New Toronto council meets for first time amid debate over ‘stronger mayor’ powers, housing invoice

The primary day of a brand new Toronto Metropolis Council assembly is normally a time for celebrations and smiles, as new councilors are launched and legislative enterprise is carried out — however when council meets for the primary time since final month’s election, on a Wednesday , then it could simply be a extra strained relationship than common.

Consultants say the primary two-day session on Wednesday and Thursday shall be an attractive gathering as seven new councilors be a part of the combination and a large progressive wing strikes into Metropolis Corridor. It can even be the primary alternative for the brand new council to handle a pair of contentious points – the affect of John Tory’s new “robust mayor” powers and the province’s sweeping new housing invoice.

Whereas Tory powers are usually not explicitly on the assembly’s agenda, Wayne Petrozzi, professor of political science at Toronto Metropolitan College, mentioned he expects to see the primary indicators of pushback from councilors towards the mayor.

“I believe you should have extra organized and greater opposition to them within the council,” he mentioned. “I believe he is in for a harder tenure than anticipated on his farewell tour.”

Tory, who was elected to his third time period as mayor final month, has mentioned it is going to be his final within the position.

Ontario’s plan to provide the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa extra powers to assist speed up the development of latest housing has proved controversial. The Tory has mentioned he supported the measures, which give him broad management over town funds and the hiring and firing of staff.

Final week, the province launched laws mandating expanded powers for each mayors, which might permit them to cross bylaws that respect provincial priorities by securing solely a 3rd of council votes.

The Tories mentioned they requested a “proactive veto”, which has not but handed into legislation, to assist be sure that extra housing is constructed and so the system will “function as effectively as potential.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory, pictured right here final week, defended the province’s request for expanded powers below the robust mayoral legislation handed by Premier Doug Ford’s authorities earlier this 12 months. Below a brand new invoice, which has not but been handed, the Tories may solely want minority council votes to cross gadgets which are ‘provincial priorities’. (Chris Mulligan)

Petrozzi mentioned the brand new powers, and the Tory request for them, set a foul tone between the mayor and councilors out of the gate.

“Why would you make your total council kneel down with out even having a single assembly with them?” He requested.

“So is that this going to rub them, the council members, the flawed means? I believe it’s going to. And [Tory’s] There shall be instances when he’ll assume ‘What did I do?'”

Tory’s workplace mentioned in an announcement that his management type and total strategy to the council wouldn’t change.

,[The mayor] The invoice has indicated since its introduction that it expects to make very restricted use of this measure,” mentioned spokesman Don Peet.

Council able to debate Invoice 23

Council can be set to debate Ontario’s controversial new laws, Invoice 23, to spice up housing development. A report from Interim Metropolis Supervisor Tracy Cooke outlines in stark phrases how metropolis employees will really feel the laws’s affect on Toronto.

Cook dinner writes that the invoice, which has not but handed, would reduce the municipal income that pays for the rise by greater than $230 million a 12 months. He mentioned the invoice would cut back Toronto’s housing affordability and rental substitute protections and destroy sustainable growth practices.

“The proposed invoice may even have the unintended impact of slowing the provision of housing or decrease metropolis service ranges, such that town can’t present new companies to help development,” Cook dinner mentioned within the report.

Ford is proven right here on the Ontario Legislature final week. A report from the interim metropolis supervisor says his authorities’s sweeping new housing coverage may really find yourself costing the Metropolis of Toronto greater than $230 million in income, slowing the development of reasonably priced housing and supporting growth could hinder town’s capability to (CBC)

“Alternatively, it may put upward stress on property taxes.”

Tory’s workplace mentioned the mayor could be very involved concerning the housing invoice’s affect on town and can proceed to debate it with Premier Doug Ford.

Pete mentioned, “The mayor is engaged on this concern on daily basis and hopefully an answer may be discovered.”

“However he has additionally made positive that this merchandise is on the agenda for the primary assembly of town council … so each member of the council and the general public can perceive the scenario and precisely what’s at stake.”

Contrasting strategy to selling housing growth

Matti Simiatki, professor of geography and planning on the College of Toronto, mentioned the report highlights a philosophical distinction between the province and metropolis housing disaster.

Referring to the Ford authorities, he mentioned, “Their working precept is that for those who add to provide, any sort of provide, it’s going to go down, and that can finally result in extra affordability.”

“There’s actually only a basic distinction in how different persons are wanting on the means you construct a neighborhood and there are penalties to that strategy as this invoice has created, fiscal penalties, on inexperienced house and greenbelt Consequence.”

Whereas Simiatki says he expects to listen to loads of opposition to the invoice on the assembly, councilors might want to give you different insurance policies which are inside their management.

“If we simply throw sand within the gears, we are going to proceed down the identical path of disaster we’re already on,” he mentioned.

“This invoice can actually spur council to take a stand and concentrate on what town can do finest to make sure that we add the provision that’s finest fitted to affordability and who’re the weakest.”

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