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Newsstand: June 25, 2014

A nine-year-old Kansas City boy had his “Little Free Library” stand shut down after it was deemed an illegal structure by city officials. People are the worst. In the news: Possible coyote attacks in Markham, lighting up the Bloor Viaduct will cost over $4.5 million dollars, “taxi widows” say the City is driving them out of business, and Christine Elliott will likely make a bid to become the next leader of the Progressive Conservatives.

matt newsstand gull

York Regional Police and the Ontario SPCA are currently on the hunt for two animals—believed to be coyotes, or feral German Shepherds—suspected in attacks on two women in Markham on Monday. The pair of animals chased several people in the Huntington Park area, fleeing when officers used pepper spray to drive them from a backyard. City-run recreational activities in the community have been cancelled, and residents whose homes are bound by Highway 407, John Street, Bayview Avenue, and Highway 404 are urged to use extra caution when venturing into any wooded areas until the animals have been caught. It’s not a full moon, is it?

Since when is Kanye West the Mayor of Toronto? Because Yeezus’s presiding over our lovely city as if it was his own personal wedding ceremony is the only possible reason why anyone is considering dishing out $4.7 million to light up the Prince Edward Viaduct in time for the Pan Am Games. According to a City staff report, lighting up the bridge will cost nearly that—$3 million more than previously projected. The good news is that most of the City’s 10 Pan Am capital projects are progressing either on or under budget. Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth)—who has been a longtime advocate of the project—said that the initial $1.8-million price tag was never a final assessment, and that it was understood that it would cost a bit more once engineering had been completed. City staff are requesting an additional $1 million to complete the first phase of the project, and say that if the remaining $1.85 million is green-lit by early 2015, the project will still have a fighting chance of being completed in time for the games. According to Pan Am CEO Saad Rafi, the only other project that is currently over budget is a BMX facility in Etobicoke, which will likely cost $4.4 million, despite initial projections that it would cost only $1.5 million.

The widow of a late Toronto taxi driver says recent municipal reforms to taxi licence schemes has put her family’s livelihood at risk. A new licensing system will come into effect on July 1, meaning current licence holders will have to stop leasing out their highly valuable plates over the next 10 years. Nusrat Raana, whose husband was murdered behind the wheel of his taxi in 2006, says the income she receives from leasing out the plates she inherited upon her husband’s death is the only money she has to support her four children. The new rules allow for current licence holders either to sell them or convert them to the new Toronto Taxi Licence, but according to the Toronto Taxi Alliance, the reforms have diminished the resale value of current plates. Six months ago, plates could fetch upwards of $300,000. Now they stand at half their former value, according to some drivers. The Alliance is now seeking a court injunction while they appeal the bylaws.

Christine Elliott, the deputy leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives, is expected to announce today that she will make another bid for leadership of the party as current leader Tim Hudak prepares to step down on July 2. Elliott is not the only candidate expected to step up. Conservative MPPs Monte McNaughton (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex) and Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton) are just two party members said to be seriously considering a run.


  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    The viaduct at 500m is a sixth the length of the Bay Bridge (2.9km) between San Francisco and Oakland. Lighting that bridge cost $8 million US. What’s the justification for the $4.7 million price tag here? Is someone just pocketing the $3.4 million out of proportion for this project, are they just doing it far less efficiently than California managed, or is the viaduct going to be six times as bright?

    • CaligulaJones

      Unionized labour, I would imagine.

      And these are special, Paula Fletcher approved lights, which everyone knows, are quite a bit more expensive, as they are required to keep her in the news during election year.

      • Squintz

        Two snarky unproven accusations in one post, you’re working hard today.

        • CaligulaJones

          I don’t think anyone should throw around the word “unproven” if they seemingly know nothing about Toronto’s Fair Wage Policy. Want to try again?

          So, do you consider a doubling of a cost “a bit” more of a cost?

          • Squintz

            So if paying union wages is the policy then isn’t pretending like there is a cheaper alternative dishonest? I also didn’t see in the report where the increase was attributed to union wages. Most of it is to speed up the construction to start in the fall, so how is your point proven?

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            You said you “imagine” the cost difference can be attributed entirely to unionized labour. Imagination isn’t proof, so “unproven” is an apt description.

          • Chris

            You seem pretty certain that UNIONIZED labour is the reason (a) the revised costs to install and run the lights is higher than the initial estimate and (b) why the costs are, in your opinion, relatively high, given the span of the bridge, compared to other, larger bridges.

