The Cheat Sheet: May 5 City Council

Just in time for my 30th birthday, I’m getting the best present ever: a City Council meeting! This month’s agenda is jam-packed with important items, so fix yourself a drink while you read this. Up for discussion: funding the Scarborough subway, diversity on the TTC board, a new City Manager, the social housing waitlist, (not) fixing basement flooding, and more.

Subways, Subways, Subways


New parking signage?

Civil Service



  • Does Toronto have what it takes to become a low-carbon city? Transformation Toronto 2050 is a new plan that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% (compared to 1990) by 2020, and 80% by 2050.

  • Cllr Paul Ainslie introduced this motion to ban microbeads. The tiny plastic beads, used in facial scrubs, are wreaking havoc on Great Lakes ecosystems.

  • Cllr Gord “Killjoy” Perks is concerned that the sale of beer and wine in grocery stores will end up impacting Toronto’s recycling system. You can read more of his thoughts on the matter here. (Also, this was very close to being filed under “Hipster Issues”.)

  • Cllr Mike Layton is proposing an Environmental Bill of Rights for Toronto, including the right to clean air and water, the right to know about local pollution and contamination, and more.

  • Why is the good stuff always hidden in the most boring-looking motions? Check out the detailed list of accelerated and deferred projects from Toronto Water’s capital budget. Notice how all the basement flooding and Wet Weather Flow Master Plan projects are in Deferred? Cllr Janet Davis can’t be happy about that.

  • Related to previous item: This is why you can’t pave over your whole fucking lawn.

  • Tree of the Month: this 250-year-old oak tree in North York.

Kids These Days

  • When we talk about what the City can do to encourage job creation, it’s rarely mentioned that the City is an employer! A new report on youth unemployment details how the City can do better at hiring and training youth itself. It also includes some interesting statistics—for example, youth make up 24% of Toronto’s Ontario Works caseload, and more than a third of them have been on OW for three years or more. It’s hard out there, guys.

  • Get a look at what’s ahead for City childcare services with the 2015-2019 Service Plan. The meat’s in sections C and D. Have a depressing chart:

How much it would cost to provide childcare at different levels, from maintainin the status quo to subsidizing 30% of spaces.
How much it would cost to provide childcare at different levels, from maintainin the status quo to subsidizing 30% of spaces.

Hipster Issues

Nerd Shit

  • The revamped budget process incorporates service level reviews, information about user fee increases, public deputations held at all Civic Centres (done for the first time last year), and more. For knowledgeable commentary, I’ll just cut out the middleman and send you to Cllrs Shelley Carroll and Gord Perks directly.

  • The City will pilot recording Committee of Adjustment meetings at North York Civic Centre and City Hall. (They don’t have the money to add an AV setup to York Civic Centre.)

  • Data nerds rejoice! The information in the quarterly Social Development Dashboard, which tracks local socioeconomic trends, will be made available in a more user-friendly format as part of the City’s Open Data Initiative. The Community Development and Recreation Committee also wants the long-form census back; the most recent reliable data we have is now 9 years out of date.

  • How come we always see headlines about how such-and-such public project is over budget, but never when they’re under budget?


  • There’s a new proposed site for the LGBTQ sports & recreation centre: Moss Park, where the John Innes Community Centre is currently.

  • Council wants Municipal Licensing & Standards to start working on a drone strategy. And I need Motherboard to start working on a story about it!

  • This month’s Strongly Worded Letter: Cllr Janet Davis objects to the government of Ontario privatizing Hydro One.

  • Could raccoon-proof fire lock boxes be on the way?

  • New street art coming to a neighbourhood near you? Check out the StART grant allocations.

  • Genocide!

  • rite more text

  • This month’s Random Item Rob Ford Always Holds For No Good Reason is “Left Turn Prohibition Review – 831 Progress Avenue”. I think Cllr Ford would be mad that the City can tell drivers whether or not they can turn left, and I predict he will take the opportunity to bloviate about it even though in this case the City recommends getting rid of the left-turn prohibition.

Did I miss anything? Leave a comment or drop me a line! And follow along on Tuesday for my livetweets.

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