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From Airbnb to Vision Zero, here’s what you might have missed at Toronto city hall
July 25, 2019
Jennifer Pagliaro and David Rider

City hall is eerily quiet after a final, busy council meeting before the summer break. After frequent gridlock during a very drawn-out agenda, councillors are off to do whatever councillors do in the summer for the first time since their ranks were halved. It’s been a pretty hectic 274 days since the 2018 election. We’ve got everything you need to know about this past meeting and what to keep watch for when regular business resumes this fall.

The last council meeting before summer break

It’s that time of year where meetings have mercifully concluded, but before they did, council gathered for a marathon session reminiscent of the days with twice as many councillors, punctuated by an irritated Speaker Frances Nunziata’s constant reminder of how many items were still left to go. Here’s how that went:

Next up on the city hall playlist

It’s never too soon to take a look at the fall agenda, which will be shadowed by a pending budget debate. Expect matters tied up in court/at tribunals to be unravelled and age-old policy fights to return:

After working on a story about how obtuse and intimidating many processes at city hall can be and what the city could do about it (look for that file soon), Jennifer thought it might be helpful for you, your neighbours, coworkers and bocce opponents to be armed with this how-to guide to making your views known at city hall.

The most important thing to know is that to show up you don’t actually need to show up at city hall. There are lots of ways to contact your councillor or a committee dealing with a particular issue by email (or snail mail, if that’s your thing, but seriously stamps are expensive) or by just picking up the phone.

For a step-by-step (with pictures!) of submitting comments on an agenda item, follow Jennifer’s Twitter thread here.

Can Doug Ford expand Toronto transit without input from the city and federal governments?


This is tricky. Ford says his Toronto-area transit expansion will cost $28.5 billion, with his government paying $11.2 billion and the rest coming from Ottawa and cities including Toronto. If the other governments balk, he says Ontario will “backstop” the total tab. Funding it all is possible but politically difficult, given desperate descriptions of Ontario finances. For jurisdiction, Toronto could reject Ford’s plan in favour of its pre-existing transit blueprint but, as we’ve noted many times, the province can overrule Toronto on almost everything. Not so with federal matters -- but regional transit is a provincial responsibility. Hopefully, the answer will be clear soon. After our colleague Ben Spurr reported the Ford government had missed its own deadline for finalizing details of the Ontario Line, a key part of the provincial plan, the Ford government sent it to city officials on an express train.