pantalone environmental plan

Joe Pantalone releases his environmental plan for Toronto

Joe Pantalone released an ambitious, if at times vague, environmental plan earlier today, the key components of which are a commitment to Transit City and the maintenance of public control over Toronto Hydro. But while Pantalone's platform on the environment is miles ahead of his fellow candidates, at this point, it's dubious whether it will factor much into the mayoral race.

With the most recent Nanos poll showing the current deputy mayor at 16.8 per cent of the decided vote, his odds of victory are remote. Like Sarah Thomson's bike plan, Pantalone's desire to "roll out the green carpet" will most likely come to naught - which, if you care about the environment, is a shame.

Nevertheless it's worth a look at what the Pantalone campaign has to say about environmental policy, if only as a base of comparison with the other candidates. Once you wade through the generality - promises like "Joe Pantalone will be Toronto's green jobs champion" or that he'll "direct Build Toronto to partner with green industries, especially in more economically disadvantaged areas of our city" - there are some solid policies outlined.

The highlights:

Pantalone would...

  • "Build Transit City - including the subway extension to York University, and 120 km of European-style high speed trains, reaching every neighbourhood in Toronto at 1/5 the cost of a subway, with streetcars built right here in Ontario - the only plan approved by the city, province, and Metrolinx.

  • Send green construction to the front of the line, by accelerating applications for new residential and commercial construction and retrofits that meet Toronto's Green Building Standard.

  • Expand the successful Live Green Toronto program, which is building community infrastructure with our non-profit and community partners.

  • Expand access to local food by doubling the number of community gardens and farmers markets, expanding food incubators and community food centres, and planting thousands of fruit trees.

  • Achieve 50 percent local food procurement in city operations.

  • Maintain public ownership of Toronto Hydro so our community asset can continue to meet our green goals of renewable energy and conservation, while paying dividends that help fund city operations. Hydro has already returned over $2 billion to the City of Toronto over the last 11 years."

Compared to Thomson's environmental platform - the highlight of which is push for an all-hybrid taxi fleet in five years - Pantalone's plan is far more comprehensive, even when lacking in details. As for the other candidates, with the exception of George Smitherman (whose focus is on solid waste diversion), environmental policy has not played a role in their campaigns to this point.

Photo by Amy Stupavsky

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