All posts in All Wards

The great TTC

Sunday August 24th 2016


TTC information host, why cut funds to public service that understands it needs to go this far.

TTC Relief Line – a new subway line report

The City of Toronto’s City Planning Division and the to link downtown with the Bloor-Danforth Subway east of the Don River.
Report on the development of Toronto’s transit network plan
A staff report on the development of Toronto’s transit network plan is being presented to the City’s Execuitve Committee on March 9. This report recommends that the City
Approve Pape to Downtown via Queen/Richmond as the preferred corridor for the Relief Line project

For more information about the corridor analysis and to provide your feedback, please visit the project webpage.

City staff report are the Continue reading link

Continue Reading →

Do we have the right to harm Ingersoll with TO’s garbage?

screenshot-www.google.ca 2016-03-02 20-22-09

screenshot-www.oxfordcounty.ca 2016-03-02 20-18-15

Keep your own trash, Ingersoll mayor tells Toronto | Toronto Star


David Rider,  Toronto Star All orange text are out takes

Ted Comiskey, mayor of Ingersoll of a southwestern Ontario town known for cheddar cheese words for Toronto — keep your garbage to yourself.

Ted Comiskey is also the Artistic Director Canterbury Folk Festival

 Toronto’s long-term waste strategy should not include burying trash in a proposed landfill in a quarry near his town. Toronto’s current landfill.

“Every landfill liner leaks,” Comiskey said Tuesday.

“I am not prepared to put the drinking water of my citizens, my neighbours at risk because Toronto, despite all other suggestions in the (waste strategy report) appendix, wants to keep the burying option open.

“This quarry (in Zorra Township) is 800 metres from a subdivision in the town of Ingersoll. We are not a willing host.”

To’s strategy will go to public works in June and city council in July.

Read the complete article here of David Rider Toronto Star


www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/03/02/keep-your-own-trash-ingersoll-mayor-tells-toronto.html

Ingersoll is in Oxford County

Directions from Toronto

From Toronto

1 h 36 min (155.8 km) via ON-403 W
Follow Hwy 401 to Exit 218 Highway 19 and County 119
Follow 119 North onto Harris Street
Merge left onto Canterbury Street

 

More info on the proposal here

 

City Hall ceiling details

 Thought out most public spaces in the New City Hall aluminum box channel is used as a ceiling material. Both inside and out.
 
 In the photo below you see the channel on the underside of the ramp if the east side of Nathan Phillips Square.
 
 

 

Location:Lake Shore Blvd E,Toronto,Canada

Calgary’s mayor wins 2014 World Mayor Prize on 4 February 2015

 

 

image from Wikipedia

Naheed Nenshi, Calgary’s ebullient mayor, heard on his 43rd birthday that he has been awarded the 2014 World Mayor Prize. Talking to journalists after the announcement, he said he could not have wished for a bigger birthday present. The mayor, who was first elected in 2010, was nominated and supported for the Prize by thousands of his fellow citizens and supporters from across Canada and North America.

The World Mayor Prize is awarded every two years by the philanthropic City Mayors Foundation to a mayor who has made outstanding contributions to his or her community and whose vision for urban living is relevant to towns and cities across the world.

 

click link below for full story

(source: http://www.citymayors.com/)

 

link to the mayor wikipedia page

New casino in Toronto the report and the Mayors letter

fsc_www_toronto_ca_legdocs_mmis_2013_ex_bgrd_backgroundfile_57336_pdf

 

 

This blog has just decided to post the cities  published texts of this issue – highlighting the claims.

1st,

The text of Mayor Rob Ford’s open letter:

Dear Friends,

Over the last few months, there’s been a lot of talk about hosting a new casino in Toronto. I’ve always said I would support a casino if it would produce thousands of good quality jobs and generate millions of dollars for important City services. After reviewing all available information, consulting with my Council colleagues and members of the public, I am confident Toronto faces a golden opportunity.

Soon, Council will decide on how to proceed. I believe we should say yes to a new casino — on the condition that it will help Toronto move forward and achieve our goals. This opportunity shouldn’t be judged on emotional or partisan rhetoric, but on facts.

The fact is, gambling is not new to Toronto.  

Woodbine Race Track in northern Etobicoke, one of the most profitable slots-only casinos in North America, generates over $600 million in gaming revenue from 2,500 slot machines.
  
Toronto Police report no increase in crime related to this casino. We also have off-track betting, internet gaming and buy lottery tickets at almost every corner store.

