Bench in Rain

Morning Brew: City Council Moves Up Agenda Items, Electric Cars Jolted by Queen's Park, Garbage Refund in the Works?

Photo: "storms will come, this we know for sure, tell me baby, can you stand the rain." by Aubrey Arenas, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

What's happening in the GTA (and sometimes beyond):

Anybody not stuck in a windowless (and soundproof) box yesterday noticed we got a bit of rain, but GO Transit commuters trying to access Mimico were particularly affected when a section of track got washed out - something that will affect riders today as well. Hopefully GO Transit has a more effective plan in place today to avoid the big backups and confusion of last evening.

A month and a half of no City Council meetings apparently puts some deals in jeopardy (go figure), so a $640 million plan to update Union Station is jumping the agenda queue - and bypassing committee - to be discussed at today's meeting. Also moved up on the agenda are several real estate matters: leasing the Guild Inn to Centennial College and land expropriations for Transit City projects. I can appreciate Council's desire to keep the deals in the air, but such big matters probably should still go through committee. After business was disrupted for so long, would it be so hard to rearrange the Council calendar to work in committee or general council meetings that allow for a more full review? Or are these just big ticket items getting rubber stamped?

A four alarm fire at an auto body shop west of Westlake, on the Danforth, last night is being ruled suspicious. Concerns of blazing chemicals led officials to evacuate the area, but I guess testament to the overly mild summer we have is that TTC buses were brought in to keep residents warm.

Almost a year ago Toronto's skyline briefly displayed a mushroom cloud - from a propane explosion - and two people died. Now two charges have been laid by the Ontario Ministry of Labour related to the company's failure to protect health and safety and compliance with propane facility regulations. The potential fines could total a million bucks, which is a paltry sum for the apparent negligence - not to mention the loss of life.

Ontario streets are $20 million closer to seeing electric cars on them, as Queen's Park doled out the cash to Electrovaya. The money will help the company nearly quintuple its workforce and McGuinty's hope is that Ontario will see one in twenty cars on the road be electric by 2020. Aside from being a wimpy-sounding goal, let's hope that cars powered by Electrovaya are readily approved for the market, unlike one Toronto electric car company.

Do Toronto residents deserve a garbage refund? Two councillors are planning to introduce a motion to compel the city to report on the feasibility of returning some portion of the $33 to $190 garbage fees paid by residents. A 5 week strike is about 10% of the year, so that would be $3.30 to $19...umm, I'm not expert, but that's not going to be worth it. Besides, "report on the feasibility" sounds like a way to curry favour with constituents while never intending to give them money.

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