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Newsstand: June 20, 2013

There are some things you just don't want to wait for, so here we go: happy summer, folks. In the news: Toronto Community Housing vows to do something about senior citizen evictions, the TDSB keeps a music program, the plastic bag debate gets put to bed, and the Centre Island hedge maze might be coming back.

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Toronto Community Housing Corporation is vowing to do something it probably should have done several years ago when a judge told them to: take the eviction of residents seriously. The move comes after the City Ombudsperson blasted the corporation in a report a couple of weeks ago, which found TCHC continues to needlessly evict senior citizens.

Parting can be difficult, and it can be even more difficult when 10,000 people sign a petition to try and prevent it from happening. The petition in question was one that circulated after it got out that the TDSB was looking to scrap its itinerant music instructors program, which got parents as worked up as, well, parents afraid their children will lose their school music programs. All that pressure just might have gotten to the school board, because trustees voted against getting rid of the program to save some cash at last night’s meeting. Presumably, that cash will come from somewhere else now. It might come from the board selling school properties it’s not currently using, but we can’t know for sure because that’s still officially being kept under wraps.

Mayor Rob Ford took some time out of his busy day yesterday to tell reporters what he’ll do if re-elected to the mayoralty next year. Ford said he plans to centre part of his re-election platform around privatizing all garbage collection in Toronto, something that, if you can believe it, the City’s outside workers union isn’t behind. It’s not the first time Ford has done this. At least we can take comfort in the knowledge that he’s not planning to cut and run once his term is over.

The City’s public works committee has said sayonara to the plastic bag fee, ban, and debate by casting a report on the subject into bureaucratic purgatory. The committee has voted to do nothing with the report, despite a survey that found a majority of Toronto residents support a fee or ban on plastic shopping bags. For proponents of the fee and ban, the only hope now is for a surprise derail during council discussion that puts the item back on the agenda. In other words, give it a few weeks.

Sometimes ‘goodbye’ is only ‘goodbye for now’…especially when it involves the City of Toronto and money. Such is the case with the hedge maze on Centre Island. The City removed it a couple of years ago but might be bringing back, thanks to financial backing by a former repo company owner nostalgic for the wooded labyrinth of his childhood. The Parks committee will vote on whether to take the fellow’s money and re-build the maze on Monday.

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