Coun­cil un­cer­tain about pro­vin­cial funds

Tran­sit, hous­ing, day care and more are pri­or­i­ties for the city, but Doug Ford has not made his own pri­or­i­ties clear

StarMetro Toronto - - TORONTO - Jen­nifer Pagliaro

As a Toronto coun­cil­lor at city hall, Doug Ford of­ten saw him­self as a co-mayor to his brother Rob Ford. The pair in­sisted on cut­ting spend­ing, low­er­ing taxes and build­ing sub­ways.

Now that Ford will soon be in charge of the prov­ince and master of many mu­nic­i­pal do­mains as pre­mier, it’s not clear what’s in store for a city that is strug­gling to man­age an in­flux of refugees, cre­ate enough af­ford­able hous­ing and build mul­ti­ple tran­sit lines that have been planned for years. Pre­mier-des­ig­nate Doug Ford hasn’t com­mit­ted to pri­or­ity projects for Toronto such as the Water­front LRT.

With so­cial hous­ing, for ex­am­ple, the city has a 10-year cap­i­tal re­pairs plan to pre­vent fur­ther clo­sures of sub­si­dized units while many build­ings con­tinue to crum­ble.

Ford, who once handed out $20 bills to Toronto Com­mu­nity Hous­ing ten­ants, has not spec­i­fied any fi­nan­cial help for the cor­po­ra­tion that is Canada’s largest land­lord, re­spon­si­ble for some 110,000 res­i­dents.

On the tran­sit file, TTC chair Coun­cil­lor Josh Colle wor­ried Ford’s elec­tion puts the city’s pri­or­ity projects at risk.

Amid con­tro­versy over its high cost, coun­cil is push­ing ahead with the one-stop, $3.35 bil­lion sub­way ex­ten­sion to the Scar­bor­ough Town Cen­tre. Ford has promised to re­vert to an ear­lier three-stop plan, which could add at least $1 bil­lion to the bill, and, Colle warned, de­lay the pro­ject.

Coun­cil­lor Janet Davis said she is skep­ti­cal of an un­con­firmed state­ment that the PCS would hon­our the Lib­eral government’s com­mit­ment to build 100,000 new licensed child care spa­ces over the next five years.

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