Top Five WTF Moments From Rob Ford

city hallThis guy's name is Dan Speerin and he put together a little collection of what he perceives to be Rob Ford's top five WTF moments.

I think he's missing a lot. Post your favourite WTF moments from Rob Ford in the comments!


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Comments (55 - click here to join in!)

elvis

Your blog is becoming like Freddie P's, just uber left wing. I didn't think it could suck any more than it already does.

September 14, 2011 @ 11:23 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@elvis

Bite me.

p.s. I'm not affiliated with a party - I vote for the person. In my lifetime, I've voted PC, Liberal and NDP. Rob Ford might be "right wing", but that's not why I hate him. I hate him because he's going to ruin the city I love.

September 14, 2011 @ 11:26 AM

elvis

Testy this morning Mikey. Don't blame me for your blog sucking...just ask your brother.

September 14, 2011 @ 11:31 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@elvis

It's easy to admire Rob Ford and his values when you live in Oshawa.

September 14, 2011 @ 11:34 AM

elvis

I never said I admired or hated Rob Ford. And as I said before, I'm in Toronto more often during the week than I am in Oshawa so any decision by City Hall impacts me, as much as, if not more than you Mississauga working boy. I do however, get to vote in both cities so bite me.

September 14, 2011 @ 11:38 AM

Wandering Penguin

Not sure what show he was appearing on in the #2 WTF moment...but did the hosts actually confuse "Austria" with "Australia"? The conference was in Austria. At the very end of the clip the host says something about putting another shrimp on the barbie. Which is likely exactly the kind of show Rob (and Doug) should appear on - one where nobody knows the difference.

And holy hell: was that Don Berns in the voiceover at the end? Very cool.

Since you asked: my #1 Ford WTF moment was when he told everyone they should call 911 when they see people "causing graffiti". It will be hard to top that one.

A close second: the moment I learned he had actually been elected mayor.

September 14, 2011 @ 11:49 AM

Mississauga Phil

@ Elvis---Thinking Rob Ford is an idoit doesn't make you left wing, it makes you a human being with at least average intelligence. If you don't like what Mike posts---STOP READING THE F-ING BLOG!!!!!!

p.s. - - Rob Ford is the sh-t stain on the underwear of Toronto....

September 14, 2011 @ 12:00 PM

McNulty

I really loved the zoo one.

Where are all Rob Ford's savings now?

September 14, 2011 @ 12:16 PM

CQ

On Monday, I referenced Canada's advance towards Germany in WWII when musing about the Tora Bora military situation in '02.
Did you just call Mayor Ford, Hitler by cleverly using a German language political title in Twitter an hour ago? As a reply to petekic.

September 14, 2011 @ 1:08 PM

Ryan G

TO Mike and Elvis's fighting is more interesting than the content of this entry.

So, i suggest a duel.

Ideally involving actual guns and live ammunition if you both don't mind, because that would entertain me greatly, and it ups the stakes significantly.

I'll even cover the cost of old timey handlebar moustaches and top hats.

Of course, both elvis and Mike keep asking each other to "bite me" so perhaps a motel is the better solution.

September 14, 2011 @ 1:12 PM

Romy

Great stuff! As is always the case (see Sarah Palin)... ya couldn't MAKE it up any better.

Keep stimblin' along there, Tommy Boy.

September 14, 2011 @ 1:12 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@CQ

That's out of context.

My tweet was "@petekic In Fordville, one cannot question the Führer und Reichskanzler cc: @jmlynek" and it was in response to Pete's tweet "@torontomike seriously dude. He won, get over it."

So I'm not calling Rob Ford Hitler, I'm telling Pete he's not Hitler so we're entitled to question his decisions and call him out even after he's voted in.

Get it?

September 14, 2011 @ 1:13 PM

CQ

"In Fordville, one cannot question..." - get it? nope.

September 14, 2011 @ 1:22 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@CQ That was a swipe at Pete, not Rob Ford. Pete thinks we live with a system where you cannot question an elected official.

September 14, 2011 @ 1:24 PM

4x4 Time

The Fat Fuck part was hilarious. Reminds me of a grade school bully.

September 14, 2011 @ 1:48 PM

Mississauga Phil

@CQ - Wow man you are really nitpicking....As far as people telling Mike that "he won get over it" NO!!! In a democratic society we have the right to question our leaders when they seem to be a silly man child more interested in getting an NFL team and building a really big mall than in actually helping make the city a better place.

September 14, 2011 @ 2:16 PM

Pete

Mike,

All you do is whine and complain. Your guy didn't win. Suck it up and move on with your life. It's getting really tedious.

September 14, 2011 @ 2:19 PM

CQ

@ Miss. Phil - I think it is the deficit money takers who are the ones being 'more hateful than silly', and more interested in lining their own pockets - and to later shop at that mall (which I don't want to see either, btw). Over-spending - by salaries and bloated projects far and wide, and not all of these small basic service cuts being forced upon in lieu, - doesn't make this city a better place.

