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Morning Brew: No charges in Ford-Dale case, more casino talk, $30 million to fix St. Clair bridge, Wong-Tam still wants a bank, and bike lanes moving slowly

Posted by Chris Bateman / May 10, 2012

riverdale green housePolice say they won't lay any charges in the Rob Ford-Daniel Dale case, effectively confirming the Star reporter never trespassed on the mayor's property. Dale's Blackberry contained no images of the incident and we can assume Ford's own CCTV video showed no criminal activity either. Case closed. OK, so we can stop talking about this now, right?

The downtown casino debate reared its head again yesterday when Paul Godfrey, the chair of Ontario's lottery corporation, urged councillors to seek all the information they can before voting on the topic. Godfrey, an influential figure in Toronto politics, says he'd like to see a casino on the city's waterfront.

Replacing the railroad bridge at St. Clair and Old Weston Road could cost more than $30 million, according to The Star. The notorious bottleneck caused by the bridge's narrow underpass is one of the biggest traffic issues on St. Clair. Despite the high price tag, which is "a conservative estimate," and lack of funding Councillor Cesar Palacio says he'll push to get the project started.

The legendary Matador Club was supposed to re-open as a "living arts centre" when it closed its doors in 2007. So far, the building has remained closed while renovations took place out of public view. The Grid did a little digging and has uncovered that paperwork for the new business is held up at city hall, which has caused the delay.

The Toronto Standard's Michael Kolberg says Rob Ford's constant mis-steps are burning him out and distracting those interested in municipal politics from the real issues. Do you agree? Is the mayor "500 channels with nothing on" as Kolberg says? For another editorial on the mayor, check out Ed Keenan's piece, "Sideshow Rob."

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam still wants a "people's bank" that city council can use instead of the big Bay Street institutions to deposit its revenue and taxes. The "Bank of Toronto," as NOW calls it, could save the city millions in fees and charges which, like you and me, the city has to pay when it uses the bank. In other Wong-Tam news, the Councillor also wants residents to occupy a former park on Wellesley Street that has been mired in construction delays, according to Xtra.

Cyclists waiting for fully separated bike lanes on Wellesley and Harbord will have to tough it out with the rest of the traffic for longer than first expected. Cycle Toronto (formerly Toronto Cyclists' Union) says progress on the lane upgrades is slower than expected.

Yesterday we heard the famous Real Jerk restaurant is splitting Riverside at the end of May for an undisclosed location, today we hear the Irish pub once slated to replace the Caribbean eatery is back in the picture. The National Post says An Sibin is currently going over the lease with a fine tooth comb before it commits to the location at Queen and Broadview.


"They see this as a debate that makes downtown, I hate to say it, white people feel better that they've done something when they are suffering from this gun violence day after day."

Josh Colle doesn't think much of council's decision to allow Toronto Sportsmen's Show a bylaw exception to use guns on city-owned property. Councillor Gordon Perks' response was "fuck off," a comment for which he apologised.


Photo: "Riverdale Park West" by Franco Cignelli in the BlogTO Flickr pool.



M / May 10, 2012 at 08:34 am
The bank idea is brilliant I see no reason for resistance.
Shawna O'Reilly / May 10, 2012 at 08:39 am
THe Matador? OMG, I heard about that place when I was growing up in Winnipeg. It was legendary! Now that I have graduated from art school and am a full-fledged Torontonite, I look very forward to getting wasted and dancing the night away at whatever moves in there next.
Franco / May 10, 2012 at 09:05 am
Hey, that's my photo! It looks good!
the lemur replying to a comment from Franco / May 10, 2012 at 09:17 am
It does!

Fun fact about that corner: it features at the start of the Kids In The Hall's 'Terriers' skit/song.
oodles replying to a comment from Franco / May 10, 2012 at 09:24 am
Let's all pat you on the back, shall we?
Chris Bateman replying to a comment from the lemur / May 10, 2012 at 09:31 am
So it does! Video:

(25 seconds in)
james / May 10, 2012 at 09:49 am
This is a perfect example of how the Ford's operate. Their is no evidence to suggest Dale was doing what they accused him of yet Dougie's statement is "he was hiding in the bushes behind rob's house The Toronto Star has to be accountable." They continue to lie and misrepresent the facts, contradict themselves and their blind, mindless supporters repeat it as though it was fact. Once again it is clear that Ford lied. No photos of the house on the phone, no security footage showing him bobbing up and down over the fence or on the property. The guy is a buffoon with no impulse control and a ridiculous sense of self-rightousness. A total embarassment.
Rick / May 10, 2012 at 10:15 am
I love the Wellesley Park idea.
Law for All / May 10, 2012 at 10:20 am
When will Wong-Tam be charged with inciting others to break the law? She is encouraging people to squat on property that isn't theirs.
Johnny Tronno / May 10, 2012 at 10:31 am
I thought The Real Jerk was being ousted by the property owner to put up condos on that corner, not to replace them with another business. What's the point? Other than higher rent of course!
the lemur replying to a comment from Law for All / May 10, 2012 at 10:35 am
The park belongs to provincial taxpayers.
Ratpick / May 10, 2012 at 10:40 am
I'm not sure I understand the "Bank of Toronto" idea.

