It's been generating revenue for less than three months, but already London's Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) is spurring arguments over how the money should be spent.
Coun. Stephen Turner is questioning a request from the city's Juno bid committee for $150,000 to pay for a temporary outdoor fan area at Budweiser Gardens during the Junos, saying the money should instead come from Tourism London's share of the MAT.
To back his argument, the Ward 11 councillor points to a staff report presented earlier this year, when the city agreed to contribute $500,000 toward the city's Juno bid. Turner believes council was promised the city's contribution would be capped there.
"The expectations were laid out pretty clearly to us in the beginning," said Turner. "That they wouldn't be seeking any further funds and that when the accommodation tax was proposed to us, [their fund] would be the source of financing for any future bid asks."Read more
Politicians on city council’s planning committee will be asked to start crafting an affordable housing plan to help fill the gaps in the market and spur developers to build places where more Londoners can afford to live.
A hot-button election issue, London’s affordable housing — or lack thereof — generated interest at debates and cracked a number of candidates’ election platforms.
The city is already facing a long wait list and backlog of needed repairs for its public housing stock — rent-geared-to-income properties — but there are also thousands of other residents struggling to keep up with the prices of apartments and homes.Read more
A London city councillor seeking re-election is calling on the province to change the way it creates municipal voter lists, arguing the system unintentionally suppresses citizens who rent their homes.
Ward 11 Coun. Stephen Turner said he was canvassing apartment buildings this week, only to find that a large number of people living in rented units weren’t on the London municipal election list and had little information about how or where to vote.
“My concern is that this doesn’t happen to anywhere close the same degree with homeowners,” he said.Read more
It's slated to cost the average London household an extra $36 a year, but Coun. Stephen Turner says it's high time the city accept the added expense of a green bin program.
"We're certainly the largest municipality in Canada that has not yet adopted one," said Turner, a member of the city's civic works committee. "It's showed to be tried and true tech and it would be fairly easily implementable for us because everybody else has gone through the growing pains of trying to make sure they get it right."Read more
The cancellation of Ontario’s cap and trade program whisked away more than $9 million for social housing in London, in the same week Premier Doug Ford scrapped welfare hikes and pilot projects to boost the income of Ontario’s most vulnerable.
Two programs to help upgrade social housing to greener units – including heating and cooling system updates, new windows and doors, and conversion to LED lights – were axed by the provincial government.
The housing funds, one expected to deliver $8.1 million during the next three years and the other offering $1 million to London this year, are the latest initiatives funded by cap and trade revenue to collapse after the emissions pricing program was cancelled.Read more
The cancellation of Ontario’s cap and trade system is killing a London bid for cash to launch a green bin program.
Premier Doug Ford’s move to axe cap and trade – and the programs it funded – eliminates London’s chance to tap into a provincial fund to offset the costs of starting curbside organic collection.
London had a $2 million ask in the pipeline as part of the second phase of the province’s greenhouse gas challenge fund. But that pocket of provincial cash is no more.
“Ontario has taken swift action to cancel the cap and trade program as part of its commitment to bring gas prices down and help reduce costs for Ontario families and businesses,” a spokesperson from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks wrote in an e-mailed statement.
“All programs currently funded through cap and trade proceeds will be cancelled.”Read more
A generation after Londoners voted overwhelmingly against a casino, a problem gambling expert is warning that a massive new casino could spell major addiction issues for the city.
But new numbers from city hall suggest many Londoners are in favour of expanded gambling, after an informal online survey found nearly 70 per cent support for the concept.
The ratio – based on feedback received by the city in an unscientific survey – is an exact reversal of the 70 per cent of citizens who voted against building a casino in London when the question was on the ballot during the 1997 civic election.
The social impacts were a big part of the conversation then, too. Now a proposal by Gateway Casinos & Entertainment to build a $140-million casino complex has brought those worries to the surface again.Read more
With one of the highest riderships per capita outside of Toronto, Londoners are among the biggest users of transit in Ontario. More than 23 million trips are taken by bus in London each year.
However, London Transit Commission (LTC) receives one of the lowest municipal subsidies of transit services in the province. This has left us with a system bursting at the seams, requiring investment, and long in need of an overhaul.Read more