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Gridlock, e-cigs & energy drinks: Need-to-know issues at last council meeting before election

Monday marked the beginning of the final Toronto city council meeting before the municipal election on Oct. 27, and there’s no shortage of issues up for debate.

Click here to watch a live stream of the meeting.

Here are some of the reports presented and topics that will be voted on before the council chamber is vacated until Torontonians cast their ballots in the fall:

Reporters Pam Seatle and Kevin Misener are covering the city council meeting. See their updates below.


Proposed basketball training centre at Exhibition Place

The facility will serve as a practice space for the Toronto Raptors, but MLSE stressed it will be a community centre as well. The NBA team will occupy about a third of the facility, with the rest of the space and time open to community basketball teams and leagues.

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

Co-ordinated planning approach for revitalization of Ontario Place and Exhibition Place

This report seeks council’s approval for staff to work with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport on a joint planning process and public consultation for the revitalization of Ontario Place and Exhibition Place.

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

2015 Pan Am Games community projects initiative

Council had earmarked $1.76 million in funding for various initiatives during the event and is now seeking approval to distribute the cash through three complementary grant streams, including:

  • $560,000 to support Games-inspired activities and projects in all parts of Toronto
  • $885,000 to support projects which profile or provide longer-term economic and/or social infrastructure benefits for Toronto’s Latin American, South American and Caribbean communities
  • $315,000 to support arts and cultural animation along the cross-GTA Pan Am Path

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

Evaluate the purchase of Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club

The city wants to purchase a 1,514-square-metre parcel of land at 196 Manor Rd., in the Mount Pleasant Road and Davisville Avenue area, and convert it into parkland.

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

Recommendations from deputy mayor’s roundtable on gridlock and traffic congestion

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly and a group of two dozen “diverse citizens” presented a myriad of suggestions to better manage traffic congestion to benefit travellers, businesses and the environment and to combat an estimated productivity loss of over $6 billion per year.

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

E-cigarettes in Toronto

The report recommends that the provincial government amend the Smoke-Free Ontario Act  to include e-cigarettes, which would prohibit their use wherever cigarette use is currently prohibited in Ontario and stop the sale of e-cigarettes to those under 19 years of age.

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

Union Station revitalization project

Council will be presented with an update on the Union Station Revitalization Project, including a status report on the construction progress and project budget.

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

Parks, open space and streetscape plan for Yonge-Eglinton area

The Midtown in Focus plan is a “guide for creating more liveable, walkable and memorable public spaces” in the Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue area.

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

Improving safety for bicycle commuters

This report is a status update for a slew of safety initiatives passed in October of 2013, which included requiring side guards on large trucks and the winter maintenance of bicycle lanes.

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

Demolition of designated heritage properties at Union Station, including the SkyWalk

A 48-storey tower comprising offices, retail and six levels of underground parking will need the green light from council, which would mean demolishing part of the SkyWalk between Union Station and Rogers Centre.

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

Member motions

Continuing Toronto City Council’s leadership on gender inclusion

Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, the interim councillor for Trinity-Spadina, wants Ottawa to change lyrics of O Canada to be “gender inclusive.”

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

Request for a staff report on how to deal with chronic and repeat complaints by residents about parking enforcement

Currently, requests for parking enforcement along residential streets is complaint driven. This report asks that staff re-examine its practices, specifically relating to chronic and repeat complaints.

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

Escalating insurance rates and challenges to obtaining insurance for accessible taxicabs in Toronto

After the city pledged that all taxis would be accessible in the next 10 years, it seems that there is difficulty in getting the insurance needed for this type of transportation. Members of the taxicab industry say some are being denied insurance coverage because of their wheelchair-accessible cabs.

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

Making the Union-Pearson Express fare more affordable for Toronto residents

Two member motions will be presented with much of the same message: the near-completed transit route between Union Station and Pearson International Airport “should serve citizens of Toronto in a way that is both accessible and affordable.”

Click here and here to see the agenda items in full.

Request for report on ways of preventing children and underage youth from buying energy drinks

Removed from sale on city properties already, this next step would see energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster Energy banned for sale to anyone under the age of 19.

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

Call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women

A motion tabled by Coun. Joe Mihevc asks council to call on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to order a national inquiry into “the tragic and inequitable issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women.”

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

Congestion Management Plan

Proposed by Mayor Rob Ford, the motion aims to add 500 more traffic signal re-timing reviews — which aim to streamline the flow of traffic — to the already planned 1,000.

Click here to see the agenda item in full.

Demarcating public from private property

The motion was proposed to clearly mark areas of city-owned land from private property after a  property management company was found to be cutting locks and seizing bicycles parked on city land in Yorkville.

Click here to see the agenda item in full.