Re­ally sorry, but the GTA is full

How did a city so beau­ti­fully planned fall so far be­hind? by Ron John­son

Richmond Hill Post - - News - RON JOHN­SON

Toronto is full. That was the sen­ti­ment ex­pressed by Premier Doug Ford and Mayor John Tory to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment re­cently with re­gards to the refugee sit­u­a­tion, and it seems to be play­ing out in many ar­eas of the city whether it be through the decade-long wait for af­ford­able hous­ing, a shel­ter sys­tem op­er­at­ing over­ca­pac­ity, the opi­oid cri­sis, the high price of real es­tate or the never-end­ing crush of cars that is help­ing to make our streets more un­safe than ever be­fore.

Re­cently, coun­cil­lors sug­gested that mid­town is full. And un­til some­thing is changed and we start to take our in­fra­struc­ture and our safety and health se­ri­ously, we should con­sider putting the brakes on any fur­ther de­vel­op­ment.

It is in­deed shock­ing to see just how quickly the re­gion around the in­ter­sec­tion of Yonge and Eglin­ton has grown, al­ready ex­ceed­ing pop­u­la­tion es­ti­mates.

In North York and part of the GTA, schools are over­crowded, sub­ways are peren­ni­ally op­er­at­ing in sar­dine mode, road­ways are clogged. Even sign­ing up for a recre­ational pro­gram re­quires pre­ci­sion tim­ing and some luck.

Good Lord, we’ve even traded DeMar DeRozan to the San An­to­nio Spurs! Is this how it’s sup­posed to go in a world-class city? I’m not con­vinced.

While the city squab­bles and stud­ies and pre­pares for an elec­tion months in­stead of con­cen­trat­ing on se­ri­ous is­sues, the prob­lems con­tinue to mount and grow.

Per­haps the is­sues fac­ing the city are too much for the lo­cal coun­cil. I mean, let’s face it, lis­ten­ing to the petty bick­er­ing dur­ing a city coun­cil meet­ing over study af­ter study leaves one to ques­tion their abil­ity to man­age their own lives let alone one of the largest gov­ern­ments in the coun­try.

That it has be­come pos­si­ble to even talk about com­pletely shut­ting down de­vel­op­ment in a ma­jor ur­ban cen­tre to wait for schools and tran­sit and such to play catch-up is a dire warn­ing that some­thing is out of whack.

Will the city freeze de­vel­op­ment? Of course not. But what kind of mes­sage does that send? It’s like wav­ing a white flag and say­ing enough is enough, we sur­ren­der.

We aren’t with­out our share of suc­cesses. We have many rea­sons to be proud and many op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth.

But there is the feel­ing on the streets that some­thing has changed.

There is hope in the up­com­ing elec­tion and the in­ter­est­ing new can­di­dates. And young folks who are or­ga­niz­ing cam­paigns against some coun­cil­lors who seem slow to re­spond to press­ing is­sues.

This is likely the most im­por­tant elec­tion the city has faced in a gen­er­a­tion.

The city has a grow­ing back­log of is­sues in se­ri­ous need of so­lu­tions

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