Will it be summer or winter today? Nobody knows, but at least it's Friday! And so: Toronto Public Library workers are back to work today; feelings are hurt (and, probably, egos bruised) over reviews on plans for the waterfront; would-be Regent Park condo scandal probably isn't; and city councillors get a presumably mad-awkward daytime pole dance.
Margaret Atwood and your grandma (I don’t know, it’s early) and also you will be pleased to hear that Toronto Public Library branches resume service at 10:30 a.m. today. Library workers are going back to work after approving a new deal with the board, and voting yesterday to end the 11-day strike. The union has attained lay-off protection for employees with 11 or more years of seniority—a significant feat, considering Mayor Rob Ford’s administration’s typical stance on granting total security to full-time, unionized city employees with less than 15 years of work on them. Apparently, the popularity of the Library helped give it some sway; it’s kind of the alpha kid of city unions right now. Workers will see a wage freeze this year, followed by a bit of a raise, and CUPE local 4948 said benefits and full-time jobs won’t be reduced; still, the union has expressed some concern over insufficient job security for part-timers.
Remember when Councillor Doug Ford thought a monorail would solve all the city’s problems? Or, y’know, make the Toronto waterfront better? That was cute. But really, the result of Ford trying to wrest control of the Port Lands from Waterfront Toronto is in the headlines today: his proposals, though mostly shot down, triggered a review of the agency’s years-in-the-making, $634-million plan to do things like naturalizing the Don River. The review is, apparently, a sort of compromise, and is looking into the prospect of more development opportunities for the waterfront area. (Read: less space for nature-y stuff). This possible shift in plans has right pissed off architect and urban designer Ken Greenberg, who says his team was not consulted by the city or Waterfront Toronto in considering changes to their design for a riverside park at the mouth of the Don River.
Yesterday’s news reported the purchase of Regent Park condos by former Toronto Community Housing Corporation executives was okayed by the City’s former integrity commissioner. Today, the Globe and Mail reports that Daniels Corporation, the company that redeveloped the inner-city neighbourhood, is defending some of its executives’ purchases of condominiums in Regent Park. Rather than trying to push out poor people, as has been suggested, Daniels’ Vice President Martin Blake said executives were simply trying to demonstrate their confidence in an area typically associated with social stigma. Who doesn’t love a scandal, right? But it looks like this one may be averted.
And, if you were worried about city councillors never having any fun (just kidding, that’d be a weird thing to concern yourself with), take heart in the knowledge that yesterday morning saw councillors and city staff getting a professional pole dance show, courtesy of a dancer who went by “Viviana.” Y’know, ’cause how else would they be able to understand a review of adult entertainment regulations? But also, probably, because politicians couldn’t be properly hypocritical without getting off on something and then publicly disparaging it. Sorry, too bitter?