September 14, 2011 @ 2:45 PM

Suckwinder Passwinder

What...Huh..
Toronto Mike posting some other topic other than Fred & Humble or stuff he gets for free!!!
The sky is falling..The sky is falling!!!
And the Toronto Maples are a lock to win the cup.

September 14, 2011 @ 2:47 PM

Mississauga Phil

@ CQ - So I think we can agree that politicians in general tend to waste OUR money by putting it in their/friends of theirs pockets or on pet projects that service a small percentage of the population...this is why I will be entering politics as soon as I have some salt and pepper in my hair...I'm tired of complaining about these nepotistic idiots so I will do something to change it.

September 14, 2011 @ 3:00 PM

Wandering Penguin

I guess we can all learn a lesson from Fordites because they never whine about anything. Thanks for the tip.

As for me, I am moving on with my life by calling out Ford's idiocy every single chance I get. The only reason that might become "tedious" is because he is an idiot so very many times each day. If you want to blame someone, don't shoot the messenger.

September 14, 2011 @ 4:31 PM

Peter

I find it humourous when lefties are in power everything they do is correct. Right wingers don't moan or cry about it. God forbit a right wing politician is in power...the sky is falling the sky is falling. Ok there chicken little!

September 14, 2011 @ 5:02 PM

elvis

@Miss Phil and Ryan G - how could I stop reading this blog if I'm going to be sharing a hotel room with him whilst attempting to blow his brains (out)?

September 14, 2011 @ 5:08 PM

_Justink

Ruin the city you love, Mike?

Look, Ford's not a perfect mayor. He's not a good speaker, he says stupid things sometimes, he lets his brother act with too much authority, and he has to treat people in council more respectfully. He really isn't a very good mayor on the surface. As far as his agenda goes though, I think he's taking the city in the right direction.

His Portlands vision is phenomenal for one thing. The old plan of a natural setting of greenspace was bland and boring. You think that's going to bring any tourists and their money to the city? It won't. Conversely, the world's biggest fares wheel, a mega-mall, retail space, event spaces, sports facilities, condos, hotels, and an elevated rail line will bring tourists. The best part is the city isn't on the hook for any of this with the land being sold to the private sector. They pay to build it, the city reaps the rewards with tourist dollars and tax revenue. You aint' making any money from greenery and trails.

The Portlands is just one example of Rob Ford doing something great for our city, just all the lefties dismiss it because Robby comes across as a fat idiot.

September 14, 2011 @ 5:14 PM

twins from bolton

Thank GOD I moved out of T.O. in 1999. Your city is becoming a joke with Miller & now Ford.

I believed what Ford initially said during his campaign about reduced spending but this is getting ridiculous.

Next election, vote for Crombie or Lastman.

September 14, 2011 @ 6:23 PM

Mike from Lowville

That was the funniest piece I've seen in a while. I actually laughed out loud (spelled out so Argie could understand) in a quiet room, then L.T.M. reading all the Ford supporters rebuttal's after.

elvis can bite me too.......;O)

September 14, 2011 @ 7:16 PM

Missisauga Phil

@Elvis - I never suggested you blow anything...what you do on your time is your business...I just said that if you think this blog sucks so much, maybe you should stop reading it. You obviously find some value in it or you wouldn't come back....

@Justink - You are entitled to your opinion, and if Ford ends up making the city better I'll be the first to say I was wrong...I just don't think that's going to happen

September 14, 2011 @ 8:19 PM

Ajax Mike

@Just Ink

How do condos attract tourists?

September 14, 2011 @ 8:48 PM

Jacob

@Peter: You've never seen the Toronto Sun, or the comment section on the Toronto Star, right?

Right wingers are incredibly efficient and organized complainers.

September 14, 2011 @ 8:53 PM

Leigh

Give the gift of literacy! Every $25 Indigo gift card you buy will donate a book to a needy school! http://buy.indigo.ca?rid=34&rp=user&rm=torontoist

September 14, 2011 @ 9:08 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

My sane friends, there's hope at this hour.

From Royson James comes word that a Council rebellion could halt Ford revolution.

His political honeymoon long over, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has lost the public’s confidence. And now, he’s about to lose council’s as well.

The Ford revolution may be aborted before it takes root.

Torontonians are not impressed with Ford’s confrontational style, his lone-wolf approach to leadership and his threats to gut city services after guaranteeing during the election that he’d cut the “gravy” and not cut a single service.

But what may have tipped the balance, fatally, is a waterfront plan he and his councillor brother, Doug, dreamed up in secret to deliver a mega-mall, giant Ferris wheel and monorail to private developers on Toronto’s most valuable real estate asset.

