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Issues & Policies

 
   

A lack of accountability and transparency on the costs of the Scarborough subway extension

January 23, 2015

 

Dear residents,

 

In today's Toronto Star, Jennifer Pagliaro wrote an important story revealing how many tax dollars will be wasted on sunk costs if the Scarborough LRT is cancelled (there may be more). The article also quotes City Manager, Joe Pennachetti, suggesting that the full amount is hidden within this year's City budget. Moveover, the City Manager has not reported back to City Council on Metrolinx sunk costs, as directed by Council. To read the full 2013 agenda item, please click here.

 

Along with the unacceptable waste of tens of millions of tax dollars, this lack of accountability and transparency is deeply concerning.

 

In addition, I have yet to receive an adequate reply to my letter to Staff regarding the unexplained and sudden increase in the ridership projection used to justify the Scarborough subway extension.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

   

Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club Update

 

Dear Residents,

 

Late last week it came to my attention that a Building Permit notice was posted at the Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club site (196 Manor Road East). Further investigation revealed that the permit was for an eight-foot sign to be erected on the property. I am not aware of what the owner intended to put on the sign.

 

However, I am happy to report that the permit has now been revoked and the owners have been ordered to remove the public notice of the permit. This is indeed good news but we must keep moving forward to acquire the property as a City Park.

 

As many of you are now aware, a developer is in the process of purchasing the Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club property (196 Manor Road East) from the Club’s Board with the intent to build townhouses on the site.

 

This green space is very important to our community. That's why I've been proactively working closely with local residents to acquire this property as a public park since this issue came to my attention several months ago.

 

Earlier this year, I successfully moved a motion at Council directing Real Estate Services staff to evaluate the fair market value of the property at 196 Manor Road East, and directing Parkland Acquisitions staff to begin negotiations with the current owner(s) for the purpose of purchase by the City and report back to Council's Executive Committee in August. I'm happy to report that both the Executive Committee and Council supported recommendations for the City to purchase the site if there is a willing seller. I also saw many of you at a public information meeting I held at Hodgson Sr PS on June 18.

 

The City has still not received any indication from the owner that they are willing to sell the property with a purpose to preserve the green space. In fact, they seem intent to move forward with a townhouse development, which I am strongly opposed to. While Council supported my initiative to make the funds available to purchase the lawn bowling club, Staff have not had a willing seller to negotiate with.

 

I have been working with a group of the lawn bowling club shareholders, who are mounting an opposition to the current Board's decision to sell the property to a developer. They need your support and assistance. For more information on their efforts to keep this space green, and how you can help, please click here.

 

The community and I are dedicated to taking every legal means to preserve this green space in perpetuity. I will continue to update you every step of the way.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

   

NOTICE OF MOTION: Making the Union-Pearson Express Fare More Affordable, Competitive and Fair for Toronto Residents

NOTICE OF MOTION: Making the Union-Pearson Express Fare More Affordable, Competitive and Fair for Toronto Residents

 

Moved by:

 

Councillor Matlow

 

Seconded by:

 

Deputy Mayor Kelly

 

SUMMARY:

 

Metrolinx's Union-Pearson Express line is a welcome addition to Toronto's transit network. For too long, our city has been one of the few world centres without rapid transit to its International Airport.

 

While residents are pleased that this critical infrastructure appears to be on budget and will be ready to open for the Pan-Am games next year, they have some major concerns with emerging cost details that limit the accessibility of this line. These troubling details include potentially high fares and a fee in lieu of parking paid to the Greater Toronto Airport Authority.

 

While the passenger fare has yet to be confirmed, media reports have estimated that the new line could cost riders upwards of $30 per trip. This cost may, or may not, have an effect on business or international travelers but it would barely be competitive with taxis or limousines for residents. Common sense would dictate that if a resident living anywhere other than downtown (within close proximity to Union Station) can get picked up from their house and taken to the airport for about $50-60, they may opt to spend the extra money to avoid the additional time as the cost differential is not that substantial. Further, a couple or a family might find it actually more expensive to take the Union-Pearson Express. The passenger fare must be made accessibile for Toronto residents.

 

Another troubling consumer cost detail associated with the Union-Pearson Express is the $1.85 fee passengers are being charged for not parking at the airport. The City of Toronto and other municipal governments in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area are actively encouraging residents to use public transit. This fee would penalize air travelers for making a choice that helps fight congestion. This potential fee runs counter to our public policy goals and should not be implemented.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

 

  1. City Council directs the City Manager to request that Metrolinx the passenger fare for the Union-Pearson Express at a rate that is affordable for most Torontonians and competitive with other forms of transportation to Pearson Airport
  2. City Council directs the City Manager to request the Greater Toronto Airport Authority to not require Metrolinx to implement a $1.85 parking fee to the passenger fare for the Union-Pearson Express

You can download a printable PDF of my letter by clicking here.

   

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