City staff to report this spring on action on castle’s future
Recommendations will focus on Kiwanis current contract
Possible someone else could manage Casa Loma for city
(Written for the Town Crier March 30.)
Casa Loma. Town Crier file photo.
Will the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma be allowed to continue to run the city-owned icon or will someone else be given keys to the famous castle?
Last July 7, council voted to take steps to terminate the club’s management agreement if a handful of conditions were not met in writing by the end of the month.
Now it’s eight months later and the city’s deadline has come and gone. However, the Town Crier has learned the city and the club have been meeting and city staff will be producing a progress report and recommendations that will come to the city’s Executive Committee in April or May.
“We are working with Kiwanis regarding Casa Loma,” said Michael Williams general manager of Economic Development and Culture, who council charged with creating a dispute resolution process between the two parties.
This progress report will also contain recommendations on what action city council should take regarding its current contract with Kiwanis, which has run the castle since 1937.
Kiwanis’s 2008-signed contract includes an agreement which would see the club fix up the castle’s interior while the city would spend millions on repairing the exterior. But according to last year’s report, Kiwanis has missed a number of agreed upon deadlines.
The city voted to have Kiwanis report back by the end of September 2010 with a financial plan to meet its contract obligations. The city also instructed the deputy city manager’s office to conduct an audit of Casa Loma’s operations and finances.
Continue reading →
Posted in Toronto culture
Tagged agreement, board, Casa Loma, chair, contract, council, Joe Mihevc, Kiwanis, Kris Scheuer, Michael, repairs, report, Richard, Toronto, Town Crier, Williams, Wozenilek
Commission delays vote on bus service reductions
Cuts would impact 1.2 mil transit rides a year
(Written for Town Crier Jan. 12. Feb 1 UPDATE.)
Councillor Josh Matlow updates his website with a list of the 48 bus routes where service could be reduced. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.
Yesterday it was fare increases that were cancelled, today the TTC voted to put on hold a decision to cut service on 48 bus routes.
The plan was to shorten hours on nearly 50 underused routes starting March 27 and reallocate money to improve service on busy, but unnamed routes this fall.
Residents, transit advocates and councillors made deputations pleading for the commission to reconsider.
“This isn’t the kind of efficiency people are looking for,” said ex-Ward 17 councillor candidate Jonah Schein, who uses the Davenport bus.
Resident Walied Khogali said he found out yesterday his daily Wellesley 94 route was on the list for reductions.
“I talked to people (on the bus) coming to and from work and they had no clue about the service cuts,” he told the commission. “Ride the buses and find out how people will be affected.”
In the end, TTC commissioner and councillor Cesar Palacio moved the motion that deferred a decision on the reduced bus hours until the Feb. 2 commission meeting. Continue reading →
Posted in Toronto transit
Tagged buses, Cesar Palacio, chair, commissioner, councillor, cuts, Gary Webster, Joe Mihevc, Jonah Schein, Josh Matlow, Karen Stintz, Kris Scheuer, reductions, routes, service, Toronto, Town Crier, Transit, TTC
(Written for the Town Crier Dec. 15)
TTC's new light rail vehicles.
Several residents refuse to believe Transit City is dead.
In December, days after Mayor Rob Ford announced that Transit City is no more, local activist Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler organized a grassroots campaign in North Toronto to save Transit City, including the Eglinton light rapid transit line.
Chaleff-Freudenthaler took his “save Transit City” petition to the streets in North Toronto’s Ward 16. In December, he continued to canvass every ward affected by the Finch, Sheppard and Eglinton LRTs.
“The goal is to bring high quality, accurate information to people at their doors and communities,” he said.
On Dec. 1, the day he announced Transit City is dead, Ford met with TTC general manager Gary Webster and asked staff to look at costing of various underground options for transit including having the Eglinton LRT completely underground.
Webster will report back in January.
Councillor Karen Stintz, now the new TTC chair, has told the Town Crier on four occasions since the Oct. 25 election she expects light rapid transit along Eglinton to proceed underground.
“I expect when the plan is reviewed, that there won’t be any changes to Eglinton,” she said Dec. 10.
Continue reading →
Posted in Toronto transit
Tagged Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler, campaign, chair, councillor, Eglinton, Gary Webster, Joe Mihevc, Karen Stintz, Kris Scheuer, LRT, Mayor, Rob Ford, streetcars, Town Crier, Transit City, TTC
Ward 16’s councillor talks transit plans
But quiet on possible appointment to head transit commission
(Written for Town Crier Nov. 22)
Councillor Karen Stintz may be the next TTC chair.
Councillor Karen Stintz may be mum on whether she’ll be the next TTC chair, but she has plenty to say about transit.
The Ward 16 rep is rumoured to mayor-elect Rob Ford’s choice to replace outgoing TTC head Adam Giambrone.
And while Stintz has said she’d like to serve on the transit commission she’s not saying if the rumour she’ll be its next chair is true.
Coincidentally, Ford’s communications rep Adrienne Batra was meeting with Stintz this afternoon directly before the Town Crier sat down with Stintz in her city hall office.
The TTC is a challenging portfolio with no shortage of controversies and opportunities but Stintz says progress can be made on the problems of the past.
“We can make a difference and improvement in customer service,” said Stintz. “(TTC) effects people’s lives everyday and it effects how to get home on time, to work on time.”
She’d like to see cleaner stations, the implementation of the regional electronic fare PRESTO card and with it the re-examination of zone based fares. Plus that provincial investments are used to build a TTC system for both present and future needs. Continue reading →
Posted in Toronto Politics
Tagged appoint, chair, commission, committees, Councillor Karen Stintz, Kris Scheuer, Mayor, Rob Ford, Town Crier, TTC, Ward 16
Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma misses city’s July 31 deadline
City demanded a written agreement to fix outstanding disputes
Government could revoke operating agreement with Kiwanis
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Aug 4 for Town Crier.)
What's next? Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma fails to meet city's ultimatum ti make changes. Future of contract up in the air. Town Crier file photo.
The city is weighing its options now that Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma has failed to respond in writing to a series of demands for major changes to the way the group runs the historic building by the July 31 deadline.
“Council required a written response to specific actions in writing,” said city spokesperson Patricia Trott on the afternoon of Aug. 4. “That written response to the city’s direction never happened.
“The city is still reviewing its options.” Continue reading →
Posted in Toronto News
Tagged agrement, board, Casa Loma, chair, contract, Councillor Joe Mihevc, deadline, Gerschkow, Joachim, Kiwanis, Kris Scheuer, Richard, Town Crier, Wozenilek
City requires Kiwanis to agree to conditions by July 31
At risk is Kiwanis’s management contract for city-owned castle
(Written for Town Crier July 29. Aug 4 UPDATE.)
Kiwanis and city are doing battle over the current Casa Loma management contract.
With a city-imposed deadline fast approaching, Kiwanis and the city don’t appear to be any closer to a deal regarding the future management of Casa Loma.
The mayor, some councillors, and city staff expressed frustration at last month’s council, saying the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma has not made more progress on its contract obligations to fix up the landmark castle’s interior.
City council voted July 7 to give Kiwanis until the end of the month to agree in writing to four key issues: establish a staff working group, have the castle’s board meet monthly, develop an updated financial plan (to fulfill contract agreements) and remove the current board chair Richard Wozenilek. Continue reading →
Posted in Toronto News
Tagged 31, board, Casa, chair, city, Club, contract, deadline, dispute, July, Kiwanis, Kris Scheuer, Loma, Richard, Town Crier, Wozenilek