Published in Toronto Sun
By Sevaun Palvetzian
As we pack 2018 away with the holiday decorations, it’s time to set resolutions and good intentions for this upcoming year.
But are we ready to face what 2019 might throw at us?
Here are five city issues to watch:
DIVISIONS ON DENSITY
A walkable, local daycare is usually a no-brainer for a community. Not in Cabbagetown where some residents worried over the potential for increased traffic and safety risks. At the core of this debate was the changing fabric of neighbourhood density. The fact is that increasing density may be a solution to our growing housing affordability and availability crisis.
As Toronto’s rental vacancy rate hits new lows and housing prices rise, prioritizing high- and mid-rise buildings can increase housing options. To make this work, Toronto politicians and residents need to abandon notions of “not in my back yard.” Watch this play out in 2019.
WHOSE BUSINESS IS POLLUTION?
Walmart, Google, PepsiCo, Johnson & Johnson — increasingly large U.S. companies that have pledged action on climate change. We may begin to see a similar trend in the true north strong and free.
Canadian firms across the board are increasingly incorporating climate risks into business models, and some have made the environment a key pillar of corporate social responsibility initiatives. Yet while government has a role to play fighting pollution and climate change, businesses are in the drivers’ seat for change also. Watch greening the bottom line to become a new priority for business. And become a growing expectation for customers.
FROM TTC TO TTC — TORONTO’S TRANSIT TROUBLES
Though the state of Toronto’s transit lines is a fixture of our local news, eyes should be focused on how our city’s “new look” council takes action. This slimmed-down, 25-member council will be pursuing a relationship with a provincial government that has its own transit agenda.
Don’t be surprised if things reach fever pitch over uploading the TTC’s subway service, debates between relief lines and expanded GTA service, and Presto integration. Transit needs reach every one of our 140 neighbourhoods, but tackling them will involve a big bounce between Nathan Phillips Square and Queen’s Park this year.