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politics

What’s On City Council’s Agenda: November, 2011

In which we highlight key items from the month’s city council meeting. You can also watch it live.

City council is meeting today (November 29) and tomorrow (November 30). Here are a few items from this month’s agenda that have been in the news, or should have been.

City council will weigh whether or not to:

Adopt some rules for selling naming rights

Ever since Rob Ford was elected mayor, there has been a lot of interest in selling naming rights to City property. Oddly, the City doesn’t have a comprehensive policy to govern that process. Council will decide whether or not to adopt one.

Sell off Enwave

Enwave is a for-profit corporation that provides heating and cooling to downtown buildings. It’s partly owned by the City. Because it’s a healthy, growing business, it’s likely to be attractive to investors. Council will decide whether to sell off the City’s share for a substantial (but not yet quantifiable) payday.

Ask the province for more childcare funding

There are 24,000 children in Toronto who receive subsidized childcare, but Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West), who chairs the mayor’s childcare task force, has been telling reporters that 2,000 of those spots could disappear if the province doesn’t cough up some extra funding for the program. This is thanks in part to the transition to full-day kindergarten, which City staff say will destabilize the daycare system and drive fees up. Council will decide whether to ask the province for money and regulatory changes to help keep things from falling apart.

Make senior bureaucrats publish their expenses online

City councillors have to publish their office expenses online. Now they’ll decide whether or not to ask senior City staff to do the same thing with their travel, training, and hospitality expenses.

Ask the province to remove Toronto from the OMB’s jurisdiction

City councillors say they don’t like the Ontario Municipal Board—the province’s development tribunal—because it overrides the wishes of communities. A formal proposal to ask the province to exempt Toronto from the OMB’s jurisdiction has been in the works since September. City council will take another crack at adopting it.

Build a bridge to Liberty Village

Liberty Village has lots of condos. One thing it doesn’t have: ways of getting in and out of Liberty Village. The whole neighbourhood is hemmed in by train tracks. Residents have been waiting for this pedestrian-and-cyclist bridge for years. Now, the environmental assessment is finally finished. City council will decide whether or not to proceed with designing the thing and finding money for it.

Stop using so many paid-duty police officers

The City has very strict rules concerning the use of paid-duty police officers at construction sites. The unfortunate thing about paid-duty officers—whose jobs are essentially to stand there and look important—is that you have to pay them. Sometimes, the City finds itself paying them to stand near its own projects. Council will decide whether or not to relax the policy a little, so fewer paid-duty officers are needed.

Look into separated bike lanes on Richmond Street (or maybe Adelaide)

Remember when Rob Ford and friends promised us a bunch of separated bike lanes (the first of which were supposed to have been installed by now, by the way)? We might be getting some on Richmond, or Adelaide, or both. But first, council has to decide whether or not to study the matter.

Ban “camping and dwelling” on Toronto streets

The City has drafted a new streets bylaw. It contains a weird a provision that seems to outlaw homelessness. City staff say it’s no big deal. Affordable-housing advocates say otherwise. Council will decide whether the provision stays.

Resurrect the Fort York Bridge

The Fort York Bridge was to all appearances scuttled during a surprise committee vote in May because it was just too damned expensive, but now it’s back! And cheaper! Council will decide whether to go ahead with one of several less expensive options. The project was originally supposed to be finished in time for the bicentennial of the War of 1812—a big deal for supporters of the Fort. That’s not happening now.

Find out what the deal is with those new info pillars

The City’s new information pillars are, for the most part, curiously info-free—at least for the time being. Janet Davis (Ward 31, Beaches-East York) has a member motion to ask staff to report on the overall relevance of the pillars to the City’s wayfinding strategy. Meanwhile Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) is tabling his own motion to have staff remove the pillars where they interfere with pedestrian and bike traffic. Both motions will need two-thirds votes to make the floor of council.

Support mandatory truck side guards, for the safety of cyclists

Cycling advocates say truck side guards could have saved the life of Jenna Morrison, the cyclist who died earlier this month. If this member motion gets the two-thirds vote it needs in order to make the floor, council will consider ways of throwing its weight behind the movement to require side guards on all large trucks.

Start the process of making backyard hens legal

If this member motion by Joe Mihevc (Ward 21, St. Paul’s) gets its two-thirds vote, council will decide whether or not to begin the process of legalizing backyard hens. Let the eggs flow.

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