cigarette butts

Morning Brew: Toronto Police chief wants Tasers, holiday shopping in sight, tallest residential tower in Canada breaks ground at Yonge & Gerrard, Nuit Blanche 2010 zone changes, temporary jail for G20, hybrid hydraulic garbage trucks

Toronto police chief Bill Blair would like to see every front line officer in the city equipped with and trained to use a Taser, but at this point in time costs are prohibitive. The stats from 2009 are interesting: of the 307 times Tasers were drawn, 45.4% of the time they served as visual deterrent without being deployed, 41% resulted in firing from a distance, and 13.6% saw direct contact deployment. Also worth noting is that 40% of people struck were either emotionally disturbed or under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

We're one step closer to seeing changes to laws regarding holiday shopping. The city's economic development committee voted heavily in favour of allowing stores to open on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other stat holidays, and dropping fines for those that would choose to open for business on those days. The rub here is that employees shouldn't have to work on some of these days, and although there are theoretical protections for employees in this regard, many people will be forced to work on days that they'd prefer to spend with their families. City council will vote on the proposal next month.

What will be the tallest residential building in all of Canada broke ground at Yonge & Gerrard yesterday. Developers of "Aura at College park," a towering 75-storey condominium, are hoping to have residents move in by 2012. The top floor penthouse remains unsold at an asking price of $17.5-million. The National Post article includes a nifty diagram depicting the heights of comparable tall condo buildings in Toronto.

Nuit Blanche 2010 planning is well underway, and the curators have been announced. But what's a particularly noteworthy development is that organizers have elected to change the zone boundaries significantly, favouring parts of the city that are more easily accessed by the Yonge-University subway line. Given its established arts scene, Queen West will thrive regardless, but what will become of Liberty Village's involvement?

In anticipation of the need to arrest and process a large number of protesters during the upcoming G20 meetings in the city in June, police are preparing an old movie studio on Eastern Avenue to act as a makeshift jail. The strategy is part of a massive, costly security campaign that will see weeks of heightened security, a 3-meter tall fence, guns and riot gear galore, and residents in the area of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre requiring to register in order to access their homes. How this venue choice makes any good sense is beyond me.

And with the environment in mind, the City of Toronto chose Earth Day to unveil new hydraulic hybrid garbage trucks. Each truck is $300,000, runs on diesel, and Scarborough has been chosen for the test phase. If they prove to exhibit ample fuel and emissions savings, the city hopes to buy more but not before converting them to natural gas.

Photo: "line of butts" by ThePerkyCarrot, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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