In The News

Corporate sponsor bankrolls fare-free London Transit on car-free day
"A city councillor is looking to lift London Transit fares for one day in September, something that has attracted the attention of a corporate donor to cover the costs. Going before Tuesday’s meeting of city politicians is a proposal from Ward 11 Coun. Skylar Franke to waive London Transit fares for everyone on Sept. 22 in support of international car-free day." (May 2024)

1 hour of free downtown London parking sputters at committee
"Coun. Skylar Franke said the city already provides various forms of free or subsidized downtown parking, including: 

  • Covent Garden Market (one hour during the week, two hours on weekends). 
  • Citi Plaza (Two hours of free parking for library patrons). 
  • Free parking after 6 p.m. on city streets.
  • Free parking on some city streets adjacent to the streets.

"There's free parking almost everywhere downtown already," said Franke. "Just because there's not free two-hour parking in front of the exact hair salon or store you want to go into, does not mean that there is not free parking downtown. There is quite a lot." Franke also said offering free parking does not help the city hit its climate targets." (April 2024)

Byron’s colony of rare bank swallows facing new threat
"On Tuesday, Franke will seek council’s support(opens in a new tab) to amend a motion approving the Byron Gravel Pit Secondary Plan. The motion will read, “Civic administration ensure that future background studies supporting the development of a Park Master Plan for the Byron Gravel Pit investigate the creation and inclusion of artificial habitat or an alternative location for the Bank Swallow, if such needs are required due to planned relocation of the habitat.”

The motion also aims to make sure, “That the bank swallow habitat is not lost or forgotten in the quagmire of competing provincial legislation.” Franke emphasized that her motion would not delay residential approvals. Instead, it seeks to answer questions about the swallow habitat during the development of a municipal park and recreation master plan for the area. (April 2024)

Building up in the 'burbs: Development hitting new heights outside core
"Coun. Skylar Franke, whose Ward 11 includes the area, is on planning committee, says it’s exciting to see density in the area. She believes taller, higher-density development is the new normal, as more, especially younger Londoners look to leave cars behind in a more expensive world."

A 'transit village' without rapid transit could revive westbound BRT, city staff and councillors say
"I think this a case of, if we build it, they will come," said Coun. Skylar Franke during Tuesday's committee meeting, referring to the long-dead west London BRT leg that failed to come to fruition. "It's a good location, people are able to walk and get groceries."

Politicians set target to get more Londoners to bike and bus to work
"There is a belief that people only want to drive a car," said said Ward 11 Coun. Skylar Franke, who was advocating for a higher target. "Not everyone does. If people want to drive 100 per cent of the time, that's fine, but the city is built in such a way that driving is the easiest choice and having only one choice is not freedom."

Job shadowing gives students a view of future jobs
"During the 2023-2024 academic year, 45 students signed up to take part in the Job Shadow program. They had the chance to job shadow at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Ford Keast LLP, the Thames Valley District School Board, London Rehab, the office of City Councilor Skylar Franke ’13, and the King’s Library."

Councillors call for accountability from police following $672M budget boost
"In a letter to be tabled at next week's strategic priorities and policy committee, Mayor Josh Morgan, Ward 7 Coun. Corrine Rahman, and Ward 11 Coun. Skylar Franke outline several measures they say would strengthen transparency and trust around the police budget."

Committee votes down bid to build 10-unit luxury rentals near Warbler Woods
"Councillors on the city's Planning and Environment Committee voted 3-1 against an application to rezone 1494 Commissioners Rd. W. to allow for a three-storey rental building at the corner of Commissioners and Chestnut Hill Road. The property borders on part of the Warbler Woods Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA)."

Council approves more transit funding, shoots down pitch to move $8M from police to homeless support
"The budget meeting began with a motion by Coun. Skylar Franke to continue four different programs over the four years of the budget that are aimed at preventing homelessness. They include $1.6 million to help where hoarding has been identified as a problem plus a housing stability bank costing $2.8 million. The money would also cover supports for housing providers ($1.6 million) and case management of housing cases ($1.8 million). Franke said the money will help about 3,900 people. "Constituents are telling me they don't want us allocating the bulk of their tax dollars to the police budget," she said. "They believe, like I do, that the better bang for the buck is to address root cause issues instead of emergency responses." 

City budget: A few tweaks, and a proposed 2024 tax hike of 8.7%
"Coun. Skylar Franke wanted to redirect $8 million over the next four years from the police budget – they’re getting an average of $167 million, for $672 million total – to help with hoarding, housing stability and housing support. It was defeated 12-3 with Franke, Hopkins and Ferreira in support and all others opposed. Said Franke: “If we keep talking about the importance of public safety, personally, I think the No. 1 thing we can do to keep people safe is to keep them housed.”

