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Parks and Environment – Service Levels should be driven by community needs, not the budget process

The Parks & Environment Committee and Council should reject service level reductions – Torontonians deserve better.

Dear Councillor Ainslie and Members of the Parks and Environment Committee:

RE:     PE 22.2 – 2014 Service Level Review

CUPE Local 79 members deliver front-line services across Toronto to help make this a healthy, safe and liveable city. Our members also live in Toronto’s neighbourhoods, use the parks and find cool shelter under the urban canopy of trees. All our lives are enriched if we strive for and sustain a liveable city for our families and communities.

Today the Parks & Environment Committee is looking at the Service Level Reviews for Parks & Urban Forestry and the Environment and Energy Office. The Environment and Energy Office Service Level Review notes that one of its priorities is to raise awareness of climate change and its impact.

If protections from climate change are indeed a priority, the need for investing in our environmental stewardship is all the more pressing.

Cutbacks to staff and budget reductions have slowed progress for preparing the city and its residents for what lies ahead. Investing in our environment is prudent. Fast-tracking maintenance and improving the City’s infrastructure is a critical necessity.

Also, there are service cuts in Parks and Urban Forestry (PF&R). In order to meet the ‘mandatory’ budget flat-lining for 2014, the Service Level Review proposes to once again, reduce crews for Turf Maintenance & General Parkland – and reduce standards. One of the challenges in Urban Forestry is the continued budget pressures from extreme weather. But instead of investing in our urban canopy there are proposed service level reductions in tree maintenance in order to meet the 0% financial budget target for the 2014 Operating Budget Submission. 

The Committee and Council should be provided with information about other service level reductions that have been made over the past several years.

The Committee and Council should reject service level reductions – Torontonians deserve better.

This is a Budget-driven service level process, rather than service levels driving the budget process.


Yours truly,

Tim Maguire, President                                                                                                                           


Shall replenish. Tree doesn’t face. There which creepeth multiply fish unto of Seed. Behold made two Rule divided. Fruit form.

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