Tag Archives: Toronto Politics

Toronto eyes recyclable coffee cups

City mulls plan to require coffee shops to provide a paper lid for disposable cups
By Kris Scheuer
Originally published Nov.13.08

The city’s shining a spotlight on the disposable coffee cup you’re holding and the estimated 365 million of them Torontonians throwaway each year.
City staff is grappling with how to divert that cup from landfill and who should pay to make the hot drink
cups and lids compatible with the existing blue bin.
A recent city hall report recommended a mandatory 20-cent discount for people who bring their own mug to a
coffee shop for their java fix. It also gave retailers such as Tim Hortons and Starbucks until the end of next year to ditch the plastic lid and develop a paper alternative to top their paper coffee cups
These proposals unleashed a heated nine-hour debate the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee on Nov. 12. After all that,
councillors voted to defer a decision until next April (since extended to fall/09).
So now what? Continue reading

Strike cancels council meeting

Toronto labour unrest postpones city policy decisions

By Kris Scheuer
Garbage isn’t the only thing piling up during the strike.
Most official city business has come to a halt, including council’s regularly scheduled July 6–7 meeting which was cancelled July 2.
“The typical council meeting often considers over 100 items over a period of day,” stated a press release. “A regular council meeting is normally supported by unionized staff, who provide services to operate the facility.”
Also, non-unionized staff such as senior managers are required to be present to answer questions posed at council, but they are being redeployed to maintain critical services the statement concluded. Continue reading

Bugs and rats could nest at mini-dumps

That’s if temporary trash sites set up during strike aren’t sprayed

By Kris Scheuer
An infestation of rats and bugs could be coming to a neighbourhood near you thanks to the city’s temporary trash sites.
With the strike now finishing its second week, the mounds of garbage are growing and so are concerns for public health as stagnant waste is left to fester in the summer sun.
“Following visits by Toronto Public Health yesterday to several of our temporary garbage drop off sites and in consultation with (medical officer of health) Dr. McKeown, we are amending our spraying protocol,” Geoff Rathbone, general manager of solid waste management services said July 3.
“We will continue to spray daily for odour control, but will implement a more balanced approach for pest control,” he said. “Therefore starting today, we will spray for pest control based on the results of daily, individual site inspections.”
Rathbone said that this could potentially reduce the amount of pest control spraying that’s needed.
To reduce the need for more spraying, he asked residents to double bag any waste tossed at these temporary mini-dumps. Continue reading

Two new Toronto garbage dumps

Sunnybrook Park/Wilket Creek and Centennial Park Arena now open
Christie Pits and York Mills Arena trash sites close

By Kris Scheuer
(July 15 update, 26 trash sites with seven now closed)

The city will close two temporary neighbourhood dumps sites that are filled to the brim and open a pair of fresh ones.
By 7 p.m. today, the trash site at York Mills Arena was at capacity and will be shut down. By Sunday July 5, the temporary dump at
Christie Pits will be full, announced Geoff Rathbone, general manager of the city’s solid waste management services. 
As a result, the city is opening an additional two locations starting immediately on day 12 of the Toronto strike. 
“We are announcing today the opening of two new temporary garbage drop-off sites commencing at 3 p.m. today,” said Rathbone. “One is Centennial Park Arena … and the other is at Wilket Creek/Sunnybrook Park.”  Continue reading

Toronto strike impacts legal services

Got a question about city services? Call a lawyer
City staff juggle jobs to keep civic business moving

By Kris Scheuer
Some lawyers must be scratching their heads that after three years of law school they have ended up working in a call centre.
Because of the ongoing strike, many of the city’s legal beagles have been posted elsewhere.
“Some lawyers are redeployed to Access Toronto (the city’s information service hotline) for answering inquiries from residents,” said John Paton, director of land use planning for the city. “Some of the lawyers are redeployed to provincial offences court because the regular prosecutors are paralegals and they are on strike. 
“So to keep those (cases) going, there has to be a redeployment for them.”
And some lawyers from his team are doing picket line monitoring. 
“They are there to ensure the rights of picketers are respected but also the rights of residents are respected to access city facilities.” Continue reading

