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Mayor John Tory's Toronto

Jonny5

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We're supposed to get one hell of a storm tomorrow,. We shall see how well those clogged drains hold up. I fully expect the Simcoe Street tunnel to completely flood as usual.
 

Northern Light

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Toronto's Resilience Strategy is out.

https://www.toronto.ca/ext/digital_comm/pdfs/resilience-office/toronto-resilience-strategy.pdf

This is a huge, over-arching document suggesting broad measures/priorities to address climate change/disaster mitigation (particularly flooding and rising temps.) as well as tackle poverty/equity issues on the side.

***

FWIW, I applaud the intentions of the report and I hope it leads to some meaningful achievements in short order.

That said, I worry that there are too many recommendations (insufficient focus); that too many recommendations seem to involve further study (not that study is bad, but we know most of the answers already, excessive study is a delay to needed fixes); finally I worry that too many recommendations are non-specific.

On the latter, simply suggesting investing in more TTC service or accelerating Vision Zero, or the Bike Plan or the Ravine Strategy is a whole lot of nothing.

Delivering on these takes 2 things at this point, money and political will.

I would have liked to see the strategy drill down further to those items for which support can be easily mustered.

Get the proverbial low-hanging fruit out of the way.

Follow that with a very limited set of clear-eyed priorities.

Perhaps this strategy will get us there............one can only hope.
 

Jonny5

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Ford government changes Toronto’s plan for Yonge and Eg, downtown
"Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark says he has rejected both plan amendments, and sent them back to the city with his own modifications.
“It’s my intention today to modify Official Plan Amendments 405 and 406 to send a number of modifications back to the city to really reflect our government’s priorities,” Clark said. He said the city’s plans do not allow for dense enough areas around Eglinton Station and downtown TTC stops, something he heard often during consultations conducted with industry. “We have to ensure that we have people living close to transit . . . people wanted us to intensify near major transit stations.”
Because of course we need tens of thousands more people living adjacent to Yonge line stations. Especially after it's extended to Richmond Hill. These two plans are totally compatible with each other! The industry would surely know best, right?
 

DSC

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Commodity:Construction Services, Construction Services
Description:The Iron Horse Sculpture and Lighting
BIDS ARE REQUESTED FOR: and installation of The Iron Horse Sculpture and Lighting on the Kay Yonge Beltline bridge within the City of Toronto.
Issue date:June 5, 2019
Closing date:June 20, 2019
at 12:00 Noon
Notes:Viewing Copy
189-2019 - Viewing Copy.pdf (3601 Kbytes) - Posted on 06/05/2019 02:33:46 PM
 

EagleEye

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Not just street sweepers but garbage collectors. In the last couple of years, I’ve noticed overflowing bins everywhere. I’m particularly attentive to this because I have a dog and am always looking for bins to throw out poop bags. Maybe it’s the combination of a rapidly increasing downtown population that is not only not being kept up with increased collection but in fact having a lowered budget for collectors.
I agree with you. I tend to take a photo of the overflowing bin and send a message to 311.
 

W. K. Lis

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From Spacing Toronto, at this link:

Embedding municipal government in the constitution


June 10, 2019 | By Dylan Reid

Premier Doug Ford’s sudden and arbitrary interference in the 2018 Toronto municipal election – and the preliminary court decision that allowed him to proceed with it – was a startling reminder of just how powerless Canada’s municipalities are in the face of their provincial governments.

That court case is currently being argued in full at the Court of Appeal of Ontario, and it seems like a good time to revisit the question of municipal government and the Canadian constitution, and what, if anything, could be done to strengthen the status of municipal government and local democracy.

It’s long been understood that Canadian cities are completely under provincial control, as specified in section 92(8) of the Constitution, written at Confederation in 1867: “In each Province the Legislature may exclusively make Laws in relation to … Municipal Institutions in the Province”. But the court case suggested that local governments do not even benefit from the most basic protections of the Canadian constitution, such as the right to vote (s.3 of the Charter of Rights).

As Toronto historian Jamie Bradburn revealed in a 2014 article on the history of municipal voting in Toronto, it wasn’t until 1972 that Torontonians benefitted from a truly universal franchise, where every citizen over 18 could vote regardless of property qualifications, even though the franchise had been universal at the provincial and federal levels for decades by then. If the preliminary court decision on Ford’s interference in the election holds up, it could conceivably mean that the province has the ability to re-impose property restrictions, or other restrictions, on who could vote in city elections.

