Eager to get the province’s blessing on the sale of 65 city-owned homes, Mayor Rob Ford wants the Premier to join him for a first-hand look at the condition of Toronto’s crumbling social-housing stock.
Mr. Ford has a habit of dropping by Toronto Community Housing Corp. buildings, handing out business cards and fridge magnets at every door and inspecting units for needed repairs. On Tuesday, Mr. Ford said he’d like Premier Dalton McGuinty to come along so he can see for himself how much the city needs the estimated $24-million the home sales will generate to make repairs.
“I invite the Premier to come door-knocking with me through some of the TCHC buildings and see how badly this money is needed,” Mr. Ford said. “And then he will realize they should just give us the green light and let us sell these homes to make the repairs that are needed.”
While council endorsed the sale of the single-family homes, Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Kathleen Wynne is refusing to grant the necessary approvals until a report on the fate of another 619 TCHC homes goes to council in the fall. Ms. Wynne conveyed her decision in a May 30 letter, and Mr. Ford responded by writing directly to the Premier, asking him to intervene.
Reached at an event Tuesday night, Mr. McGuinty said the province is considering the plan. “The minister said that she needed some time to review things and I think that’s a fair position to take at this point in time,” he said. Mr. McGuinty also said the sale may be able to take place “more quickly than she had originally anticipated.”
The Premier said the sale was not a sign of a rift between the province and the city. “We work really well together and I’m going to keep working to make sure we have a strong relationship there,” he said.
Mr. Ford said he is baffled that the province said it would follow the lead of council during the recent debate over transit planning, but is now ignoring its wishes on this matter. “I don’t understand the province,” he said. “One time they say they are going to listen to the council decision about subways, and this time they say no, they’re not going to listen. They’ve got to make up their mind. Are they going to listen to what council says or aren’t they?”