Have Your Voice Heard: Strengthening Local Democracy

Over the next four years, Josh will work with local residents to:

 

Make Community Councils more responsive to local priorities and give Toronto-St. Paul's residents a greater say on how public funds are spent in our neighbourhoods through participatory budgeting.

 

 

An engaged community working together always produces better outcomes than one person making decisions on their own. At its best, the roots of local democracy extend far deeper than just marking a name on a ballot every four years. The real work happens at development consultations, park design open houses, and Resident Association meetings in church basements and school gyms.

 

Due to the size of the new Wards, the distance between local residents and local decisions is threatened in the wake of Doug Ford's reckless decision to cut Council in half unless positive reforms are implemented in the new term of Council. The following are my proposed reforms to ensure greater participation in local decision making for Toronto-St. Paul's residents:

 

Granting more authority to, and reforming, Community Councils

 

Community Council's responsibilities include making recommendations and decisions on local planning and development, as well as neighbourhood matters including traffic plans and parking regulations. Currently, our local Community Council (Toronto – East York) stretches from the Humber all the way to Scarborough. The decision-making body is composed entirely of City Councillors and only has final authority over very few matters including fence by-law exemptions and appointments to Business Improvement Areas. The rest of the matters are sent to full City Council. Community Councils can be improved through the following:

 

  • Addition of citizen members as is current practice on the TTC Commission, Board of Health, and others
  • Delegated authority to decide on more local planning and neighbourhood safety issues
  • Create a smaller, new Central Toronto Community Council
  • Reforms will make full City Council more efficient by removing community issues from city-wide meetings

 

Participatory budgeting

 

Participatory budgeting is an inclusive decision-making process where local residents develop project proposals and are given a vote to decide which projects will be funded out of an allotted portion of a municipal budget.

 

  • Allocate a portion of the Parks & Recreation budget and/or Section 37 development funds to be decided on by Toronto – St. Paul's residents
  • TCHC residents have voted on improvements through participatory budgeting for 15 years
  • Participatory budgeting pilot projects have already been successful in 3 Toronto areas resulting in a new ball hockey court, butterfly garden, water bottle filling stations, and 34 other community improvement projects
  • Major cities that have successfully implemented participatory budgeting programs include: Paris, New York, Chicago, Seoul, and Berlin

 

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Address: 711 Merton St, Toronto, ON, M4S 1B4