At Thursday’s final council meeting of the term, Mayor Rob Ford admitted his behaviour over the past four years — including a crack cocaine scandal which made headlines worldwide — was tough on councillors.
“I know I put council through some challenges. I know I embarrassed council,” Ford said. “The past is the past [and] we have to move forward.”
“It has been a challenge.”
The comments came during a speech at the last council meeting before the Toronto election in October in which Ford acknowledged the contribution of Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly and outgoing councillors like Karen Stintz, who announced last week she was quitting the mayoral race and leaving municipal politics.
He also thanked his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, for being his best friend and for “having my back 24-7.”
Lindsay Luby quits
One of council’s longest serving members has called it quits.
At Thursday’s council meeting, veteran Ward 4 Etobicoke Centre Coun. Gloria Lindsay Luby said she won’t be seeking re-election in October.
Lindsay Luby was first elected to Etobicoke council in 1985.
She said support from her constituents has kept her going for nearly 30 years.
“We’ve brought some real things to the table, and I’ve been able to work very successfully with my community, whose support I have enjoyed for 11 consecutive terms,” Lindsay Luby told council.
Lindsay Luby said one her most satisfying experiences was helping to set up the governing structure for the new amalgamated City of Toronto in 2000.
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. What a chance to be part of a brand new city and to be part of that build, to be part of creating the logo.’ I was part of that,” she said.
She has served 11 consecutive terms, but not all on council. She was on the school board prior to council.
She endorsed Humber Valley Village president Niels Christensen as her replacement.
Lindsay Luby joked when she chose a perfume to wear on Thursday morning, she noticed the label read, “Escape.”
Ward 3 Etobicoke Centre Coun. Peter Leon also announced he won’t be seeking re-election in October, as he said he would do when he was appointed.
Leon said he had lived his dream and that council is a place of “integrity, honour and trust.”
Council votes to proceed with Scarborough bus garage
Also on Thursday, council voted in favour of a motion to proceed with the TTC’s proposed bus garage near McNicoll Avenue and Kennedy Road in Scarborough.
Members voted 32-8 to approve an environmental report and send it to the province’s Ministry of the Environment.
They had debated the issue for a good part of the day; some council members saying the city had consulted enough on the matter and that complaints had come from a church and seniors’ home knowingly built in an area zoned for industrial development.
“No one was deceived. No one was misled,” said Coun. John Parker.
“We need the garage because we need the buses. Already our buses are packed like sardine cans … The buses are coming. We need a place to park them.”
Read the agenda item here.
Fares for the 25-minute express train to Pearson airport from downtown, which will open next year, were also debated at council on Thursday evening.
The issue was under the spotlight because of reports that Metrolinx is considering charging $20-30 on a one-way fare.
Council voted 27-7 in favour of asking Metrolinx to set fares at rates comparable to GO Transit fares. It also voted 25-8 to ask the provincial transportation agency to make the fare more affordable.
Council will also tell Metrolinx that the city wants additional stops along the Union Pearson Express line.