Toronto News

Morning Brew: The cost of halting Transit City, Roncesvalles construction continues, immigration appeal bill, 101 gifts of Christmas, Toronto is bloody ready for the UFC, and winter cycling tips

By halting Transit City, the city is throwing into confusion its own plans for densification, investment and development. What can be built, where and how high is contingent on zoning that's based in large part on planned transit lines and the number of people they're expected to carry from one place to another every hour. The TTC is hinting that they may look to the private sector for help covering the costs of subways, but if that's the case, Steve Diamond, a lawyer and CEO of Diamondcorp, says: "The private sector, in order to make some investments, needs some certainty...The uncertainty does put the city at risk. And what we can't go through is four years where there's no improvements to the city's infrastructure in terms of transportation."

Despite hope that construction on Roncesvalles would be finished by now, completion of the project is likely 12 weeks away. Chief among the reasons for the delay was the discovery that an Enbridge gas main needed to be moved, which will have to wait until the spring. On the bright side, the street is now open to traffic in both directions.

On Monday, New Democrat MP and immigration critic Olivia Chow (Trinity-Spadina) will table a private-member's bill in the House of Commons to allow rejected applications to be reviewed and appealed. 20 per cent of visa applications received by Canadian visa posts yearly are refused for concerns over fraud. However legitimate applicants are occasionally denied as well, and there is no appeal process once an application is rejected. The proposed bill would ask the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada to hear the appeals. "We hope to bring fairness and transparency to the system," said Chow, who launched the group, Calling for Visitor Visa Fairness, on Facebook last year. It has about 450 members.

It's usually only 12 Days with 12 gifts of Christmas, but a family in East York is replacing that tradition with their own. Instead of buying presents for each other, Lillie May Graham's six children, 11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren pooled their money to buy 101 toys and donated them in her honour to the annual Toronto Firefigters' toy drive. In addition to the toys came a letter explaining the generous donation: "Lillie May Graham is the perfect example of everything that is wonderful in the world and we could think of no better way to celebrate this amazing milestone than by sharing our love for her with others". However Lillie May Graham and her family remain a mystery as there was not a return address on the letter. 'Tis the season for anonymous donations...or magic?


Photo by Chewie2008~ in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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