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Residents furious at prospect of losing homes for new TTC subway stop

Ginella Massa & Alanna Kelly | posted Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

The proposed Scarborough subway extension is causing concern for some residents after they received a letter saying a new stop will run underneath their homes.

Plans for the subway will be unveiled at a public meeting on Tuesday, but some residents near Ellesmere Road and McCowan Road are already disgruntled about the latest proposal to the heavily debated transit expansion.

“In some cases we will be tunneling beneath homes and so residents need to be aware of that,” TTC spokesperson Brad Ross explained.

The proposed Scarborough subway extension will run from Kennedy Station, along Eglinton Avenue East, north on Danforth Road and McCowan Road to Ellesmere Road. At this point two businesses and approximately eight homes will be affected by the line.

“It’s really about informing residents,” said Ross. “Your home may be required to be purchased by the city for the construction of the project.”

He added that residents may not want to live above a subway tunnel because of the noise and vibration.

Scott Cole, who has lived in his Scarborough bungalow for 26 years with his wife, said he will fight to stay in his home.

“Even if I lose in court they’re going to have to take me out of here,” said Cole. “I’m never leaving my home.”

Ross said that the meeting will go over plans and have a discussion with residents. Letters were also sent out asking people to contact them directly about their concerns.


But Cole said it won’t matter.

“He could offer me a million and a quarter, my answer is no,” he said. “This is my home.”

Another neighbour also said his reaction wasn’t pleasant when he received the letter at his home of 15 years, which also functions as his home business.

“I’m going to fight it,” said Vivek Bhatt. “They can’t just come here and uproot kids from school.”

He added he will attend the meeting on Tuesday to take up the matter.

“We want to know if it’s justified spending hundreds millions on this line that ends at Scarborough Town Centre,” said Bhatt.

Ross said that it is still early into the project to say how many residents will be impacted and what the extent of that impact could be, but they want to keep residents informed.

“We’re so early into this we need to let everybody know you may or may not be impacted but it is within the area of the construction project,” said Ross.

Residents who received a letter were asked to schedule a private meeting for Monday night at Scarborough Civic Centre and a public meeting between City staff, Toronto Real Estate and TTC will be taking place on Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.



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Peel police Twitter account hacked

CityNews | posted Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

The official Peel Regional Police Twitter account was hacked late Monday night.

The account was suspended after the hacker, claiming to be “Keemstar,” posted vulgar messages.

“Keemstar” is the username of a controlversial YouTube star. He took took to his own Twitter account to say he was not responsible for the hack.

The account is now back in the hands of its rightful owners, and police say tweeting will resume as normal this morning.

Tragically Hip add third show at Air Canada Centre

CityNews | posted Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Because of the overwhelming response to what is expected to be the Tragically Hip’s last tour, the band has added four more dates to this summer’s schedule, including a third concert in Toronto.

According to The Hip’s Facebook page, a third Toronto show will occur on Aug. 14 at the Air Canada Centre. The band is slated to play the same venue on Aug. 10 and 12.

The band also added second shows in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.

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Last Wednesday, it was announced that The Tragically Hip’s front man, Gord Downie, has terminal brain cancer. Downie was diagnosed late last year with glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive type of tumour to start in the brain.

The band’s 14th studio album, ‘Man Machine Poem’ is set for release on June 17. The album was largely completed prior to Downie learning about the tumour, his manager said.

The Hip’s tour in support of the album begins July 22 in Victoria, B.C., and ends in their hometown of Kingston, Ont., on Aug. 20. Other stops on the tour include Winnipeg, London, Hamilton and Ottawa.

Cat injured when gunshots fired through door has died

CityNews | posted Monday, May 30th, 2016

Police say a cat which was injured after gunshots were fired through a Riverdale home has died.

Officers were called to a home at First Avenue and Logan Avenue around 2:30 p.m. Sunday after a woman arrived to find three bullet holes in the front door.

Neighbours tell CityNews they heard what could have been shots around 1:30 a.m., but believed it to be fireworks. Toronto Police say they did not receive a call at that time.

“We don’t know what time this occurred, we do know that it occurred overnight,” said Constable David Hopkinson.

“When she entered her home, she found that her cat had been shot.”

Police said the cat was taken to an emergency vet with what appeared to be a stomach wound but later succumbed to its injuries.

Hopkinson said they are not aware at this time if any other homes in the area were hit.

“I know for many people out there, their focus might be the cat but our focus is on public safety,” said Hopkinson. “Bullet holes through a front door, that’s a danger not only to her or anybody that might be in her home, but anybody that might be in the apartment adjacent. Bullet holes can go through homes, walls, those kinds of things.”


TTC passenger seeking answers after scary open subway door ride

CityNews | posted Monday, May 30th, 2016

A TTC rider is seeking answers a day after a subway train left the station with at least one of its doors open and with no warning to passengers.

Kamal Javed was on the eastbound train on the Bloor-Danforth line last night when one of the doors wouldn’t close at Castle Frank Station. He says a TTC employee attempted to fix the problem but after a few minutes, he left. Javed assumed passengers would be asked to get off the train but that didn’t happen.


“We thought he’s coming back but the train literally left the station with the door open,” Javed told CityNews on Saturday.

“Everybody was saying ‘oh my God, what’s going on, why they are moving the train?’”

Javed began to video tape the train as it passed under the Bloor Viaduct at full speed. He says about a dozen passengers rushed to get away from the exposed area.

“We thought, oh my God, we’ve never seen this before, were on the bridge passing by trees, door open.. we never seen it before.”

Javed says he felt his safety – and that of the other passengers – was put in danger.

Related stories:

Exclusive: TTC investigating moving subway with doors open

The TTC says the train was pulled from service at the next stop and they are now investigating the incident.

