POLITICS

John Tory: Olivia Chow 'Will Never Be Happy' About Transit Plan

09/28/2014 08:16 EDT | Updated 11/28/2014 05:59 EST
CP
Olivia Chow remains highly skeptical about how John Tory will build, pay and proceed with his proposed "SmartTrack" transit plan, but her mayoral rival says that her criticisms are rooted in the fact that he is her opponent.

In the spring, Tory first unveiled his plan to build a 53-kilometre regional "surface subway," which he believes can be built within a seven-year period at an estimated cost of $8 billion. It would extend beyond the city’s boundaries and would be partially situated on existing train tracks.

Tory has argued the proposed development could be completed much faster than a subway, which would thus provide relief to the existing transit system that much sooner. And he has said that he would look to contributions from other levels of government to make it happen, along with Toronto's own financial participation.

But Chow has said that Tory's proposal lacks detail, in terms of how it will be constructed or how it will be paid for.

On Sunday, Chow said that if Tory proceeds with SmartTrack, there is an apparent need to demolish various buildings in Toronto's Mount Dennis neighbourhood, so that the trains can turn onto Eglinton Avenue.

She pointed to a lack of answers on "how many houses, child-care centres, churches, libraries [and] community centres will be damaged because of his scheme."

Chow said that if she is elected mayor, she would stick with the light-rail projects that have already been planned for development in Toronto.

"I would follow the advice of experts, rather than drawing a transit scheme on the back of a napkin, which Mr. Tory seems to be doing," she said Sunday.

'We'll make this work'

Tory was asked Sunday about his confidence in his Smart Track plan, as it has been proposed.

"It is confidence and determination that tells me we'll make this work," Tory said. "And you know what? Olivia Chow will never be happy because she's my competitor in this race."

Tory said he's "happy" that people are debating his proposal, while defending its merits.

"When you put forward bold ideas, people debate them and that's fine. I'm happy people are debating this, but it's the right thing to do for Toronto to provide city-wide relief," he said.

Chow and Tory are set to face off in a debate on Monday, along with fellow mayoral candidates Morgan Baskin and Ari Goldkind.

Organizers said late Sunday that Doug Ford would be attending, though the candidate was less clear about his participation earlier in the day.

"I'm going to be at every single debate I possibly can," Ford said Sunday when asked if he would attend the debate on Monday.

Ford joined the mayoral race at the last minute, after his brother, Mayor Rob Ford withdrew from the race after doctors discovered a tumour in his abdomen. The mayor has since been diagnosed with liposarcoma, a rare type of cancer.

While the mayor is no longer running for re-election — though he is running for a spot on council — he has publicly endorsed his brother's campaign.

Voters head to the polls on Oct. 27, four weeks from Monday. In addition to Baskin, Chow, Ford, Goldkind and Tory, there are dozens of other candidates seeking to become the city's next mayor.

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