The Cheat Sheet: April 2017 City Council

If March’s fierce transit debate had you feeling “perced to the roote”, April’s City Council meeting agenda will provide a sweet shower of refreshing new items.

The Big Ticket

  • TCHC needs Council’s approval to shut down and demolish 134 townhouse units in North York. 108 families must be rehoused. This is just a fraction of the hundreds of units TCHC is closing every year because they are too dilapidated to live in and too deteriorated to be repaired. While this has been anticipated for years, Council has preferred to focus on keeping property taxes low and committing to billions in unnecessarily costly transportation infrastructure.

    The Mayor’s office is bound to point to items like refurbishing 389 Church St., formerly planned to be the Red Door Shelter’s new home, as evidence that they’re tackling the problem. But with the social housing waitlist currently at 177,502 people total, they’re not even keeping up.

  • This report on refugees and undocumented Torontonians brings up many issues. Two important areas: refugee claimants in the overcrowded shelter system, and the continued lack of clarity regarding the police’s role in a Sanctuary City.

This Is Important But I Can’t Bring Myself To Write About It Because No Governments Will Actually Fund This, Things Will Never Get Better, and We Should All Go Live In the Woods

Shelter and Housing

Accountability

This month there’s two Integrity Commissioner reports on councillor conduct!

  • The Integrity Commissioner finds that Josh Matlow broke the Code of Conduct by implying a high-ranking bureaucrat lied to Council during a transit debate—a serious accusation. On request, Matlow later apologized publicly, so no penalty is recommended.

  • Should Jon Burnside and John Campbell have known that “donations” and electronic billboards don’t mix? OK, let’s back up a bit. A sign company wanted to install a fancy new billboard outside a Leaside arena. In exchange, they offered to pay the arena board more rent, and the arena board was cool with it. However, the City’s sign bylaw didn’t allow it, so the sign company had to apply for a permit. Burnside (who is the local councillor and on the arena board) and Campbell (on the Planning and Growth Management Committee) helped get the sign company’s application approved.

    Did the offer of extra rent count as an improper “donation”, and did the councillors and arena board chair know it could have been improper? The Integrity Commissioner gives everyone a pass this time.

  • “Most contracts were consistently dominated by a small group of contractors over the past five years”: the Auditor General sounds the alarm on possible bid rigging.

  • In the wake of a 2015 fight between TTC special constables and passengers, the Ombudsman has released a lengthy report about Transit Enforcement Unit oversight. The TTC has already carried out some of the recommended changes, and has agreed to implement the rest as well.

  • I’m not opposed to more marathons in Toronto, but I do think Mary Fragedakis should have credited AP writer Bill Kole for the text of her motion. Yes, this is petty. No, I don’t care.

Development and Urban Planning

Environment

Well-Intentioned But Completely Non-Binding Asks of Other Governments

Things of the Month

Miscellaneous


Corrections? Additions? Suggestions? Thoughts about vape litter? Let me know in the comments. Seriously, I don’t even vape…I don’t know…

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