An acrimonious city council claims another victim: the Fort York bridge bites the dust
Well, that’s that: after trying to bring the issue back to council, Mike Layton and the contingent of other councillors committed to preserving the Fort York pedestrian and bicycle bridge lost their battle. For procedural reasons, Layton needed two thirds of council to support him, but he couldn’t even muster up half. That means the bridge won’t be built in its current form or on time for the bicentennial of the War of 1812, and there’s more than a passing chance it won’t be built, period.
According to the Globe and Mail:
Planning and design of the bridge has taken the city three years and has cost an estimated $1.3 million. Since then, the project has gone $4.4 million over original estimates. That overrun, combined with a potential loss of revenue from development charges and the sale of city-owned land near the site, prompted a group led by Councillor David Shiner to put forward a last-minute request for further study of the link at a committee meeting last month.
Shiner’s request took Layton by surprise and set off an 11th-hour effort to rescue the bridge. This included an extensive letter-writing campaign, the support of local developers and former Conservative politician John Tory. But the initiative failed to sway enough members of city council to even allow a debate.
In case we needed yet another example of the increasingly toxic atmosphere at council, the bridge debate that never was included Layton and Shelley Carroll blowing their respective stacks in post-vote scrums with reporters. Our prediction a few months back that council might fall into gladiatorial combat before the summer is out is starting to look pretty good.
• Fort York bridge dead, councillor says [Toronto Star]
• Fort York: A bridge too far for Toronto city council [Globe and Mail]
• Bridge Plans Crumble [Metro Morning]
• Fort York Bridge: how I learned to stop worrying and love that Toronto sucks [Spacing]