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City Hall wants to shut down Cycling Advisory Committee

It was rumoured to be happening, but now it’s official… the Rob Ford Regime wants to shut down the Cycling Advisory Committee .  The Cycling Committee is not the only one facing the axe… it is one of 21 committees (PDF) to be shut down… committees that are formed by experts in their chosen field to advise Council on matters, because Councillors do not have time to be experts in everything.

In case you think that this is to save money – the report states that “There are no financial implications resulting from this report. Support for advisory bodies and working committees is provided through existing resources in the City Clerk’s Office and relevant divisions.” (thanks to Ryan for pointing this out in the comments below) … so it’s NOT about saving money, it IS about preventing Torontonians from being involved.

For a Council that was supposed to be striving for accountability, transparency, and “respect for taxpayers”, it has gone out of their way over the past 4 months to close off city government from the people it’s meant to serve.

Councillor Adam Vaughan has sent out an “Action Alert” to alert people to this latest threat to democracy and let them know what they can do (this has since been picked up by the Bike Union as well):

Dear Cycling and Pedestrian advocates,

Over the years many of you have played an important role, advising City Council and City staff on advisory bodies.

Mayor Ford is moving to eliminate these groups and opportunities for resident input.

Two of the groups slated for elimination are the Toronto Pedestrian Committee and the Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee.

Sustaining and building a vibrant city is complex.  In every decision there are hundreds of needs, ideas and perspectives that need to be considered in order to get to creative, innovative, solutions that make our City great for everyone.

We need you and your neighbours at the table with us – governing the City’s many agencies, boards, committees and corporations, serving on advisory committees and bringing your voices to Standing Committees.

The latest proposal to keep people out of City Hall, by eliminating formal advisory roles for taxpayers is on the agenda for the next Executive Committee.

Please come to the meeting and share your views:

Date: Wednesday April 20, 2011
Time: starting at 9:30am
Location: Toronto City Hall, Second Floor, Committee Room 1
To make a deputation at Executive Committee, contact Frances Pritchard of the City Clerk’s office to register. She can be reached at 416-392-6627 or exc@toronto.ca.

The full report is available online here:
If you can’t make it to the meeting, you can still let the councillors on the Executive Committee know how important these advisory committees are to you.

Mayor Ford   416-397-3673  mayor_ford@toronto.ca
Councillor Holyday  416-392-4002  councillor_holyday@toronto.ca
Councillor Ainslie  416-392-4008  councillor_ainslie@toronto.ca
Councillor Berardinetti 416-392-0213  councillor_berardinetti@toronto.ca
Councillor Del Grande 416-392-1374  councillor_delgrande@toronto.ca
Councillor Kelly  416-392-4047  councillor_kelly@toronto.ca
Councillor Mammoliti  416-395-6401  councillor_mammoliti@toronto.ca
Councillor Milczyn  416-392-4040  councillor_milczyn@toronto.ca
Councillor Minnan-Wong 416-397-9256  councillor_minnan-wong@toronto.ca
Councillor Palacio  416-392-7011  councillor_palacio@toronto.ca
Councillor Robinson  416-395-6408  councillor_robinson@toronto.ca
Councillor Shiner  416-395-6413  councillor_shiner@toronto.ca
Councillor Thompson  416-397-9274  councillor_thompson@toronto.ca
Please share this information with your networks and community.

Best regards,

Adam Vaughan

 

PLEASE EMAIL your city councillor and ANY or ALL of the ones on the Executive Council listed above, and let them know that you want Torontonians to have a voice in how they city we love is run.

  • Ross

    What does it cost to keep the committee up and running? And what results have they delivered for cyclists in Toronto?

    I’m not trying to defend Ford, but it’s hard to rally for a cause if we don’t know what we’re being asked to support.

  • Not sure of the costs, but the point of the cycling committee is that Council asks it to look at issues and report back on what they recommend. It’s made up of people who know bike infrastructure and programs wayyy better than Councillors do (as they can’t be experts in EVERYTHING) and allow Councillors to make INFORMED decisions.

  • The report says “There are no financial implications resulting from this report. Support for advisory bodies and working committees is provided through existing resources in the City Clerk’s Office and
    relevant divisions.”

    The city could probably save some small amounts – lay off a staff member or two? – but it’s not as though there’s a whole layer of bureaucracy built around these committees.

  • Dave

    Just another daily outrage brought to you by the Ford Regime. I don’t think my blood pressure can handle this. Sometimes I think it would be better for all of us if we just stopped paying attention to city hall for 3.5 years, and focus our attention on the next election instead.

  • Maybe the Cycling Committee really is redundant, if they’re not even committed enough to make quorum:
    http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/2010/agendas/committees/cy/cy100412/cy100412.pdf
    Minutes of the Meeting of the Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee
    Meeting 17
    Monday, April 12, 2010

    The Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee meeting could not be convened for lack of quorum and all business was carried forward to the next regular meeting of the Committee scheduled on Monday, May 3, 2010.

  • Doug Vallery

    Why can’t the process of advising and informing the governments, the electorate and the public go forward without a paid committee structure? To my mind, bicycle advocates are more effective when they are not linked to a government committee. Volunteers with no budget and “independent” of government influence may be much more effective.

  • Antony

    Reforming committees would be fine. But scrapping them entirely is just going to eliminate a source of local insight, produce more ignorant staff, and dumber decisions from council.