Rookie Councillor Jaye Robinson, a member of the mayor’s hand-picked executive committee, says she can’t in good conscience support the mayor’s plan to displace waterfront plans developed after years of public consultation.

Robinson and other rookie councillors have sought out their own briefings of the existing waterfront plan after the mayor hired consultants to concoct a vastly different scheme than the one city council approved last year.

Countering their move, the Ford administration strong-armed the councillors and failed to heel Robinson. Other non-aligned councillors — part of the so-called “mushy middle” — have become critical of the new plan as public opposition mounts.

Now, there is little hope of the plan fronted by Doug Ford getting council support.

“Yes there is egg on our faces for allowing this,” admitted Councillor Peter Milczyn, a Ford ally who is busy seeking a face-saving compromise before the issue gets to council next Wednesday.

“What blew up in our faces was the distraction of the Toronto Port Lands Company (TPLC) going out and doing a visionary exercise,” he said Wednesday. Now, the Ford administration is trying to craft an innocuous-sounding motion that limits the meddling to a staff “review” of the options presented in the current Waterfront Toronto plan.

Four in 10 citizens think the mayor is doing a good job leading the city. And his support is sinking even among suburbanites who took a chance on him just 11 months ago. In North York, for example, Ford’s support has dropped to 43 per cent, from 69 per cent in June, a new poll shows.

More strikingly, the mayor is angering more and more councillors, as citizen groups mass against his policy pronouncements.

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam sent him a stinging letter chastising him for ruling “by fiat.” Councillor Josh Matlow distributed a letter to constituents decrying many of the proposed service cuts as unsupportable. Councillors Mary-Margaret McMahon and Ann Bailão, two non-aligned rookie votes the mayor needs, have slammed the waterfront fiasco.

CivicAction, a broad-based citizen action group of bankers, activists, professionals and urbanists, warned Ford against changing the waterfront plans without extensive public consultation. And a group of University of Toronto professors plan to release a harsh letter Thursday, criticizing the proposed changes to the waterfront plan.

Add to that the general chatter and protest of the long list of proposed cuts and there is a sense of trouble in Ford kingdom.

A clear sense of Ford’s vulnerability is this: Premier Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals think they can score political points by cautioning Ontarians to avoid Tory Tim Hudak because he will bring in “Ford-like cuts.”

Ford’s own budget chief, Mike Del Grande, says he won’t back efforts to eliminate snow removal from the front of driveways. Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti opposes cuts to fire service staff. Councillor Karen Stintz rejects cuts to libraries.

They are all slavish Ford allies refusing to drink the Kool-Aid because the mayor’s approval rating is in free-fall.

For Ford, it’s change course and change style, or watch his agenda evaporate.

September 14, 2011 @ 9:27 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

And as I tweeted moments ago, Rob Ford's approval rating is at 42%. That number is down from 57% in June, and 60% in February.

September 14, 2011 @ 9:34 PM

Rick C in Oakville

Unfortunately for Toronto the medicine they will need to take if the spending isn't brought under control will be far worse than the 10 % Robbie is pushing each department to produce now.

The elephant in the room is the 3-5 % wage and benefits settlements that keep just going on like a wildfire in civil service. Adds a huge amount to the cities liabilities. My dad has a 1200 square foot bungalow in Scarborough, taxes are about $2400 a year, I have a 1700 square foot house in Oakville and my taxes are almost $4000.00 a year. Ajax/Pickering is even worse. Torontonians are going to need to suck it up and pay more taxes, as Premier Dad has said he is tapped and no new funds are heading your way.

As for Robbie, every politician's honeymoon ends, lets see where he is at in 3.5 years when all the dust settles and the deficit is balanced.

September 14, 2011 @ 10:19 PM

Cambo

Agree with Rick C.

The problem, is people buying a $600,000 house and paying just $2500 in tax.

You either have to cut your budgets drastically, or increase taxes significantly. I'm in Brooklin, and my taxes are about $5000 a year for an average-priced house. However, we're not faced with service cuts either.

Pick your poison, Toronto. You don't have the sympathy of the Province when your measly property taxes are so low.

September 15, 2011 @ 7:13 AM

elvis

Sometimes it's just too easy to have a laugh with you bozos. I love it.

September 15, 2011 @ 8:31 AM

El Torpedo

It sure seems like Ford lied, or is as stupid a people are saying. Neither of those things changes the $700 million shortfall Toronto faces though. As Rick and Cambo say, there's two alternatives - service cuts or serious tax hikes. Residents don't seem receptive to either, so what's the solution?

September 15, 2011 @ 10:57 AM

Wandering Penguin

Apparently Ford's approval rating hasn't taken a tumble among the commenters of this blog. I feel like my IQ has, though, just in wading through some of the nonsense on here.

