Five Advent chocolates eaten and December hasn't even started yet. At this rate, it's going to be a quick month. Here's the news: city councillors come together to save environment days but budget woes continue nonetheless, Toronto's fire department needs to be quicker in responding to emergencies, and the GTA isn't a very safe place to drive.
Isn’t it nice when city councillors come together to protect something as beloved to Torontonians as a day dedicated to hazardous waste and compost bins? Well, that’s precisely what’s happened, as councillors made a few compromises to ensure the city’s environment days are not reduced from 44—one for each ward—to 11 in 2012, in order to save money in the city’s budget. It turns out that all councillors had to do was take away a few frills, such as police protection, and kick in a few shekels of their own. The compromise sets a promising tone for future budget discussions, with councillors coming together and Mayor Rob Ford not getting his way.
Budget chief Mike Del Grande wants to talk about libraries. Specifically, why Toronto’s libraries are acting like a Blockbuster video store by lending out Hollywood movies, and why libraries are becoming “international” by carrying non-English books. Del Grande seems to forget Canada has two official languages, and that people who speak that other one might also want to borrow library books. Also, purging film collections and getting out of the movie business entirely would actually bring libraries way closer to Blockbuster Canada’s current business model than they are right now.
In other budget-related news, deputy mayor Doug Holyday (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre) won’t support cutting leaf removal services that are available in only a few parts of the city. Holyday says the residents who receive this service, many of whom happen to live in his ward, really like not having to bag their own leaves, and he wouldn’t want to change that. Other councillors are taking issue with what the 2012 budget has to say about service cuts and fare hikes for the TTC. This could be a long process, so sit back, have a bowl of popcorn or whatever other food allows you to forget the grim realities of the world, and stay tuned.
After the Star found Toronto’s fire department to be slightly slower than the North American standard in every step of the emergency response process, the city’s fire chief has come out and said the department aims to meet the standard in the future, although he didn’t get more specific as to how that will happen. In the meantime, if there’s an emergency and the firefighters aren’t showing up, Torontonians should remember that bucket brigades are still an effective and fun way to make a difference.
A new study finds drivers in rural Ontario are less likely to get into an accident than drivers in the Greater Toronto Area, what with all those traffic lights and cars and such. Anyone could tell you that, even someone from a bastion of safe driving such as Chatham, but it takes a special kind of person to actually get paid to do a study to prove it. Consequently, an even newer study has found people who live in the GTA have a significantly lower risk of getting their legs stuck in combine harvesters than Ontarians in rural areas.