City council to debate TransformTO, King Street pilot project

What do climate change and a downtown baby boom have in common? They'll both be debated by city council this week.

Council has a jam-packed 3-day meeting that starts on Tuesday

Toronto city council has a packed agenda at its meeting this week. Agenda items include its climate change plan and the King Street pilot project. (Top photo: Nathan Denette/Canadian Press; Bottom photo: David Donnelly/CBC)

What do climate change, the King streetcar and a downtown baby boom have in common?

They'll all be debated by city council this week.

Councillors have a packed agenda to get through, featuring several high-profile — and potentially controversial — topics. Here are five items to watch:


City council was supposed to debate the ambitious climate change plan at its last meeting, but didn't get to it due to time constraints.

Mayor John Tory has vowed the city will adopt the plan — most notably, emphasizing its importance after U.S. President Donald Trump yanked his country out of the Paris agreement.

Mayor John Tory, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Kathleen Wynne arrived at the Port Lands via water taxi for an announcement last week on flood-proofing the area so it can be redeveloped. Lake Ontario is enduring the highest levels it has seen in years. (Chris Young/The Candian Press)

"We will have TransformTO — a major plan to move us forward as a city and change our behaviour," Tory said at the Port Lands last week following a major announcement about flood-proofing that area.

Many environmentalists were on hand for the last meeting, calling on council to pass the plan without major modifications.

TransformTO's goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, by changing everything from how buildings are designed to how Torontonians get around.

King Street Pilot Project

How will a transit-first King Street impact drivers? Some councillors want answers before the pilot project launches. (David Donnelly/CBC)

A plan to dramatically change King Street between Bathurst Street and Jarvis Street to prioritize the city's busiest streetcar line was rolling along until it reached the executive committee.

It was approved, but several councillors raised concerns about the effect it would have on drivers, and how taxis would handle the new rules, which force motorists to turn right after every block.

"I don't see how it will work for taxis. I think it will just cause a lot of havoc. They'll pour on to other streets and create more congestion," said Sam Moini of the Toronto Taxi Alliance.

Transportation staff want to forge ahead with the plan as is.

Auditor's concerns

The Toronto Parking Authority nearly spent $2 million more than it needed to purchase this piece of land near Finch Avenue West and Highway 400, Toronto's auditor general says. (Google)

City Manager Peter Wallace has been asked to look into a controversial land deal involving the Toronto Parking Authority  (TPA) after a report by the auditor general.

The TPA didn't purchase the land — which could have eventually been home to the world's largest flag pole — but the auditor general says it risked overspending by more than $2 million in the process.

TPA officials say they're confident they wouldn't have overspent, but councillors on the audit committee had tough questions about the role lobbyists played in the scuttled deal.

Coun. Josh Matlow says he wants the city's integrity commissioner to look into what happened, and suggested the police may need to investigate in the future.

Kids in condos

Downtown Toronto is experiencing a baby boom, and councillors will debate new plans about how to deal with that.

Social Planning Toronto, crunching census data, found condoland is now home to thousands of young children, something that's causing "baby stroller traffic jams" at times.

City planners have ideas about how to make the vertical city more kid-friendly, including specific design features that could make condos better spaces for young families.  

Outdoor movies

While council has other big decisions to make, one of the smaller ones may be a summer delight for film fans.

The city may make it free to host an outdoor movie screening in one of its parks.

Torontonians have embraced the trend of outdoor movies, with one fan even creating a list of every screening.

About the Author

John Rieti

John Rieti covers city hall and city issues for CBC Toronto. Born and raised in Newfoundland, John has worked in CBC newsrooms across the country in search of great stories. Outside of work, catch him running or cycling around, often armed with a camera, always in search of excellent coffee.