It doesn’t stop there, however. As there is no constitutional right to municipal government, there is no legal reason why the province could not arbitrarily abolish elected municipal government, and instead impose a superintendent to run a city, or all cities, in the province. Or it could do away with city government wholesale and run cities through a ministry. It’s notable that some provinces have done that with school boards, and cities have no more constitutional standing than school boards do.

No-one has been overly worried that these scenarios would play out in the past because it seemed like they would be politically disastrous. But Ford’s electoral interference shows that these moves aren’t as unthinkable as one might imagine.

It’s fair to say, I think, that most Canadians expect and want to have an elected local level of government. In fact, it’s likely most Canadians assume it’s one of their democratic rights, and would be shocked to have it taken away or restricted.

Yet one can imagine a scenario where a provincial government vilifies a city council that it finds politically irritating – perhaps a council that is somewhat dysfunctional or corrupt, or perhaps just in a city that is not popular with the rest of the province – and then seizes control of it. A similar thing happened on the other side of the border, for example, where the state government of Michigan seized control of the City of Detroit’s finances in 2013.

So that raises the question, should the Constitution be updated so that the right to a local level of government – and the right to vote for a local government – are constitutionally protected?

A relatively straightforward solution would be to amend s.3 so that it applies to all elected governments in Canada. That would protect the right to a universal franchise in municipal elections, and perhaps protect municipal elections from arbitrary interference. Such a solution could even be done directly between Ontario (presumably with a different party in power) and the feds. However, it would not protect the actual existence of municipal governments, which could still theoretically be abolished.

There’s also a movement to establish Toronto as a “charter city”, possibly with rights and powers protected by a constitutional agreement directly between Ontario and the federal government. The city charter concept is derived from medieval Europe, where many cities acquired specific rights for themselves (both political and economic) in agreements with the monarch. In Canada, the idea is that Toronto could benefit from specific rights in a constitutional amendment directly between the federal and Ontario governments. While it would only require the agreement of those two governments, it could also be dissolved if those two governments decided they no longer wanted it. And it would not protect other local governments in Canada.

To really address the underlying issues would require a full constitutional amendment recognizing a right to a local level of government across Canada. Creating such a constitutional right would be a much more complicated process. I can think of a few questions would need to be addressed, and no doubt there are other questions I haven’t thought of.

First, do all Canadians actually enjoy an elected local level of government? I’m not even sure whether that’s the case. If not everyone has local government, that obviously makes creating a constitutional guarantee more complicated

There’s also the issue of First Nations governments, which have a different set of powers to municipal governments – they both have less power, in some ways, since they are constrained by the outdated Indian Act, but at the same time have a more significant role since they represent a First Nation rather than simply a local level of government. Their existence is often already protected by treaty. Would they be included in constitutional protection of local government? Would they even wish to be?

There’s also the issue of how much the powers of local government would be specified in the constitution. Any amendment would need to specify some powers, otherwise it would be little more than window-dressing.

Specifying areas of revenue that local governments had the right to might not be too difficult. It’s a well-established custom in Canada that all municipalities collect taxes based on the value of property owned in their jurisdiction (although that does not apply to First Nations). Also, all municipalities collect fees for services (such as garbage, water/sewage, and parking). The right to set and collect these taxes and fees could be embedded as part of a constitutional right to local government.

Is that even worth bothering with? The fact is, again, that provincial governments could remove these rights if they want. After all, under the government of Mike Harris in the 1990s, Ontario removed the right of school boards to set and collect their own property taxes for education, instead making it a provincial process. There’s nothing at the moment to stop a province doing that with municipal property taxes too.
...
Toronto, Montréal, and other major cities across Canada should become "city states", like Berlin. See link and link.
 

Videodrome

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Kevin Durant isn't the only guy with an injured achilles.
 

rbt

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Toronto, Montréal, and other major cities across Canada should become "city states", like Berlin. See link and link.
Toronto (GTA + supporting cities/commuter catchment) effectively is a city state which goes by the name of Ontario. In 30 years it'll start to look like NY state elections, where 80% of debate is spent on NY city issues.

Of course, there are wildly different ideas on how the city should be governed. The Miller/Ford split wouldn't disappear just because we take Ottawa and a few suburban/rural seats out of the Ontario election equation.
 
