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Morning Brew: Toronto police opt for budget freeze, thumbs up for Ontario Place plans, Toronto is fourth for livability, and tough TTC advice for wheelchair users

The Toronto Police Service Board voted yesterday to freeze its budget for 2013, a decision which police chief Bill Blair says could lead to layoffs. Policing is the city's biggest expense but it has no direct control over the service's budget. Layoffs don't exactly jibe with Rob Ford's pleas for additional cops but council's budget chief Mike Del Grande says he hasn't seen any reports that confirm Blair's worries.

The provincial government says it will back recommendations that Ontario Place be redeveloped into a publicly accessible parkland with some mixed-use development. Ontario Tourism Minister Michael Chan announced the support yesterday, saying the province will commit to the plans suggested by a revitalization panel headed by John Tory and hope to have the work finished for 2017.

The 134th CNE opens this Friday and The Star has scored a sneak peak at a sand sculpture and several rides - including the new Skyride chair lift and a surfing simulator - that are undergoing final checks before their debut.

According to this year's livability rankings by The Economist, Toronto is the world's fourth most livable city, second in Canada only to Vancouver. Hogtown scored 97.2 out of a possible 100, but who needs validation anyway?

The TTC has some pretty tortuous advice for wheelchair users hoping to exit Bathurst Station via the westbound platform during elevator repairs or outages. According to a sign posted on Reddit, the official advice is to reboard the subway to Dundas West, change to an eastbound train, get off at St. George, catch the 20 Dupont bus, change to the 7 Bathurst bus, and get off at Bathurst Station at street level. That's four separate journeys to get to the street.

A Toronto woman is organizing a protest at the Russian consulate Friday over the detention of feminist punk band Pussy Riot in the country. Organized by Lynn Flatley, a social media manager, the demonstration will join others around the world for the band who were arrested for criticizing Vladimir Putin in a "punk prayer" performed at Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral. The protest starts at 2pm.

The Metro Theatre near Bloor and Christie famous for its adult screenings is going back to its indie roots under new owners. Jonathan Hlibka and business partner Nadia Sandhu hope ditching most of the nudie shows will give the place a new lease of life. Don't worry though, you can still get your skin fix in the afternoons.

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Photo: "Interim Use" by sniderscion in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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