TORONTO – It has been exactly one year since people voted to see John Tory represent Toronto as the city’s 65th mayor.
Tory took over for former mayor Rob Ford, whose personal scandal gained international attention, little of it positive.
After the constant antics of the Ford administration, political science professor Renan Levine said the city appears to be content with Tory taking on the role of mayor.
“I think much of the city is confident in his ability to lead and hopeful that at least some of his proposals will come to fruition,” Levine said.
Tory has undoubtedly been presented with many large-scale projects since taking the hot seat and, one year later, here’s where some of those plans stand.
Uber’s presence in Toronto has arguably been one of the most heated debates to come to City Council since Tory took a seat in the mayor’s chair.
The chief magistrate has attempted to be the voice of reason, saying UberX and services similar to the ridesharing app, are here to stay, despite vocal opposition from the taxi industry.
READ MORE: Council votes to regulate ridesharing programs like Uber in Toronto
Council voted 32-12 for Licensing and Standards to return with recommendations that would allow Uber to operate legally in the City of Toronto.
“I would count his compromise ‘solution’ to the Uber-taxi [debate] as a big win…This is clearly one of those situations where it’s difficult – if not impossible – to make everybody happy,” Levine said.
“I would count it as a win because I think he’s navigated the crosswinds … and everyone on both sides feels like they are walking away with some improvement over the status quo of Uber existing outside of the realm of a very strenuous regulatory framework.”
There has been much debate on what to do with the aging Gardiner Expressway and Tory was a champion for the costly hybrid option, that would remove some sections while fixing others.
In June 2015, Council voted in favour of the hybrid option in a close 24-21 vote and now, the project is currently under assessment.
READ MORE: Gardiner Expressway: council votes in favour of hybrid option
Other construction work being done on the Gardiner has been fast-tracked for the convenience of commuters.
The deck rehabilitation project, which will see the replacement of the deck on the elevated portion of the expressway, is pegged to be completed by summer 2016, three months ahead of schedule.
Tory’s big push for transit development has been through SmartTrack, an idea conceived during the 2014 municipal election.
Tory boasts the plan would connect job hubs and provide relief to the city’s overburdened subway while taking advantage of existing infrastructure such as Go train tracks.
“There will be more stops serving more people, which will provide more relief on the Yonge subway line and get people to get their cars off the road.”
This billion-dollar project has seen funding promises from both the province and the newly elected federal government.
READ MORE: Trudeau promises federal funding for SmartTrack, GO expansion
The project is undergoing further study and assessments.
Another hot topic in the 2014 elections was Tory’s pledge to privatize trash collection east of Yonge Street.
Currently, collection west of Yonge is privatized and the move has saved $11 million of taxpayer money.
But a recent report brought before the Public Works and Infrastructure committee has advised against privatizing garbage collection as the city begins contract negotiations.
“My position is that it would still be better from the standpoint of the citizens not being held hostage to the labour relations issues, to have it spread around and have more of it in the east part of the city in private hands contracted out,” Tory said.
“But the numbers suggested that the public-sector workers have done a better job in the last period of time, and while I’m not satisfied with those numbers we are still looking at them. That’s why we are having this pause.”
READ MORE: City staff against privatizing garbage pickup east of Yonge
The review has been deferred and will be revisited in 2016.
Toronto Community Housing
TCHC has been littered with controversy but Tory vowed to clean house and has put in place a task force to help lead the way.
The city has freed up more than $300 million to deal with a backlog of repairs.
READ MORE: Toronto Community Housing tackles massive repair backlog
In September, the TCHC announced a new project that would see capital repair projects bundled together as part of the ReSet pilot project.
While federal leaders were on campaign trail, Tory called on all party leaders to come forward with explicit affordable housing promised that would help Toronto with the multi-billion-dollar backlog.
Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau came forward and said money could be made available to help address funding needs.