City Hall Toronto

Morning Brew: City layoffs likely if buyouts don't pay off, fate of Jarvis bike lanes to be decided today, Mammoliti's task forces, province blames Toronto for gridlock, and airport ideas for Pickering

You knew this was coming. Layoffs could be possible for thousands of city workers and hundreds of police officers if the city's new buyout plan doesn't generate enough savings. An estimated 17,000 workers were offered voluntary severance packages yesterday and apparently the loss of 3,000 workers is the magic number to move closer to filling the $774-million funding gap. Last week the police board offered early retirement packages to several high ranking employees, but they actually need 500 police officers to "retire early" to meet their target of $84-million. How a city is supposed to run without city workers and police officers is anyone's guess, unless of course, we start privatizing everything.

The fight to save the Jarvis Street bike lanes rages on, sparking a heated debate between city councillors yesterday, particularly when Councillor Glenn de Baeremaeker said that if anyone was killed in a car accident from the removal of the lanes, that he hopes "our mayor and members of council will send flowers to their funeral." The fate of the lanes, which are used by 900 cyclists daily, will be decided today.

City Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti is to lead three new task forces for the city: one for day care, another for ice rinks, and one on homelessness. The point of these task forces? Well, it seems they are to look for alternative sources of funding to provide more spaces in daycare and build more ice rinks for Toronto at zero cost to the city. The homelessness task force, on the other hand, seems a little dicey, with Mammoliti only saying he hopes "to move into an era where we don't have people sleeping on the street" without describing how this might come to be.

The provincial government is passing the buck onto Toronto's municipal government when it comes to the city's gridlock troubles. The province says they've been investing in transit to get cars off the road, but when the mayor doesn't make it a priority, like say, scrapping "Transit City" and focusing on subways and more subways, it sets the province's transit plans back by eight to ten months. But TTC Chair Karen Stintz says the province isn't giving them enough money. They're both right.


Photo by Subjective Art in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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