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Residents want Toronto to build a better city: poll

Toronto residents want their municipal leaders to focus on building a better city, not on keeping taxes low, according a recent poll.

The survey, conducted by Forum Research Inc., found that 65 per cent of respondents – nearly two-thirds – chose a better city when asked,  “As far as you know, what is the most important duty of a mayor and city council, building a better city or keeping taxes low?’

“Keeping taxes low” was favoured by just 27 per cent of those polled.

“There’s good and bad news here for Mayor [Rob] Ford,” Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff said in a statement.

“Most think city building, not the Mayor’s strong suit, is more important than tax cutting, which is his forte.”

However, the same survey found that residents supported incineration of garbage, which the mayor also favours.

The survey also found that public opinion was heavily opposed to a Walmart near Kensington Market, with six in 10 people against the superstore, Bozinoff said.

Opposition was strongest in the downtown core, with 62 per cent of people against it, but the numbers were the same in Scarborough, and barely dropped in North York and Etobicoke, where 57 per cent of people were opposed.

“Despite the fact that College and Bathurst isn’t actually in the market, and is already an established commercial strip, the mere mention of the name Walmart is enough to conjure up fierce opposition in the downtown core,” Bozinoff said.

Opposition was highest among women, at 65 per cent, and those who use transit, at 64 cent. And opposition rocketed among those who disapprove of the job Rob Ford is doing as mayor, with a whopping 72 per cent of people who oppose Ford opposing Walmart.

The poll was conducted by Forum Research on June 25. They surveyed 1,239 randomly selected Torontonians 18 years of age and older by telephone.  Results based on the total sample are considered accurate within three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.