Great Toronto Star Article City councillors form their own committees, task forces — without Rob Ford

snap from the paper - great reporting by the star on this issue

This author hopes our local rep joins them.


Full story from Star site – story by David RiderUrban Affairs Bureau Chief

Mayor Rob Ford’s tight but apparently slipping grip on the city agenda faces a new challenge — councillors launching their own committees and task forces.

Mike Layton, an ardent cyclist, is forming an ad hoc body to replace the cycling advisory committee, which is among the city’s 20 citizen groups Ford is trying to scrap.

The committees, offering input on everything from cleaning up the Don River to child care, are in limbo but council recently voted to have Ford take another look at several, and report back by July. It was one of a handful of recent votes the mayor has lost.

Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina) got the idea from his father, federal NDP Leader Jack Layton, who countered frustration at the loss of the cycling committee by asking: “Why don’t you just start your own?”

Layton plans to be the committee’s voice at council, asking questions of city staff and passing on input on the plan for separated downtown bike lanes to be unveiled by public works chair Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong in June.

The new committee will use the terms of reference of the old one as a starting point, Layton said, adding he still must sort out membership but hopes to have representation from the Toronto Cyclists Union.

Josh Colle (Ward 15, Eglinton Lawrence) also wants to get cyclists on a task force — with drivers, pedestrians, transit users, cabbies and business representatives — to work on solutions to Toronto’s costly and frustrating traffic gridlock.

Colle, one of council’s rookie centrists, hopes to get colleagues’ support to make the committee official, bringing players together to curb the “cyclists versus motorists” dynamic. Ford is fond of talking about “the war on the car.”

“We have all the (players) in silos but really their interests are aligned — getting around more efficiently, more quickly and more safely,” he said.

John Filion recently resigned from the government management committee, angry that Ford’s office ignored his requests to return to the planning and transportation committee that he chaired when David Miller was mayor.

Filion (Ward 23 Willowdale) said he’ll continue participating in planning committee meetings as a visiting councillor, without a vote, but he’s also thinking about taking a page from Layton and starting his own planning committee.

“It could involve a lot of citizens,” he said. “I just might do that.”


link to story on Toronto Star site

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