“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” - David Brinkley
Over the past 15 years the community, the BIA and I have worked together to create an Emery Village Secondary Plan under the City of Toronto’s Official Plan, inviting partners to build and invest here.
Several industrial areas of Ward 7 that weren’t working were re-zoned to allow for residential development. Changing the Official Plan takes years and no other councillor has attempted such an undertaking. With the influx of residential development we are expecting over 10,000 new people and we are starting to see those areas take shape, bringing working people into our community. This new plan has increased the per-household income, increasing Ward 7’s average income to well above the poverty line.
With this plan we are seeing a decline in crime and it will only get better. The true way to reduce crime and accompanying social problems is through economics. Adjoining Wards 2, 8 and 1 still rely on Government assistance for social problems and it doesn’t work. Transfer payments in the Jane & Finch community only benefit people who work for the agencies, which in turn acts as a crutch to poverty. Speaking from experience on this issue I have tried it all and the greatest success can be seen in the approach taken with Emery Village. The Emery Village BIA plays a key role through a $500,000 annual security plan, which has placed additional surveillance for our businesses in and around our residential areas. This has caused a drastic decline in vandalism and crime.
Another factor was closing the illicit night clubs. Nothing good happens at 3:00 am and my job was to shut down establishments that fostered criminal activity. Taking heat for my approach, I went on a raid with 31 Division and City Staff. We issued eviction notices to the most notorious establishments and I suggested I would contact their insurers if they didn’t clean up their act or move out. Since then I issued conditions on liquor license applications that prohibit loud music past certain hours, genre of music played and request mandatory metal detectors.
In other news City Hall approved a Scarborough subway, bringing us a step closer to a subway along Finch Avenue. Furthering our cause the recent Colle Report on an LRT for Finch, commissioned by EVBIA, shows that a six minute drive turns into 19 minutes because of dedicated streetcar tracks hindering the function of our roadways and community.
As well, my fight to keep property taxes low is working. During the recent Scarborough Subway vote at City Hall — that came with a 1.6% property tax increase — Council adopted my motion mandating exploration of private/public partnership initiatives, which if successful will keep property taxes low. This policy formally creates action, with creative thinking in regards to generating revenues, instead of simply relying on you the tax payer.- Giorgio