Keesmaat says she would appoint dedicated team to fast-track relief line
Mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat speaks at a campaign stop in Kensington Market on Saturday.
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Saturday, October 13, 2018 1:24PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 13, 2018 9:21PM EDT
Mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat is promising to fast-track work on the relief subway line by immediately appointing a “dedicated team” that will be responsible for completing the design work and beginning the acquisition of properties for station locations.
The pledge was included in a 100-day action plan that Keesmaat laid out during a campaign stop in Kensington Market on Saturday morning.
The action plan is largely based on promises that Keesmaat has made throughout the mayoral campaign but includes specific steps she will take during her first 100 days in power to fulfill those promises.
Those steps include a commitment to “finalize the planning and design work” for the construction of a “grand boulevard” that would replace the eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway, which council previously voted in favour of rebuilding back in 2015.
The plan also included a commitment to immediately assemble a bundle of city-owned lands that could be offered to housing developers for the creation of new affordable units. Keesmaat has previously promised to create 100,000 new affordable units over the next decade, in part through partnerships with private sector developers.
“We need to get right to work and that is why I have laid out a plan for the first 100 days. Under Mr. Tory’s leadership the first city council meeting was a symbolic one of shaking hands and taking photos. My first city council meeting will have an agenda with these items that I have outlined and we will begin advancing this critical, important and necessary work, rolling up our sleeves and just getting it done,” Keesmaat told reporters at the campaign stop.
John Tory has also campaigned on a commitment to get the relief subway line built and on Friday he held a press conference outside Main Station to name Beaches-East York candidate Brad Bradford as his “champion” for the project, provided that he is elected on Oct. 22. .
Tory also told reporters at that press conference that more has been done to advance the relief line under his leadership than “ever before,” most notably the council approval of a route for the first phase of the project and the commitment of $205 million in funding from other levels of government to undertake planning and design work on the line.
Keesmaat, however, accused Tory of prioritizing his “SmartTrack” line over the relief line.
She told reporters that the “champion for the relief line must be a mayor who prioritizes the relief line.”
She said that if elected a dedicated team will report directly to her on the relief line’s progress with the goal of having the still unfunded project completed by 2028.
“Instead of having a whole series of tasks that are undertaken one after another I will be folding up many of those tasks in order to deliver the relief line three years earlier,” she said.
Tory canvasses in Scarborough
While Keesmaat was rolling out her 100-day plan in Kensington Market, Tory was canvassing for votes alongside volunteers in Scarborough.
He told reporters that while the campaign has largely been about “transit and affordable housing,” it also needs to be about making sure that investments are shared “in every part of the city.”
"Toronto is booming but we have to make sure that it is all of Toronto that is booming and I think I am the candidate that has demonstrated over four years and this campaign that I care about, that I spend time in and that I understand every part of this city," he said.
The other items included in Keesmaat’s 100-day plan are as follows:
- Immediately reduce the speed limit on all residential roads to 30km/hour
- Identify the city’s 100 most dangerous intersections, which will be redesigned.
- Begin the design assessment of school zones to ensure they are safe by design.
- Formally request provincial amendments necessary to place a surtax on luxury homes worth more than $4 million. That surtax will fund a rent-to-own program.