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What’s On City Council’s Agenda: May

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

City council is meeting today (May 8 ) and tomorrow (May 9). 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:

Learn about the status of Woodbine Live.

Woodbine Live is a retail, entertainment, and gambling complex that’s supposed to be coming to a plot of land in North Etobicoke. During the 2010 mayoral campaign, Rob Ford notably took credit for bringing the place into existence, as evidence that he could bargain with the private sector. But even though The Cordish Companies—a Baltimore-based developer that’s spearheading the project—at one point expected to break ground in 2010, there has been no progress on the project to date. Now the whole deal is on the brink of falling apart. Councillor Janet Davis (Ward 31, Beaches-East York) has ordered the city manager to provide some answers on the status of the project, and during this week’s meeting, as a formality, councillors will decide whether or not to receive those answers.

Move ahead with turning the Rouge Valley into a national park.

Last year, the federal government announced its intention to designate the Rouge Valley, part of which is in Scarborough, as Canada’s first urban national park. There’s a process that needs to be completed before that can happen, and council will decide whether or not to take the next step, which involves formally signaling Toronto’s intention to cooperate with the feds and the neighbourhing municipalities on this.

Start producing a municipal-affairs TV show.

The City has been experimenting with producing its own podcasts, in part because Councillor Paul Ainslie (Ward 43, Scarborough East) has made them a personal mission. Now, staff are proposing yet another City-run press organ: a 30-minute TV show produced in partnership with Rogers, which already broadcasts city council meetings. Council will decide whether or not it’s necessary for the City to do this dumb thing that nobody will even watch. (It had to be said.)

Get together with other local governments and work out a regional transit funding strategy for the GTA.

Metrolinx, the regional transit agency that’s run by the province, has a $50 billion plan for helping GTA residents get around efficiently, but at last count it was still about 80 per cent unfunded. Should Toronto and surrounding municipalities institute a regional sales tax or some other kind of revenue-generating measure in order to fill that funding gap? If this member motion from Josh Matlow (Ward 22, St. Paul’s) and TTC Chair Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence) gets the two-thirds vote it needs in order to make the floor, council will decide whether to try to convene a working group of officials from different local jurisdictions to think about the issue.

Give new food trucks a break.

If you want to start a food truck in Toronto, there is an awful lot of red tape you need to wade through before you can even think about serving your first burrito or smoked-meat sandwich. If this member motion by Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) and Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) gets the two-thirds vote it needs in order to make the floor, council will decide whether to order up a report on one aspect of the problem: the fact that food trucks aren’t allowed to do business from privately owned parking lots for more than ten minutes at a stretch.

Ask to be exempted from jury duty.

This member motion by Adam Vaughan and Michael Thompson (Ward 37, Scarborough Centre) is an attempt to get council members to request, formally, that they be exempted from jury duty. Vaughan and Thompson are not allies (the former is staunchly left, and the latter is one of Mayor Rob Ford’s best buds on council), but on this the two men can evidently agree.

Ask the province to retain its firearms registry data.

Bill C-19, which requires the deletion of information in the now-defunct federal long-gun registry, received royal assent on April 5. If this member motion by Kristyn Wong-Tam and Adam Vaughan (they sure are busy this month) gets the two-thirds vote it needs in order to make the floor, council will decide whether to ask the province to preserve that data, at least in Ontario.

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