Battling congestion and gridlock has been one of my top priorities during my two terms in office.
Every single day, I hear from residents frustrated by private developers who stage construction projects on our streets, resulting in prolonged lane closures and congestion.
As Chair of Public Works & Infrastructure, earlier this term I fought tooth and nail to clamp down on private construction by increasing fees for street occupation. As a result, fees for developers have now jumped from $5.77 per square metre per month to a maximum of $105.41 per square metre per month. Unfortunately, private developers simply aren’t getting the message.
At this month’s meeting of City Council, there were three items on the agenda related to construction areas and lane closures in the downtown core. The proposed closures would have shut down traffic lanes for two to three years, causing real pinchpoints in our road network and significant congestion.
I voted with my Council colleagues to reject these wholesale closures and directed staff and the developers to consider other options. These alternatives might include further increasing street occupation fees, using side streets and laneways or working within the footprint of the development.
I look forward to reviewing the revised proposals at next month’s City Council meeting.
The bottom line is that the status quo isn’t working – it’s time to start focusing on the public interest instead of catering to private construction.