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Newsstand: April 19, 2012

Another Thursday rolls around and we're still asking "Where have all the cowboys gone?" Maybe we'll find them here, in the news: the Toronto Zoo loses its accreditation, the City tells the Cyclists Union it doesn't need an environmental assessment to remove Jarvis bike lanes, Markham takes next steps to building an NHL-sized arena, the City considers retraining its drivers, and Rob Ford turns down invitation to the Pride parade again.

Was the price right after all, Bob? Was it? After much rallying from animal rights activists, including Bob Barker, the Toronto Zoo decided to send its three elephants away. But now it looks like that decision has led to the Zoo losing its accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, as AZA has a rule that decisions must be made by “professionals who are specifically trained to handle the institution’s animal collection”—as opposed to the Toronto decision, which was made by city council. But the Zoo people aren’t too concerned about the loss of the accreditation, saying visitors will hardly notice to difference. Hey, as long as those little pygmy hippos are still sullenly sitting in a little pool of water for all to see, we’re happy.

The City is saying that no environmental assessment is needed before removing the Jarvis bike lanes. That statement came in a letter from Transportation Services staff in response to a legal opinion commissioned by the Toronto Cyclists Union that said the City should carry out an assessment before removal if it wants to comply with the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process. But, we guess, the answer from the City on that front is pretty much, “Nah, we’re good.”

Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) wants to stick “How’s my driving?” stickers on the bumpers of the municipal fleet. Okay, that’s only kind of true. What’s really happening is the City is thinking about launching a special driver training program in an effort to cut down on the costs of repairing vehicles. Damage from collisions and vandalism and the like has cost the City more than one million dollars in past years. Maybe Doug is on to something.

Markham is poised to put Toronto Maple Leafs fans out of their misery. Sort of. Maybe. In a bunch of years. The Town is in the process of approving an NHL-sized arena, presumably in the hopes of wooing an NHL team (presumably an NHL team that does more for the town than boost local media ad sales by buying up apologies). Funding for the ice palace would come from the Town and a group of private investors, who are being led by the chairman of Bauer, Graeme Roustan.

And in case you missed this tidbit, despite its presence on national newscasts, our mayor has decided, once again, to skip the Pride parade. And once again, we don’t like that plan.


CORRECTION: 1:46 PM We originally wrote that AZA pulled the Toronto Zoo’s accreditation over the decision to send elephants to a sanctuary that isn’t also accredited by AZA. As has been pointed out to us by several readers, AZA’s concern was actually with process by which that decision was made (by council rather than zoo staff) and not its substance.

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