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Forest Saved, Ferry Doomed, Gardiner On The Fence

2008_07_15_forest.jpg
Dalton McGuinty has agreed to prevent any kind of commercial or industrial activity in 225,000 square kilometres of boreal forest in Northern Ontario. The plan mimics strategies that successive provincial governments have executed successfully in Toronto.
Ontario-based Internet pornographers Slickcash have agreed to pay Facebook half a million bucks after allegedly trying to hack into the online social network’s databases last year. Nice work, slick.
As city council gets ready to vote on a partial tear-down of the Gardiner today, some councillors are expressing doubts that the costs being quoted will be realistic. The current price tag is said to be $300 million—more than the estimated cost of repairs over the next decade, and way more than just letting it collapse scenically by itself.
To no one’s surprise, the latest attempt to find suckers backers for a Toronto–Rochester high-speed ferry has failed, with the only two applicants deemed lacking the necessary “operational or business experience.” You know, you can take a bus to Rochester, but no one does that either.
Just weeks after announcing thousands of Canadian layoffs, automaker GM has said they’ll be letting more workers go as part of a major restructuring. The revamped GM will be either an online dating site or a frozen yogurt stand.
The US credit crisis got spectacularly worse yesterday as the Feds had to step in and shore up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, owners or guarantors of almost half the mortgage debt in the US. If you don’t think this is a Toronto story, wait a few months.
Photo by er1danus.

Comments

  • Vincent Clement

    some councillors are expressing doubts that the costs being quoted will be realistic
    Why would they think that? They should ask administration what past projects were quoted at and what the final cost was. Take the average percentage variance and apply it to the $300 million figure.

  • dowlingm

    Since ferries only go something like 60km/h, they only make sense in one application – going directly by water where the road distance + congestion means a shorter travel time. A quick look at Google Maps will tell you that is true for St Catharines, Niagara on the Lake, even Lewiston. But once you go further east the advantage disappears.
    Set up a passenger ferry to Niagara to avoid the need to send GO trains east of Hamilton and a truck ferry to Lewiston to clear the border queues and relieve the QEW. (It’s gotta be cheaper than twinning the Peace Bridge, which IS being planned).

  • dowlingm

    okay – the Breeze was a bit quicker – 84.5km/h.
    http://www.austal.com/files/delivery/Product-86m-Ferries-Veh-Pass-Spirit.pdf

  • Astin

    The ferry offers just about ZERO benefit to Toronto, and a ton to Rochester. This is why Rochester bought the ferry and tried to run it last time. The time travelled is practically non-existant if the border is relatively open and you drive like a normal person (ie.- a bit above the speed limit), especially when you take customs and embarkation into account.
    It does offer an easier start to a trip to NY, and 3 hours of relaxing is definitely preferred to 3 hours of driving. But the price structure is so out of whack with demand that it just won’t work. They need to consolidate the fares so that it’s isn’t “$xxx for a car + $xx per passenger”. Make it a flat rate for a car + 1 or 2 adults, and charge extra beyond that. The original structure was horribly unappealing.
    As for the mortgage crisis being a Toronto problem… if you’re implying that we’re set for a similar collapse, then I’m afraid you’re off-base. There isn’t the sub-prime situation here that caused this in the States, and Canada’s in a much more stable economic position than our neighbours. Much of the housing boom here was caused by a combination of inherited wealth and low interest rates – things that haven’t changed and won’t be quickly altered. We also have the green belt limiting the amount of land available in the GTA. Yes, there will likely be a dip, and nerves and fear could spur a small sell-off, but not an outright crash like is happening in the States. Even if panic drove the market down, it’s not a situation where people would find themselves with upside-down mortgages.

  • Patrick Metzger

    Astin – No, I wasn’t thinking that we’ll see a US style mortgage crisis locally, although my smart-ass quip didn’t make that quite clear.
    What I do think is that we’ve barely scratched the surface yet of the subprime impact on the broader US economy in terms of unemployment, consumer spending etc etc. In combination with massive inflation on food and energy, these latest developments portend really, really bad news which is bound to cross the border.
    Cheerful, eh?

  • RealityCheck

    Pat – Oshawa, Blue Collar Oakville, and similar places that rely on US consumer or housing market will get hammered. Already happening with Masonite (door maker just off the 400) possibly breaching its loan covenants, and the spectacular failure that is GM. People working for US investment banks might be in trouble if they do across the board cuts, rather than looking at the profitability and revs of individual offices and lines of business.
    With commodity bull still running strong, the downtown Toronto market is still very strong, since the Investment Bankers, Traders, Lawyers, Accountants, and Consultants drive so much of their work off of resource work. Tech industry died in 01 and only a bit of the finance industry that was dealing with asset securitisation got hit here.
    With most professional services, there’s just as much demand in good times as in bad – it’s just different work. Restructuring and bankruptcy pays just as new product introduction and IPOs.
    Long Rosedale, Moore-Park, Forest Hill, Annex, King West, Hogg’s Hollow, Deer Park (ok all the Yonge Corridor between Bloor and the 401). Short Leslieville, Markham, Oshawa, Pickering, Whitby, Milton.

  • jennyfish

    Ya I don’t know why they keep trying to push for this crazy Toronto-Rochester ferry deal while ignoring the idea of a Toronto-St.Catharines Ferry. It takes so long to drive to Niagara nowadays and yet it is just a mere 30k accross the lake, which would take no time by boat.