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‘Everybody loses’: Former mayor Mel Lastman weighs in on Scarborough subway

Posted by on 21/11/2018

Former Toronto mayor Mel Lastman says there is “no winner” when it comes to the proposed Scarborough subway.

“When they vote, everybody loses,” said Lastman, who was a vocal proponent of another controversial subway extension —; the Sheppard line —; while mayor of North York and then Toronto.

Taxes will go up and “there’s no winner,” he added.

Council is to decide Wednesday whether to go ahead with the new subway, after months of heated debate over its merits and ballooning cost.

ChangSha Night Net

A motion will reportedly be put forward to kill the proposed one-stop extension and instead put in place the originally planned seven-stop light-rail transit (LRT) network, which was scrapped under former mayor Rob Ford.

READ MORE: Executive Committee pushes ahead transit plan for next 15 years

Some councillors are pushing for the LRT, after costs for the subway jumped to $3.2 billion.

Lastman visited city hall on Tuesday for the unveiling of a portrait of pre-amalgamation mayors and couldn’t help but speak on council’s hottest topic.

“I love subways. I would accept subways over everything,” Lastman said after posing for the photo op with Mayor John Tory and former civic leaders.

“Now they are only going to get one station. One station. There is going to be a lot of unhappy people because they take the one station and then they have to take the bus or something back to where they want to go.”

READ MORE: TTC Scarborough subway extension, LRT line to cost nearly $1-billion more: Tory

But Lastman says either way, “it’s just going to be chaos” because those living in Scarborough are expecting a subway.

“If they don’t build it, everyone is going to say ‘we are never going to get it,’” he added.

Lastman added that the city should have gone ahead with the LRT plan, which was to be fully paid for by the province, but said it was too late to bring it back.

Former councillor and Etobicoke mayor Doug Holyday also put in his two cents, saying council should move forward with the subway.

“Scarborough has waited long enough,” he said.

“It doesn’t preclude a rapid transit line in the future. There could still be room for one of those, but the more council delays and more they flip flop on this, the longer it’s going to take for something to get done and the more expensive it’s going to be and the more frustration is going to set in.”

Toronto’s Transit Network Plan is one of Tory’s key items and it will be the first item addressed on Wednesday.

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