A TO Councillor's perspective on transit issues: letter from Gord Perks
Last week a group of 25 City Councillors, of which I was one, stood up for a better Toronto. By voting to build Light Rail Transit lines on Eglinton, Finch, and as a replacement for the Scarborough RT, we chose to invest in making Toronto a greener and more liveable City. We also stood up for sensible and affordable investments in transit.
For over 20 years, I and other transit activists argued that Toronto needed a better transit network: one that connected all parts of the City with high quality transit connections. In the previous term of Council we developed the Transit City Plan to do just that. For a while it looked like we would lose that opportunity. However, because so many Torontonians spoke up we are now committed to a sound light rail plan. In doing this we join with virtually every major North American and European transit system in providing transit which is fast, attractive, and affordable to parts of the City that currently have bus service only.
I was proud to present a petition from nearly 1000 residents of Ward 14 emphasizing the need to support this approach. This again is the real story, Torontonian spoke up for building a better city that we can all share in. I thank you again for all of your hard work.
This week we saw the ratification of a new contract with CUPE Local 416 and the City of Toronto. Members of the union representing the City's 6,000 outside workers ratified the four year agreement on Monday February 13, 2012 after a tentative agreement was reached last week after a 24-hour labour negotiations session. Despite the difficult circumstances of the negotiations, I'm grateful that a resolution was found so our outside workers can continue to provide quality services to the people of Toronto.
Finally, as we look ahead Friday February 17, 2012, the Executive Committee will be meeting to vote on the sale of over 700 Toronto Community Housing stand-alone units. TCHC's scattered houses are an integral part of fighting poverty and inequality in Toronto by creating healthy mixed-income neighbourhoods and fostering diversity, understanding and inclusivity.
While the Mayor's office continues to pursue his radical agenda against public services, the truth is the 700 plus houses cost $7 million each year to operate, but they generate $8.5 million in annual revenue. Instead of reinvesting this money into the TCHC and the social fabric which makes Toronto healthy, we see yet another short sighted policy. We must continue to stand up for a Toronto with vision and integrity as the consequences of senseless actions have very real social, economic and human costs to our community.
Gord Perks, City Councillor
Ward 14, Parkdale-High Park
Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West
2nd Floor, Suite A14
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N2
We must change how we live, or the climate will change it for us.