Come September, Torontonians will see a different kind of city council. An election is coming in a year’s time, which means that politicians now have to cater to both the city’s interests and that of potential voters.
Transit and city building (and property taxes) will be big ticket items during this election — as they always are. However, I worry about the progress Toronto has made in terms of transforming the downtown core into walkable, liveable city. With Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto’s Chief City Planner, resigning at the end of this month, one can only hope the many projects she has kickstarted over the last five years will continue to move forward, without becoming the target of political bias.
The Relief Line and the North Yonge Subway Extension were both approved at the last city council meeting prior to the summer break. Experts and city staff have all indicated the necessity of the relief line, especially considering the other projects that will funnel commuters towards Line 1. With that in mind, one can only hope the Relief Line will be immune to the upcoming election.
The Scarborough Subway, on the other hand, is bound to be a contentious election issue, despite the fact that it has been argued to death at city hall. At this point, as with all the transit projects part of the larger Transit Network, councillors should just bite the bullet and get building. It’s been discussed enough.
Mayor John Tory has worked hard to secure funding for the Relief Line and SmartTrack. City Council has finally come together, realizing that in order for Toronto to meet it’s fullest potential, it needs to build transit and work towards making its streets pedestrian and cyclist friendly. They came together on tolls to pay for this infrastructure — despite the province not allowing it — and
Let’s make sure that all this progress isn’t undone in a year! Let’s keep the election separate from what happens without city hall so that these important projects can move forward.