Toronto a day in the life 1

What I learned about this city today

By Kris Scheuer

Here’s four things I heard, was told, learnt about this city and Torontonians in 24 hours. It’s day 11 of the strike, so some of my observations are influenced by this. Read, then tell me what did you learn about life in the big city today?
1. Bus drivers have bad days too. My female driver on Dufferin 29 bus this morning was honking at cars, went past people’s stops when they rang the bell, took off before all the passengers got off at a bus stop. She told a tow truck driver in the next lane she was having a bad day.
2. No news isn’t necessarily good news. City did not hold its regular press conference today on the strike. City officials didn’t officially meet with the union June 30 or July 1, so I was told there was nothing new to report. However, the city’s medical officer of health did hold a last minute press conference, announced at 3:30 for 4 pm, on health concerns regarding the local, temporary dumps set up in parks like Christie Pits. Click here to read what he said.
3. Litter isn’t being picked up during the strike. Okay so this may be obvious during a garbage strike, but I noticed a half a dozen newspapers of several hundred pages scattered around College and Manning this morning and tonight they were all still there.
4. City council business is shut down.  Today the city announced next week’s city council session of July 6-7 has been cancelled. Over 100 items were to be decided on at that meeting but debate will be postponed until whenever the strike is over.

Toronto council on hiatus

City strike means committees and council sessions cancelled

By Kris Scheuer and Jackie Allan

While the city workers’ strike has cancelled council and committee meetings, councillors are going about their business in different manners.
Eglinton-Lawrence rep Karen Stintz has crossed the picket lines to get into her city hall office, but has only been delayed for five minutes while union workers speak to her or hand her a flyer, she said.
Don Valley West councillor John Parker has done the same. Continue reading

Would you swim at Sunnyside Beach?

Councillor Bill Saundercook dives in at Sunnyside Beach
Will a pilot project to clean up the water tempt you to swim?
By Kris Scheuer

Councillor Bill Saundercook swims at Sunnyside with his wedding suit on in mid-June. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.

Following through on a promise made to me, Parkdale-High Park councillor Bill Saundercook took a dive into Lake Ontario off Sunnyside Beach.
As for his choice of swimming attire, the ward 13 rep decided to wear the same suit he wore at his wedding almost 30 years ago.
He dove in June 18 to promote the fact the city’s spending $1 million on a pilot project to make a section of the beach more swimmable and ward off pollution from the Humber River.

(Written June 18/09 BEFORE the city strike that started June 22, which suspended daily beach water testing. This story was originally posted June 29 at http://www.mytowncrier.ca)

City to sell its beachfront homes

Million Dollar Views in Toronto

Government to unload 5 Hubbard Blvd, which fronts onto Kew Balmy Beach. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

By Kris Scheuer
For those who always dreamed of owning a cottage on the lake, the opportunity may be closer than you imagined.
The city plans to sell a handful of Kew Beach waterfront homes that are too costly to repair. The properties at 3, 5, 7 and 9 Hubbard Blvd. are owned by Toronto Community Housing and are on prime real estate facing Lake Ontario and Kew-Balmy Beach.
“TCH conducted a comprehensive review of our housing stock,” says community housing spokesperson Kyle Rooks. “The goal was to see the best way to invest scarce resources to ensure quality housing is given to our tenants.”
The Real Estate Asset Investment Strategy was completed in December and recommended selling 45 homes and three buildings with 326 apartments. Before that proceeds, an implementation plan will go to the housing board in July and then needs city council approval.

Continue reading

Toronto may allow backyard chickens

Toronto Chicken lady.Town Crier file photo.

Toronto opens debate to permit chickens in urban yards
By Kris Scheuer
The city may be gathering the pluck to allow residents to legally have chickens in their backyards.
The issue was raised in a staff report on urban agriculture at the June 16 Parks and Environment Committee meeting. 
“While accessibility to a healthy and sustainable supply of eggs, increased soil fertility, pest and weed control are considered benefits of keeping urban chickens, the situation requires further examination,” the report stated. “Staff will investigate the feasibility of raising chickens in an urban setting.”
The truth is, chickens are already cooped up in the city. 
As the Town Crier reported last summer, a midtown yard is home to three hens. Continue reading