The fact is, too many people in Toronto are unemployed. For years, our city’s unemployment rate has been higher than the national average — and higher than neighbouring cities. That difference equals about 80,000 jobs. Last year, City Council adopted a new Economic Growth Strategy designed to stimulate job creation. Part of our plan to attract new employers to Toronto is to get more investors to visit our city. Conferences, conventions and exhibitions provide business travellers an opportunity to visit Toronto and see the opportunities here.

Toronto currently ranks 33rd in North America for convention business. Neither the Metro Toronto Convention Centre or the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place can attract top tier conferences. We need to change that. Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America. We should certainly be in the top 10 convention destinations.

I would like Toronto to work together with the province to create a new integrated convention and gaming complex that would boost our economic growth and create jobs.

The fact is, this is a huge opportunity for Toronto and for Ontario. The private sector is ready to invest $2-3 Billion or more in a Toronto project that will generate hundreds of millions of dollars on an ongoing basis for local and provincial government. For a project this size, Toronto should share equally in that revenue with the province. This would provide Toronto with up to $150 million in annual revenue. New property taxes and potential lease income would add to that.

Such a development would create 10,000 new permanent jobs at an average salary of about $55,000 and inject $1.2 Billion into Toronto (and Ontario’s) annual GDP. Construction would create an additional 7,000 to 11,000 temporary jobs. All of these jobs will pay provincial income tax.

A top tier convention and gaming complex will attract over 130,000 additional business visitors to Toronto and generate an additional $392 million of direct spending. That means more HST for the province.

This is a golden opportunity for Toronto and one we probably won’t see again for a generation. Rather than just imposing new taxes to fund transit expansion, the City could dedicate its $150 million share to building new rapid transit that our City needs, while keeping Toronto an affordable place to live.

The OLG has been clear: there will be a new casino in the GTA. If it’s not in Toronto, it will be right on our border
 But, the fact is, building there won’t benefit the province as much. And, it won’t benefit Toronto at all.

Yours truly,

Mayor Rob Ford

 

2nd the summery of the report

 Download full report from city here

SUMMARY
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is undertaking modernization of casino gaming operations across Ontario. The OLG has identified 29 gaming zones, where it intends to issue a request for proposal for a private sector provider to develop and/or operate a casino in each zone. Two of the zones (C1 and C2) each include areas of Toronto and adjacent municipalities along the city’s perimeter.

A City Council resolution is required for the OLG to establish a new gaming site.

