City Council meeting of September 20 and 25 to 28, 2006
Purchase of Green Lane Landfill
At a special meeting on September 20 dealing with Toronto's strategy for managing its garbage, Council approved a letter of intent to purchase the Green Lane Landfill in southwestern Ontario. Council directed City officials to negotiate the final terms of the sale within 90 days. The purchase will provide a reliable landfill site for waste disposal to complement waste diversion efforts. Toronto's current contract for waste disposal in Michigan ends in 2010.
Containers for household recycling
Council approved a report recommending that wheeled carts replace blue boxes for recycling. The large carts are to be distributed to all 540,000 single-family homes across Toronto between fall 2007 and fall 2008 at no charge to residents. This program still requires final budget approval and may be affected by the results of a pilot project to be undertaken with 1,000 homes in the downtown core this fall. A large, convenient container is needed to replace the current small blue and grey recycling bins because of the growing list of recyclable items. In addition, there is no longer a need for residents to separate recyclables into two different bins for pick-up. (This summary item and those that follow cover business of the four-day Council meeting that began September 25.)
New subway trains
Following debate, Council approved the Toronto Transit Commission's purchase of 39 new subway trains (each consisting of six cars) in a sole-source procurement process with Bombardier Inc. The new trains are needed to replace old ones. Negotiating the purchase with Bombardier was intended to yield good value while protecting and creating jobs in Thunder Bay and Toronto. An independent third-party review concluded that the negotiated price of about $710 million is reasonable.
Extending Spadina subway
Council approved an agreement with the Region of York for the allocation of capital funding by Toronto and York as the municipal share of the proposed extension of Toronto's Spadina subway line. The proposed subway project calls for costs to be divided equally among municipal, provincial and federal governments. Council agreed that Toronto will cover about 60 per cent of the municipal share and York Region 40 per cent. The total capital cost of extending the subway line from Downsview station north to Steeles Avenue in York Region is estimated at $2.1 billion.
After thorough discussion of a proposal for the mandatory registration of lobbyists, Council authorized the hiring of a registrar to head the proposed City of Toronto registry and referred rules for the registry back to City officials for further refinement. The rules and other features of the registry will be considered by Council in 2007.
Support for arena project
Council decided in favour of providing a City of Toronto loan guarantee to support the Lakeshore Lions community group in its plan to replace a single-pad arena in western Toronto with a new four-pad arena complex. The arena will include three regular ice surfaces and an Olympic-size ice pad with seating for 2,500, as well as features such as a second-floor restaurant and display space for the Hockey Hall of Fame. The arena will help to address community demand for ice time, which is high, in large part because of the growth of women's hockey.
Gardiner Expressway studies
Council supported a motion requesting that the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation's studies on the future of the Gardiner Expressway be shared with all members of City Council. The detailed studies, which will be the subject of a report to Council in 2007, examine various options for the transportation corridor along Toronto's waterfront. The original eastern end of the raised expressway (east of the Don Valley Parkway) was torn down a few years ago.
Council agreed in principle that the City should proceed with plans to make it mandatory for homeowners to disconnect their eavestrough downspouts from the sewer system. Details still need to be worked out on the matter of exemptions and the issue of funding to support the program. At present, the City provides programs to encourage the voluntary disconnection of downspouts from sewers in order to help combat the problem of overloaded sewers and related water pollution during storms.
Policy on donations to the City
Council adopted a policy on charitable donations made to the City and its agencies for the benefit of the community. Donations for community benefit can include money, assets (such as property), projects or activities that provide a public good. The policy supports the principle that any such voluntary donations should occur at arm's length from City decision-making. Donations will not be sought or accepted if they are associated with a City approval process (such as a planning approval) or a procurement process.
Pavement markings for pedestrian safety
Pedestrian safety is the focus of a decision on pavement markings. Council agreed to make zebra-style pavement markings the standard for intersections with traffic control signals and for pedestrian crossovers. The wide white markings (consisting of tape or paint on the pavement) help to make the pedestrian crossing area more visible to drivers - and installation is not as complicated or costly as alternatives to identify crossings. The zebra markings will be installed gradually over the years in conjunction with reconstruction and resurfacing projects.
Driveways and motorcycle parking
Council approved zoning bylaw changes that harmonize regulations city-wide for residential driveway width dimensions and front yard landscaping. The new zoning provision sets maximum driveway widths and minimum landscaping requirements based on width of the residential lot. In a separate decision, Council agreed to exempt motorcycles and motor scooters from fees for on-street permit parking. Operators still need to obtain and display a permit, but at no cost. Last year, the City exempted motorcycles and scooters from the fee at City parking meters and display machines.
Previous Council Highlights
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