Mayors discuss Lakes cleanup
City leaders at Chicago meeting agree to work on pollution
issues, invasive species
By Jennifer Lewington
The Globe and Mail
Toronto can push its urban agenda forward by working with
Great Lakes cities on both sides of the border, Mayor
David Miller said yesterday at the end of a two-day trip
"One of the positive outcomes was a little bit of
the strengthening of the relationships," he said
in a telephone interview about his first foreign trip
since taking office last week.
Mr. Miller, who had lunch yesterday with Chicago Mayor
Richard Daley, also attended a meeting there of mayors
of Great Lakes cities from the United States and Ontario.
"We agreed collectively to work on cleanup issues
affecting the Great Lakes, including invasive species,"
Mr. Miller said, adding that cities on both sides of the
border are lobbying their respective senior levels of
government for financial help.
"Cities are the places that get things done,"
Mr. Miller said. "We have to lead the agenda with
respect to the Great Lakes."
At the meeting of Great Lakes mayors, Mr. Miller made
a presentation on Toronto's major efforts to reduce the
pollution that flows into city waterways when there is
The Toronto program, known as the wet weather flow management
plan, differs from efforts elsewhere in that it tackles
the issue on a watershed-wide basis that includes the
city and surrounding municipalities.
"The city representatives here found that a model
for what they might do in the future," Mr. Miller
He said he hopes to work more closely with Ontario cities
on the Great Lakes because they share common interests
in the environment, public transit and housing.
"That is one of my goals when we try to advocate
for a new urban agenda within Ontario," he said.
Mr. Miller, an obvious admirer of Mr. Daley's can-do
political style, said the two discussed their respective
waterfronts and how each has responded to the presence
of small airports on the water's edge.
In Mr. Daley's case, in a surprise political move that
has sparked lawsuits since, he sent in a bulldozer to
rip up the runway at Meigs Field on the Chicago waterfront.
In Mr. Miller's case, he won city council backing last
week to revoke support for the construction of a bridge
to Toronto island airport by a federal agency, the Toronto
While the federal government has signalled its support
for council's decision, the port authority is in talks
with the city on the implications of not proceeding with
the island airport bridge.
Yesterday, officials from the city and the port authority
exchanged information, but no resolution of the matter
is expected for another week to 10 days.
After meeting with Mr. Daley and his officials, Mr. Miller
said he hopes to boost economic and cultural ties between
the two cities that already have a "sister city"
Mr. Miller, who has invited Mr. Daley to Toronto, also
met with Wrigley Gum officials, who are planning a $17-million
plant expansion in Don Mills.