At the November 5, 2012 Executive Committee meeting, the City Manager presented a preliminary report, “Considering a New Casino in Toronto”, and was directed to conduct a public consultation, provide further analysis, and report back with recommendations. This report responds to the requests of Executive Committee, and provides analysis on both the OLG C1 and C2 zones. City staff reviewed the issue of a new downtown casino and expanded gaming at the Woodbine site by evaluating key economic, city building, social, health, and fiscal criteria. A detailed analysis of specific study areas in the Port Lands, Exhibition Place, downtown core, and Woodbine is also provided for Council’s consideration on possible locations.
Should Council consider new casino development, a citywide perspective should be taken to support the potential that exists in both the C1 and C2 zones. A standalone casino is not supported by staff. Any consideration of a new casino in the C1 zone requires that it be in the form of an urban, appropriately-sized entertainment complex that enhances Toronto as a convention and tourist destination. Increasing convention space would be a strategic economic development benefit that could be leveraged with a casino given the opportunities to co-locate these facilities and the synergistic relationship between the casino and convention business. Expanding convention space to bring Toronto into the top ten for convention space in North America has the potential to attract more tourists and would be a key economic driver for the City. It is critical that an appropriate sized
2
casino in the C1 zone include the development of a top-rate convention and trade show infrastructure to improve Toronto’s competitiveness in attracting the largest class of events. An expanded gaming facility in the C2 zone should enable the entertainment and retail focus of the existing approved planning framework for Woodbine, and support a revitalization strategy for the area.
In addition, the cross-corporate staff analysis identified a number of other economic, social, health, planning and fiscal conditions to address impacts related to new casino development. The advice resulting from this analysis is found in the recommendations section of this report, and Appendix A as City conditions Council may wish to request of the OLG and the Province.
Given that the OLG has not selected a proponent and the City has not received a detailed proposal for a specific site in the C1 zone, the report also provides options for Council consideration. Should Council wish to pass the statutorily required resolution “supporting the establishment of a gaming site in the municipality” (O. Reg. 81/12), it is recommended the resolution be conditional upon the OLG meeting Council’s requirements. A key requirement is for the OLG to report back to the City Manager following the procurement process, at which time Council can be advised whether the City’s conditions are being addressed. If conditions have not been addressed to the satisfaction of Council, it could request that the Minister of Finance not agree to the business case for the proposed casino. Under the regulation as currently worded, the Minister must accept the business case before the OLG can establish a casino.
The following summary is outlined in three main sections. Section A outlines the results of a cross-corporate staff analysis and a possible approach to expanded gaming for Council’s consideration. Section B outlines the results of the public consultation, stakeholder meetings and a telephone poll conducted by the City. Section C provides an overview of the staff recommendations and related implementation considerations.
SECTION A: APPROACH TO EXPANDED GAMING IN C1 AND C2
The OLG has provided an estimate of the size and scope of a new casino facility the market is contemplating in C1 based on results of a Request for Information (RFI). A resort-styled integrated entertainment complex has been suggested in the C1 zone with a maximum gaming floor of 250,000 square feet. The OLG has indicated interest in maintaining the Woodbine slot facility in the C2 zone with the possible introduction of table games and limited amenities subject to market demand.
The report outlines an approach to a new C1 casino development to better inform the OLG’s procurement process and signal to the market the key opportunities and challenges from the City’s perspective of a new casino development in the C1 zone. The report also considers the existing Woodbine gaming facility and the contributions it makes to the City and area. The approach described below provides a response to the OLG for Council’s consideration that more appropriately reflects the economic, city building, social, health and fiscal objectives of the City.
3
1. Approach to Development
An integrated entertainment complex (IEC) is suggested in both zones (C1 and C2). Planning staff has noted in their analysis that a stand-alone casino is neither practical nor desirable. Economic development direction also supports an IEC, with a convention infrastructure focus in the C1 zone, and an urban entertainment and retail destination in the C2 zone. Through the public consultation process, community members were asked about their preference for either a stand-alone casino or IEC. In all three C1 study area locations, the results indicate a preference for an IEC, a casino with other integrated components (i.e. hotel, retail, convention, etc.).
1.1 C1 Zone: Convention and Trade Show Focused Development
Convention Development
An expanded first-rate convention centre is the most significant opportunity that could be leveraged as part of an IEC. A facility that can attract some of the largest conferences, conventions and trade shows in North America would deliver a significant increase in visitors to the city and ongoing economic and city building benefits. If City Council consents to host a casino in the C1 zone, then it should require that the proponent also builds and develops an operating plan for an associated convention centre that is competitive with other top-ranked North American facilities.
A top-rate convention centre is potentially a bigger tourism draw than a casino. The 10 largest convention centres in North America provide at least 813,000 square feet of total exhibit space (at least 600,000 square feet of contiguous space), in addition to 235,000 square feet of meeting space. Toronto does not have a facility comparable in scale and layout. For example, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is currently ranked the 33rd largest in North America, with 460,000 square feet of exhibit space and a total of 122,000 square feet of meeting/ballroom space.
A convention venue of the scale described, geared towards the largest class of events, could attract over 130,000 additional visitors annually to Toronto, and generate an additional $392 million of direct spending. The potential adverse impact on existing jobs and businesses resulting from a new casino are mitigated by the presence of a top rate convention centre providing a tourism draw for visitors from outside the region.
City Planning Analysis (C1 Zone)
As previously stated, the OLG has provided an initial estimate of market demand for an IEC in the C1 zone, with a casino gaming floor of up to 250,000 square feet (see Table 1). City Planning assessed the OLG estimates on the potential use, as well as the size and type of facility in the C1 zone that would be consistent with city building objectives. City Planning is of the view that the size, form and profile of the casino gaming floor should not exceed 135,000 square feet, with a regulated number of slot machines and table
4
games. The analysis also identifies that a format more suitable for Toronto’s downtown area would consist of an urban entertainment complex, which would limit the casino related food, beverage and retail uses to 100,000 square feet, and leverage an increase in convention space. By taking this approach the following could be achieved: The profile of the casino facility would be reduced, achieving an improved fit and compatibility within the overall diverse urban character of the downtown area; Built form of the facility would be able to better integrate with the existing/planned context of the different study areas; Transportation and infrastructure impacts would be more manageable; The facility could be more of a tourist attraction rather than a large slot-focused operation as put forward by the OLG which is targeting primarily local patrons; and Market impact on existing restaurant and retail streets could be minimized where casino-related retail is limited.
City Planning’s analysis also demonstrates that of the study areas considered the downtown core and Exhibition Place study areas are potentially suitable locations for a convention centre focused IEC.

