Local vote key to saving services

Leaf collection too important to lose says Gloria Lindsay Luby

Gloria Lindsay Luby says mechanical leaf collection was her bargaining chip in a sweeping motion to stave off the most controversial service cuts in this year’s budget.

The Etobicoke Centre rep said she was expecting fellow west-end councillors Doug Holyday and Peter Milczyn to take mechanical leaf collection off the chopping block during an executive committee days before the 2012 budget went to council.

“It was very clear there was no movement afoot to put it in,” Lindsay Luby said.

A day after council ratified the 2012 budget, Lindsay Luby said though there were other services she was looking to save, the preservation of mechanical leaf collection ultimately swayed her vote on councillor Josh Colle’s crucial motion.

“I would have had to give it a lot of thought,” she said when asked if she would have supported motion without mechanical leaf collection, which is provided in various parts of Etobicoke and Bloor West and costs the city about $510,000 a year.

Colle’s coalition motion to use $15 million of surplus money to prevent a variety of service cuts was approved by a tight 23-21 vote, pitting centrist and left-leaning councillors against the mayor’s right-leaning allies, who were looking to slash services and avoid dipping into the $154-million operating surplus.

Lindsay Luby’s support for the motion was seen as coming from left field, as the Ward 4 rep is generally considered a right-leaning voter on council.

Despite her concern for that particular service, Lindsay Luby said she was pleased to avoid severe library cuts and pool closures, plus other programming constituents asked her to preserve.

“It was incredible. People I’ve never heard from before in the ward suddenly came out — that’s what I call the silent majority,” she said. “It was suggested it was just union (backed), I think it was beyond that, I think it was probably many people who said ‘leave our city intact.’ ”

The card-carrying Conservative said she believes in the value of a dollar, but said such widespread cuts would have hindered Torontonians’ quality of life.

About this article:

By: Karolyn Coorsh
Posted: Feb 1 2012 12:52 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto