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article imageHighlights from Toronto City Council July meetings

By KJ Mullins     Jul 19, 2011 in Politics
Toronto - The latest round of Toronto City Hall meetings have come to a close. The highlights from the July meetings focus on bike lanes, an underground tunnel to Billy Bishop Airport, graffiti and other issues important to residents in Toronto.
Bike Lanes
Bike lanes have been a hot topic in Toronto this summer. As of last week three bike lanes on Jarvis Street, Pharmacy Avenue and Birchmount Road will be painted over. A dedicated bike path will be put in place beginning with the Bloor viaduct. Design work will also begin for separated lanes on Sherbournes, Wellesley, Harbord and Beverley Streets.
The bike lanes on Jarvis Street will remain in place until the new ones are in place on Sherbourne Street. It is estimated that the process will take a year.
Graffiti art will make a more visible presence in Toronto in the future while management plans will eliminate graffiti vandalism. The city plans to work with stakeholders including youth, agencies and corporations such as Canada Post to come up with solutions in reducing graffiti vandalism. The city is also looking at ways to recover the cost of cleaning up graffiti marking the city's streets.
Pedestrian tunnel to the island airport
Using a water main and sanitary sewer lines already in place the Council authorized the City of Toronto to enter into an agreement with the Toronto Port Authority for the construction of a pedestrian tunnel between the Toronto mainland and the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Using the infrastructure already in place will greatly reduce the costs of the project.
Management of Lakeshore Lions Arena
It has been decided that the Council will take over operation of the Lakeshore Lions Arena. A new Lakeshore Arena Corporation will be set up to run the 400 Kipling Avenue venue. Once the financial affairs of the arena have been put into order Toronto will look for a private operator to take over the reins.
City services benefit card
A City services benefit card will be phased in for public business transactions within Toronto. The first phase of the project will deal with Ontario Works payments to residents.
Taxi fare payment by debit/credit card
It has been decided that taxi cabs that are equipped for debit payments display a sign on their passenger doors informing users about any service fees they may be charged.
Redevelopment of Lawrence Heights
The redevelopment of Lawrence Heights has trimmed off 700 units from the planned 4,800 new market rent/condominium units. Council wants to ensure that financing is in place for the infrastructure that is needed for the growing community.
Toronto Prosperity Initiative
Council is giving support to recommendations in the Toronto Prosperity Initiative: Establishing the Path the Growth report.
Consultation for parks plan
City Council has approved a consultation plan to prepare for a five-year Parks Plan. During the fall the public will be asked to give input on the final report that will guide decision making about Toronto's parkland.
Local food procurement
City Council has adopted a policy that will support an increase to the proportion of locally grown food used for City of Toronto operations. The cost, quality and availability of such purchases will be considered for purchases as to see if they are feasible.
Financing the TTC
The Council is urging Ontario to reinstate the 'fair share' funding arrangement for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). Prior to the late 1990's Ontario funded 50 percent of the TTC's operating costs and 75 percent of its capital expenditures. The TTC is currently facing budget shortfalls.
Appointment of two senior managers
Brenda Patterson, currently Toronto's general manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation, and John Livey, Markham's administrative officer, have been appointed as Toronto's deputy city managers.
More about City council, Toronto, Meetings, Bike lanes, Billy bishop airport
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