After a year of campaigning and months of speculation, the Toronto City Council has voted to ban “ScooterGate” — the term used to describe the use of private vehicles to transport the Olympic Games in the city.
The council also approved a motion to prohibit public parking and transportation for the Games in Scootergate areas, and to ban all public gatherings in those areas from July 4.
Mayor John Tory and his fellow councillors had been calling for the ban to be put into effect immediately after the Games, in hopes of slowing the spread of scooter-related crime.
Tory said Monday he was “disappointed” that the motion had not been passed unanimously, but that he will consider all options.
He called the move “the right thing to do” and said he would discuss it with council again next week.
Councilor John Campbell, who is also a member of the City Council, said in a statement Monday that he has been urging the city’s police services to be “aggressive” against the scooter gangs, which are responsible for a growing number of scooters and other high-tech contraptions that litter the streets.
“The use of these vehicles by criminals and other criminals, and their proliferation, is contributing to a rise in street crime,” Campbell said.
“It is my hope that we can continue to work with the police services and other stakeholders to address this growing problem, and work to ensure the safety and security of the city.”
The decision to ban the public gatherings comes after months of criticism from residents, councillors and politicians.
In October, councilors also voted to limit the number of public gatherings to three a day in Scooters-friendly areas, after a series of thefts of the popular scooters took place on the streets of the downtown core.
In the wake of the theft and subsequent arrests, the city council adopted a motion that bans gatherings of more than three people.
The motion also requires that all public parking spaces be restricted to one-way streets and that all vehicles be equipped with cameras and security systems.
“It is disappointing that the council did not follow the recommendation of the report by our Police Services Committee to implement a number of the recommendations,” Mayor John Tory said in his statement Monday.
“We are also disappointed that a motion was not adopted to prohibit the public gathering in Scoot-Gates, as we believe it would have prevented a significant increase in crime.”