So after the mammoth joke of a public consultation we had last week, the Powers That Be have spoken.
They didn’t raise TTC fares or cut daycare, but this is what they did do (via Now Magazine):
– No more free garbage tags. This actually makes sense – it’s not like they cost a lot or anything, and hardly anyone seems to use them. I didn’t use mine last year and can’t find the ones we got this year even though we could totally use them now. (Tags are only for extra bags that don’t fit in your city-provided garbage can.)
– Turning over the running of city zoos and farms (we have farms?), excluding Riverdale Farm, to private companies. Um, why? What’s the rationale here? Will the companies be paying for the concession, or are we talking groups of amateur enthusiasts here?
– Something about not trying as hard as we were to plant trees. Apparently Toronto had a goal to “improve our tree canopy”, increasing the tree cover in the city by 30-40% over the next 50 years. Now there’s no deadline, just like there’s no deadline on building bike lanes. Because fuck trees!
– Maybe cooling it with the planters on major streets. Because fuck flowers!
– In a Scrooge-esque note, turning The Christmas Bureau into a private charity, then cutting off city funds. Jesus, what’s next, taking crutches and wheelchairs away from poor people?
– Yep! No more Hardship Fund. Because a $60/year car tax is too much for drivers to afford, but a $2000 wheelchair is entirely within the means of someone struggling to get by on disability because they have MS. WTF, Toronto? What kind of assholes are we?
– Selling off the Toronto Centre for the Arts, the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts (the Sony Centre), and the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. This seems really short-sighted to me, because these theatres cost an arm and a leg to rent and are booked year-round, so they must be turning a profit. You keep them, you get the revenue indefinitely. You sell them, you get the cash once and then it’s gone. (If the theatres ARE unprofitable, that’s probably fixable by raising the rental rates. It’s not like non-profit community groups are using them anyway.)
– Selling the Toronto Zoo. WHY? WHY ARE YOU SELLING THE ZOO? THIS IS EVEN MORE STUPID. Aside from the fact that, as I pointed out above, turning a long-term source of income into a one-time windfall is short-sighted, I don’t like the idea of a private company having control of, say, tigers. I don’t like the idea of Rob Ford having control of tigers either, but at least there are checks and balances in place to keep him from bringing one to council meetings and threatening Adam Vaughan with mauling. If the zoo is privatized ANYTHING could happen. It just takes one eccentric billionaire CEO and an unfortunate incident with the orangutans to lead to a Rise of the Planet of the Apes situation, people.
– Transferring the operation Black Creek urban farm to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Again, I didn’t know we had farms. No opinion on this one.
– No more police officers at construction site. This I am totally in favour of. We do not need to pay cops $65/hour to guard holes in the ground. This was a sheer waste of money and I’m glad they cut this.
– Turning Heritage Toronto into a private charity. I don’t really know anything about Heritage Toronto, but they seem to be all about promoting and preserving Toronto’s, um, heritage. Don’t really have an opinion on this one either.
So overall, a couple of good ideas, a couple of meh/probably dumb ideas, some REALLY dumb ideas, and some egregious assholiness.