City Council meeting of December 16 and 17, 1998
Go-ahead for Destination Technodome complex
Council approved plans for a giant entertainment and sports complex that will begin to take shape next year on the site of the former Downsview airport north of Highway 401. Destination Technodome will employ thousands of workers during its 30 months of construction and about 3,600 full-time staff when fully operational. Council decided to reduce the size of the complex by 10 per cent from the developer's original proposal in order to address community concerns, and to specify various transportation-related requirements as part of the site plan.
City promoting increased use of island airport
Council endorsed a proposal to build a bridge linking Toronto Island Airport and the mainland. The decision is intended to encourage increased business at the airport. The bridge will replace the ferry service that has transported people to and from the downtown airport for most of this century. The Toronto Harbour Commission, operator of the airport, is expected to finance construction of the $16-million bridge across the channel (near the foot of Bathurst Street) by adding $5 to the existing airport user fee paid by aircraft passengers.
Ward system to change for next municipal election
Council adopted a plan to change electoral boundaries, creating 57 local wards for the year 2000 municipal election. One councillor will represent each ward, with an average of 42,000 people in each ward. The change involves dividing 27 of the present wards that are currently represented by two councillors. East York ward, which now has three political representatives, is to be divided into three wards. The City will seek a court ruling to make sure Council has the authority to implement the proposed changes.
Toronto Arts Council to administer cultural grants
Council decided that the Toronto Arts Council (TAC) will administer the provision of municipal grants to support the work of artists and of arts and cultural organizations across the new city. TAC will operate on an arms-length basis in allocating the grants, reporting to Council through the Economic Development Committee. Five members of Council will serve on the 29-member TAC board, and Council will have the final say in determining each year's total budget envelope for cultural grants.
The Toronto Arts Council was created by the former City of Toronto in 1974 with the mission of supporting the arts in Toronto.
Caribana assured of City's support in 1999
City funding of the Caribana Festival in 1999 will be allocated in monthly payments beginning in January. Council agreed to make the commitment before determining the actual amount of the 1999 grant (last year's grant was about $350,000) in order to help provide stability for the planning of next summer's event. The 1998 version of the annual Caribana Festival was successful, attracting large crowds and contributing significantly to the local economy.
Policies on human rights, harassment and hate
Council adopted a corporate policy on human rights and harassment that combines best practices of the former municipalities in procedures for making complaints and resolving disputes. A hate-activity policy that Council approved at the same time will provide guidelines to ensure the safety of City staff, elected officials and users of municipal services who are confronted with hate activity (a criminal offense) such as race-motivated violence or threats. The City's Human Rights Office will take steps to inform and educate all City staff and members of Council about the issues, policies and procedures. Council is asking all City agencies, boards, commissions and special-purpose bodies to implement similar policies in their organizations.
Governing structure for heritage services
Council adopted principles and plans for City and community involvement in local heritage activities. The principles assert that municipal government and communities have active roles to play in encouraging the preservation and appreciation of local community history and heritage. The City plans to establish a variety of local panels and boards, as well as a central architectural conservation advisory committee
Funding for new police cruisers
Council agreed to provide $3.8 million to enable the Toronto Police Service to buy 146 new cars for front-line operations. The money will come from the City's vehicle and equipment replacement fund. Any revenues from disposal of the old cars will be allocated to the reserve fund.
Plan for City office and civic space
Council endorsed objectives and principles to guide decisions aimed at reducing the City's overall inventory of City buildings and leased facilities. The first principle is an emphasis on convenient service delivery to the public. The project will attempt to minimize staff moves while supporting the amalgamation process and meeting financial goals. Detailed recommendations are anticipated early in the new year.
Merging of non-profit housing companies
Council approved the creation of a new organization called the Toronto Housing Company Inc. effective January 1, 1999. The new company was formed by merging the two City-owned non-profit housing companies (the City of Toronto Non-Profit Housing Corporation, or Cityhome, and the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Company Limited) that existed before amalgamation. A board of directors operating at arms length from the City will manage the company's affairs.
Previous Council Highlights
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