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Council Bulletin: Bixi to Expand, and New Affordable Housing Units

Some of the key policy items councillors debated today, as the mayoral crisis continued.

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Today Rob Ford made the cover of the Wall Street Journal, admitted he may have driven drunk while mayor, threatened to sue his former staffers, got a TV show on Sun News Network, launched millions of conversations about oral sex, trampled the media, and was told by his cherished Toronto Argos don’t want to have anything to do with him. It was a normal day.

Since it was a normal day, council did a lot of other business while the mayor was doing his thing.

The details are still confidential, but council passed a plan to support BIXI that was championed by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale). It appears as though the plan involves using section 37 funds (these are negotiated with developers to invest in local infrastructure) to expand the program to make it more viable.

Council approved 71 affordable rental units for the waterfront, which the mayor vociferously opposed. He argued that current community housing tenants should have their units repaired first, that prime real estate like the waterfront is unsuitable for this housing, and no one does more on community housing issues than him. Councillors pointed out that this wasn’t a TCHC project, that 20 per cent of waterfront housing is mandated to be affordable, and that he really knew nothing about the issue. The mayor was one of two votes against the motion, the other being his brother.

Council also unanimously adopted the integrity commissioner report, finding that the mayor again violated council’s code of conduct. The report outlined how how the mayor used City property (official letterhead) to solicit private donations. This may sound familiar, from the other time he did exactly the same thing and, through a series of events, almost wound up losing his job. Well this incident happened after all of that, which is normal in its own way too.


  • brianyyz

    Expand, how about making the existing system workable. Removing stations from existing areas to new to scrounge subscriptions only works so long. “Imminently Insolvent”

    I am all for bike sharing (I used Bixi for two years), but the degregation of service makes me wonder why we continue to sink money in this particular dubious enterprise.

    • OgtheDim

      The service requires either an economy of scale or a ubiquitousness in order to gain support.

      That won’t happen if it is maintained as a project for just the most core of the downtown core.

      • brianyyz

        I don’t disagree. My point is that they are not even meeting the basic test of ubiquitousness downtown. The lone Bixi station near me (Church / Shuter) is often empty of bikes. They have moved stations farther out to try to attract new memberships instead of investing in new stations.

        If there was a known lack of investment from the beginning (as is being mentioned), why was it agreed to? Why not make the proper commitment initially?

        I do wonder how many who are cheering the growth of Bixi actually used the system on a regular basis.

        • matthewfabb

          I’ve been using Bixi since shortly after it started in different areas of the city (I’m a freelancer, so where I work changes every few months). I absolutely love it as a way to get downtown, despite the fact that it could use some improvements.

          My understanding is that expansion means taking money from another program to increase the number of stations and bikes. By how many of each still seems to be up in the air.

          • brianyyz

            My challenge is that I used it in a pretty set core (up and down Church St and over to Cabbagetown)

            I have moved to Car2Go. Not as good for me, but actually works on a regular basis.

            If they get Bixi back to 1/2 of where it was a year after it first started, I am willing to use it. Until then, I am not selling it as an option to anyone.

    • Paul Kishimoto

      Suppose we paid to add a lane to a road, in order to reduce congestion. Would that be “sinking money”?