MORE COUNCILLORS OR TORONTO COMMUNITY BOARDS
- New York City (NYC) has a 25% greater land area and 3.3 times the population of Toronto.
- NYC has 51 City Councillors and up to 2,950 (50 x 59 Community Boards) citizen Community Board members providing input directly to City Council.
- Toronto has 44 Councillors and receives no formal input from the communities they serve.
- add more Toronto Councillors at an approximate cost of $400,000 per Councillor per annum, or
- reduce the size of City Council to around 23 and, create Toronto Community Boards with up to 1,150 citizen Board members (50 x 23) providing input into city government.
1. In 2014, Toronto City Council approved an expenditure of $800,000 to conduct a Ward Boundaries review in 2014, 2015 and 2016. This may result in new Wards and additional City Councillors.
2. INSTEAD, the next elected City Council should strongly consider recommending to residents that: the 23 Provincial Riding Boundaries be adopted as the Municipal (Ward) Boundaries; the number of City Councillors be reduced to 23; and 23 Community Board Districts be created under the Toronto Municipal Code.
3. The advantages to communities and the City:
- Community Boards legislation will ensure transparent and accountable government
- importantly, provide democratic, inclusive, efficient and effective public consultation through the Community Boards
- provide an efficient and effective means for residents to communicate their ideas, needs, problems and solutions to the City and Province through Community Boards
- provide an effective vehicle for the City, Province and their Agencies to communicate directly with the communities they serve through Community Boards
- create better management and reporting on City and Agency activities by creating Community Districts, assigning staff, and working with communities through the Community Boards
- eliminate the routine duplication of work (and costs) by the City and Province in determining different voting and service districts
- the part of the savings resulting from the elimination of 20 City Councillors (x $400,000 annually) can be directed to the Community Boards for management, websites, communications as necessary
4. This is an opportunity to create voting and city service District boundaries that do not divide communities.
Discussion Paper – Community Boards – April 11, 2014
Community Boards provide an efficient structure for democratic, participatory governance by residents. New York City has successfully utilized Community Boards for more than 40 years.
Following amalgamation in 1998, the new City of Toronto became the fifth largest municipality in North America, trailing Mexico City, New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. Despite continuous verbal and written reassurance from City Hall that we have an open and transparent, participatory City Government, the reality is quite different. Many residents find their views are not heard, and they are routinely left out of the decision-making process at City Hall.
Your comments and feedback on creating Community Boards for the City of Toronto would be appreciated. Included in the “Discussion Paper” is draft legislation for two term ‘limits’ for elected City Councillors.
Rethinking (Reform of) Toronto’s Governance
-Paul Bedford, former City of Toronto Chief Planner, hosted by the Munk School of Global Affairs, September 14, 2010
(Please wait approximately 1-2 minutes while video loads – you can click “stop” key for video)