THINK BIG­GER

TORY TELLS SHRUNKEN COUN­CIL CITY NEEDS TO

StarMetro Toronto - - FRONT PAGE - Francine Kopun

Mayor John Tory ad­dressed a slimmed-down city coun­cil for the first time on Tues­day, fac­ing two rows of coun­cil­lors and a row of empty seats, urg­ing them to think big­ger, even though the new coun­cil is far smaller than planned.

“We’re hav­ing this great mo­ment on the world stage right now, where we’re con­sid­ered a cool, wel­com­ing, re­spect­ful, car­ing place to be,” Tory told the city’s 25 coun­cil­lors, grouped in the first and sec­ond rows of desks in cham­bers at city hall for the first time since be­ing elected on Oct. 22. The third row of desks was empty, the re­sult of leg­is­la­tion passed this sum­mer by the prov­ince — led by Pre­mier Doug Ford, a for­mer city coun­cil­lor — that re­duced the num­ber of wards in the city to 25 from a planned 47. That leg­is­la­tion is still be­ing chal­lenged in the courts. Tory said Toronto needs to be “think­ing big­ger,” and mak­ing progress on is­sues like af­ford­able hous­ing and tran­sit.

“It means be­ing pre­pared to make our­selves a bit un­com­fort­able on some is­sues so that we can make up for the fact we as a city have not kept up in a num­ber of key ar­eas,” Tory said, point­ing to prob­lems like crowded sub­ways and con­gested roads. “No one should be fraz­zled and stressed be­fore they get to work, and then spend the day dread­ing the trip home. It’s not pro­duc­tive or liv­able. We can do bet­ter. And we will.”

Tory, who has promised no tax in­crease greater than in­fla­tion, pointed out that rev­enue from land trans­fer taxes is no longer grow­ing and in­ter­est rates are ris­ing.

“All of which sug­gest that we won’t sim­ply be able to do things ex­actly as we have in the past,” Tory said.

RICHARD LAUT­ENS/TORONTO STAR

The num­ber of Toronto city coun­cil­lors was re­duced to 25 from a planned 47 by the prov­ince, leav­ing the third row of desks in the coun­cil cham­ber empty at Tues­day’s meet­ing.

RICHARD LAUT­ENS/TORONTO STAR

Bob Goulet per­forms a smudg­ing cer­e­mony and drum­ming rit­ual for the coun­cil­lors be­ing sworn in. Here he smudges newly minted Coun­cil­lor Mike Ford. Toronto's new coun­cil held their first meet­ing at city hall Dec. 4.

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