No accounting for taste, obviously. Although I do find it hilarious that anyone would have the temerity to say "right wingers don't moan or cry about it". If you hate something and keep your mouth shut about it, how on EARTH is that better? Not that I for a second agree that right-wingers don't cry or moan. I was just saying.

September 15, 2011 @ 11:07 AM

Peter

Wandering Penguin - his seat as mayor wasn't even warm yet and the left was already shouting the world was ending.

September 15, 2011 @ 11:49 AM

Mike from Lowville

& Rick C in Oakville, your high taxes are to pay those so called civil service workers their wages and benefits plus the cost of all the equipment they need to maintain all those parks, pathways, soccer fields and baseball fields in Oakville. Yes they are nice to have.....if you use them but, there going to cost you. The Town of Oakville has the highest budget for maintaining parks then any other Town in North America!

September 15, 2011 @ 6:24 PM

twins from bolton

I live in a 2500 sq ft. house in Bolton & pay over $4200.00 property taxes & was just over $2000 when we moved in 1999. Doubled in less than 11 years & less services.

I have no pity on you people in T.O. Your value of your homes vs. property taxes is a JOKE.

Rob increase property taxes by a minimal amount & most of your concerns will be solved.

September 15, 2011 @ 7:30 PM

Argie

So you lefties out there, would you rather have Miller back as mayor?

Sure, he danced every year in the gay freak parade and hired an impotent, politically correct police chief but the bottom line is that he spent this city into near bankruptcy.

Make fun of Ford all you want - but I admire him for doing something very few politicians (both liberal and conservative) do and that's keep is promise and in this case, to fix this broken city.

September 15, 2011 @ 7:50 PM

Rick C in Oakville

@Mike from Lowville: Got to agree yes we pay dearly for the services etc., but we don't have the frills and nonsense spending Torontonians have gotten use to, that the politicians call services. Toronto spends in area's that actually are Provincial and Federal territory, from subsidised daycare, running retirement homes etc. that the provinces are to finance. Time to make McGuinty (or whoever) runs the province to pony up the cash for these services that are really their responsibility.
Even if Ford doesn't accomplish the cuts he wants, he has shed some light into the corners that previous administrations avoided.

September 15, 2011 @ 9:18 PM

Freddie P.

My favourite Ford story is him getting elected in a landslide and then actually doing what he said he'd do.

Funny, I don't seem anybody on here talking about Obama's crashing popularity.

All politicians eventually drop in popularity. Ford is suffering cause he's actually got balls.

September 16, 2011 @ 7:50 AM

Freddie P.

And by the way, the video is pretty weak. It should be placed under the category, "out of context."
And am I mistaken or did Sperrin actually take a shot at Ford's weight.
Ironic?

September 16, 2011 @ 8:01 AM

Dave Williams

Very reminisant of the Mike Harris years. We finally get a Mayor who attempts to gain fiscal control ofter years of spending abuse, but when he attempts to place the values that he was elected for into play, the leftists do not have the stomach to handle what should have been done years ago. Remeber Orange County California.

September 16, 2011 @ 8:31 AM

Karim

HARPER'S WTF MOMENT:

Remember his income tax promise:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJxJEiTVWe4

September 16, 2011 @ 9:10 AM

Il Duce

Not on my watch eh mikey, not on my watch!

Keep up the great work.

September 16, 2011 @ 12:15 PM

Ben Vidal

Laughable Freddie. Clearly the promises not to make cuts to services went a long way. There was so much gravy at city hall he wouldn't need to cut services, the efficiencies found would more than earn back the money. "I assure you no services will be cut" verbatim from Rob. Freddiep Please address that promise, while your argument isn't just weak it's non-existent. I hope Toronto enjoys less snow removal, maybe Ford can drive around in his van and pick everyone up.
Ford doesn't may have balls, but that's where he thinks his brain is. This guy took a surplus and turned it into a deficit. How did that happen, but of course you won't touch that. Funny how he isn't just slouching in the polls, but even his inner circle is abandoning him for his moronic vision. I use the term vision loosely, because his Ferris wheel, mega mall mono rail vision isn't a vision, but rather a derivative idea

@Rick C Oakville: You think there is no nonsense spending in Oakville? It's rampant with town employees. 10 people having to work to go check on each icerink for less than 5 minutes on a holiday and getting paid for 4 plus hours a piece at double time? A job one person could do. Or the amount wasted on Town transit that is grossly over funded and not efficiently used. The list goes on and on, with spending doubling in the last 5 years and debt ballooning too. Look around there is wasteful spending everywhere in any town. I guess you don't know about all the town services provided, that I'm sure you would consider unnecessary. This all while taxes go up by more than 3%. Open your eyes Rick.

September 16, 2011 @ 12:16 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Last time we talked about Rob Ford at http://www.torontomike.com/2011/08/life_imitates_the_simpsons_at.html there was a little battle between Freddie P and Jason Paris. Jason just posted a link that's worth discussing over here.

