Newsstand: July 23, 2014




Newsstand: July 23, 2014

A spokesman for the the provincial liquor control agency says Ford Fest was denied a booze permit because the event was deemed not “municipally significant.” So many jokes, so little time. In the news: The police services board and Michael Thompson avoid public court battle, Carol Wilding exits the Toronto Region Board of Trade, dooring incidents are highest on College Street, and a TTC bus narrowly misses hitting a pedestrian in Scarborough.

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The Toronto Police Services Board and vice-chair Michael Thompson have ended a legal row, averting the need for a public court battle over comments Thompson made in the media earlier this year about not supporting a contract extension for Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair. Thompson brought legal action against the board after accusing them of attempting to censor him by filing a formal complaint against him over the comments. The board’s complaint has been dropped, even though chair Alok Mukherjee maintains that they did nothing wrong in trying to prevent Thompson from making comments that could have caused a legal problem for the board as it gets set to consider the possibility of negotiating a new contract for Chief Blair. The conflict has been resolved just in time for Thompson to participate in these negotiations, if they do occur. On Friday, Chief Blair is expected to indicate whether he wishes to stay on in the position he has held since 2005 when his contract expires in April of 2015.

Yesterday, the Toronto Region Board of Trade announced that, after seven years as president and CEO, Carol Wilding will be leaving the organization. Wilding will stay on at the board until the end of September to help oversee the transition to new leadership, and then she’ll move over to the newly formed Chartered Professional Accountants Ontario and become its president and CEO. Wilding’s successor has yet to be named, but there is a high probability that after her outspoken opposition to Mayor Rob Ford during his crack smoking scandals, the mayor will not be altogether sad to see Wilding go. Even with her departure, Wilding says that the board will remain vocal and active during the lead-up to the October municipal election. The board is slated to release a number of position papers closer to the fall, as part of the Think Twice, Vote Once campaign that was launched earlier this year.

Cycling in the wilds of Toronto is not without potential risk. Dooring—being struck by an opening car door—is one of those risks. According to data obtained by Global News, the highest number of cyclist doorings takes place on College Street. Between 2005 and 2013, there were 1,308 incidents, 73 of them on the west-side corridor of College Street, between Spadina Avenue and Lansdowne Avenue. These numbers take into account only accidents in which a cyclist was injured—many minor accidents that are without injury go unreported each year. Unsurprisingly, most doorings occur during morning and afternoon rush hours. The statistics make an interesting case for a complete overhaul of how we think of biking infrastructure in Toronto, where bike lanes—such as the ones on College Street—are often shallow and unprotected. It is also worth reiterating to drivers that they should practice the dying art of shoulder-checking before opening their car doors when parked on the street.

While dooring incidents are probably rare for pedestrians, it can still be a jungle out there for them—especially when TTC bus drivers decide to drive through red lights, which apparently happens. A dashboard camera video captured by a motorist and uploaded to YouTube indicates that just after 9 a.m. on July 21, a TTC bus completely failed to stop at a red light and narrowly missed hitting a pedestrian, who had just started to cross the busy intersection at Eglinton Avenue and Ionview Road in Scarborough. TTC spokesperson Brad Ross says that action is underway to identify the operator of the bus, and that appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.