Toronto Summer

Morning Brew: New streetcars might be delayed, Pennachetti assures that citizen insights will play a role in the budgetary process, why doesn't Toronto just breed animals to make some cash?, the smells of the city, and what councillors have spent so far

Toronto's aging streetcar fleet may be sticking around for longer than originally planned. Asked by the City to assess and reduce its $1.5 billion capital shortfall over the next decade, the TTC is considering abandoning a deal with Bombardier for new cars. An alternate idea is to have Metrolinx purchase the cars and lease them to the TTC, but it's not yet clear what, if any, penalties the City would be on the hook for if the deal is restructured or delayed. Any delay to the arrival of the new fleet may also be quite costly in terms of maintenance to the current cars, so one hopes some serious consideration is given to all this.

In the wake of the marathon executive committee meeting at which over 160 citizens spoke against cuts to Toronto services, City Manager Joe Pennachetti assured reporters that the people's insights and opinions will be taken into account when he prepares his report of recommendations for review in September. I tend to believe him. The question that remains is what services the Ford camp is adamant about cutting — because I suspect those are bound to go regardless of Pennachetti thoughts.

In related news, the efficiency-based review of services — which some argue should have preceded the KPMG reports that, in Ford's words, differentiate between "must have" and "nice to have" services — will also take place in September, likely lasting about three months. In anticipation of the process, budget chief Mike Del Grande already has a bang up idea related to Toronto zoos. "I went to the Riverdale zoo. Nice zoo. Nice spot in the city. Since we have animals there and they are hatching eggs and we've got pigs, could there be an opportunity to breed animals and provide them to a local farm?" Sounds like a winner, Mike.

Hmmm. Here's a neat, but incomplete story about the various smells to be found across Toronto. Some of the highlights include the sugary smell wafting up around the Redpath plant on Queen's Quay and the chocolate scent coming from the Cadbury factory on Gladstone Avenue. There's plenty of others one could name — like, for instance, the smell of fortune cookies coming from the Wing's Food Products plant on Dupont Street — but the big miss is the cauliflower stench that emanates from the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant. That's a common suggestion on this OpenFile thread, which likely served as the inspiration for the Star piece. If you're really into the smells of the city, check out this interactive map.


Photo by Gary Baker in the blogTO Flickr pool

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