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(Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
(Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)


$90-million surplus? More like a great idea waiting to happen. 'Deviant island,' anyone? Add to ...

After the city announced an unexpected $90-million surplus for the first fiscal quarter, Torontonians have one question: How should we spend it? These city councillors have the answer.

Who: Adam Vaughan

The $90-million idea: Convert more nightclubs and bars in the Entertainment District to city-run social services agencies.

“We already turned Fez Batik – perhaps the hottest corner lot in the city – into a $10-million, 40-bed homeless shelter, and that’s just the beginning. One day, the Entertainment District will have as much to do with entertainment as New York’s Meatpacking District has to do with meat. We could even put up historical plaques explaining where the entertainment went – but that would require additional funding.”

Who: Councillor Doug Ford

The $90-million idea: Extend the Bloor-Danforth line by 300 metres east of Kennedy.

“The people have spoken and they want subways. So for residents of Scarborough disgusted at the thought of getting on an LRT, now they’ll have the option of taking the subway an extra 300 metres and then walking the rest of the way.”

Who: Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti

The $90-million idea: Create an artificial “deviant island” near the mouth of the Humber.

“On the one hand, downtown streets are as congested as ever, and then we’ve also got contaminated runoff from the Humber River polluting Sunnyside Beach. So the plan is to go ahead with the proposal to build an artificial island, only we’ll designate it as a red-light district, but also a haven for G20 protesters, bike-lane activists and any other communist malcontents. The upside: The beach at Sunnyside will be the perfect spot for a casino.”

Who: Mayor Rob Ford

The $90-million idea: A plastic-bag renaissance

“We’ve been in a major plastic crisis ever since the city started forcing people to pay for them. You used be able to just pick one off a tree branch, but now there aren’t any. At five cents per plastic bag, the city can afford 1.8 billion. That’s 750 plastic bags for every man, woman and child, or two plastic bags per resident, per day – which is barely enough, in my opinion.”

Who: Councillor Ana Bailao

The $90-million idea: Pay the roughly 1,000 city-employed cleaners a $90,000 bonus.

“Even though I fought the battle to keep paying cleaners $64,000 a year, that just isn’t enough. Because if you want to help the city’s most vulnerable, you don’t do it by funding daycare or community centres. You take the microscopic fraction that happen to work for the city and grossly overpay them. Then you pat yourself on the back for making a difference.”

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