After more than two years of community engagement, expert input, and in-depth modelling, the TransformTO project reached Toronto’s Parks and Environment Committee in early May. The ambitious climate plan, developed by TAF along with City staff and community members, received unanimous approval by the committee members. The committee also approved a number of friendly amendments to the report recommendations: The most significant one directs the City to consult Toronto’s Indigenous community to ensure local traditional knowledge is incorporated into the plan.
With committee approval secured, TransformTO was off to City Council’s May 24-26 meeting. In the meantime, several dozen civic society organizations gave TransformTO a big boost through their joint letter to Mayor John Tory and City Council, urging the adoption of the plan which they saw as a source of many community benefits. The Toronto Region Board of Trade also joined the discussion by raising important questions about the cost and policy implications of TransformTO, something that I agree needs deeper analysis in the next phase of the TransformTO project. I hope we can leverage the interest and expertise of organizations like the Board of Trade to help us continuously improve the plan to ensure that it creates a wide range of community benefits, including local economic development.
On May 24, TransformTO was finally on the agenda of City Council and we were looking forward to addressing questions about the plan that might arise from our City Councillors. Unfortunately, an overflowing Council schedule pushed all remaining items, including TransformTO to Council’s July 5 – 7 meeting. Meanwhile, continued flooding and erosion along Toronto’s waterfront as well as international politics keep elevating the issue of climate change – and the central role cities play in addressing it – back up to the top of the agenda.
We have to wait an additional five weeks before City Council votes on this crucial plan. Despite the delay, we will be turning our attention to how TAF and our partners can begin planning for the next phase of TransformTO – because we have no time to lose.
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