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Newsstand: March 25, 2014

While the mystery persists, in the end, it looks like detective Courtney Love can’t take credit for finding flight MH370…although her investigative work on Daniel Tosh seems pretty spot on. In the news: a new report says that the Billy Bishop expansion would be bad news for boaters, criticism over the provincial government’s funding kibosh of the Beaches International Jazz Festival, Scarborough residents try to save their trees, and Twitter trolls go after James Reimer’s wife.

matt newsstand gull

As the executive committee prepares to debate the future of expansion at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport today, a new report spells out some bad news for supporters of the Porter plan to see jets taking off and landing in the city centre. A report released yesterday by Transport Action Ontario says that the planned expansion of the airport would block off nearly three times as much of the Toronto harbour to boaters, and would impede both ferry and shipping routes. While the Toronto Port Authority previously stated that safety zones would not change if the airport runway were to be expanded as planned, the report contradicts this, claiming that a “no-go zone” for boaters would be between 780 to 1140 metres, compared to the current 340 to 430 metres. The report also warns that jet blasts from planes would be potential safety hazards for sailboat, canoe, and kayak use in the area.

While the future of Toronto’s Beaches International Jazz Festival is in limbo after it failed to qualify for a Celebrate Ontario grant this year, everyone’s favourite Degrassi alum Drake and his two-day OVO Fest are doing just fine and dandy with a $300,000 grant from the provincial government. This, according to critics, is a problem. The provincial Liberal government was lambasted yesterday by those who claim it is making cuts to community event funding, but parcelling out public dollars to corporations with deep pockets and income-generating potential. Candice Malcolm, the Ontario director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, says that corporations should not be asking for government handouts when they are already seeking money from taxpayers in the form of ticket sales for sports and other entertainment events. While Premier Kathleen Wynne was unable to give specific reasons for the rejection of the Beaches International Jazz Festival funding application, Wynne did defend the decision, saying, “We are very committed to the cultural sector, we’re very committed to supporting artists and art in this province, and we will continue to do so—and festivals, quite frankly, of all sorts.” The provincial government has yet to decide whether or not to back Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment’s request for $10 million to expand BMO Field, and while the City’s executive committee has given a stamp of approval to chip in $10 million of funding municipally, the federal government firmly stated that it will not fund professional sports facilities.

Guildwood Village residents are rallying to try and stop a dense Scarborough forest area from being cleared due to an infestation by the emerald ash borer—an Asian beetle known for swiftly killing trees. While Councillor Paul Ainslie (Ward 43, Scarborough East) says that more could have been done to save healthy trees before they were infested, the clearing of hundreds of trees since January may have been necessary to prevent the spread of the infestation. Mayor Rob Ford took time out from his busy schedule of touring public housing buildings to visit the forest area last week, but did not say whether or not he supported the current plan to continue cutting down both healthy and infested trees, saying he needed to do a more homework to get educated on the subject. You can insert your own punchline here.

Finally, in news that might make you think people are pretty much the worst ever, April Reimer—the wife of Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer—was verbally attacked by angry fans on Twitter over the weekend. Why? Because apparently some people can’t seem to understand that she is not responsible for her husband’s poor goaltending performance as of late. As the hailstorm of angry, pointless tweets flew her way, Reimer largely ignored them, eventually thanking those who offered supportive comments over social media.


  • bobloblawbloblawblah

    “…….saying he needed to do a more homework to get educated on the subject.”

    Rob Ford and homework. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

    Too funny.

    • dsmithhfx

      Doug does it for him…

  • Notcleverguy

    I’m surprised Rob “I’m a subway builder” Ford doesn’t push for what is really needed, and that is a subway line to Pearson.

    • HotDang

      The airport express bus from Kipling is never that full. I don’t see why having ten or twenty times the capacity going to pearson is a great idea. And the Eglinton Crosstown will go to the airport eventually.

      • Notcleverguy

        Well, presumably there would be other stops along the way, and some of us just don’t have the time to spend 2 hours getting to the airport on what is truly crummy and under-served bus service.

        And I have seen the Express from Kipling completely full often.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        Not to mention the Union–Pearson link.

        • Notcleverguy

          It’s horrible. None of these poorly thought out routes to the airport service business people in any meaningful way. The reason they are not used, is they are unreliable and do not run nearly as frequently as they should. Before any other subway is built, a subway to the airport should be first priority.

          • dsmithhfx


          • Notcleverguy

            Why indeed. Toronto having one of the least accessible international airports of any major city in the world is a logistical nightmare on many levels. It adds a ton to already ridiculous highway traffic, not to mention the time getting there takes away from productivity that could and should be used elsewhere. It also has and will continue to be the reason some foreign investment chooses to do business else where.

