The Cheat Sheet: June 10 City Council

I am going through a bit of a Thing and almost considered skipping this month. I’m not, obviously, but please forgive me if this month’s preview is a bit lackluster. Anyway, without further ado, my picks from this month’s agenda.

Transportation

  • The key item will probably be the Gardiner East. The section of elevated expressway linking the Gardiner and DVP is crumbling (though shiprock was supposed to last till the end of the Whorl). Tearing it down and replacing it with a more pedestrian-friendly boulevard would cost $461M over its expected lifetime; maintaining it with modifications to the ramps would cost $919M. Naturally, the Mayor and his allies are opting for the latter because a suspiciously biased report claims that the removal option would add as much as 10 minutes onto the 5200 peak period users’ commutes. (That’s as many as five twos. And that’s terrible.)

    For more background, see Matt Elliott’s great FAQ.

    The Mayor probably can’t win this vote, but he may be able to get enough councillors to vote to postpone the decision. Kicking the Can Down the Road Until Infrastructure Literally Falls Apart Our Strength.

  • Could Toronto adopt its own version of Vision Zero, a strategy to eliminate traffic fatalities most recently adopted by Totally World Class City™ New York? Wait till they find out it might involve making people’s commutes longer.

  • Bike lanes coming to Finch Ave., Royal York Rd., Queens Quay and more.

Budget

  • The year-end operating and capital budget variance reports for 2014 are in. And I’m really, really sorry, but this is a lot of stuff to look over and right now I don’t have it in me. There is always interesting and important stuff hiding in these reports and if anyone wants to pass along stuff they found, please do, I need your help on this one.

Land Use

  • So what’s happening with all the TDSB’s surplus properties? Well, this one is going to be bought by the City and turned into a childcare centre.

  • The province is reviewing its affordable housing strategy, and Toronto would like to suggest (among other things) implementing inclusionary zoning, which would give the City power to mandate affordable housing in new developments. Related: Cllr Layton also suggests incorporating inclusionary zoning into the province’s Bill 73.

  • I am suspicious of this motion about development charges because 1) councillors would literally do anything other than raise money via taxes, 2) Cllr Di Ciano is terrible, and 3) Cllr Grimes is terrible and in the pocket of developers. If anyone has arguments to the contrary let me know.

  • So a while back the City sold off a patch of surplus land in Scarborough, and the residents, who had been using it as green space, were mad that they only found out three years later when the new owner put forward a development proposal. Cllr Beradinetti suggested changing the rules so the public would be notified in advance and informed that they could offer to buy the land themselves. Staff have concluded that it would be a terrible idea for many reasons—one being that councillors already have input throughout the process of declaring land “surplus” and selling it off. So really this is just a case of a councillor fucking up and trying to save face.

  • I think this Ellesmere planning study is about that thing that came up last term in Cllr Thompson’s ward—a church wanting to build on land zoned for a recycling facility? Or had it already built there? Someone jog my memory.

The Great Outdoors

  • Every winter there’s calls for better shelter services during extreme cold weather alerts. We can’t afford it this winter. Maybe next?

  • Class clown Cllr Mammoliti and good-natured City Lorax Cllr Doucette are teaming up to save a 250-year-old red oak tree.

  • Cllr Berardinetti, who despite her right-leaning tendencies has always had an environmental soft spot, wants the City to look into ways to create more habitat for bees and monarchs. Go check out a patch of milkweed and goldenrod sometime this summer; you’ll be amazed by the diversity of life they support. (Also if you find any Misumena vatia hit me up, I really want to see one)

Human Resources

Dickery

  • The Community Development & Recreation Committee wants to know how many undocumented immigrants the TPSB has snitched out to the feds.

  • SHIT’S GOING DOWN.

    Context: Cllr Minnan-Wong regularly antagonizes Cllr Wong-Tam by going behind her back and having meetings in her ward (which is next to his I can’t geography). This is her taking the high road. The low road would be covertly organizing a townhall meeting in his ward and inviting everyone but him so he looks like a jerk/massively uncool by not showing up, then having a candidate use it against him in the next municipal election. Then having your dog shit on his lawn.

Miscellaneous

  • Scadding Court Community Centre, known for its shipping container market, takes another step towards becoming a totally self-sufficient community with the addition of an aquaponic farm. Leafy plants will purify the water for fish, whose waste in turn provides nutrients for the plants. When the zombie apocalypse hits, I’m going there.

  • I’m still curious about this confidential matter. Is the City deploying black ice to fight mirrorshades-wearing console cowboys trying to break in from Tokyo?

  • The City’s new funding model for childcare providers will provide larger grants to full-time programs and programs for infants, among other changes.


Any additions, corrections, etc.? Leave a comment or drop me a line, and I’ll see you on Wednesday.

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