As difficult as it may be to imagine, given the… surreal? wacky? cartoonish? I’ve truly run out of adjectives to describe the performance of this current city council over the course of the last three years… this week’s meeting could well turn out to represent the… pinnacle? nadir? defining moment? of its entire term.
Check out Neville Park’s cheat sheet if you haven’t already for a most excellent and entertaining overview of what will be going on over the course of the next 3 or 4 days. As always, there’s a boat load of important matters to be dealt with including the appointment of the replacement for Doug Holyday as councillor for Ward 3. His letter to his former colleagues insisting they tap his choice of Peter Leon who was ignored last week by Etobicoke-York Community Council when they opted for Chris Stockwell should make that debate more intriguing than it really should be.
That item, of course, along with every other one on council’s agenda will be overshadowed once more by the topic of transit. More specifically the ongoing, drawn out, forever and forever until perpetuity fight over a Scarborough subway. The serial killer of our political scene that just cannot be dispatched.
Yep. It’s back. Just two short weeks ago it seemed like a sure thing too, resuscitated by an infusion of federal cash. But now, with a provincial short fall and the city manager laying out the barest minimum of property tax increases that will be needed for the city to pony up its piece of the funding pie (for a more realistic picture of what we could be paying to build the Scarborough subway, check out David Hains and Hamutal Dotan at Torontoist), not to mention its biggest booster in an ever steepening pot of brewing scandal, a slight pall has been cast over the subway celebrations.
The kicker is, after all the discussion we’ve had on the topic, the monotonous, endless back-and-forth since 2010, there’s still no rational, compelling reason to replace the proposed Scarborough LRT with a subway in either of its current alignments. The case to do so has remained in its under-developed embryonic state. An a priori argument, of sorts, stating a subway is the best option for Scarborough because, well, subways are the best. World class. First class.
It’s a heaping dose of head shake, bulging with a bloated sense of entitlement and misplaced resentment, encouraged mightily by excruciating political calculation at all three levels of government.
As Matt Elliott pointed out in his column yesterday, the cost of building this Scarborough subway is going to put an undue strain on the city’s budget for decades to come, threatening other programs and services as well as other transit infrastructure builds, many of them a much higher priority than a subway in Scarborough. Any member of city council who votes in favour of proceeding with this project is doing so out of nothing more than pure self-interest. They are signalling a willingness to jeopardize the city’s best interests for the sake of scoring cheap political points.
That’s what this vote comes down to. It will define their term in office. Let’s be sure to judge them accordingly.
— pleadingly submitted by Cityslikr