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Weekend Newsstand: July 12, 2014

What will the weekend bring? Another shirtless horde, perhaps? One thing is for certain: by Monday morning, the world will know who won the World Cup. And that's really all that matters, right? In the news: the Fords come out swinging against the Eglinton redevelopment project, ombudsman Fiona Crean may stay on despite her harsh criticism of Ford, and the TDSB is getting—or staying—litigious.

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While the project moved through earlier votes at city council easily, Mayor Rob Ford’s reappearance led to an uproar Friday over the proposed Eglinton redevelopment. Both Ford and his brother Doug (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) spoke out against the proposal, with Doug referring to it as part of one of the Fords’ favourite campaign points: the “war on cars.” Meanwhile, Rob grilled city planner Jennifer Keesmaat about the possibility that the changes would negatively affect vehicular traffic. The plan includes more space on the street for pedestrians and cyclists, and is intended to turn Eglinton into the city’s primary east-west street. The plan passed 26-7, despite the Fords’ raucous dissent. Mayoral candidates Olivia Chow and John Tory also spoke up about the plan, with Chow saying she trusts city planners to do their work and Tory echoing Ford fears of traffic congestion.

Fiona Crean, Toronto’s current ombudsman, has earned her fair share of criticism over fiery reports criticizing the mayor; she is up for contract renewal, and may have secured herself the job despite opposition on city council. It will still be uncertain for several days if renewal is the case, because council endorsed “a confidential set of instructions” rather than renewing her contract outright. However, sources told the National Post that the instructions were similar to contract negotiations. Some of Crean’s supporters seem to feel the opposition to her contract renewal came only from disagreement with her strongly worded critiques of Mayor Ford.

Downtown high school Central Tech will not have access to its outdoor field for the foreseeable future, as the Toronto District School Board appeals a finding from the Superior Court that the school’s plan to revamp its field is not exempt from zoning regulations. Most school developments are exempt from zoning regulations, with the stipulation that the buildings be put to use for educational purposes only. The TDSB had planned to have Razor Management foot the costs of the field’s refurbishment, including building an artificial turf field and an inflatable dome, which the school would have exclusive access to during schools hours but which the company would control outside those hours. The actual complaint is that the board’s testing found contamination in the soil, though the risk was determined by an outside company to be minimal. However this shakes out by the end, Central Tech students are likely to be without a field for another school year.

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