Well-considered plans for transit, city services delivery and the waterfront are being consigned to the bonfires of the Ford brothers.
Why the re-think? What’s the real reason?
Is it as Mayor Ford stated during the election campaign, a concern for the taxpayers’ dollar, and to end the still-to-be found gravy train?
Or is this a very expensive expression of the vanities of the Ford brothers? A vanity that has arisen on the part of Mayor Ford from a 10-year career of unsuccessful opposition to all the initiatives that he is now prepared to sweep away.
What is important to us is how we in the community of Beaches-East York and the rest of the city are impacted.
One example: do you know that the important drinking water service upgrades to replace the substandard water service of corroded lead or galvanized metal pipe has been significantly slowed down?
Tap water in your home was tested by the city to determine whether or not the water service contains high lead levels above the acceptable water quality standard of 10 parts per billion of lead (the standard set by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment).
Prior to the election, many streets in our community were receiving this upgrade.
Today, one would be hard-pressed to find the work continuing. Residents should consider calling the city to find out if their home requires the replacement program and when it will be done.
Why did Mayor Ford reject the well-planned and fully funded city-wide Transit City network which was all ready underway?
How many millions of dollars were lost with this termination and re-jigging? To be replaced by one single fanciful and very expensive underground Eglinton LRT. It has consumed all the funding intended to create a comprehensive transit network against the expert advice of professional transit planners.
Are we paying this price to satisfy the Fords’ belief that advocates of mass surface transportation are “anti-car”?
Now, the Waterfront Revitalization plan, which has been fully vetted by the local communities affected and approved by the three levels of government has now fallen prey to the interventions of the Fords.
The Fords are considering a Las Vegas-type amusement park, hotel and super mall complex all connected by a ‘Memories of Disneyland’ monorail; all dreamed-up in purportedly secret, back room meetings with unknown private financiers outside of the council and public view.
This month, many city services and programs are being considered for potential cuts or termination.
I would encourage readers to access the City of Toronto website, at www.toronto.ca and go to the Executive Committee Agendas for July and September to review the various suggested cuts.
City council will be making critical decisions this month.
The budget setting should be a rational, deeply considered process, free of ideological considerations and demagogy. Few may realize that the $286-million operating surplus left by the last council made last year’s tax freeze possible.
This year, there will be a tax increase and there will be cuts, contrary to the election promises of Rob Ford.
However, the cuts must be balanced and should not be exclusively visited upon those things that the Fords do not embrace, like the world renowned Toronto Public Library service or the community grants which help make our community more humane and livable.
The budget should be about meeting the real needs of the city, not the vanities and prejudices of the mayor and his brother.
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