Toronto’s former chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat says staff have duty to report Scarborough subway costs before election
https://www.thestar.com/news/city_h...scarborough-subway-costs-before-election.htmlKeesmaat told CBC's Matt Galloway that the costs should be made public before the election if they're available. Mayor John Tory said the council process must be followed.
By JENNIFER PAGLIAROCity Hall Bureau
Wed., Feb. 7, 2018
Former chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat says city staff have a duty to report the updated cost of the Scarborough subway to the public before an election.
Keesmaat told CBC’s Matt Galloway Wednesday morning that if the updated costs for the billions-dollar project are available they should be reported.
“The question is, do they have a duty — if they have that number available — do they have a duty to release it as a way of informing the election and the decisionmaking,” she said. “My opinion is, absolutely.”
The Star earlier reported a TTC briefing document obtained through a freedom of information request reveals those updated costs will be available in September 2018 — at least a month before the Oct. 22 election. The current estimate for the subway, based on very little design work, is $3.35 billion.
Mayor John Tory tweeted his ongoing position that reporting the cost is a “staff-controlled process that was approved by council.” He said a staff report will include design, construction schedules and cost estimates.
According to the briefing document, a baseline scope, budget, schedule and known risks based on 30 per cent design and the corresponding cost estimate will be available in September 2018.
Previously, city staff had only said the costs would be ready in “late 2018” and would not clarify if that was before or after the election.
But because there is no council or committee meetings scheduled after July, staff have said they can’t report back until January 2019.
Council gave staff direction in March 2017 to report back to executive committee when the project reached 30 per cent design and an updated cost was ready. At that time, council would decide whether to move forward with construction.
Keesmaat said the last cost increase — the estimate ballooned by $1 billion in 2016 — caused her to wonder if there is a breaking point. She noted it’s unclear whether the cost will continue to climb, though it usually does with major infrastructure projects.
“There has to be a threshold, there has to be a moment where you say, wait a minute, the cost-benefit analysis no longer works,” Keesmaat said.
Agreed on Ford, that's a no-brainer, but only a few of us know of Keesmaat's extensive planning background, even pre-City, that's a point to appeal to "the elites". But Tory and Council sitting on a report that's damning...that's nuclear.Keesmaat has the tools to take down Tory, not just knowledge accrued from her role as City Planner but also because of her extensive planning background and understanding of how cities work.
The problem is the bloody nuisance that is Doug Ford.
Keesmaat has the tools to take down Tory, not just knowledge accrued from her role as City Planner but also because of her extensive planning background and understanding of how cities work.
If a Centrist declares, (which is quite likely now Ford has driven off), and even slightly Left (Matlow?), Keesmaat could be the engineer of the torpedo launcher.That may be true, but to win in politics you also need a solid campaign, name recognition and broad appeal across the city - not just the Bloor-Annex chattering class. While I'm definitely not counting her out anytime soon, unfortunately smarts alone does not win elections in this city.
(which is quite likely now Ford has driven off)
Agreed, but it's his to lose. He's not invulnerable, and with the press hanging off of anything Keesmaat can point them to (It was Pagliaro IIRC who filed for the FOI), things can go wrong fast for dear Johnny. I think he will crack on this report. He's going to have to, the question is whether it's from the hands of another contender of the press.Incumbency is a powerful thing in municipal politics. Tory was already favored to win based on that alone.
lol...that's like asking if the nightmares are finished...You don't think that he will go back to running for mayor if/when he fails to become PC leader?
He may have meant that!20222 is a long time from now.
Yup. She could end up endorsing Tory once Doug Ford comes back from the provincial race defeated, in exchange for Tory endorsing her in 2022.He may have meant that!
I actually believe Keesmaat at her word, she has no immediate intention to run, but she can flex her muscles, and should, to build her 'brand' in the public arena. She could absolutely be a 'king-maker' in the next mayoral election.
*IF* Tory 'toed the line' of being accountable and honest. Or if someone runs against him, being on their team. There's real irony in that she now has more power than when she was 'shackled' as Chief of Planning. And beside Pagliaro running FOI results past her for devastating comment, Keesmaat still has her 'eyes and ears' inside Planning.Yup. She could end up endorsing Tory once Doug Ford comes back from the provincial race defeated, in exchange for Tory endorsing her in 2022.
It would be a power-move for sure.