1. Nothing is happening on the waterfront REALITY CHECK: A carefully coordinated collaborative process is now bearing fruit. Just take a look at Corus Quay, George Brown College, the wave decks, Sugar Beach, Sherbourne Common, Mimico Waterfront Park, Port Union Waterfront Park, and improvements to the Martin Goodman Trail. Companies like Great Gulf, the Hines Corporation, and Castain are investing. The Athletes’ Village is taking shape on the West Don Lands to be ready for the PanAm Games in 2015. Toronto’s waterfront is currently the largest regeneration operation in North America, with some $2.6 billion of private-sector investment already committed. All of this is possible because of Waterfront Toronto’s detailed advance planning, as well as its investment in necessary infrastructure and spectacular public spaces.

2. Waterfront Toronto has dropped the ball on the Port Lands
REALITY CHECK: Waterfront Toronto has received world-wide recognition for: getting waterfront development moving and on the right track; engaging the public and the development industry and; producing award-winning new waterfront neighbourhoods – not just clusters of condominiums. A multi-year effort has produced a new Official Plan for the Lower Don Lands and zoning for the Keating Channel Precinct, which is ready to go. The Environmental Assessment for naturalization and flood protection along the Lower Don River is complete. It is sitting at the Ontario Ministry of the Environment right now. Until it’s signed, Waterfront Toronto and private-sector developers have to wait. Why the hold- up? Last spring, without Council’s knowledge, Mayor Rob Ford asked that the process be halted. Only he can get it going again.


3. If the City takes over, the Port Lands could be fully developed in 10 years
REALITY CHECK: A significant change to the strategy of providing flood protection through naturalizing the mouth of the Don River would require a new Environmental Assessment and major changes to the Official Plan. This would mean virtually starting over. Given the radical changes in direction that are being proposed, that could take as much as five years. Even if a new EA were not required, the private market can only absorb so much new development at once.

Bringing too many units on the market at the same time could jeopardize projects that are already underway in the West Don Lands and the East Bayfront. A useful comparison is the 200 acre railway lands from Yonge to Bathurst, approved for development 30 years ago. That land is still only 2/3 completed – despite the strongest real estate market Toronto has ever seen. At 1,000 acres, the Port Lands area is five times the size of the Railway Lands. Expecting that much development to be complete in ten years is entirely unrealistic.

4. A quick sale of the lands to the private sector is a good deal for taxpayers
REALITY CHECK: This would be a case of short-term, minimal gain for long-term pain. Leaving development to the private sector alone risks repeating the disastrous experience with Harbourfront. The Port Lands are on a flood plain, are heavily contaminated, and need significant investment in infrastructure before they are ready for development. In this degraded state, the lands have a much lower value than they would through a managed release of sites over time by Waterfront Toronto. If we sell them now, we’d see pennies on the dollar. And over the long term, Ford’s proposal would generate a fragment of the tax revenue that we’d enjoy if we stick to the existing plan. Isn’t a strong, sustained revenue stream better than a one-time panicked sell-off of some of our best assets? High value returns to the taxpayer will only be achieved through maintaining a strong and sustained public role.

5. A quick sale of the lands will jump start development
REALITY CHECK: Quite the opposite. A quick sale could do untold damage to development in this location and elsewhere on the waterfront. Too many units flooding the market at once will make developers nervous about the risk of investing in Toronto – slowing, rather than speeding up development. At a time when the economy is fragile, Toronto needs to be careful about how much and how quickly new residential, commercial and retail space is brought on stream. And a quick sale of land combined with removal of Waterfront Toronto as the development lead is likely to set back the timing of development significantly. There are complex development challenges for the Port Lands – flood protection, soil contamination, lack of services and municipal infrastructure, many levels of regulation – under any development scenario. Even with a clear plan, those technical challenges will take time to address. Waterfront Toronto has spent years developing highly specialized expertise to addressthese challenges. It will be a setback to development to have a new entity start over to build that expertise.

6. There is a cheaper way to flood-proof the Port Lands
REALITY CHECK: The current Environmental Assessment of the Lower Don Lands Plan had top hydrologists from across North America assess a broad range of options. They concluded that one option:

• was the most efficient and cost effective considering all of the impacts
• has the greatest economic benefit in terms of creating prime “waterfront” frontage along 5,200
metres of river’s edge, and results in higher land value

This is the option that was built into the approved plan.

7. A commitment to sustainability on the waterfront is an expendable frill
REALITY CHECK: The Lower Don Lands will be Toronto’s first chance to build a sustainable community from the ground up. With the expertise of the best landscape architects, planners, ecologists, sustainability specialists, and urban designers, the Lower Don Plan includes efficient transportation, a commitment to the use of renewal energy, and the ability to harvest rainwater from building roofs to feed into the wetlands. In this ecologically sensitive and flood-prone area, these elements come together to transform barren industrial land into a jewel in the harbour. If cities are to survive and prosper, these are the things we must learn to do effectively. The Lower Don Lands have been selected as one of 17 founding projects of the global Climate Positive Development Program. The area will also benefit from the technical support of the Clinton Climate Change Foundation and the US Green Building Council.