Council approves McDonald's on flood plain, decision now goes to UTRCA
"The motion passed by a 10-5 vote, with Mayor Josh Morgan and councillors David Ferriera, Skylar Franke, Anna Hopkins and Sam Trosow opposed."

More services or more cuts? London, Ont.’s budget committee gets to work
"Friday's most significant effort to cut came from Ward 11 Coun. Skylar Franke. Franke proposed taking a million dollars out of the annual contribution to the Industrial Land Reserve Fund. She added, “I personally see it being prudent to alleviate the tax pressure on Londoners for 2024 by withholding the one-year injection.”

Craig Needles Podcast Episode 237: Can development be green?
"On the heels of a conversation at city hall, councillor Skylar Franke and London Home Builder's Association CEO Jared Zaifman join Craig to breakdown what the city wants to do and how it could work for developers."

Council urged to support permanent funding for public washrooms downtown
"Coun. Skylar Franke said a movement towards ‘needs-based budgeting’ at city hall must include support for basic human needs like public washrooms. “A lot of places require that you purchase something like a coffee or a bagel to use their washrooms and that’s not feasible for everyone,” Franke explained. “I know a lot of families, a lot of moms, that are out there with their kids who need to go and use [a washroom] really quickly.”

London considers kickstarting a green makeover of local development standards
"Staff would also be directed to review municipal best practices for a by-law to implement sustainable building construction features, including energy efficiency, water conservation, and green roofs. “Council only has control of certain aspects of a development application,” explains Franke. “We are allowed to make recommendations to site plan authority, and that’s to do with things outside a building. We currently cannot make recommendations for inside a building.”

Councillor frustrated taxpayers on the hook to clean up former gas stations in London
“I’m happy to have those sites remediated because it’s better for the environment and for infill (developments), but my issue is who pays for it,” explained Coun. Skylar Franke. “Right now taxpayers subsidize our Community Improvement Plans (CIPs), and so essentially taxpayers will be subsidizing the remediation.”

City hall's urban design review panel axed in 10-4 council vote
City council voted after a two-hour debate Tuesday to dissolve the independent panel that reviews the urban design of new developments, citing the need to reduce delays for projects including housing. The urban design peer review panel will dissolve immediately following council’s 10-4 vote. Anna Hopkins, Skylar Franke, David Ferreira and Sam Trosow were opposed. Coun. Steve Hillier was absent; all others approved its abolishment.

Push for city hall lobbyist registry falls flat in Tuesday evening council meeting
That motion, brought forward and seconded by councillors David Ferreira and Skylar Franke, came with a letter penned by the two outlining a case for establishing a registry. It cited a lack of public trust in municipal politicians, similar systems in other municipalities, and the lacklustre levels of public participation in municipal politics in London.

World Car-Free Day includes call for greater investment in London Transit and active transportation
Coun. Skylar Franke emphasized the importance that city hall continue to invest London Transit and active transportation infrastructure like protected bike lanes. “Whether people want to bus, ride, or walk, they need to be able to do it safely, conveniently, and efficiently. That is only possible if we make those investments,” Franke explained.

Tesla dealership seeks green light to come to London, Ont.
“This application is asking for 504 parking spots,” pointed out Coun. Skylar Franke. “Electric vehicles are better than gas-powered cars for the environment,” Franke added. “That being said, cars still use car infrastructure and that can be seen in this application.”

South London affordable housing project gets $16.5M from feds, city
"This is a great piece of infill," said Franke. "It's close to schools, it's close to transit, it's very close to a shopping centre. When we work together, we can get things done."

Politicians skip 'punitive' move amid homeless-sent-to-London speculation
But led by Ward. 11 Coun. Skylar Franke, city politicians unanimously rejected a motion calling for municipalities and the province to withdraw public funding for organizations and suspend the professional accreditation of individuals engaged in relocating people in this way.

Thames Pool officially decommissioned by London, Ont. council in narrow vote
“I have heard a variety of different perspectives, but the one that still keeps coming back over and over is people would like us to repair the pool, so they can enjoy it for a couple more years,” Franke said.

Councillors vote to take more time to decide Thames Park Pool's fate
"This is the best location for the pool, and at the same time, it is the worst location for the pool," said Skylar Franke, the area's ward councillor. "Best" because the pool has earned a cherished place in Old South. "Worst" because flooding and a high water table on the site mean staff can't guarantee that any repair or rebuild won't be again be undone by the cracking and frost heave that has plagued the pool.

