Council Watch - Toronto's budget, TTC service cuts, and taking action

It has been a busy week for us at TEA. On Monday, the Toronto 2011 budget was released and with it came a few surprises.

Speak out against the TTC service cuts and the attack on transit expansion

On Monday, Mayor Ford's budget proposed a TTC fare increase and cuts to service along 48 bus routes. TEA and others acted fast. Within a day, Mayor Ford and TTC Chair Karen Stintz cancelled the fare increase, but they still want to cut bus service.

We need fast, reliable transit across the city now.

Toronto needs more transit, not cuts to bus service. Cuts to late night service hurts late shift workers, students, late night businesses, and the ability of all Torontonians to choose public transit over cars.

Transit was being built. But Mayor Ford ordered the TTC to stop the work underway to bring Light Rail Transit to Sheppard, Eglinton and Finch.

Tell the Mayor and Councillors that you support the Transit City light rail network and that you don't support cuts to service. 


Our take on the 2011 Budget

Contrary to the Mayor's promise of no service cuts, the proposed budget includes cuts or delays for key environmental initiatives.  Here's our take: 


TRANSIT
As mentioned above, the 2011 Budget is not kind to the TTC with a proposed cut of evening, late night, weekend, and seasonal service on 48 bus routes. Also troubling are the delay of important customer service initiatives including the role out of subway Station Managers and the delay in the Capital budget of the Transit City Bus Plan.

 

WASTE Wins

  • Waste rate increase (3%) which will provide funding for important waste diversion programs, especially Green Bins in high-rises, better recycling, and more composting facilities.
  • Recycling upgrades for high-rise buildings - key to reducing the amount of valuable recyclables going to landfill.
  • Building City-owned composting facilities so the City can process our own organic waste and decrease reliance on private contracts with poor track records.

WASTE Losses

  • Slowing the roll-out of Green Bins means that 67% of tenants won't see Green Bins in their building until sometime in 2012. This is a service delay for tenants, and will waste money by landfilling thousands of tonnes of organic waste.
  • Delayed upgrades to the Green Lane landfill - which means additional recyclables and organics won't be sorted from the garbage before disposal. We suspect this delay could create opportunities for waste incineration instead of waste reduction.
  • Major cuts and delays to Reuse Centres - instead of building Reuse Centres in 2011, we'll be waiting at least two more years. And with fewer depots being built, more reusable and bulky goods will end up in landfill.

WATER

  • Win! Water rate increase - the annual rate increase provides funding for infrastructure maintenance, stormwater pollution prevention and the cost of water and wastewater treatment.
  • Efficiency programs cut - rebates to help residents buy efficient toilets and washing machines, and reduce lawn watering will be cancelled, making water efficiency unaffordable for many.
  • Downspout Disconnection - the free downspout disconnection service has been cut to the 13,000 residents on a waiting list for the last two years.

Thank you! 
We've been successful in the last few weeks, and our membership is growing - Thank you for taking action, volunteering, and donating!


Victory on TTC!

After Monday's budget proposed a TTC fare increase and cuts to service along 48 different bus routes, TEA mobilized our members, and we were successful! 

TEA and others, including TTCriders, acted fast. Within a day, Ford and TTC Chair Karen Stintz stopped the fare increase.

We also called our members and ally organizations to get people to speak out against the cuts at Wednesday's TTC meeting. The TTC wanted to decide on bus service cuts at yesterday's meeting, but because of the groundswell of public outcry they delayed their decision to the TTC meeting on February 2nd. 


Attend a Public Budget Consultation

It's important that TEA and our members attend public consultations on the budget to ensure that the 2011 budget is good for the environment. 

This is a short budget process, and we need our voices heard!

To speak, sign up by 12pm Tuesday January 18th. Call the City Clerk at 416-392-1032 or e-mail buc@toronto.ca. Be sure to let them know at which consultation you'd like to speak.

North York 
North York Civic Centre,
5100 Yonge St
Date: Wed January 19, 2011 - 6 pm

Scarborough 
Scarborough Civic Centre,
150 Borough Dr.
Date: Thurs January 20, 2011 - 6 pm

Toronto & East York
East York Civic Centre,
850 Coxwell Ave
Date: Wed January 19, 2011 - 6 pm

Etobicoke-York
York Civic Centre,
2700 Eglinton Ave W
Date: Thurs January 20, 2011 - 6 pm


20th Ecobunk Awards

Amidst all the stress of budgets and the new council, take some time to relax and have fun -- Join us for the 20th Annual Ecobunk Awards! 

It'll be a night of eco-comedy and celebration of the best green-washing of 2010.