For the second straight year Torontonians have spoken up to improve and reshape Toronto’s City Budget.
Together we protected our firefighting and ambulance services, our environmental programs that fight climate change, and our community grants that are so important for building strong neighbourhoods.
We overturned a plan to slow library collections purchases, moved Council to restore free adult recreation programs in low income neighbourhoods, and we dramatically improved school nutrition programs.
I heard you loud and clear. Through phone calls and emails to my office, conversations on the street and your participation at Committee and Community meetings, you spoke up for Toronto. Voices in Toronto to protect our public service are strong and growing. I have to report, though, that we have more to do.
We must continue to speak up and demand that Toronto City Council budgets as if it believes in a better future for the City.
This budget does not provide any relief to the terrible overcrowding on the TTC. In fact, the 2013 and 2012 budgets are the only two years since 1997 which have lowered TTC service standards. Unbelievably, the City also imposed a fare increase: making riders pay more for less. I did move a motion to reduce transit overcrowding. Unfortunately it was defeated.
The story for affordable housing is also concerning. Earlier this term, the Mayor launched an effort to sell off affordable housing. This at a time when we set new records for the number of people waiting for affordable housing, and when we are $751 million behind on repairs. In light of all this, the current budget does absolutely nothing to improve housing. A motion to inject much needed funding for repairs was defeated.
Although Toronto’s roads consistently rate better than the provincial average and although City staff did not ask for extra investment, the current budget invests massively in road repair. I supported taking some of that money to address the housing repair backlog but that motion also lost.
I have heard you say that you want a City with good housing, great services, and reliable transit.
We are going to have to work hard to get our message through. Fortunately, the last two years have taught us the when we are motivated Torontonians can overcome.
Councillor Gord Perks
Ward 14, Parkdale-High Park