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Newsstand: August 14, 2014

Just in case you were wondering, there are 38 days left in summer. In the news: Joe Pennachetti says that Toronto has never been on the edge of a fiscal cliff, University Avenue might be ceremonially renamed to honour Nelson Mandela, a mattress fire at the old Jilly's building, and a Toronto-bound plane makes an emergency landing in Ottawa.

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At a press conference yesterday, city manager Joe Pennachetti said that Mayor Rob Ford’s claim that he took Toronto “back from the edge of a fiscal cliff” is inaccurate. Mayor Ford issued a press release on Wednesday touting his own economic track record, in which he alluded to having brought the city’s finances back from the brink of disaster. Pennachetti said Toronto has never been on a fiscal cliff and voiced doubt that City expenditures greatly outpaced the levels of other municipalities. A report on the health of Toronto’s financial picture that was released by the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at U of T largely supports this idea. The report says that Toronto’s debt is “relatively modest” for a city of its size, and its municipal expenditure levels are similar to what they were a decade ago when inflation and population growth are taken into consideration. The report does say that revenue is a bit of an issue in the face of aging infrastructure that will cost the City nearly $2.5 billion just to maintain between now and 2020.

The Public Works and Infrastructure Committee voted unanimously to ceremonially rename University Avenue in honour of former South African president Nelson Mandela. Special “Nelson Mandela Boulevard” signs would be affixed along University Avenue and would not replace the official street name or alter address information. The plan will now go to city council for approval, where we hope Mayor Rob Ford won’t vote against it. Because, as you may remember, before the issue went to public works Mayor Ford voted against the motion to honour Mandela, albeit accidentally. He was eventually allowed to re-vote in favour of the street naming to correct the error.

If the walls of the building that formerly housed Jilly’s strip club could talk, oh the stories they would tell. Especially after yesterday evening, when a mattress fire broke out in a fourth-floor apartment. Toronto Fire said it was briefly upgraded to a two-alarm but was quickly contained. While it is unclear whether the fire was set deliberately or accidentally, it was confirmed that there was minimal damage to the building.

An Air Canada Jazz flight headed to Toronto from Fredericton, New Brunswick, was forced to make an emergency landing at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport early this morning, reporting smoke in the cabin. The emergency caused the airport suspend operations for approximately 30 minutes, but there were no injuries reported. The cause of the smoke is still under investigation.

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