Your need-to-know guide to this week’s council meeting.
City Council is convening today for its first meeting of the new year. On the docket: a waterfront transit update, the future of Old City Hall and — of course — a motion about bitcoin. Read on for everything you need to know about 2018’s first meeting.
Transit, transit, transit
- The city has been working on unifying its waterfront transit for years. The latest update? Plans to extend light rail to Humber Bay Shores, and the possibility of improving travel from Union to Queens Quay.
- The future is here! Or at least, it’s well on its way, and the city needs to prepare for it. Hence an item asking that the transportation services general manager create an “automated vehicle tactical plan” so Toronto can be ready for a world of self-driving cars.
- An estimated 94 people died in the city last year as a result of issues tied to homelessness — a number that many advocates say is in fact probably much higher. In an effort to better understand the crisis, there’s this item on improving data collection and management of Toronto’s homeless population.
- January 29 marked the one-year anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting, where six Muslim men lost their lives. Councillor Neethan Shan is asking that the city, province and federal government declare the date a “Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia.” “As well as commemorating the six men whose lives ended in this tragic act of Islamophobic violence that shocked the nation, January 29 will represent an opportunity for Torontonians to reflect on the phenomenon of Islamophobia, and consider fellow Canadians for whom Islamophobia and Islamophobic violence are a daily reality,” reads the motion.
- People have been floating the idea of turning Old City Hall into a museum for years. Is the dream finally about to become a reality? We’ll soon find out.
- The hotel industry has been grumbling about the notion of a hotel tax for awhile now, but there’s still one on the table at this month’s meeting. Except pro-business councillors to denounce the idea, while others argue that the city needs new sources of revenue like this one.
- Journalists and data-nerds alike have long complained about the state of the city’s publically available data. Will they finally be appeased with this open data master plan?
- And last but certainly not least, @norm has arrived to talk about — what else? — bitcoin. More specifically, the infamous councillor and tshirt-purveyor has put forward a motion asking staff to review the feasibility of allowing the use of cryptocurrency to pay for taxes.