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cityplace09082016

CityPlace among four areas affected by blackout

CityNews | posted Thursday, Sep 8th, 2016

For the fourth time in just over a week, Toronto’s CityPlace neighbourhood is blanketed by a blackout.

The power went out in the stretch of condos near the waterfront late on Wednesday night and Toronto Hydro crews are still working to repair it.

It’s one of four areas still without power. Toronto Hydro said that the Bathurst Street and Eglinton Avenue area, the Birchmount Road and Sheppard Avenue area, and the Bayview Avenue and Post Road area are all affected.

Earlier, the Junction neighbourhood and High Park were also without power. Power has since been restored.

Windy weather, which knocked down branches onto wires, and rain are to blame for some of the outages.

The CityPlace outage comes after the power went out to nine buildings three times last week. On Saturday, the outage lasted nearly 18 hours. Then, the problem was two faulty cables. A main cable and a backup cable were both fully replaced.

Toronto under heat warning again on Thursday

CityNews | posted Thursday, Sep 8th, 2016

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The day after Toronto was on track to beat a record-high temperature, the city remains under a heat warning.

However, it likely won’t be as hot as Wednesday, due to a late-day cold front and some accompanying showers and thunderstorms, Environment Canada said. The humidity will likely remain high until the cold front passes.

A return to more season temperatures, with less humidity, is expected Friday.

There’s a high of 30 C in the forecast for Thursday, 680 NEWS meteorogilst Jill Taylor said, with the humidex near 40.

If the city does hit 30 C, it will be the 39th time this year.

Wednesday was the 38th day. The record is 43 days in 1959.

The record high for any Sept. 7 is 33.9 C, set in 1960. Environment Canada has not yet confirmed if Toronto beat that record on Wednesday.

Both Toronto’s acting medical officer of health and Environment Canada issued a heat warning for Toronto earlier this week. Click here for a list of cooling centres.

People are reminded to drink plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration and to check in on friends or family members who may be especially vulnerable to the heat.

EXCLUSIVE: Toronto Police cruisers becoming more stealth-like

Francis D'Souza and Shauna Hunt | posted Thursday, Sep 8th, 2016

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Update: Two weeks after our exclusive investigation, Chief Mark Saunders tweeted a video of the official new Toronto Police cruisers. The cruisers have been updated with more prominent decals in white but have the same grey base colour.

Toronto police cruisers are getting a drastic makeover.

The police service confirmed to CityNews the entire fleet is being renewed.

Some of the new-look squad cars are already on active duty.

While there are roof lights, the markings on those cars are stealth-like. The writing “Toronto Police,” the TPS logo and the service’s motto “to serve & protect” are decaled in a dark colour that blends into the vehicle.

Toronto Police spokesperson Mark Pugash said a final decision on the design has not been made.

“The final product will not look like that,” he told Citynews. “The cars currently on the road are not a reflection of the final design.”

The new cruisers will be a stark contrast to the ones being phased out – which are bright white with a blue and red stripe across the side.

Toronto Police said there is no additional cost to the public but Pugash wouldn’t answer why the service is making the change.

There has been no word on how many cars are currently in service or when the entire fleet will be changed.

“Sooner rather than later,” Pugash said on the timeline.

According to a tweet by Coun. Norm Kelly, the entire TPS fleet will be dark grey going forward.

Toronto Police won’t confirm the information on the vehicle’s colour in the Ward 40 councillor’s tweet but Pugash said “they will not be white.”

CityNews showed a picture of one of the dark grey cars now on the road to former Toronto Traffic Services officer Tim Burrows.

“It’s a great looking car in terms of staying inconspicuous,” said Burrows, who currently consults and trains law enforcement officials in the United States.

“It’s a great car for using on the highways for doing enforcement for distracted driving”, he said “but when it comes to a situation of crime prevention visibility and just giving the idea to the public that there are more police out there than there really are, I don’t see it as a really great move.”

Up until the early 1960s Toronto Police cruisers were all unmarked and were various colours. They were then painted bright yellow. Those cars were replaced in 1986 with the white ones.

Hundreds of TDSB, TCDSB students stranded after school bus delays

CityNews | posted Thursday, Sep 8th, 2016

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Over a thousand Toronto District School Board and Toronto Catholic District School Board students were stranded Wednesday afternoon because of issues with school buses.

According to TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird, approximately 60 bus routes did not have drivers.

The school boards said Attridge Transportation, Wheelchair Accessible Transit Inc. and SHARP Bus Lines are at the centre of the issue.

However, there has been no official word on what went wrong.

“It’s unacceptable. It should never have happened and now we’re following up with the bus carriers to find out how this could have happened – to leave us in such a state,” he said.

Bird said parents of children affected by the bus issues should prepare other means of transportation for their kids over the next few days.

“Unfortunately this will likely continue for the next few days and possibly into next week,” he explained. “We’re actively working around the clock to get this fixed as soon as possible but there will be circumstances where there are significant delays and sometimes buses are not running.”

For the time being, some of the students who have lost their bus service are being shuttled to school in taxies or on other bus carriers.

“We have a very complex system taking 20,000 kids to school and back each day. Sometimes you have a different carrier taking you to school, sometimes you have a different one taking you back,” Bird explained.

For the latest updates on bus service delays click here.

Mayor Tory to ride TTC with no air conditioning

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Sep 7th, 2016

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Mayor John Tory has accepted a challenge from TTC rider Bianca Spence and will be riding on a hot subway car on Wednesday morning.

He will travel from Kennedy to Kipling on a car without air conditioning, a climate familiar to many (if not most) passengers.

Spence first issued the challenge on Twitter in July.

