore now that the Zoo board is aware of the "requirements" set out by Parks Canada of those "Management Requirements" and ( the board) could better suit, to meet the needs of an Urban National Park. A bold suggestion: The overhaul of the current "Management Hierarchy" could allow the incorporation of Toronto Citizens in the Zoo's structure to meet the demands of such requirements and why not? In fact, I have spoken in support of establishing CAC’s for ALL Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCs):

1. At a February 2010 meeting of the TTCI spoke in support of a CACfor the TTC 2. In my deputation to Toronto's Budget Committee of the City of Toronto in March 2010 I said: "Before I begin I would like to state that this year I am also on a mission to form a Citizen's Advisory Committee (CAC) for the Toronto Zoo, as I strongly believe that concerned Torontonians must have a voice in this important operation". 3. In the March 2010 meeting of Toronto Executive Committee I spoke in support of item “41.12” a motion to establish a CAC fort the TTC. The item was well-received by most committee members. 4. I will continue to do the above at other ABCs, as I feel it will benefit the City as a whole. Today is a good opportunity Mr. Ford to participate with my comments to 2012 06 06 City Council meeting agenda item AI 24.1 , therefore I am writing also in support for the following Citizens Committees that you Mr. Ford should incorporate to engage civic participation the following committees have been dormant or inactive due to a decision by council and should be reinstated:

The Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee. The City of Toronto French Committee. The Creative Cultural Advisory Committee. The Parks Conservancy Task Force. The Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization Community Advisory Group. The Toronto Pedestrian Committee. The Anti-Gridlock Task Force. The Access and Equity Committee. The Task Force to Bring Back the Don. and the Children's Services Advisory Committee.

In an article that appeared in the May 18 2010 edition of the Globe and Mail ("Putting a fresh face on Toronto's leadership"),we are seeing more public engagement in the business of the city, from the Toronto Police to the Toronto Zoo (knock on wood) . It is my hope that other similar articles in the future will help encourage people to join the CAC once this initiative takes hold. In order to "get the ball rolling" as-it-were, below is a suggested introduction for defining CACs in general: What is an Citizens Advisory Committe: Made up of a diverse cross-section of volunteers, a CAC would meet regularly, establish a forum for concerned residents to contribute suggestions and ideas, and allow the CAC to provide recommendations to better connect the ABC with the needs of the City. Why a Citizen Advisory Committee? There are two reasons for establishing a CAC: 1. To encourage civic engagement and participation in our political process, in this regards, Mr Paul Ainslie is championing to encourage CIVIC ENGAGEMENT as such the City Management Committee has approved all recommendations made last May 24, 2012, see the following link : http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2012.GM14.3 2. In order to help provide guidance on decisions made by ABCs, the CAC would use suasion and a "sober second thought" to improve processes and policies for the betterment of the ABC agency and City as a whole.

How would a CAC be formed: For each qualified ABC, a request would be made to the Toronto Civic Appointments Committee and volunteers chosen through a formal selection process (typically between five and nine members, depending on the size of the ABC). Technical advisors would be sought where needed, but would be considered non-voting members. The CAC would also be non-partisan and any connection between the CAC and ABC(such as cross membership for example) discouraged entirely.

Where and when would CACs meet: A CAC should meet as necessary but typically once per month at City Hall, or at the location of the ABC if outside City Hall. The location and frequency of meetings should encourage civic participation, and dates and times made available on the City's and ABC's website. Following Robert's rules and supported by the City Clerk's office, a CAC should also be structured to produce results. Decisions and minutes to each meeting should also be made available on the City's and ABC's website THE CITIZEN ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR THE TORONTO ZOO is Modeled on the successful High Park Community Advisory Council , here is a comment on a blog that is worth repeating: “While public participation in parks management would seem like common sense to most people, bureaucratic resistance at City Hall have all but killed previous attempts to promote similar programs”…

Thank You again for this opportunity. Sincerely yours, Miguel Avila Ward 28