The Economist reports, Toronto city council has succumbed to political gridlock

Well the Economist newspaper has published a listing of our mayors trips and falls and thrown in a bit about our detached from necessity city council, for all the world to see.

Not to paste up everything we have all followed and endured with the council of shambles, the blog has pasted below some insight – as the Economist usually injects into its stories some real information and ideas about our city.

 

excerpt of insight from the article below full article here

But some of his fellow councillors want Mr Ford to step aside temporarily to curtail the uncertainty at city hall. The council could call a by-election or appoint a temporary mayor. Mr Ford’s term has been “a constant sideshow of litigation, gaffes and a distracting focus on high-school football,” said Josh Matlow, who represents a central ward. If the city council is to deal with Toronto’s problems, “this circus” must come to an end, he added.

Stand on the platform at St Andrew subway station in the city centre and Toronto’s problems are evident. The walls are grimy, and sections of vinyl panelling are missing. Renovations begun in 2009 are unfinished. Chronic underfunding of an overburdened public-transport network, and the council’s lengthy wrangling over a new plan have created a shabby and truncated subway that is unfit for the world-class metropolis Toronto claims to be. Although several new light-rail lines funded by Ontario’s provincial government are being built, the lack of public transport means that more than 70% of Torontonians with jobs drive to work. They face longer journey times than commuters in car-obsessed Los Angeles.

A second problem is that, whereas Chicago and other American cities have turned their waterfronts into attractive, accessible public areas, Toronto’s is hidden by a wall of apartment towers and separated from the city by an elevated expressway. Last year Mr Ford withdrew the city’s support for a redevelopment plan endorsed by the previous council as well as the provincial and federal governments, which both own parcels of lakefront land. He wanted to replace a proposed park with a mega-mall and a giant Ferris wheel. After much debate and delay, the city has reverted to the original plan.

Toronto still ranks highly on international lists of desirable places to live. But its politicians’ inability to come to grips with its problems is alienating some admirers. Richard Florida, an American urban guru who moved to Toronto in 2007, says the city is now “a more divided and contentious place, its once enviable social cohesion at risk, a growing split pitting downtown against the suburbs”.

John Sewell on Amy Lavender Harris’s Imagining Toronto

click image to visit the site

 

Ok went the blogs posts books of interest, normally its a book that I think the readers of this blog would be interested in

 

Here is an an outtake from the  publishes site – here publishers – of John Sewells article on the book.

Imagining Toronto
by Amy Lavender Harris – who lives in the Junction area

Toronto: Mansfield Press, 2010. 333 pages.
$21.95 softcover. ISBN 987-1-894469-39-5

There’s an array of names you can give the place: Muddy York, Toronto the Good, Toronto the dull and/or ugly, the most multicultural city on earth, the city of neighbourhoods, the most hated city in Canada. It’s a long list of possibilities, and as this book makes delightfully clear, for each term someone is conjuring up a way of looking at the place and making it real.

In fact the way we imagine Toronto probably is much more persuasive in realizing the city than any amount of park or concrete, big buildings or small, rich people or dispossessed. It is not so much that art is truer than real life but rather that it is capable of giving us the ability to grab on to some important aspect of the city. The merit of new works of art is that they give us new ways of seeing the city we live in, afresh.

And it is not until one begins to browse this fine book that the scope of ways to think about the Toronto becomes so vast. I counted well over 600 books that Harris refers to along the way, most of them fiction, but also some poetry and plays, and a few even claiming to be non-fictional although they too contained their share of imagining. Some, like books by Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Anne Michaels, Raymond Souster and M.G. Vassanji, are well known. Many are not, and Harris’s great service is to give the lesser knowns a presence, and to open the door to their delights. Rabindranath Maharaj’s Homer in Flight has entered my must-read list, as has work by Zoe Whittall, Gwendolyn MacEwen (whom I knew about but hadn’t want to treat as seriously as Harris thinks I should), and Phyllis Young as a start.

