Happy Saturday, all. In the news: TTC ridership is four million below expectations after two months, business owners are supportive of the potential Queen West-area supervised injection site, and no charges for the police officer who shot and killed Andrew Loku last summer.
Just two months into the year, TTC ridership numbers are four million below target. Year-end totals are now expected to be 13 million below projections, which will cause a deficit of around $30 million. If numbers fall as fast as they have in the first two months, rather than stabilizing, the TTC could be looking at as many as 23 million fewer rides than projected. The city will have to pick up the bill for a TTC deficit, and early measures to prevent a large one include potentially holding off on adding buses to busy routes during peak hours. The TTC operates with the lowest municipal subsidy of any city in North America, at just $0.78.
As the possibility of three supervised injection sites in downtown Toronto begins to move through the approval process (it goes to the Board of Health on Monday), a typical source of opposition to such measures, local business owners, is lining up to support the move. In one of the three proposed areas, at least; Queen West business owners like Dave Osborne, co-owner of The Loft-Toronto, knows people in the area are already doing drugs, and would prefer them to have a safe environment in which to do them. The three proposed sites are the Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre, a clinic called The Works near Yonge-Dundas Square, and South Riverdale Community Health Centre in Leslieville. Even the Queen West Business Improvement Area board is considering supporting the placement of the site nearest them, a move that, for all its pragmatism, is somewhat unusual for business owners.
The police officer who shot and killed 45-year-old Andrew Loku outside his neighbours’ apartment will not be criminally charged after an SIU investigation. Reports around the time of Loku’s killing describe the interaction between Loku and police as lasting no more than a couple seconds. Loku was standing outside the apartment above his own with a wooden hammer, and had been demanding they stop making noise. A friend of Loku’s who lived next door said he was calm when police arrived but added she doubted he had time to respond to the officers’ command to drop his hammer. “Everything happened so fast,” she said.
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