In an exciting turn of events, Olivia Chow has emerged victorious in the mayoral byelection, securing the prestigious position as Toronto's new mayor. With a resounding victory at the polls, Chow now faces the responsibility of delivering on her campaign promises and shaping the future of the city. Let's delve into the key commitments that fueled her campaign and explore what lies ahead for Toronto under her leadership.
Transportation and Housing Initiatives:
Chow's transit agenda focuses on building a dedicated busway to replace the decommissioned Scarborough RT, ensuring fast and reliable public transit, and reversing recent service cuts to the TTC. Housing affordability is another crucial aspect of her plan. She aims to increase Toronto's vacant home tax from 1% to 3%, generating funds for affordable housing initiatives. Additionally, Chow envisions the construction of 25,000 homes on city-owned land, with a significant portion dedicated to affordable and rent-geared-to-income units.
Ontario Place and Taxes:
A hot-button issue during the campaign was the redevelopment of Ontario Place along Toronto's waterfront. Chow firmly opposes plans for a large spa, advocating instead for a larger public park. She vows to fight the province's intentions and safeguard city-owned land to impede the development. Furthermore, she plans to increase the municipal land transfer tax on high-value property sales to support homelessness initiatives. Although property taxes will see a modest increase, it will be far from the drastic 25% hike proposed by other candidates, with the additional revenue aimed at improving city services and reducing 911 call wait times.
Building a Vibrant Toronto:
Chow's vision extends beyond infrastructure and housing. She plans to invest in transit and cycling infrastructure, aiming to bring people back to transit and improve roadways. Enhancing the CafeTO program is another priority, ensuring Toronto's streets are lively and enjoyable during the summer months. Furthermore, she pledges to expand weekday library hours, offering greater accessibility and services to the community.
Olivia Chow's election as Toronto's new mayor marks a turning point for the city's future. With her determined agenda, she aims to address pressing issues such as transit, housing affordability, and the redevelopment of Ontario Place. As Chow assumes office, Toronto eagerly anticipates the implementation of her promises, while hoping for a prosperous and inclusive era under her leadership. The next city council meeting scheduled for July 19 will serve as a significant milestone in setting the wheels in motion for change.
SUMMARY OF INITIATIVES
Build a dedicated busway to replace the decommissioned Scarborough RT.
Reversing recent service cuts to the TTC.
Ensuring fast and reliable public transit.
Cell service availability for transit riders.
Increase Toronto's vacant home tax from 1% to 3% for affordable housing initiatives.
Construct 25,000 homes on city-owned land, with a minimum of 7,500 affordable units.
Develop at least 2,500 rent-geared-to-income units.
Allocate funds for new respite spaces and expand street outreach and drop-in programming.
Provide rent supplements for 1,000 individuals experiencing homelessness.
Oppose the province's plans for a large spa on a portion of the land.
Advocate for a larger public park.
Withhold a smaller parcel of city-owned land to prevent the Ontario government's plans.
Increase municipal land transfer tax on homes sold for over $3 million.
Use the tax increase to support people experiencing homelessness.
Property tax increase; by a "modest" amount to fund city improvements.
Focus on bringing people back to transit and improving cycling infrastructure.
Limited details provided on investments in bike lanes.
Enhance the CafeTO program for businesses and BIA's.
Provide prompt information, financial support, and expedited applications.
Make Toronto's streets more enjoyable during the summer.
Expand weekday library hours.
Ensure Toronto Public Library branches are open seven days a week, including Sundays.
Not use the strong mayor powers granted by the Ontario government.
Support majority rule at city hall.
Promise not to veto council decisions.