“This is a triumph for the public… This is a Toronto moment, a Jane Jacobs moment.”
—Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth), on the “consensus” that has emerged on city council that Mayor Rob Ford’s proposal to drastically overhaul plans for the Port Lands are wrongheaded, and cannot be approved. TheToronto Star is reporting that a team of councillors—some Ford allies, and some from the opposition—are working tonight to finalize the details of a drastically downgraded motion for city council to debate tomorrow. Instead of wresting control of the Port Lands from Waterfront Toronto (the agency set up by all three levels of government to manage waterfront development) and building a large-scale tourist attraction and monorail there, this new motion will apparently simply urge WT to accelerate the pace of development and consider input from a City agency also operating in the area. It is a tremendous defeat for the Fords—though they are still in their first year, it will be counted as one of the most significant in their administration. It also comes immediately after two polls showing dropping support for the mayor, and after his hand-picked Executive Committee pulled back on several severe budget cut proposals. In short: Ford has exercized almost complete control over city council votes since being elected to the mayor’s chair last October; that pattern has now been shattered.
Background: The letter from nearly 150 urban thinkers that crystallized opposition to Rob Ford’s plan for the Port Lands, in conjunction with a mass public show of outrage.