8. The “naturalization” of the Don River mouth is an expendable frill
REALITY CHECK: Planning for floods is serious business. We need to stop treating rivers as simple conduits for storm water. If Toronto’s own Hurricane Hazel wasn’t enough of a lesson, we only have to look at Manitoba’s Red River and Quebec’s Richelieu River this spring to see what can happen to communities that don’t have an adequate buffer for flood-proofing. Learning to live with the forces of nature – rather than trying to eradicate them – is essential to the future of our cities. A natural meandering river is the most effective way to slow water surges and absorb storm runoff. This improves habitats and water quality. The existing Lower Don Lands Plan will allow us to embrace our river as a living natural system.

9. An urban park at the mouth of the Don River has no economic benefit
REALITY CHECK: Two words: Central Park. Manhattan developers and their counterparts in every major city in the world understand the economic benefit of a spectacular urban park. So does Waterfront Toronto. The unique urban estuary planned for the place where the Don River enters the harbour will be a powerful, defining feature of revitalization and renewal along Toronto’s waterfront. The natural environment combined with the striking views of the downtown skyline will be a huge draw. It will have a major impact on the value of investment in the Lower Don Lands.

10. The approved Waterfront Toronto plan only deals with green space
REALITY CHECK: The existing plan for the Lower Don Lands calls for housing for 19,000 residents, employment for 14,000 workers, along with significant shopping, cultural, recreational, and entertainment uses. It combines urban transit-oriented neighbourhoods with natural settings in a dynamic, exciting community that welcomes visitors. The plan is flexible enough to welcome virtually any compatible new use that may emerge.

11. Toronto needs a mega-mall or lifestyle centre on the waterfront
REALITY CHECK: The retail already planned for the Lower Don Lands will be substantial and varied – but the difference is that it will occur on lively urban streets on the first floors of residential and commercial buildings, emulating the best of the city’s other vibrant neighbourhoods. This relationship of retail to lively sidewalks creates the conditions for a pedestrian-friendly environment and supports the development of efficient transit. An oversized shopping complex on the Port Lands that is highly dependent on car access would eat up valuable land for parking, cause chronic traffic congestion in the surrounding area, and could easily trigger devastating drains to businesses in Leslieville, Corktown, Cabbagetown, Yorkville, The Eaton Centre, Queens Quay Terminal and elsewhere. Do we need this outmoded concept on our Waterfront? No.

12. The private sector could develop these lands on its own with no cost to the taxpayer
REALITY CHECK: It has also been claimed that the Sheppard Subway extension could be built with private money, but so far we had not seen any evidence of that happening. The Port Lands area is comparable in size to the whole of Toronto’s downtown core. In other words, it is huge. The lands need soil decontamination, flood protection, roads, sewers, sidewalks, transit, a power grid, water and the like. Nowhere in the world are all of these obligations at this scale being taken on by the private sector acting on its own. Solving these challenges requires work across government jurisdictions and across many private interests. These elements need to be planned, implemented and maintained in a comprehensive way that ensures the results meet the public interest – which is more than just the cost to the taxpayer.

High-quality private-sector investments in the East Bayfront and the West Don Lands were attracted precisely because Waterfront Toronto’s development strategy is dealing with all these things in advance – through the investments made in comprehensive planning, infrastructure, and the public realm. Neither of these precincts would be anywhere near where they are today without this thoughtful, carefully planned development strategy. Even if these challenges could be met by the private sector, we could not expect them to pick up the tab without deep, deep discounts on the price of the land.

13. The approved plan can be abandoned and the Environmental Assessment and Official Plan “finessed” without starting over
REALITY CHECK: Environmental Assessments on this scale are very complex and very difficult to modify. Both the EA and Toronto’s Official Plan for the waterfront were developed through years of public consultations, professional guidance, and political direction from three levels of government. The new concept placed on the table at the Executive Committee meeting on September 6 is not consistent with the priorities outlined in these two documents. To bring that concept to the same level of readiness as the existing Lower Don Lands Plan will take years of work and millions of dollars in studies.

14. A “monorail” is a viable substitute for the approved transportation plan
REALITY CHECK: A monorail is not a substitute for the kind of high-volume transit that is needed to serve a community the size of the Port Lands. The lack of connectivity to the rest of Toronto’s transit network and the significantly lower capacity as compared to the light rail in the approved plan would leave the Port Lands isolated from the rest of the city – and car dependent. At a time, it’s clear that the City must do more to encourage transit use. And what about our harsh winter conditions? Waterfront monorail projects have been scrapped in the milder climates of Singapore and Seattle. Cancelling light rail for the Port Lands will put the transit plan for the East Bayfront and the West Don Lands in jeopardy, potentially creating liability for the City with respect to developments already underway in those two areas.