Thames pool to stay closed this summer as politicians push for 2024 reopening
“I don’t think we have enough information to make a permanent decision on this location,” said Coun. Skylar Franke, who represents the ward where the pool is located but doesn’t sit on the community and protective services committee. “I do think it’s unfair to the community to take away this treasured community spot without a clear path forward.”

'London Plan' preaches housing intensification but city hall missed 2022 target by half
“That worries me because it essentially means that the building that is occurring is not happening within the Built-Area Boundary,” Coun. Skylar Franke told CTV News. “That could lead to more urban sprawl — which is what we’re trying to get away from.”

Keep London's public washrooms open longer, downtown advocates urge
"We do still have the libraries across the community that have public washrooms, as well as our community centres, but those aren't in every single area and sometimes when you have to go, you have to go," Franke told CBC News. "Making sure that there are locations that are easily accessible to the community is really important."

Kissing babies – their own – comes with campaigning for these candidates
"Franke said she would bring that perspective as a new parent to council, if elected. It’s already got her thinking about everything from sidewalk snow clearing — this winter she’ll be pushing a stroller through the ice and snow — and taking action on climate change. “It makes me want to fight harder.”" (Sept 2022)

Labour council backs Josh Morgan, several incumbents
"Patti Dalton, president of the council, said she believes their “progressive candidates” can drive change on important London issues such as improving public transit, addressing poverty, homelessness and housing affordability, and contribute to tackling the climate crisis." (Sept 2022)

Debates begin as Ward 11 candidates square off
A flurry of municipal election debates kicked off Wednesday night with a spotlight on one of the hottest races in London. (Sept 2022)

Turner not seeking re-election, endorses Skylar Franke in Ward 11
"Franke says the decision to run for a seat on council came after considerable thought and reflection. [...] On Thursday, Franke held a meet and greet alongside Turner in Wortley Village to discuss her ideas to tackle affordability, climate change, and housing insecurity." (June 2022)

Millennials find a home in neighbourhood associations 
Skylar Franke and her partner, Nick Soave, had finally found a house to their liking in west London, one within walking distance of downtown. When their offer was accepted, she thought they’d cleared their biggest hurdle: they were now homeowners. But weeks later, she realized they faced another, more subtle challenge: How the heck do you get to know your neighbours? (Sept 2017)

Urban League president running for London city council seat
“I think council needs some fresh voices,” she said. “I’d love to bring my voice and the voice of my neighbours to city hall to make change." (May 2022)

Can city hall make London less 'car-centric' with new climate plan?
“For people to actually take action, a lot of barriers have to be removed, so incentives, rebates . . . as well as changing, physically, how our city is structured. Right now it’s easier for people to drive a car than it might be for them to ride a bike or take a bus. Some of this plan is identifying how to remove barriers so the community is motivated to take action.” (Feb 2022)

City hall urged to commit more money to developing climate action plan. 
“This is possibly the most important plan that council will ever develop. It needs to be the best it can possibly be,” Skylar Franke, head of the London Environmental Network, said." (April 2021)

London environmental leaders begin 10-year journey to carbon-neutral homes
"Executive director Skylar Franke and green economy manager Marianne Griffith of the London Environmental Network are working to make their homes carbon neutral by 2030 — 20 years before the city’s net zero target of 2050. " (April 2020)

Councillors give green light to green bin program in London 
Skylar Franke, the Executive Director of the London Environmental Network, said she was pleased to see the majority of councillors support the plan. "We've been sending all our organics to landfill and that is not very helpful for climate change, because then a lot of the organic matter turns into methane, which is one of the green house gas emissions that contributes to climate change," she said." (February 7, 2020)

January’s record rain expense London’s dirty sewage secret
“We have a need and opportunity to be dealing with (heavy rain) before it even enters our sewage system,” said London Environment Network leader Skylar Franke. She pointed to green infrastructure strategies, such as rain gardens, that can hold more water and help keep it from barreling onto roads and into storm drains. " (January 2020)

Launch of Green Economy London marks 7th Hub in growing network
“They offer different services to the businesses so they can actually hit those achievements. A lot of businesses, especially small- to medium-sized enterprises don’t have somebody on staff to do sustainability work so that’s where we come in,” said Skylar Franke, executive director of the London Environmental Network. (May 2019)

Ripple effect from cap and trade cancellation hits London
The cancellation of Ontario’s cap and trade system is killing a London bid for cash to launch a green bin program. Skylar Franke, executive director of the London Environmental Network, said it’s time for the city to invest money in launching a green bin program. “It needs to be paid at some point. The sooner we do it, the easier it is to swallow that number,” Franke said. (July 2018)