Council Update: November 2016

EX18.2 - Toronto Ward Boundary Review

Last year, Council hired a team of experts to examine and redefine our ward boundaries. Their mandate was to looking at the size and shape of Toronto's wards, and ensure each person in Toronto is fairly represented at City Council.  The consultants also took into account natural boundaries, keeping communities united, and growth patterns for the future, to ensure stability beyond the next few elections.  In their final report, they recommended a new set of boundaries that created 47 wards.

At council, there were some members who wished that Council stay at its current number of 44 wards.  While the consultants did create a set of boundaries that only had 44 wards, they explained to Council that this would not be the ideal solution, and does not take into account the direction from the communities they consulted.  In the end, I voted with the majority of Council to accept the consultant’s original proposal for 47 wards. This would mean a change in our boundary


EX19.1 - Transit Network Plan Update and Financial Strategy

Council voted to continue to support the transit stop additions along the GO Rail lines, which is the current version of the Mayor’s SmartTrack plan. The debate at Council primarily focused on two major issues, how the City will pay for SmartTrack, and what aspects of the overall long term transportation network will be built.

My primary problem with this current proposal is the lack of long-term financing and the possible revenue tools to pay for it. We must also know once built what will be the annual cost for the City for maintenance, and what will be the subsidy per ride. While it is agreed that Council has gone too long without investing in new transit, Council has yet to find a way to finance this project. As the Mayor puts forward a plan to cut 2.6% from the budget of every City department, the City must find way to ensure that transit can be built while protecting our City’s services.   City staff will present a report on financing options in a few weeks. I believe we will be in a better position to discuss this plan when all information is on the table, and we know what could be lost by supporting this plan without increasing taxes or user fees.

EX18.7 - Expo 2025: Feasibility Consideration

For the past four years, Councillor Wong-Tam and a large community of people have been working towards a bid for the 2025 World Exposition to be held here in Toronto. After an extensive planning process, City staff recommended that the Portlands be considered for such an event, all though a 2025 date would not give the necessary time for construction. While Council voted to not move forward with a bid for the 2025 event, we left the door open for a bid in 2030, should the timing work in our favour.