Toronto News Snow

Morning Brew: TTC wants to be an essential service too, Transit City would help reverse shrinking middle, biodiesel plant coming to the Port Lands, police dump UFC fighter, and the 25 "mayors of Toronto"

Looks like the new TTC board beat Rob Ford to the punch as they declared they want to be an essential service too. In an unexpected vote, the new TTC board has endorsed removing transit workers' right to strike, even though studies show arbitrated contracts could cost the TTC more in wages because the 10,000 unionized TTC workers could still work to rule, warned Bob Kinnear, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113. If the city wants to put transit workers in the same category as life-saving professions such as firefighters, police and paramedics, it should be prepared to pay similar salaries and benefits, he said. Adding: "We do not believe the removal of our service jeopardizes public safety to that degree." Clearly he works from home and has never been stranded by public transit.

University of Toronto professor, David Hulchanksi, who authored a report that argues Toronto's middle class is shrinking, also theorizes what would help the disparity: Transit City. Expanding access to transit is among the key ingredients in slowing or reversing the "segregation'' of the city by income, Hulchanski argues in his report. "There's a significant shortage of accessibility to transit. That's why I've been a fan of the Transit City plan from the start. Linking many parts of (low-income) neighbourhoods and the northern part of the city not served by subways is just wonderful,'' he said in an interview. "It's crucial for us to be one city," he said, adding he hopes to meet with Ford or his staff to discuss the issue.

A biodiesel plant is planned to open in the city's port land district in the hopes of feeding Canada's growing fuel markets, as well as people and animals. Energy Innovation Corp. announced a new facility Tuesday that will use flaxseeds to make biodiesel, which can cleanly power cars, trucks, and trains. 40 per cent of every flaxseed can be used to make the fuel, but the Toronto plant will be able to process the other 60 per cent into another valuable commodity: high grade animal feed. They also plan to turn the flax meal into flour for people. As long as they don't get the two mixed up, it sounds flax-tastic.

In this week's EYE, the magazine analyzes the "real" mayors of Toronto, asking the question: Who really runs Toronto? They present 25 Torontonians who make stuff happen everyday -- from who can get your face on the jumbotron to who can turn your bar song into a radio hit.


Photo by jugolic in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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