Your need-to-know guide to this week’s Council meeting.
City Council will convene today for a meeting sure to centre on the fate of the Bloor bike lanes. Also on the agenda? A strategy to grow the City’s child care facilities, a plan to space available for community groups, and prepping Toronto’s streets for electric cars. We’ve broken it all down for you here.
Up for Debate: Bike Lanes on Bloor
- The case for making the Bloor bike lanes permanent has come a long way in the last month, securing an endorsement from Mayor John Tory on the back of a staff report that hailed the pilot as a success. The public works committee voted 4-2 to endorse the report’s recommendation to keep the lanes—staff found that 85 per cent of cyclists now feel safer on Bloor, up from an abysmal 3 per cent before the pilot.
- Still, be sure to brace for plenty of throaty opposition from councillors insisting that the lanes are bad for business. Despite staff numbers suggesting the pilot has actually been a boon to local stores, merchants on the street are evenly split into for and against camps, which means you’ll be hearing a lot about the potentially dire effects of a lack of street parking.
- On the other side of the issue, pro-cycling councillors are likely to raise the importance of the lanes for fulfilling the City’s Vision Zero road safety plan. Between 2005 and 2016 a total of 539 cyclists have been killed or seriously injured on Toronto’s streets.
- With the TransformTO climate plan calling for an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the City needs to get a move on prepping its streets for electric vehicles, starting with this proposed 14-charging-station pilot program.
- Speaking of reducing emissions, the latest version of the Toronto Green Standard is here. The third edition addresses energy, solar, and storm water resiliency targets for the City’s buildings, with input from the fancy-new chief resilience officer.
- Details are out for the implementation of the council-approved Toronto Licensed Child Care Growth Strategy, which looks to expand the number of child care facilities for kids four years of age and under.
- A staff report is calling for the replacement of the City-Owned Space Provided at Below-Market Rent policy, which currently provides affordable public space to local not-for-profits. A new “Community Space Tenancy” policy is proposed, which adds clearer eligibility criteria to the existing policy, namely four categories for tenancy: legacy, community partner, incubator, and community hub.
- A staff report recommends that Council authorize the construction of a new community space in Thorncliffe Park, while calling for the development of Neighbourhood Action Plans for all wards and neighbourhoods.
- The province is set to invest $90 million over the next three years to help the City deal with homelessness.
- A report from the City clerk is asking for council authorization to partner with DawaNet to receive funding for a Muslim youth fellowship internship program, which would create 13 part-time positions in councillor offices.
- A motion from Ward 10, York Centre Councillor James Pasternak asks if the City has the ability to prohibit racist rallies on public property.
- A motion from Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina Councillor Joe Cressy is asking that funds be made available to Waterfront Toronto so that it can co-ordinate the design of two parks being constructed by the lake.