With their thoughts on their mentor David Pecaut, who died a day earlier, the city’s next generation of leaders met yesterday to focus on specific projects that could change life in the city, from increased voter turnout in municipal elections to creating an arts corridor along John Street.
As more than 150 participants of the Emerging Leaders Network, an offshoot of the Toronto City Summit Alliance, gathered at the MaRS Centre for a long-scheduled session, many talked about how Pecaut’s dream of collective leadership in the city could be the best possible tribute to the civic leader who touched so many with his projects and initiatives.
Here is a look at a few of the proposed initiatives:
Arts corridor: Imagine taking an iPhone or BlackBerry, pointing it to a wall as you’re walking by and getting an instant piece of digital art.
That’s exactly what might happen if artists get their wish to create an arts and cultural corridor along John Street in the entertainment district.
With the planned digital-arts project expected to launch next spring, passersby would also be able to get free wireless access on the street or at a sidewalk cafe.
Voting process: Too often in municipal elections, the same incumbents are re-elected over and over, and despite the city’s diversity, only 11 per cent of city councillors are visible minorities and only 22 per cent are women.
Dave Meslin of the Better Ballots campaign also noted some fields are so crowded that a councillor can win with as little as 20 per cent of the vote.
Proposed changes range from setting term limits to voting on weekends and holidays or ranked choice ballots where voters would choose their top preferences, and rounds of voting would take place until a councillor can win a majority of votes in a ward.
Other ideas include extending voting rights to non-citizens or including younger voters by lowering the voting age.