The Cheat Sheet: July 16 City Council

I make no claim as to what will make headlines, but these are the interesting items I found. You can check out the full agenda here. Did I miss anything important? Let me know.

The big-ticket item will probably be a new motion to cancel previous plans to replace the SRT with light rail and instead build three subway stops, which won’t go as far, will serve a smaller geographical area and less people, cost about a billion dollars more, and run at a loss. But who’s counting? Since the province is apparently willing to indulge us…siiiigh

Money stuff

  • The 2012 operating surplus is being shunted into capital and reserves. The whole process this year about deciding how the surplus gets spent has been deeply sketchy and inaccessible.

  • Apparently merging the fire department with EMS won’t be worth it. LEAN SIX SIGMA THO!!!

  • Billy Bishop Airport doesn’t want to pay its taxes and apparently when you’re an airport you can just get away with it. Must be nice.

  • The Fair Wage Policy is here. It’s meant to make sure that the people the City contracts out work to are paid fairly, but critics complain that a “fair wage” is hardly a living wage. The Powers That Be are of the opinion that if you wanted higher wages you should have gotten a better job.

Transit

Housing

  • A report on affordable housing opportunities concludes that “there is significant, ready-to-go capacity to develop new affordable rental and ownership homes”. The City’s goal is to create 1000 affordable rental and 200 affordable ownership units every year.

  • Federally funded co-ops are running out of money — by 2031, there will be no funding left at all. Cllr Nunziaa, of all people, has a motion urging the federal government to reinvest in social housing. This is of particular interest to me because I live in a federally funded co-op, and the money we get from CMHC ensures that we can offer subsidies to members in need.

  • Men’s shelter Seaton House is getting expanded and redeveloped.

Hipster issues

Expect lots of pointless bitching

Miscellaneous

  • There’s a couple of motions that would change the way we vote (and campaign): randomizing candidate names on ballots (to erase the alphabetical advantage), adding photos, shortening the deadline to file financial statements, and shortening the campaigning period, which is very long as campaigning periods go.

  • The new Recreation Service Plan, which has been making its way through Community Development & Recreation Committee, finally makes it to council. Community Recreation for All and the Toronto Youth Cabinet have been doing some really good work around this to keep community recreation accessible and affordable.

  • Cllr Glenn de Baeremaeker has a problem constituent who’s swamping the City with frivolous complaints.

  • Cllrs Mike Layton and Adam Vaughan went a little overboard in their criticisms of the City Manager’s casino report, but they apologized and so it’s all good. See what happens when you listen to the Integrity Commissioner, kids?

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