Mayor Ford wants suburbs to prosper from downtown development
It may seem a little out-of-character for Toronto's notoriously right-wing mayor to call for the city's wealth to be distributed more evenly but that is precisely what Rob Ford did on Sunday's edition of The City on NEWSTALK 1010.
The mayor and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, discussed a motion by Councillor Peter Milczyn that will see city staff review how City Hall collects and distributes development fees.
The Fords have two beefs with the system as it is now.
First, they feel the suburbs get short-changed on development windfalls.
Developers negotiate fees with City Hall to be exempted from zoning by-laws and those fees pay for things like parks, arenas, and arts programs in the neighbourhood where the building goes up.
Those builders negotiate fees directly with the city councillor in the ward they want to build in and Rob Ford believes that gives downtown wards (and their large condo towers) an unfair leg-up.
"I think they are just re-election slush funds and I think that's why they (city councillors) want to hold on to it," he says.
"If you get $50 million downtown and all of the development is happening downtown ... and there are other councillors that only have a couple thousand dollars, its completely unbalanced," says Ford.
Ford says the money should be split equally among the 44 wards, adding that there should be 'true equalization.'
Meanwhile, City councillor Doug Ford believes some of his colleagues on council put the squeeze on developers seeking building permits, and then hoard the development fees.
He says the City needs to put a stop to it, referring to the process as 'a shakedown.'
Doug says its time to cut councillors out of the bargaining process and leave it to planning department staff.
"Its back-room dealing and we ran (our election campaign) against this," says Doug.
He went on the blame left-leaning members on council for what he sees as fund 'hoarding.'
"They're a bunch of hypocrites and talk out of both sides of their mouth ... when it comes to their money they want to keep it downtown and God forbid they spread it across the city," says Doug.
City staffers have been ordered to report on ways to make the negotiation of building variance a more open process.
The City airs Sunday afternoons at 1pm on NEWSTALK 1010.