Paul Cheng vows to stop BRT and cut red tape during mayoral platform announcement

Paul Cheng unveils his mayoral campaign platform at his Horton Street office on Friday, Sept. 14.
Paul Cheng unveils his mayoral campaign platform at his Horton Street office on Friday, Sept. 14. Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL

Bus bays will help eliminate congestion on London’s roads and streets, according to mayoral candidate Paul Cheng.

The retired gas and oil consultant and businessman unveiled his platform on Friday afternoon, which included a commitment to stopping bus rapid transit and coming up with alternatives that have an immediate benefit to all Londoners.

Those alternatives focused on London as being a “car city,” and included smart signals, the Adelaide Street underpass, a roundabout at the intersection of Egerton, Hamilton, and Trafalgar Streets, and bus bays.

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There’s room for bus bays at five different intersections in London, said Cheng, who offered Wharncliffe and Oxford as an example.

“Going west, on Oxford. There’s a bus stop before, there’s a bus stop after, and there’s a bus stop around the corner. When the bus pulls up, stops, and there’s a green light… what happens to you behind the bus? You stop.”

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There’s space between Oxford Street and the Starbucks building for a bus bay, he explained, that would allow cars to move past buses when they pick up and drop off passengers.

The three other focuses of Cheng’s campaign are “impartial leadership,” cutting red tape at city hall to attract new businesses, and alleviating poverty and homelessness.

Cheng had little to say about impartial leadership, and said he’d pursue provincial funding for “treatment centres,” to address addiction. When asked whether he supported supervised consumption, Cheng said, “It is here now, so I accept it and I support it no question.”

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The future of London’s supervised consumption site is unclear; the province approved the space’s funding until the end of September, and says it’s consulting experts on whether to keep it running.

Cheng also said London has “developed a reputation as business-unfriendly,” and he plans to remedy that by cutting red tape and bureaucracy at city hall.

“The choking point in London is planning and permits. We have stop-gap planning, but we do not have effective planning. There’s a difference. As mayor, I will trust and rely on city hall staff to exercise good judgment. But when there’s a persistent problem, I get involved.”

Cheng also plans to address a backlog of planning and permits by holding daily morning meetings with the city manager, the city planner, and their staff. He said he’d be an “impartial observer” during these meetings and expects they’ll come to more efficient solutions.

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He also sees the upcoming JUNO awards as an opportunity to aggressively develop tourism, and to impress celebrities.

“I want the names of every performing star on a banner at the airport entrance, coming off 401 into Highbury and Wellington, University Gates, and Via Rail station,” he said.

“I want our London artists to have the opportunity to personally greet and present a bouquet to every star that arrives in London.”

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