 

full article here

As train electrification interest in the Greater Junction Area is large, the blog thought it would share a great book on the Future for Interurban Passenger Transport

Reading the conference proceedings below has provided this author with a greater understanding of the issues related to the Go Transit electrification movement in our area, though the blog would share it.
The Future for Interurban Passenger Transport. Bringing Citizens Closer Together
International Transport Forum 
OECD | 2010 | ISBN: 9282102653 | 556 pages | PDF | 5 Mb

These conference proceedings bring together ideas from leading transport researchers from around the world related to the future for interurban passenger transport A first set of papers investigates what drives demand for interurban passenger transport and infers how it may evolve in the future. The remaining papers investigate transport policy issues that emerge as key challenges: when to invest in high-speed rail, how to regulate to ensure efficient operation, how to assign infrastructure to different types of users, and how to control transport’s environmental footprint by managing modal split and improving modal performance

 

Contained in this post is a link to download this OECD publication who are the copyright holders.

…from their copyright statement,

You can copy, download or print OECD content for your own use, and you can include excerpts from OECD publications, databases and multimedia
products in your own documents, presentations, blogs, websites and teaching materials, provided that suitable acknowledgment of OECD as source
and copyright owner is given.

 

The Future for Interurban Passenger Transport. Bringing Citizens Closer Together
International Transport Forum 
OECD | 2010 | ISBN: 9282102653 | 556 pages | PDF | 5 Mb

These conference proceedings bring together ideas from leading transport researchers from around the world related to the future for interurban passenger transport A first set of papers investigates what drives demand for interurban passenger transport and infers how it may evolve in the future. The remaining papers investigate transport policy issues that emerge as key challenges: when to invest in high-speed rail, how to regulate to ensure efficient operation, how to assign infrastructure to different types of users, and how to control transport’s environmental footprint by managing modal split and improving modal performance.

 

Download link form OECD

Download from this blog

The 1B permit parking permit

Had a good experience  successful getting 30 day permit parking sticker just now.

With construction taking place in the lane used to access the yard parking normally used a trip to the parking permit office was required.

What was so interesting was the instructions of how to use and where I could park lesson was.

In addition they have a great …old? Air tube transfer system manufactured by Lamson that transfers cash payments down to the cashier office and your change back up.

Alert: bring a credit card and or debt card, if you pay by cash you will have wait for return of the air wooshed change, which can take some time 20 mins so far.

Although the Parking permit office is entertaining, as there is no why to avoid all the “why this ..whats that parking permit conversations.


Two of the small tubes used for the transfer of cash between floors.

Air system manufacture link

Location:The West Mall,Toronto,Canada

Bike superhighways just what Toronto needs and probably will never see.

Blue painted area is bike superhighway for cyclists

 

The City of London just announced that because of the opening of two bike superhighways in July of 2010 bike traffic is up 70% on two major thoroughfares in London in the year following. Build to get people on bikes instead of in their cars laying down safe, straightforward  cycling paths from outer neighborhoods into the city. They plan to  install an easy to navigate cycling super numerical series of such super pathways.

Read more: London’s Bike Superhighways Help Bike Traffic Increase by 70% | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

Read More: concerning the input of cyclists in the design of the Bike superhighways

Other cities have built such roadways for decades such that they are a normal part of the transportation choices for people in the  Netherlands – which didn’t get its extensive network of separated bicycle facilities overnight—it took decades 1

Another city – Portland—which may spend $600 million on bicycle infrastructure over the next 20 years, with a goal of upping the cycling rate to 25 percent of all trips by 2030—that has most energetically taken on the bicycle boulevard concept…1

And further…

Sweden Plans A New Superhighway For Cyclists

Those Scandinavians are so cutting edge and bike friendly. Now they’re going a step further, connecting two cities with a major artery that’s for bikes only3

 

Chicago has a series of  protected bike lanes which probably would be a good idea for your Toronto with its car non-centrism around the rights of people moving and people driving.

 

Protected bike lanes are designed with all kinds of people in mind.

Protected bike lanes are designed with all kinds of people in mind, Chicago, Click image to visit source of image site, livininthebikelane.blogspot.com

 

 

Transport for London’s Cycle Superhighways site click here to view.

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

Important Rabble article

Reported here is a important and good article for any person stymied by the  current election issues in Toronto

Reposted from rabble.ca

Moving forward on municipal voting reform in Toronto
LARRY GORDON
OCTOBER 14, 2010

As we enter the final stretch of the Toronto municipal election, two things have become abundantly clear.

First, we need a new and better way of electing our mayor and city councillors. A voting system that forces many people to vote strategically rather than sincerely, and that creates a council not reflecting our city’s diversity, has no place in a 21st-century democracy. Second, we need a process to identify the best system or systems for Toronto — a course being promoted by the Toronto chapter of Fair Vote Canada.

