Bundle up this morning! Here's hoping the "lion" part of March is short-lived. In the news: Ontario tuitions should rise by a little bit less this year; Toronto got a lot of development money; the city planner is on cyclists' side; pothole repair is about to begin in earnest; and don't hide in safes at parties.
Ontario university tuitions are likely to increase by less than five per cent this year, the first time in seven years that the increase will stay below that mark. Newly appointed Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Brad Duguid, told the Toronto Star that though a decision on tuition hasn’t been finalized, “extending the current framework (a five per cent annual cap the Liberals set in 2006) is not where my head is at right now.” The province has told colleges and universities in Ontario to cut $40 million in spending for 2013 and $80 million next year.
Toronto enjoyed the majority of the benefits from $1 billion southern Ontario received from the federal government in 2009, according to an internal evaluation of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. The fund was established by the Harper government to help with job creation in areas affected by manufacturing downturns, and was headquartered in Kitchener in an intentional move to keep it out of the GTA. Regardless, the GTA gained more than 9,550 of the 26,552 jobs attributed to the fund.
It appears that cyclists have an ally in city planner Jennifer Keesmaat, who told the Globe and Mail in an interview that Toronto needs to move towards a safer bicycle network that has cycling lanes separated from those for cars. The city’s research shows that a third of Torontonians are travelling in the city on foot or bikes, but Keesmaat said the current situation, where cyclists are often sharing space with cars, is unsafe. “What we need to move towards is a framework where we see cycling as a legitimate form of transportation, and we are ensuring that drivers have the space they need and we’re ensuring that cyclists have the space that they need,” she told the Globe.
The city will begin repairing potholes this week, now that the latest dump of winter snow has been cleared. Staff working on pothole repair will be temporarily tripled over the next two weeks, and residents can call 311 to report those they find. Toronto spends about $4 million fixing approximately 200,000 potholes each year.
Firefighters had to rescue a man from inside a safe at a party on Queen Street West and Duncan Street on Saturday night. The 24 year old entered the safe as a dare and was stuck inside for about 30 minutes, but emerged unharmed. Shockingly, first responders said alcohol was likely a factor in the incident.