15. Waterfront Toronto does not have a way to finance the Lower Don Lands Plan
REALITY CHECK: One year ago, when the Lower Don Lands Plan was unanimously approved by City Council, Waterfront Toronto was asked to develop a Business Plan to demonstrate how the project could be effectively and sustainably phased and financed. Waterfront Toronto has been working on the Business Plan since then, and is expected to release it this month. It is unfair for the City to claim that there is no financing plan when it knows that one is imminent.

16. Waterfront Toronto does not have what it takes to bring in private sector investment
REALITY CHECK: Simply put, the successful projects on the East Bayfront and the West Don Lands indicate otherwise. Waterfront Toronto already has public- and private-sector development deals valued at $1.475 billion, effectively recouping the initial public investment of $1.5 billion. Because of its innovative approach and award-winning planning, Waterfront Toronto is attracting high-calibre international and local private investors who are anxious to be associated with cutting-edge urban development. With the go-ahead from Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, the same expertise will show positive results for the Lower Don Lands. An independent evaluation of the economic impact of the approved Lower Don Lands Plan estimates the market value of development to exceed $6 billion by 2030.

17. It’s OK to ignore six years of public engagement that helped to create the plan approved by council last year
REALITY CHECK: Toronto prides itself on its strong tradition of public participation. Brushing aside the decade of public engagement that resulted in the Lower Don Lands Plan would be an affront to that tradition. Thousands of Torontonians have responded to the invitation to be part of shaping the future of Toronto’s waterfront. It has not been difficult to attract hundreds of people to public meetings. Torontonians are passionate about their waterfront and Waterfront Toronto has built a strong relationship with the public through the quality of its open and dynamic approach to consultation. Replacing a plan in which the community feels strong ownership with an untested one developed behind closed doors can only create a climate of cynicism and distrust.

18. The Toronto Port Lands Company is best positioned to lead revitalization of the Port Lands
REALITY CHECK: Waterfront Toronto is the lead development organization on the City’s waterfront. It is experienced in dealing with three levels of government to get things done. It has demonstrated competence in all aspects of revitalization work, including:

• community consultation
• precinct planning, precinct plans, urban design guidelines, public-realm design, transit, sustainability guidelines, municipal servicing and community services planning
• predevelopment planning / plans of subdivision working with the City to develop zoning by-laws
• promotion of design excellence including the creation of the Waterfront Design Review Panel and hosting international
competitions to solve complex design problems
• implementation of award-winning parks and public spaces Sugar Beach, Sherbourne Common, the Water’s Edge Promenade, wave decks, Don River Park, Underpass Park, Cherry Beach, Port Union and Mimico Waterfront Parks
• procurement services, land sales, joint ventures
• creation of municipal infrastructure roads, sewers, and servicing
• development of sustainability standards for the entire waterfront
• working closely with the private-sector development industry through market soundings and consultations

... We could go on. Waterfront Toronto has built a tested team of professionals and is directed by a seasoned board appointed by the three governments. By contrast, the Toronto Port Lands Company has a mandate limited to leasing and environmental management and little experience with public consultation. The projects that are being used to suggest TPLC is up to the task – Corus and Filmport – were actually developed by its larger predecessor, the Toronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO). The Corus project in particular fails to impress as an example of TPLC/TEDCO’s development capability. The Corus development would not have been possible without the development context created by Waterfront Toronto’s East Bayfront Precinct plan and without sustainability funding from Waterfront Toronto. TEDCO’s deal with Corus offered prime waterfront land with no public tender process, and the project required the taxpayers to step up with a construction loan of almost $130 million that is still outstanding. Which organization is the better choice for Toronto?

19. The Fords’ plan is better for the city
REALITY CHECK: None of its features pass muster. There is no financial plan or indication of technical viability. It does not forward the values set out in the Central Waterfront Plan. It fails to capitalize on the unique location, where the Don River and Lake Ontario meet. And it was developed behind closed doors, without transparency and accountability. Abandoning the approved plan just as implementation is starting would be destabilizing and would send all the wrong signals. It would disastrously affect projects in the pipeline and potential investment. It will seriously undermine Toronto’s credibility with investors and Torontonians’ faith in their City government.

20. The City is better off without Provincial and Federal partners
REALITY CHECK: On the contrary, the success of this massive undertaking absolutely benefits from the support and engagement of senior levels of government. Waterfront Toronto was created to overcome the jurisdictional gridlock that had paralyzed waterfront development for decades. Achievements to date demonstrate that Waterfront Toronto’s tripartite structure is a distinct asset. From the joint commitment of $1.5 billion to seed public-realm and infrastructure development, to the fostering of a coordinated rather than compartmentalized approach to addressing layers of regulatory requirements, the City has benefited from having the other governments invested in the success of the waterfront. It is unrealistic to think that the City would speed up waterfront redevelopment by “going it alone.”

