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Newsstand: January 16, 2014

One more day after today until the weekend! The sweet, sweet weekend. Here's some news to make the time fly by: pollution is affecting west Torontonians' health, unemployment is on the rise, an advisory group will try to reach a compromise about David Mirvish's proposed condo buildings, and Toronto has a well-balanced budget.

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A recent study from researchers in Toronto finds that the pollution caused by gridlock is negatively affecting west Torontonians’ health. The researchers focused on Etobicoke, and found five pollutants in higher levels than air quality standards allow for. Among the pollutants is benzene. The researchers found that the pollution comes “almost exclusively” from vehicles, especially trucks, that get backed up on highways.

Toronto’s unemployment rate skyrocketed in the last months of 2013, from a depressing but understandable 7.1 per cent in August to 9.8 per cent in October, before ending the year at a dismal 10.1 per cent. The increase wipes “out all improvements made in the last two years,” according to the report that released the numbers. The numbers for Ontario and Canada as a whole are slightly better, though Canada’s unemployment rate was creeping up near the end of the year as well, and ended the year at 7.3 per cent.

An 18-member advisory group has been tasked with coming to a compromise on the issue of David Mirvish’s proposed condo towers that would be designed by Frank Gehry. The towers—a set of three that would reside on King Street West and reach 82, 84, and 86 storeys—would contain space for both OCAD and a gallery to showcase Mirvish’s private art collection. Opponents, including city planners and residents of the area, are upset the towers would require the demolition of the Princess of Wales Theatre and heritage warehouses. The group has people on both sides of the issue and is intended to prevent an ugly, expensive fight in front of the Ontario Municipal Board. If approved, the project will contribute to the ongoing condo-ification of the downtown core (and you have to know condos in a Frank Gehry-designed brand-new complex are not going to be affordable to the everyperson).

Toronto and Waterloo are the only two metropolitan areas in Canada that properly match their budgets to their spending, according to a C.D. Howe Institute report. The report looked at 20 different cities and their budgets from 2003 to 2012, and found that most over- or underspend by as much as 20 per cent. Toronto and Waterloo, by contrast, are each within five per cent of their budgets. However, Toronto would only come in eighth in a ranking that included the provincial, territorial, and federal governments.


  • Instigator

    “Toronto’s unemployment rate skyrocketed in the last months of 2013, from a depressing but understandable 7.1 per cent in August to 9.8 per cent in October, before ending the year at a dismal 10.1 per cent.”

    Our mayor’s response to these annoying statistics?

    “I have made job creation and economic growth a key pillar of my administration, and I have fulfilled exactly what I said I was going to do,” he said.

    Pressed about unemployment, he said simply: “It is booming. Toronto is booming today. We’re a global powerhouse.”


    • andrew97

      I was going to jump in here and point out that, dipshit though Rob Ford is, there is little he can do to affect unemployment. But then I read in the article that he took credit for the unemployment rate when it was going down, so.

      • Instigator

        Exactly. I don’t blame him what the unemployment rate is right now. But if he wants to take credit for something he had no hand in, he can take blame, too.

      • vampchick21

        The thing is, I don’t think he understands that municipal politics has very little impact on unemployment rates at all. When he was taking credit for the good, he could not explain how he did anything. And as is typical, he’s just ignoring the bad.

        • bobloblawbloblawblah

          I don’t think he understands municipal politics period. He does know how to campaign though.

          • vampchick21

            I don’t think he understands reality.

        • OpportKnocks

          To his credit, RoFo has succeeded in redefining the role of the mayor to be the one thing he does well; campaigning for re-election 24/7 for 4 years.

          • dsmithhfx

            RoFo has succeeded in redefining the his role of the as mayor to be the one thing he does well a one-off freak show.

          • OpportKnocks

            LOL – thx for the edits ;-)

    • Not_Applicable

      To paraphrase Colbert, “Facts have a known anti-Ford bias”.

  • Astin44

    Absolutely zero shock on the Mirvish towers situation. The Princess of Wales is coming down for sure (not historical, built and owned by the Mirvishes), and the warehouses will be “saved” via facadism. The towers will probably also drop in height by 10-20 storeys, and of course, look nothing like the original plan.

    Which was obvious from the beginning. The original plan is a means to manipulate the decisions. Plan too big and too destructive so you can get away with the actual scope you wanted, which will still be too big and annoy people, but will look like a win in comparison.

    • Steveinto

      The city set that stage years ago. Why deal with developers and citizens when it can be sent to the OMB and make them the bad guys. The city has never been good at planning and never will the OMB is here forever.

      • dsmithhfx

        As long as developers and real estate investors keep bringing wheelbarrows of cash to Queens Park…

  • KRoberts

    As if King Street wasn’t already complete Rat’s nest – now we have three towers, housing thousands of people to look forward to. I can only imagine the extra strain the demolition of existing buildings, construction and plain existence of these monster condos will have on the existing (weak) infrastructure.