            Being in a line of work that travels often, and often has colleagues travel here, the accessibility to Pearson, as in relation to just about every other western countries financial hub airport is a disgrace. No one from outside Toronto travels here and says how easy it is to get down town from the airport, no one.

            Plus building a form of transportation to the airport help everyone in the city, not just a handfull of Ford voters who live in Scarborough.

          • dsmithhfx

            Take a cab/limo.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Business people aren’t the only people who fly in and out of Pearson, but a more-or-less direct connection from Pearson to downtown – where the hotels, convention centres, and corporate HQs are – is obviously going to serve them better than the 2 hour subway/bus combination we have now, and faster than a subway or LRT line with a dozen or more stops.

          • Notcleverguy

            Business people make up 90% of people that use Pearson now, The only way a direct airport to downtown link will serve people better than a subway is if it goes every 3 minutes.

            Our airports inaccessibility has been an ongoing joke world wide for a long time.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            What’s your source for that number?

            The UPE has an estimated 25 minute travel time from Pearson to Union, 23 km. The same distance on the Bloor-Danforth line (Kipling to Main) takes over 45 minutes. So a UPE train leaving 15 minutes after a subway will still arrive 15 minutes sooner, and doesn’t have to deal with the chronic problems that slow or stop our subways nearly every day, and delivers these business travellers to the heart of the city without needing to transfer.

          • Notcleverguy

            This isn’t taking everyone in Toronto into consideration, nor does it address the frequency issue, a direct route to the airport from one fixed area serves the needs of a few not everyone and most would have to transfer to get to that fixed point. This is why the Underground stop at London’s Heathrow is so lauded, anyone can get to it from any other point on the Underground. A fixed point link is just another bus from any random point in the city.

            I get my numbers from Skytrax and the GTAA 2012 airport user study.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            You weren’t taking the rest of Pearson’s passengers into consideration earlier, but tourists/visitors will also benefit from quick access to/from downtown, and most of the transit-using city outside Etobicoke will find it cheaper to take TTC downtown or to the Bloor West station to board the UPE than taking a cab or limo at (minimum) twice the price.

          • tomwest

            Business people make up about a quarter of trips from Pearson, according to the GTAA (it’s in their corporate plan somewhere).

    • dsmithhfx

      Rob will not be re-elected.

      • Notcleverguy

        Oh, I realize that, I’m just pointing out that with all his hot air bluster he should have been trying to do an airport line, something the city actually needs, instead of a useless three stop Scarborough line. Don’t get me wrong, I am in favour of the Metrolinks plan, and the Rob Ford in an orange jumpsuit plan.

        • vampchick21

          He actually doesn’t care what the city needs or doesn’t need.

          • Notcleverguy

            Good point, I forgot, as mayor his last concern is the good of the city,

      • TheSotSays

        All you left wing whoppies going pst pst pst to each other on these blogs isn’t going to prevent it. What a laugh!

        • Notcleverguy

          I’m as conservative as they come, Calling people left wing whoppies because they’re against doing crack, drunk driving and habitually lying is just dumb, really really dumb.

    • torontothegreat
  • OgtheDim

    Just a minor point about that whole BMO field thingie.

    That field was built on the cheap. Heck, bolts were not tightened properly when it first opened.

    Just to keep that stadium from beginning to look like most of our subway system (cracked, water leaking everywhere, exposed bars trying to hold concrete together), its going to require more then the $10 million in the next 5 years.

    The city is on the hook for half of that (under the current agreement with MLSE).

    So… a little now, with an agreement in place that all future resotration work costs the city nothing…..or pay a lot more over a longer period of time.

    Personally, I’m not sure why MLSE doesn’t just fork over the whole amount of money, but asking the city for something when MLSE would be perfectly within their rights to ask the city for more very soon seems not a bad thing.

    • Astin44

      Because the City owns it. Sure, MLSE could afford the whole thing up front, but that’s bad business for them if there’s a chance they could get a better deal. So they ask.

      They also aren’t asking for a gift, but a loan. So if the city can make money off the deal, while increasing the value of their own property why not?

    • dsmithhfx

      Royson James points out the extremely poor optics of this, even though ultimately he agrees there’s a valid business case for it. Shame on MLSE for failing to sell it to the public first. Too bad on them. If they can’t make money in this town, they’re welcome to take off. Maybe the city should just put it on the market, and see what we can get. Buy a few feet of subway.

  • Jacob

    So, the airport jet thing is yet another “get the plan approved now, fix massive problems with it later” scheme.