21. The Lower Don Lands Plan cannot accommodate new ideas
REALITY CHECK: Based on painfully acquired experience with previous plans that have suffered from being overly rigid and in-adaptable, the Lower Don Lands Plan has built-in flexibility – like Waterfront Toronto’s other Precinct Plans that have already demonstrated their capacity to take on new uses and programs as they have emerged.
For example:

• George Brown College was introduced into the East Bayfront precinct
• build out of the West Don Lands was modified to incorporate the 2015 PanAm Athletes’ Village

22. Newly elected Councils get to change their minds
REALITY CHECK: Large revitalization projects take decades to realize. They require careful stewardship and sustained commitment to basic principles. The great waterfronts of the world have all been developed this way. For example, Battery Park City in New York is just being completed now, after four decades of commitment to a plan. While a new Council certainly has the right to review decisions of previous Council, rejecting the results of a rigorous planning process as far advanced as that for the Lower Don wastes opportunities and resources. We will be unable to make real progress if every change of Council means a dramatic and erratic change of direction. While flexibility is desirable, wholesale change – without valid reasons and public support – is fatal and counterproductive.

23. There is nothing wrong with the way this new proposal was created
REALITY CHECK: There’s plenty wrong with this process.

• Engaging a design team without competitive bids.
• Having backroom discussions with developers.
• No public process or transparency.
• Acting to undermine an approved development plan without Council’s knowledge or authorization.

None of these are acceptable means to an end. Isn’t this exactly the kind of thing we have been at pains to avoid both provincially and municipally? Isn’t this an abuse of public trust and clear evidence of disrespect for citizens / taxpayers? The ends simply don’t justify these means.

24. Council has seen enough information to justify adopting this new direction
REALITY CHECK: The Staff Report explaining this direction provides a disturbingly thin rationale for such a drastic measure. Council would be making a leap into the unknown on faith, with no hard evidence or reason.

September 16, 2011 @ 4:12 PM


Pauly Walnuts

This passes as comedy on this blog? No wonder I so rarely come here.

I agree with Dave Williams. Ford was handed a steaming bag of sh!t and he gets chastised for trying to fix things.

Shameful. No blame to Miller... it's all Ford's fault. You even fault him for trying.

September 18, 2011 @ 10:59 PM

Mike from Lowville

@Pauly Walnuts hey buddy! Don't go away mad, just go away!

September 19, 2011 @ 5:54 PM

Mississauga Phil

@Pauly - Again...if you don't like the content why do you come here??? Anyone who has spent any time here knows how Mike feels about Ford....

September 20, 2011 @ 8:23 AM

Peter

It was amusing to watch the pro-Ford side degenerate their side of the comment into name-calling and a 'too-cool-for-school' attitude, i.e. saying things like "Wow, your arguments are so weak that I'm laughing." Unlike the dedicated Toronto Mike who finds FACTS to back up his points, the pro-Ford team seems to share the same mentality as their favorite mayor.

I, for myself, am sick and tired of all these immature fantasies presented by your dear mayor. Thank god for our Hazel. However, that's not indicated I can stand at the side laughing at the plight of our neighbors, as undoubtedly anything that happens to such a connected city will drastically affect us. What happened the man who told us he could cut the gravy without the voter feeling it? These were his CAMPAIGN PROMISES. As in, for all you fanatics, Torontonians elected him in trust he could complete all his publicly displayed objectives. Instead Ford decides that he can tell Toronto that all your, and subsequently my, libraries, fire services, police, etc. are not going to matter. Perhaps Ford would have an advantage in this matter, as he would have a slight edge in proving that '72 cm of fat can indeed stop a 9mm bullet', when Toronto's security breaks down.

And also, I'm really not impressed with his hatred of bicyclists, Orientals, homeless people, and the unemployed. It's also great that when you're looking for a lower cost of running the city, you cut essential services in search of non-existent gravy, WHILE cutting large sources of profit to gain measly political brownie points.

For those of you supporters who may have something to say about my comment, I believe you only act this way because you still have blind faith in the impossible. Or you could just flame me with your laughter. But if you would be so kind to reply with legitimate replies for pro-Ford in a civilized manner, I would gladly discuss our opposing viewpoints.

Toronto Mike, you've hit many points spot on. Rock on!

September 22, 2011 @ 10:10 PM

Chris Kach

Your website showed up in google results as the first result for my search! Thanks for the update on "Top Five WTF Moments From Rob Ford | Toronto Mike's Blog". And also thanks for answering my search result, it was the exact info I was looking for! Best Regards - Chris Kach

February 29, 2012 @ 9:08 PM

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