“It’s an incredibly serious situation and we are treating it very seriously,” said TTC spokesperson Brad Ross.

Ross added that if the crew in fact knew that the doors could not close, the protocol says it should never have left the station.

“There are safety feature built into subway trains that should doors open while the train is in motion, emergency brakes kick in and the train will stop,” explained Ross. “But that didn’t happen here and we need to understand why.”

Ross reminds passengers if they encounter a situation like this, they can activate the emergency alarm by pushing the yellow strip located in every subway car.

Capybaras are so yesterday: Search on for Brampton alligator

CityNews | posted Friday, May 27th, 2016

Move over, capybaras, there’s a new animal on the loose.

A baby alligator vanished near a Brampton creek on Thursday, sparking a police search.

The alligator was first spotted near Cottrelle Boulevard and Thorndale Road around 3:30 p.m. Peel police said that they had received several calls about the animal.

Police went out to look, but did not find the gator. They said they hope it went back into the creek, one of several near The Gore and Castlemore roads.

If you see it, call police.

It’s not yet known where the alligator came from, or how it got loose.

Meanwhile, the two capybaras – dubbed Bonnie and Clyde – are still on the lam from Toronto’s High Park Zoo.

High of 31 C in Friday’s forecast, hot weekend ahead

News staff and Kevin Misener | posted Friday, May 27th, 2016

If you spent last weekend cleaning up the backyard and opening up the pool, then this is the weekend to sit back and enjoy all your hard work.

There’s a high of 31 C in Friday’s forecast and a hot weekend ahead. Humidex values are expected to be in the low 40s.

While it will likely rain over the next three days, Toronto could potentially break a weather record.

“It’s a good thing I have air conditioning,” one listener joked to 680 NEWS.

“High heat and humidity will be the weather story for today and right through the weekend,” 680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said.

There is the potential for severe thunderstorms on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, especially in the afternoons, Taylor added.

The forecasted high for Saturday is 31 C, with the Humidex near 41. The record high for May 28 is 32.5 C, set in 1987.

The forecasted high for Sunday is 32 C, with the Humidex again near 41. The record high for May 29 is 34.1 C, set in 2006.

As for Friday, with its high of 31 C, the record high for May 27 is 31.7 C, set in 1939.

Being hooked on debt has long-term consequences

Romana King | posted Friday, May 27th, 2016

Hooked on debt. It’s an apt description for the rising debt-to-income levels currently seen in Canada and a new survey by Manulife Bank highlights there’s a high price to our debt dependency—a cost that goes far beyond the low interest rates you see posted online.

Impact on those approaching retirement

One of the biggest contributors to our increased debt-load are rising housing costs. These increased shelter costs make it far more difficult for homeowners to balance paying down their mortgage, while saving for retirement and managing day-to-day expenses, explains Rick Lunny, president and CEO of Manulife Bank of Canada.

According to the new Manulife Bank Canada survey, 37% of homeowners were “caught short” at least once in the past year—meaning they didn’t have enough money to cover their expenses. Worse, only 40% of Canadians are confident that they are saving enough for retirement. “For many, not saving enough means relying on their home equity as a significant portion of their retirement package,” says Lunny.

According to the new Manulife Bank Canada survey, more than a quarter of homeowners predict their home equity will comprise 80% or more of their household wealth at the time they retire—and almost a quarter of those surveyed were already in their fifties. This information is supported by numbers from Statistics Canada information, which shows half of Canadian homeowners aged 50 to 59 still have mortgage debt, though that number drops to 25% between ages 60 to 69.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 3.12.13 PM

“Our research has consistently found that becoming debt-free is among the top financial priorities for Canadian homeowners, says Lunny. But with stretched budgets and rising housing costs, these homeowners must find a balance between debt repayment and saving for retirement. “So they don’t end up house-rich and asset poor,” says Lunny.

Why? Because increased debt means some potentially difficult decisions, says Lunny. Those with significant equity in their home and insufficient retirement funds could opt to: retire later than originally planned, accept a lower standard of living in retirement, downsize to a less expensive home, or borrow against their home equity to pay bills and fund their retirement.

Impact on homeowners

Appreciating home values may explain why some Canadians aren’t able to weather major expenses. The housing market has been a major driver of economic growth across the country in the last decade and this nurtured consumer confidence in taking on household debt. But this appears to be coming at the expense of retirement savings and even debt repayment.

According to the Manulife Bank survey, 11% of Canadians reduced the amount they saved (mainly because of the recent weaker loonie), while 7% reduced their debt repayments.

Yet, to plan for retirement, most financial planners suggest saving a nest egg large enough to provide you 70% of your pre-retirement income during your retirement years. But this classic advice assumes that other expenses, such as a mortgage, are already paid off.

That might be hard if Canadians not only stop saving for retirement but neglect to pay off their mortgage and other debts.

According to Manulife Bank, the average mortgage amount held by a Canadian homeowner is $181,000, up from $175,000 reported last fall. Yet regional differences in housing costs show that average mortgage debt differs across the country. In Vancouver, homeowners have average of mortgage debt of $259,000, compared to $217,000 for Calgary and Edmonton homeowners and, surprisingly, $194,000 for Toronto homeowners.

Average mortgage debt

“When you look at why people struggle to make a mortgage payment it almost always comes down to income. It could be a loss of a job, a pregnancy leave, a temporary disability or illness, but whatever the reason, people need to develop a budget and a spending plan that enables them to plan for periods with a reduced income,” says Lunny.

“The best option is to work with an advisor to get a plan in place well before retirement to balance debt repayment, retirement savings and day-to-day spending,” says Lunny.


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