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Toronto city council's top 5 accomplishments in 2012

Posted by Staff / December 20, 2012

Toronto City Council 2012The transit file dominated at Toronto city council this year, not just via the initial debate about a return to an LRT-based approach to transit expansion but later with the OneCity proposal, which caused quite the initial stir but ultimately had no legs. But even if transit remains the most talked about political subject in the city, there were plenty of other topics on city council's agenda in 2012 — be it bike lanes, service cuts, casinos or pedestrian spaces. Here's a glance at some of the better stuff that council got up to in 2012. Add your suggestions for additional accomplishments in the comments section.

Truth be told, this process started in 2011 with the vote to kill Doug Ford's looney tunes vision for the Port Lands, but after the ball was rolling, council never slipped back into the Ford-dominated funk that it had slipped into prior to that watershed moment. By the time the 2012 budget debate was all said and done, many of the service cuts the mayor was after had been reversed. And there was the whole transit file. No matter how many times he said the word, Ford just couldn't convince council to go along with his subway plans dreams.

As far as single achievements go, and depending on your point of view, this is was city council's major achievement this year. Transit issues do, of course, remain divisive in Toronto, but the decision to stick with LRT lines for which there's funding in place rather than a subway line with monetary question marks galore was just logical and will certainly serve the city as a whole far better than the alternative, which was never really an alternative at all.

Sure, they might be full of cars and delivery trucks, but Toronto took a tentative first step towards a network of separated bikes this year. The work on Sherbourne Street officially wrapped up this week and new bikeways are coming for Queens Quay and Wellesley-Hoskin in 2013. Despite the Jarvis' debacle, "swimming with the sharks" has might just be getting better in Toronto.

All-round belt tightening meant all kinds of nice things from libraries to lawn bowls were threatened with closure or serious cutbacks in 2012. Thanks to a series of deals and cash recoveries from other revenue sources many of the things that make life in Toronto a little more fun, like affordable access to sports fields, were rescued.

There are lots of places in Toronto that would more than likely benefit from the removal of cars (Yonge-Dundas anyone?), and despite the mayor's love of the automobile the city added (or consider adding) pedestrian-only spaces at Kensington and St. Lawrence markets as well as on Gould, Willcocks, and John streets.


As the bag ban shenanigans proved, things are capable of moving in the blink of an eye in the clamshell. When casino companies came knocking with batted eyelashes and and pockets full of cash, city council didn't go weak at the knees. A major gaming facility is still on the cards but at least council is taking time to look at the numbers and hear from local residents.

Writing by Chris Bateman and Derek Flack



Fordtard / December 20, 2012 at 03:59 pm
v79 / December 20, 2012 at 04:08 pm
Funny, balancing the budget and achieving a significant surplus, introducing privatized garbage collection and repealing both ridiculous bag laws are strangely missing from this list. But I guess it's always better to ignore great achievements to make space for some more tired Ford bashing.
McRib / December 20, 2012 at 04:15 pm
nice try v79, but most of those items were discussed in yesterdays article about the 5 things that Rob Ford has done this year.

your persecution complex is sexy though.
Nick replying to a comment from v79 / December 20, 2012 at 04:15 pm
Dear @v79, the City always balances its budget (as it must, by law), and had a significant surplus even under Miller (its credit rating remains unchanged in spite of Ford's ostensible fiscal rectitude). Privatized monopoly garbage collection is hardly a great achievement - I haven't noticed my solid waste fees going down, in any case. The bag issue is up for discussion next year, to boot.
Jose / December 20, 2012 at 04:33 pm
City should invest in a Bat Signal and light up the sky during the night.
Justin / December 20, 2012 at 04:48 pm
Yes, yes, it was an accomplishment to neutralize Rob Ford and stop him from neutralizing the budget so the city doesn't have to raise taxes.

What a joke.
v79 replying to a comment from Nick / December 20, 2012 at 05:01 pm
Nick, there's a significant difference between achieving surpluses through finding efficiencies and controlled spending compared to Millers blatant over-taxation. I'm not saying private garabage collection is a huge deal, but it's considerably more significant that what's posted here. McRib, I haven't seen the other article, but if it says what you say it does, then why have the two separate articles? The Mayor is one vote. Anything positive he gets passed is a council achievement as well. This article is pointless, especially considering #1 is not an accomplishment of any sort to be proud of, and the sports field user fees will still be implemented (as they should), they were just delayed for a year to let the private interests/leagues using them to adjust their business models/fees. And if there was no blatantly obvious Ford persecution, then why was it necessary to say the street closures happened "despite the mayor's love of automobiles", when he fully supported the moves and specifically offered advice and assistance for Celebrate Yonge?
ssshhhhhh replying to a comment from v79 / December 20, 2012 at 05:08 pm
this is blogto, they live in a seperate reality then the rest of us.
Nikolas / December 20, 2012 at 05:56 pm
@v79: By law Toronto has to have a balanced budget. Also, the last surplus left by David Miller was over $300m. Not to bash, but please do your homework. I agree however that privatizing garbage has turned out better for the city (for now).
bob barker / December 20, 2012 at 06:34 pm
what about saving the elephants??

help control the pet population.
have your pets spayed or neutered.

good-bye everybody!
iSkyscraper / December 20, 2012 at 09:43 pm
I'm really tired of people intelligent enough to use a keyboard somehow being dumb enough to still believe this "Rob Ford saved the budget" BS. Please. It is true that some may have feared negotiating with him as one might fear an irrational, mentally unstable child prone to tantrums, but any change in fiscal tone is really due to Del Grande, Holyday and the other adults on Council. And Ford found ZERO "efficiencies" while blowing hundreds of thousands on Jarvis and millions on delays to Transit City. He would have spent billions on burying more of the Eglinton LRT if Council had not woken up and stopped him.

Ford is a populist, not a conservative. Real conservatives who value intelligent policy hate him. Get that through your thick heads.
Gabe / December 21, 2012 at 12:24 am
I think this is the first time in about 20 Years we've actually been able to have a top 5 most worthy accomplishments
Robert replying to a comment from Gabe / December 21, 2012 at 06:35 am
It took you 20 years to start to take notice at what is going on at city council. Better late then never, welcome to the of being informed.
iKnowitall replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / December 21, 2012 at 08:07 am
No, any change in fiscal tone was not 'really' due to Del Grande and Holyday alone. You're saying these councillors have been around for more than 10 years and have never been credited with saving the city as much as they have now, which is ridiculous. Remember that Ford is the one who puts the motion forward in many (not all obviously) of the cases regarding spending and service cuts. Just because they vote on certain items which save money does not mean they are solely responsible for those items coming to fruition.
Can it palso.
Nick replying to a comment from v79 / December 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm
@v79, "Miller's blatant overtaxation"? First, my municipal taxes haven't actually gone down (they were frozen for one year under Ford, and went up a bit last year, at about the rate they did under Miller too). Second, if you're not taking about the 5 cent bag fee, you're talking about the VRT, and in that case the whopping $60 that has saved me has ended up on the backs of TTC Metropass holders - they ended up paying exactly $60 per year more in 2011. Sure, that's not a "tax" but sure isn't great if you're on a low income. If those are the kind of "efficiencies" you're talking about, then we could find lots more, like cutting everything that makes this city a liveable place. A lot of the "efficiencies" he proposed before council revolted were actually service cuts, which he promised not to do during his campaign.
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