Mayor Rob Ford: a new title Torontonians will have to get used to saying over the coming years. While many are focusing on the results of the mayor’s race (like the cover of Friday’s National post, for instance) the City’s most senior roles below that of mayor are up for grabs as City Hall is shaken up before returning to session. How does TTC Chair Karen Stintz sound?
According to some whispers around City Hall, Stintz is a shoe-in for the position, though she hasn’t jumped the gun. “I haven’t talked to anyone yet,” Stintz told Spacing in an interview on Friday. She was happy to give her outlook on transit within her ward, though, and we at Spacing took a closer look at her voting record on transit issues in the past.
As councillor since 2003 for Ward 16 Eglinton–Lawrence, Stintz stands at ground zero for Transit City’s planned improvements to transit infrastructure north of the Bloor-Danforth line. When it comes to Transit City’s plan, Stintz sees the Eglinton line as a mixed blessing. “I’m in favour of the Eglinton LRT, but I was in favour of a subway under Eglinton. The decision has been made.”
The economic diversity of Eglinton is what many, including David Miller, see as a key reason behind Transit City’s plan. Outside of Ward 16, Eglinton West is home to many new immigrants, considerable poverty and frequent crime. Conversely, Ward 16 itself boasts an annual income of $100,000 in almost half of its households.
When asked how she feels about transit as a means to reaching better jobs and opportunities, Stintz was optimistic. “I support transit across the city, for sure.”
But LRTs may not be her first choice. “We have pretty good access in our area as it. It’s a balance, sometimes a route works best with buses.”
“Certainly areas would benefit, and it if is an LRT then I accept.”
A member of the federal Conservative party and provincial Progressive Conservatives, as well as a favourite of John Tory, her name in association with Rob Ford makes sense. Her voting record doesn’t reveal a closet public transit activist, although she may be as close as a conservatively led council may get.
In the past she has supported the city paying the remaining cost for the new streetcars while the province and federal government played musical chairs deciding who would pay for what. Her office, however, makes it clear in their materials that she is not comfortable with the way the situation played out.
She has also voted against the Union Station revitalization and the prioritization of the mythical Downtown Relief Line.
She has stated that were she a part of the TTC, her priorities would be make the TTC cleaner and to work to better implement Presto — keeping in line with outgoing TTC Chair Adam Giambrone’s dire warnings about staying on track, a simple approach may be just what the doctor ordered.
Photo by Robert Taylor