Here's your cheat sheet for City Council this week.
City Council convenes this week for yet another Scarborough transit debate. But there’s much more on the agenda, including energy drinks, the Great Lakes, landlord licensing, the inexorable spread of Shoppers Drug Mart, and more. Read on for our picks.
The Big Ticket
- The latest milestone in the Scarborough subway project: deciding on the route alignment and the design of the bus terminal, among other things. The ballooning price tag and other unfavourable figures have led many public transit advocates to call for a return to the cheaper and more efficient light-rail plan.
- There’s been little buzz about this, but Council will also be voting on a new apartment building bylaw, including a landlord registry and new rules about repair requests, pest control, and cleanliness.
Money, Money, Money
The state of Toronto retail:
— Sean Marshall (@Sean_YYZ) March 14, 2017
- No doubt prompted by the news that the Hard Rock Cafe at Yonge and Dundas will become a Shoppers Drug Mart, Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina) proposes a chain store retail strategy like San Francisco’s.
- The Economic Development Committee recommends extending Harbourfront’s operating and funding agreement with the City for an extra year.
- The latest stage of the ill-advised East Gardiner project: the contract award.
- The City continues to tussle with U of T’s Victoria College over a property tax exemption worth tens of millions of dollars.
- Is Red Bull and vodka still a thing? After consultation with event organizers, the beverage industry, and relevant City agencies and divisions, Toronto Public Health stands firm on the negative effects of mixing energy drinks and alcohol.
- Many facilities have defibrillators on-site. What about EpiPens?
- This was the first reason that came to mind for why one would remove “Ball Play Prohibited” signs for Earth Day.
- Mark your calendars: May 13 is Tennis Day.
- Should Toronto bid on the 2022 Commonwealth Games? James Pasternak (Ward 10, York Centre) and Paula Fletcher (Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth) are for it; Tory’s against.
- What are the odds John Tory is secretly lobbying councillors to vote against this anti-discrimination motion?
- Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) is calling for an inquest into the death of Vernon Belanger, the casualty of the fire last month at 291 George Street.
- In case you were worried Canada 150 was going to be a relentless celebration of colonialism, Council may vote to fund and support the Walk for Reconciliation planned for this fall.
- How exactly are Toronto’s 31 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas improving? Check out the report on the 2020 Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy.
- The City is substantially revamping its community grant system; changes include condensing five programs to three, introducing “micro-grants,” and putting community members on grant review panels.
Well-Intentioned But Ultimately Non-Binding Requests To Higher Levels of Government
- Paul Ainslie (Ward 43, Scarborough East) and Janet Davis (Ward 31, Beaches-East York) want the federal government to increase the Canada Child Benefit at the inflation rate.
- Kristyn Wong-Tam urges the Government of Canada to shell out for Massey Hall’s restoration.
- Michelle Holland (Ward 35, Scarborough Southwest) and Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38, Scarborough Centre) would like the CRTC to make cell providers offer “reasonably priced unlimited data packages.” And while we’re at it, I would like a pony. And a house on the Toronto Islands.
- Mark Grimes (Ward 6, Etobicoke-Lakeshore) and Mike Layton would like Donald Trump to please not destroy the Great Lakes.
- “All 44 Wards in the City of Toronto are currently utilizing the ‘Slow Down’ signs that I first introduced in my ward in 2015,” says Mark Grimes, in his motion on increased penalties for speeding. (Their efficacy is up for debate.) The City doesn’t actually have the power to increase fines; they have to ask the Province.
- As you know, Bob, rental units built since 1991 aren’t subject to the rules against drastic rent hikes. Mary Fragedakis (Ward 29, Toronto-Danforth) and Paula Fletcher are urging the Province to extend rent control.
Community Benefits of the Month
- Section 45: Money from the condos on St. Joseph and St. Nicholas Street is going to renovating Buddies in Bad Times.
- Section 37: Funds from the Heron’s Hill development will go towards a historical plaque commemorating O’Sullivan’s Hotel, a popular establishment near Victoria Park and Sheppard that stood for nearly a hundred years. And we know you’re all like, “But why didn’t you choose that $300,000 for a new LGBTQ2S youth shelter downtown?” And while we agree it’s a much more significant project, we wanted to highlight a relatively less common suburban Section 37 benefit this time around.
- Annual reports are out from the Ombudsman and Lobbyist Registrar.
- Mere months after Jon Burnside (Ward 26, Don Valley West) voted to ban tethering dogs with choke or prong collars, Jon Burnside is calling to reopen the item for further consultation with dog trainers who use choke or prong collars.
- The legendary El Mocambo is reopening this summer, and, right on cue, local councillor, Joe Cressy (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina), is objecting to the liquor license.
- Apparently Sears still exists, because they had a bike ride for cancer research last year and a City employee totally biked across the country for it. (The troubled department store chain has been challenged by the rise of online shopping, as well as its own bonkers Objectivist CEO. Seriously, you gotta read about this guy.)
Did we miss anything interesting or important? Let us know in the comments!