Victory for the Environment!
On Tuesday, January 17th, a majority of City Councillors voted to stop proposed cuts to key environmental services in the 2012 City Budget.
None of this would have happened without our supporters contacting their Councillors and making it clear environmental services are a priority.
The 2012 Budget process included a number of serious service cuts, including those proposed during the Core Service Review in the summer of 2011. Much was at stake when City Council met to vote on the 2012 Budget. (See our past summary of proposed budget cuts and Core Services Review page).
The day began with Councillor Layton delivering over 3,500 letters and petitions from across Toronto asking Councillors to stop cuts to important environmental services.
Unfortunately, Mayor Ford and his supporters then presented a budget that included cuts to TTC services (after a 10 cent fare hike), so that TTC riders would have to pay more for less. The Mayor was also ready to cut a number of innovative programs that are part of the city’s sustainable energy strategy. These programs will reduce energy use, help us prepare for climate change, and create good green jobs.
The good news is that thanks to the thousands of Torontonians and TEA members who contacted their city councillors, motions to modify the Mayor's budget were proposed, and a majority of City Councillors voted to stop cuts to key environmental services.
After a full day of heated debate, here is what we won:
- - stopped cuts to almost all TTC routes
- - saved staff at the the Toronto Environment Office to implement the City’s Sustainable Energy Plan
- - saved half the funding for the Live Green Toronto Community Animator program
- - saved the City’s Sustainable Energy Revolving Loans
Councillor Josh Colle (Ward 15) presented a package of motions to save a number of City services. Councillor Mary Margaret McMahon made a key motion to save positions at the Toronto Environment Office to ensure the City can implement it's Sustainable Energy Strategy and plan for climate change. Councillor Joe Mihevc made a motion to preserve half of the funding for the very successful LiveGreen Toronto Community Animators program. Councillor Mike Layton made a motion to save the Sustainable Energy Revolving Loan Fund.
While the 2012 Budget battle is now over, much is still at stake. It’s clear Mayor Ford has not made the environment a priority. If anything, his actions suggest a healthy environment is not part of his vision for Toronto. Thankfully, a majority of Councillors did not agree with this vision. In the coming months, TEA will continue working hard to talk to Torontonians and City Councillors to make sure our vision of a green Toronto for all becomes Toronto’s future.