Is it to provide cheaper deposit services? Or is it to socialize the profits of a new bank? If you do one, you can't really do the other.

smc / May 10, 2012 at 10:44 am
Josh Colle supported the decision for a by-law exemption to allow the Toronto Sportsmen Show to have guns present on a city-owned property. Gord Perks was one of the individuals opposing it on inane grounds. Get your facts straight BlogTO. And he's right. An event like this has nothing to do with gun violence in this city. The by-law is also nonsensical for that matter.
Rob Ford's Sweaty FUPA replying to a comment from Ratpick / May 10, 2012 at 11:16 am
Your bank charges you service fees to use them. THere are also markups on other services.

If the Bank of Toronto existed, then service fees would be waived. Kind of like how the 1% receives discounted services and better interest rates from their employers.

However. Given that Toronto cannot run its existing services and is outsourcing the hell out of everything these days, it makes ZERO sense to get into any sort of business like this.
CanoeDave / May 10, 2012 at 11:21 am
“We have more banks in Toronto than any other city in the country. To say we need another bank is like saying Lake Ontario needs more water." Mr. Peters of the CCPA hits the nail on the head on this wing nut idea from Wong-Tam. Building a bank from scratch would be incredibly expensive and another institution run by Toronto bureaucrats and Councillors given $billions to play with sounds like an invitation to a fiscal fiasco. Remember that the CCPA is the biggest "progressive" think tank in the Country not a knee jerk Conservative group like the Fraser or CD Howe.
danielle / May 10, 2012 at 11:37 am
I wonder how much the railroad bridge at St. Clair & Old Weston Road would have cost to fix had they dealt with it when the roads were already torn up during the streetcar ROW construction. Toronto's urban planning: zero foresight seems to be the name of the game.
Ratpick replying to a comment from Rob Ford's Sweaty FUPA / May 10, 2012 at 11:49 am
"If the Bank of Toronto existed, then service fees would be waived. Kind of like how the 1% receives discounted services and better interest rates from their employers."

Actually, the banks make a LOT of money off corporations, government clients, and high-net-worth individuals. They don't get their services for free -- just bulk rates.

Alex replying to a comment from danielle / May 10, 2012 at 12:14 pm
The St.Clair ROW took so long to build because they kept making utilities and infrastructure updates while the street was dug up (and the whole NIMBY lawsuit thing). Then people complained how long it took and said it was poorly planned. If they had done what you suggested the ROW would have taken even longer to do, cost more, and everyone would have said the people who planned it and constructed it were incompetent.

Not saying I disagree with you, just saying that I can see why they did not do it during construction. If they had, no one would say they had foresight, they would say they took way too long to build it and spent too much money.
Anti-institution / May 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm
Love the City's new "we don't like this institution so let's just abolish it" attitude. First the OMB, now banks...
hork it up replying to a comment from Anti-institution / May 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm
And transit city
danielle / May 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm
I know what you're saying, but people were already freaking out over the cost and length of construction, so they may as well have done it right in the first place. Plus, it's well known that the utility companies didn't come together to coordinate their respective scopes of work, so yeah, it's fair to say they were incompetent. Now we're faced with doing it all over again, while Junction Rd. remains closed for the construction of railroad tracks well into 2013 (or longer)? I was all for the ROW construction, and was frustrated by the merchants/residents lawsuit that most knew would only delay the inevitable. As a columnist in the Globe and Mail pointed out at the time, the lawsuit was time wasted that could have been spent on demanding - and surely receiving as a goodwill gesture - more trees and design upgrades.

Anyway, it is what it is, so let's get on with the business of fixing the problem before the Stockyards complex goes in and makes that neck of the woods an even bigger traffic nightmare.
the lemur / May 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm
Leaving aside what happened with the utilities during the St Clair ROW construction, the bridge is a bit more complicated than it seems. Doing anything with it requires the cooperation of the railways and widening the road under the tracks doesn't have many options short of shifting the road slightly to the south where the vacant lot near the bingo hall is.
Alex replying to a comment from the lemur / May 10, 2012 at 02:49 pm
You need the railway's cooperation? Good luck then. Just ask GO transit how cooperative the railways are. Hope they fix this issue though, it sounds like it is causing real problems for the residents in the area.
Stavros / May 11, 2012 at 08:48 am
I am pleased to see Cesar working hard on this bridge issue. It will be easy to brush it away citing costs and funding, however, given the future growth on the Avenue it is a project that will need to be completed at some point.

Merging traffic into streetcar lanes at Keele ans St Claire may help but will render the route west of Landsdown useless. Service on the line west of Landsdown will suffer and that includes moving people to the development underway at Keele, not to mention all residents living in the area.

I hope to see Cesar bear down and fight for this with all his abilities.
the lemur replying to a comment from Alex / May 11, 2012 at 09:20 am
That's my point - they're not going to be interested in this project, not least while the grade separation is going on to the south of there. The sooner there are alternatives for cars (reopening Junction Rd, possibly another connection between Weston and Old Weston north of St Clair, but that's just daydreaming) the more the situation will be improved.
danielle replying to a comment from the lemur / May 11, 2012 at 01:26 pm
I know this is a pipe dream but, what about tunneling under the road from Old Weston Rd. to the end of the streetcar line just west of Keele, much like they have at St. Clair and Bathurst? No doubt there are serious logistical problems inherent in this possibility, not to mention many $$$ required to make it possible, but all ideas should be put on the table.
the lemur replying to a comment from danielle / May 11, 2012 at 02:09 pm
I guess that would be possible, but you'd have the entrances to the streetcar tunnel taking up some of the road space and cars would be going around them to use the central lanes that are freed up, then out again to get past the tunnel entrance. The reason it works over a shorter distance on St Clair east of Bathurst is because the increased width is used to enable turns outside Loblaws.

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