Progressive activists have been fighting for fair and proportional systems, and voter equality, at the federal and provincial levels. Now we need to press for the same at the municipal level. Voter equality is what creates truly representative bodies that reflect the full diversity of the community.

In 1865, Swiss philosopher Ernest Naville summarized the core democratic principles this way: “In democracy the majority has the right of decision, but all have the right to representation.” If those principles resonate with Torontonians — and indeed all Canadians — then we have to study the systems that deliver the goods.

How do we address those principles? Broadly speaking, there are two types of voting systems: winner-take-all and proportional (or fair) voting systems. Each has its place in a democracy.

When an election is held for a one-person position — such as a mayor, party leader, president — a winner-take-all system is needed. Only one candidate can win — only one person can play the role.

Under the current system in Toronto, the candidate with the most votes wins the mayor’s seat. But we could switch to a run-off system, where the winning candidate needs at least 50 per cent plus one to win — most easily done by using a ranked ballot, where second choices play a role if no candidate has a majority of first-choice votes. Most Torontonians would probably greet the use of instant run-off balloting for the mayor as a step forward.

But with any type of winner-takes-all voting, instant run-off or first-past-the-post, a lot of voters still cast ballots that elect no one.

Fortunately, when voters are electing a city council (or provincial legislature or federal parliament) — a body with many elected people whose purpose is to represent and act on behalf of all voters — then we have another option. We can and should use a fair and proportional system, designed to allow almost all voters to elect someone to council. This means that not only do the largest group of voters, or the majority, get to elect councilors, but so will those with minority points of view. For example, progressive voters living in a part of the city dominated by conservatives will be able to elect someone, and vice versa. With a fair and proportional system, you don’t lose your right to political representation because of your political views and where you happen to live. And the overall outcome is a council representing the full diversity of the electorate.

The fair voting concept sounds great, but how do you do it at the municipal level?

This is where a citizen-engagement process is needed. We have numerous options and may even want to develop a hybrid system specifically for Toronto.

One option is having larger wards that elect more than one councillor — that’s what allows more than one group of voters to gain representation. Electing two or three councillors in larger wards opens the door to representation for both the majority and minority within a ward. Electing four, five or more in a larger ward gives even better assurance of fair representation for all.

Another approach is a mixed system, which would have the added advantage of creating council positions that are accountable to a citywide base of voters.

For example, rather than 44 small neighbourhood wards, we could have 34 wards and 10 citywide council positions. The 10 citywide positions would be elected by everyone, using a ranked ballot form of proportional representation (called the single transferrable vote), which would allow minorities as small as 10 per cent of all voters in the city to elect a candidate to one of those positions.

Another interesting option: rather than citywide seats, we could divide the city into four districts, each with three or four district council members to represent voters in those areas.

Some say that the only reform we need in council elections is to use ranked ballots (instant run-off voting) to elect the individual councillors from the 44 wards as they exist today. But that winner-take-all voting would still leave too many voters unrepresented — plus it leaves us with a council composed solely of politicians each elected by a portion of voters in just 1/44th of the city. No one other than the mayor would be democratically accountable to broader groups of voters.

When we have a reform opportunity, let’s not just replace the current system, which leaves far too many people unrepresented, with another alternative that also leaves too many people unrepresented. One of the mixed systems described above might be an interesting compromise for those who want to see instant run-off voting in wards and others who want to see the introduction of at least an element of proportional representation. And multi-member wards also deserve serious consideration, which leads to the final point.

Reform opportunities are all too rare. The best choices and trade-offs are not always obvious. A traditional sound-bite political debate by city council is not good enough. Torontonians need to be engaged in a serious and thoughtful assessment of the alternatives, with both city and media support.

The Toronto Chapter of Fair Vote Canada is calling for an official city-managed, citizen-driven, expert-supported engagement process to look at municipal voting system options to identify the best voting system or systems for Toronto. In the coming years, we may have one of those rare opportunities to improve our municipal electoral system, so let’s do it right — by engaging citizens and exploring all options.

Larry Gordon is executive director of Fair Vote Canada and a Toronto resident. See FVC Toronto Chapter Facebook group: Fair Voting in Toronto.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Life expressed in a public streetscape

Palestinians sit among billboards

I really like the idea of public billboards, these in Palestine are truly wonderful – note billboards there does not meaning advertising, but a form outdoor art.

Would like to see this in the Junction – note the canopy of the tree expressed above the main painted structure – providing a great  link to the sky.

Janes Walks in the area this Sunday