WATCH ABOVE: The long-awaited council meeting to discuss the Gardiner hybrid and removal options began with councillors still unsure how the vote will unfold. Mark McAllister reports.
TORONTO – City council has started the debate over the future of the eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway.
The long-awaited council meeting to discuss the hybrid and removal options began with councillors still unsure how the vote will unfold.
Many informal tallies have indicated an equal number of councillors support one plan or the other. That would leave the fate of the expressway in the hands of a few.
Councillor David Shiner hasn’t yet made his intention known. “I’m listening to the issues and I’ll make a decision on the council floor,” he said.
There is room during the debate for other ideas to come forward which could possibly delay a decision.
TTC chair Josh Colle has now come forward with the notion that the entire Gardiner be sold or leased by the city in order to raise money for public transit.
The plan would certainly bring the issue of road tolls to the surface again should any group be interested.
Councillor Jim Karygiannis plans to bring the idea of creating a tunnel to replace the elevated portion of the Gardiner forward.
He wants city staff to look into the feasibility of funding through public-private partnerships or tolling and report back in September.
“I think there is quite a bit of appetite at least to look at that option,” councillor Cesar Palacio said. “Then it will be much simpler for us to make an intelligent and informed decision.”
The only councillor absent for the morning session of the meeting was Rob Ford, who had said he wasn’t sure if he would be able to attend for health reasons.
During that time, staff provided an overview of the options before council decided to go into a private session to discuss legal issues surrounding land along the waterfront.
“Things change. Debates happen a lot,” councillor Ana Bailão said. “I have a feeling we’re going to be debating the issue for quite some time. It might take a day or two before the vote comes through.”