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Toronto Environmental Alliance report card critical of city - Inside Toronto

May 17, 2012
David Nickle
Inside Toronto

Toronto Council has been "going in circles" on key environmental issues, according to the Toronto Environmental Alliance's first environmental report card for city hall since the 2010 election.

"Unfortunately, we've seen council going in circles," said TEA campaigner Jamie Kirkpatrick at a Toronto City Hall news conference the morning of May 17.

"On the positive side we didn't go backwards on a lot of these issues - in spite of our frustration about transit going in circles we manage to avoid going in the wrong direction. But on some of these issues it's time for the new council to start doing the work we elected them to."

The report card has been an annual affair for the environmental advocacy group. They have in the past held the feet of councils and mayors to the fire over their progress on a variety of issues, ranging from air quality to waste diversion.

This time, they waited 18 months to weigh in on Mayor Rob Ford's first term of office. And rather than using letter grades, as they have in the past, they assessed council in six key areas as either going in circles, going the wrong way or going the right way.

Here's how the city did.

On Transit, TEA said the city is going in circles.

"We saw the light rail plan killed in October of 2010, and we spent the rest of the time talking about it before starting it again," he said. "Bus routes were cut in the 2011 budget but many were saved. On this issue council really needs to go in the right direction and get stable funding from other levels of government for transit."

On the city's need to achieve waste diversion, council once again was going in circles.

"The priority that council had was to achieve 70 per cent waste diversion from landfill in 2012, and we didn't reach that," said campaigner Emily Alfred. "We think council is just going in circles."

The city is also going in circles on the need identified by TEA to buy and support locally-produced green products, after council stopped plans to buying local. And the city is moving in circles on the city's sustainable energy strategy.

The city is moving "the wrong way" on transportation, thanks to the removal of two bike lanes in Scarborough and the looming removal of bike lanes on Jarvis Street.

And council is moving forward with providing the public tools to prevent pollution.

As originally published here: http://www.insidetoronto.com/news/cityhall/article/1357799--toronto-environmental-alliance-report-card-critical-of-city

2012-05-17 Toronto Environmental Alliance report card critical of city (InsideToronto).pdf108.44 KB