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W. K. Lis

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As long as the suburban councillors (and MPP's) who are very pro-automobile, nothing like this will happen, no matter what mayor we get...

Spain Wants to Ban Cars in Dozens of Cities, and the Public’s on Board

As Madrid bans cars in the city center, the national government plans to do the same in more than 100 other places. A new survey suggests broad support across the country.

From link.

As governments in many European nations get more aggressive about removing cars from their densest city centers, they often have to perform a balancing act. Touting the environmental and lifestyle benefits of car bans can quickly run up against opposition from a public that’s used to driving where it wants, even when the detractors don’t live in the affected cities.

That pattern makes it all the more notable that Spain is planning a sweeping ban to remove the vast majority of cars from city centers across the country—and that the move has broad support among the public.

According to a new poll released by IPSOS this week, 63 percent of respondents favored severely restricting car access in downtown areas. In the Northwestern region of Galicia, a favorable attitude toward such bans went as high as 78 percent.

That’s sure to be welcome news to Spain’s current government as it drafts a law on that matter. It’s an effort that could ban all but zero-emissions vehicles in the center of any town of over 50,000 residents by 2025, a ruling that would apply to 138 cities across the country. The first of those zones has in fact just arrived: On Friday, central Madrid became an ultra-low emissions zone, protected against pollution and congestion by the toughest restrictions on cars in place on a large scale in any major European city.

These restrictions will transform the way Madrileños get around their city, and will no doubt require some public readjustment. They are nonetheless popular, with 64 percent of people in the city supporting the move, on par with Catalonia’s 65 percent favorability of such restrictions. Galicia’s even higher rates could be boosted by the demonstrated success of pedestrianization in the city of Pontevedra.

Even on a continent becoming ever more conscious of pollution and global warming, the level of support is striking. In Norway, a country with an all-but peerless reputation for green leadership, a more modest 54 percent of Oslo residents were in favor of a central car ban, a level of support that, following a backlash, some polls allege has dropped to the point that 83 percent of residents are now against.


The greater level of support in Spain could be partly down to the layout of the country’s cities, which are not just dense, but hyper-dense. Across Europe, only Paris matches the heavy concentrations of residents found on Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia (all traceable in this remarkable map).

One single square kilometer at the heart of Madrid’s new car-free zone is home to almost 45,000 people, almost three times as many residents as in the most densely populated square kilometer of Oslo. Spanish suburbs, meanwhile, are often denser than many North American downtowns, with large numbers of people living in taller buildings and more likely to be exposed to road traffic. The issue of pollution in dense urban areas is thus a central one to a large section of the population. It may not be a coincidence that the only major European city to have something similar to Madrid’s ultra-low emissions zone is Paris, the only other European metropolis to match Spain’s urban densities. And while Paris’s restrictions on more heavily polluting vehicles have come to be accepted as normal, its restrictions on car access to some central streets has proved extremely contentious.
Spanish attitudes to car policies also seem to be very closely tied to political affiliation. The levels of support for car-calming measures among the left and center-left political parties are such that it’s possible that support for one has come to mean support for the other. According to the survey’s results from Madrid, 93 percent of supporters of Podemos, Spain’s main left party, and 88 percent of the center-left Socialist Party, currently heading the government, support city-center car bans. That level drops to 48 percent for supporters of center-right liberals Ciudadanos, and down further to 42 percent for supporters of the right wing Popular Party, suggesting that even to the right of the political spectrum, support is still substantial without reaching a majority.

There’s another key reason the Spanish are more amenable to the thought of squeezing cars out of cities. The idea of introducing such policies has been part of the public conversation for years. With Madrid’s first such car-restricted zone, which starts today, a 1.8-square-mile (472 hectares) ultra-low emissions zone will transform the city’s transit network.

The new zone will ban through-traffic—currently estimated at over 58,000 vehicles a day—and severely restrict drivers’ access even for people whose ultimate destination lies within the zone’s borders. From Friday, all gas-fueled cars built before 2000 and all diesel vehicles from before 2006 will be banned from this area of inner Madrid. In 2020, this ban will be further tightened to restrict all gas cars from before 2006 and all diesel from before 2014. People with limited mobility will be exempted, as will residents within the zone, who will also be allowed to register up to 20 visitors a month. These strict limitations should do much to clean the city’s notoriously dirty air. It’s estimated that after the zone’s introduction NO2 levels in the area will drop by as much as 40 percent.
 

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