Earlier this year, TTC spokesman Brad Ross admitted that 20 to 25 per cent of the subway cars on Line 2 are having A/C issues. Air conditioning is failing in the extreme heat because of overworking, and it’s due to the age of the trains, Ross said.

He added that the cars couldn’t be fixed until the fall, because trains are in pairs, so fixing one car takes two out of service.

Tory is expected to hold a news conference after Wednesday’s subway ride.

Independent boardwalk Beach restaurant sublets to food giant Cara

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Sep 7th, 2016

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A company that owned a restaurant in the Beach, which was once a hot-button issue at city hall and with former mayor Rob Ford, is subleasing to Cara Operations Ltd.

The Boardwalk Café on Lake Shore Boulevard at Woodbine Avenue, which was owned by George Foulidis, is no longer there.

The location has housed a bakery and a Tim Horton’s and now Foulidis’s company, Tuggs Inc., is subletting the space to Cara, which opened Carter’s Landing in July, without any input from city council or the public.

“I argue any other restaurateur would give their eyeteeth to have this location and it should have gone out to tender,” Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon said.

And now, there is a petition in the community on how to get rid of the chain restaurant.

Back in 2006, the city renewed the restaurant’s 20-year lease in an untendered process that the local councillor at the time, Sandra Bussin, defended as a way to keep fast food chains out of the area.

However, the issue was in the spotlight again in 2010 when councilors were reviewing the specifics of the contract.

While on the campaign trail for the 2010 mayoral election, Ford suggested to the Toronto Sun that the deal between Tuggs Inc. and the city was corrupt, saying that it “stinks to high heaven.”

A lower-court judge dismissed the $6-million libel suit in December 2012, ruling that Foulidis did not prove the comments were directed at him nor that they were defamatory. Foulidis appealed the decision, but the Court of Appeal for Ontario dismissed it in 2014.

As for the current mayor’s office, they say Tory wouldn’t support the contract.

“This is a contract that was negotiated and signed two administrations ago. This is not a contract the Mayor would support if it were brought forward today,” read a statement from Tory’s office.

We were told the reason that it was going to be sole sourced and no other competitors in that prime beach space was to protect the public from franchises going in, Martin Gladstone, a lawyer in the Beach who initially ran against Bussin in 2010, but ended up stepping aside, explained.

“What we are having now is the exact opposite … the whole process should be a transparent one, based on integrity.”

Tuggs Inc. has been operating the boardwalk restaurant since 1986. There were reports Foulidis’ family and friends donated up to $8,000 to Bussin’s campaign in 2006.

The question is now what? The city Management committee discussed the issue behind closed doors today and it will be debated at council in October. It seems the city has little legal recourse though to stop Cara from subletting or taking over the lease entirely — killing the lease would likely cost millions.

TTC to cut capital budget by $850M over the next decade

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Sep 7th, 2016

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It seems the TTC can’t spend money fast enough.

While discussing the capital budget plan for the next decade, the TTC said that over the last 10 years the average annual capital expenditure rate was approximately 80 per cent.

The reason for this, according to the staff report presented during the board’s meeting on Tuesday, the TTC doesn’t have the time or the ability to spend all the money it has been allocated in its capital budget.

“Causes and planned corrective action include, for example, the short maintenance window for track and signal repairs, lengthy processes for material purchasing and recruitment of resources that are in the midst of being made more efficient, and vendor delays to material and equipment resulting in deferral of expenditures,” the report reads.

Staff proposed a budget reduction target across all fully funded programs (excluding revenue buses) of 15 per cent in 2017 through 2020 and a reduced target of 10 per cent from 2021 to 2026.

That will add up to a reduction of $850 million over the next 10 years.

“This new approach to proactively adjust the capital budget based on a detailed review of our capacity-to-spend may afford the opportunity to fund new projects that might not otherwise go forward,” the report read. “It may also offer an opportunity for the City to provide matching funds to the Federal Government’s Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.”

Currently, the price tag to upgrade TTC vehicles and stations, as well as TTC expansion, totals $9.4 billion over the next 10 years. That number includes new multi-year projects as well as those already underway.

The board has approved a new process for prioritizing projects after consulting with New York, Hong Kong and other major transit agencies.

Ensuring the safety of riders and serving the most customers is paramount to the TTC, which could mean installing new streetcar tracks, as well as fire exits and ventilation systems for subway stations, would rise to the top of the list of the priority list.

Later this month the TTC board will move on to tackling the often contentious operating budget, which has a $15-million shortfall.

TTC 2016 Capital Budget Staff Report by CityNewsToronto on Scribd

Toronto’s tropical temperature will feel like 42

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Sep 7th, 2016

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As parents and students are getting back into the swing of things with school and work, it isn’t going to get any easier with a heat warning still in effect for the Toronto and the GTA.

The city is looking at a tropical-like forecast on Wednesday, with hot and humid temperatures coupled with a gusty southwest wind. Scattered showers or thunderstorms are possible Wednesday afternoon and evening.

Wednesday’s forecasted high is 33 C, with a humidex near 42. The record high for Sept. 7 is 33.9 C, set in 1960.

Wednesday could also be the 38th time this year Toronto has hit 30 C or above. The record is 43 days in 1959.

The best chance for rain is between 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. but it’s rather hit and miss, 680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said. .

Wednesday night the temperature will drop to about 23 C, with clouds and scattered showers or thunderstorms.

Relief is in store on Friday with temperatures dropping and less humidity.

Both Toronto’s acting medical officer of health and Environment Canada issued a heat warning for Toronto earlier this week. Click here for a list of cooling centres.

People are reminded to drink plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration and to check in on friends or family members who may be especially vulnerable to the heat.

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