“Ford to city: drop dead.”
No, it’s not a recent newspaper headline, though you could be forgiven for thinking so. And it’s not even Ontario Premier Ford being quoted about Toronto.
It’s the New York Daily News headline from October 1975. Then-US President Gerald Ford had threatened to veto any bill calling for a federal bailout of New York City, and instead proposed legislation that would make it easier for New York to go bankrupt, saying that the city still had the capacity to prevent budget cuts and more taxes through efficiencies.
It sounds very similar to the situation in which Toronto now finds itself. Even before the pandemic, Toronto had serious budget issues. But the only recently disclosed Bills 3, 23, and 39 – now all enacted by Ontario – have huge implications, financial and otherwise… not only for the city as a whole but also for established neighbourhoods like Leaside, which have evolved over the years by way of local and city-wide laws and bylaws. What will these new laws mean to Leaside as a community? How will they affect our pre-existing issues? Before, public consultation was key, and time was devoted to assessing changes and listening to expert advice. That was then.
The Leaside Residents Association is a member of the Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Associations, the organization representing community groups in North Toronto. Both independently and in conjunction with FoNTRA, we have been actively working to mobilize opposition to these pieces of legislation, which threaten many of the values we’ve all worked hard to protect.
The big problem is that all of this legislation is legal and constitutional. So, the best weapon Leasiders have is political: making it clear how opposed we as voters are. The LRA has been hearing from many of you, and you’ve been writing to MPPs, our mayor, and our city councillor. If you have, thank you. If not yet, please do so, encourage your neighbours to do so as well. In the end, the hope is to convince the provincial government that these damaging new laws are vote-losers for them, and to do so before our city has been reduced to “tin cup status” by their financial actions.
Meanwhile, on the transit front
In the past few weeks, we’ve learned that construction of the Eglinton LRT has fallen behind schedule. Some of my sources have questioned whether there even is a schedule. There are a number of engineering problems to solve, one major focus being the Eglinton/Yonge intersection. As a result, decisions about everything else in both city-wide and local traffic reform, including the much-awaited Leaside Neighbourhood Traffic Plan, are also delayed. We can but hope for some resolution, and sooner rather than later.
The LRA has once again been investigating the possibility of holding our monthly board meetings in person, or, preferably, in a hybrid format, so that attendees can participate either on-site at Trace Manes or by Zoom, depending on their preference each month. We need to know YOUR thoughts on this. Please let us know!
While we await your comments, our next board meeting will take place on January 4th, at 7:30 p.m., on Zoom. If you’d like to participate or watch, please let us know by that date and we’ll be glad to send you the Zoom access details. Visit us at www.leasideresidents.ca.