            You point to the costs to light the Bay Bridge, as proof of the exorbitant labour costs here (again, since you attribute the entire difference to our higher UNIONIZED labour costs).

            Do you know for a fact that there was no UNIONIZED labour involved in installing the lights at the Bay Bridge, or for that matter, what the hourly labour costs were for that light installation?

            And on what basis are you attributing the increased costs from the initial estimate to “UNIONIZED labour costs”? You mention the Fair Wage Policy – correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the Fair Wage Policy in effect at the time of the initial estimate? For that matter, haven’t City Staff been unionized for a lonnnng time now? How on Earth can you conclude that it’s UNIONIZED labour costs alone that’s the cause?

            Unless you have all those details on hand, I question how you’re so certain that UNIONIZED labour costs are the problem

            I keep emphasizing UNIONIZED since you seem convinced somehow that its the fact of unionization alone that makes the costs so high, as if non-unionized staff doing that work (which is fairly technical and a little more involved than stringing Christmas lights over your front porch) would be doing it for $5 bucks an hour. To suggest that the incremental difference between unionized labour and non-unionized labour costs would somehow cause the estimate to more than double is ill-informed.

      • Steveinto

        How so in regards to unionized labour? You would prefer foreign labour over paying decent ages, working condition, benefits and pensions. Slave labour the cons dream.

        • CaligulaJones

          I don’t know where the brainless left would be without hyperbolic logical fallacy. Its like a second language to you twerps.

          Try logic for once: union jobs cost more, this is either a true union job, or a de facto one due to Toronto’s Fair Wage Policy.

          Either would explain the discrepancy in the cost. I offered no other editorial comment, and still made a falsifiable argument.

          BTW, an intelligent person would admit there is a bit of gap between union wages in Toronto (TDSB: $164 to install a pencil sharpener, TCHC: too numerous to mention), and slavery.

          In fact, using the word in the same sentence is pretty much shitting on the memory of the millions of people who were actually impacted by slavery. And those that still are.

          Want to try again, without wetting yourself?

          • Squintz

            You’re clearly conflating unions and corruption, corruption occurs in the private sector/ open shops as well. And if you want to get all worked up about hyperbolic logically fallacies maybe you should take a breath and read the drivel you just spewed. Shitting on the memory of slaves? Calm down.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Where would the brainless right be without the boogeyman of unionized labour as the only source of corruption or cost overruns in the universe?

          • dsmithhfx

            TROLL HARDER!

          • OgtheDim

            Is this where I point out that the TDSB pencil sharpening thing was because of a lack of proper oversight by management to an outside contractor using a PPP system beloved by Ford and Hudak and Harris?

    • dsmithhfx

      Whatever, the project should be shitcanned.

      • bobloblawbloblawblah

        It’s these kind of stupid, money gobbling ideas that gave our Crackhead Mayor a platform back in 2010. I agree, shitcan it.

    • rich1299

      The “original estimate was based on the concept proposal and other projects,
      rather than detailed design drawings or assessment of the conditions on
      the bridge” (form the Star article). Its likely costing more than the Bay bridge because this is a very different type of bridge and they’re
      trying to light different parts of it. I’d imagine when lighting a cable
      bridge they could use some sort of metal band to attach the lights
      while here they can’t do it that way and they’re trying to not only light its underside but also the luminous veil which would likely involve
      much more work to mount the lights. The suicide barrier was called the luminous veil because it was supposed to have been lit up originally but never was due to cost over runs.

      I hope they go ahead with this regardless since it would look stunning when finished and would be visible from quite a distance.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        The 25,000 LEDs on the Bay Bridge cables were attached with 60,000 zip ties, by hand.

  • Bumbaclot

    I always like reading about libaries getting shut down, especially some little kid’s libary. As the world’s best father, I know better than anyone you gotta nip these bad habits in the bud. Hopefully this’ll straighten out the little punk and he’ll forget about books and pick up a football or hockey stick.

    Maybe I can get something passed at City Hall declaring all of our libaries illegal structures too. Like Dougie said, we got more libaries than Tim Hortons in Toronto, and that’s a friggin disgrace. Folks actually need coffee and donuts.

    • Don River

      Food’s for eating Mr. Mayor, not for thinking. Are you turning into a right-wing commie?