Council Update: February 2015

IA3.1-3.5 – Administrative Inquires on the Scarborough Subway Extension and the Scarborough LRT

In January of this year, Councillor Josh Matlow submitted five Administrative Inquires to the City Clerk into the costs associated with the construction, operating, and maintenance of both the Scarborough LRT and the Scarborough Subway Extension, as well as potential ridership.  While the City Manager answered the inquiry with the current information available, Councillor Matlow requested three parts of his inquiry be sent to the Executive Committee for an additional input and clarification:

1)     the operating and capital maintenance costs for the Scarborough Subway Extension

2)     the discrepancy between the number of trains and projected ridership

3)     the City's inflated ridership projections for the Bloor-Danforth Subway Extension

I voted in favour of Councillor Matlow's requests as I agree with him that reviewing the full scope of the project, and the impact it will have on the City's budget should be a basic part of how Council considers public policy.  As the Scarborough Subway Expansion will be increasing our property-taxes annually for the next 29 years, I think it is imperative we have all the information available.  I am disappointed to share these motions lost by one vote.

OM3.1 - Suicide Prevention in Toronto (TTC Platform Edge Doors) 

As a member of the Board of Health, I have seen the debate first hand regarding the use platform edge doors at subway stations, and the impact they have on suicide prevention. On the Council floor, I was able to question TTC staff were we learned that installing platform edge doors would allow for more trains on the line, and an increased capacity of riders.  I voted with Council to have the TTC consider platform edge doors as the automatic train controls come into effect in the next ten years.  We also requested that new station construction include platform edge doors, or other means for restricting unauthorized access to the tracks.

MM3.12 – Request of the Province to amend its utilization assessments to consider TDSB schools as community hubs

I was happy to support a successful motion to ask that the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and provincial government reserve consideration of selling or closing any school properties that are used as community hubs, have the potential for significant growth, or are the only park lands in a neighbourhood.  It was also requested that each school is individually examined for any unique roles it plays before being closed or sold.  While the TDSB and Ontario Government look to schools as daytime educational facilities, they can play a much larger role in our community, whether it is for adult education, child care, or community events.  Schools also permit their playing fields, swimming pools and gymnasiums, filling a void in public recreation facilities.  When these buildings are sold they are gone forever, and can create for a devastating loss in the community.  Through this request the City is hoping to work with the TDSB and Ontario Government to ensure our community's public spaces are protected.