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Morning Brew: Toronto casino heading for defeat, Ford attacks bike parking and slams lower speed limits, TTC mulls closing Pape station, and a winter storm is coming

Looks like despite the lobbyists, fancy renderings, and tempting offers of cash, the Toronto casino could be toast. The Star estimates that 21 councillors will definitely vote against allowing a major gaming facility in the city, just shy of a 23 vote majority. Several of those on the fence are expected to vote with the rest of the pack.

Surprise, surprise, Rob Ford is against secure bike parking like his older brother. The mayor said he'd try and kill the fully-funded storage area when it comes to city council. Does he have the support?

Rob Ford officially kicked off road repair season with advice for motorists: steer clear and don't cause a traffic jam. The city is spending $155 million this year - that's 129 fully-equipped bike stations, for the record - on patching potholes and resurfacing bumpy roads after a season of ice damage. The Gardiner is getting $17 million in structural repairs - the equivalent to 14 bike stations. OK, enough...

Also in roads, Rob Ford doesn't like coun. Adam Vaughan's suggestion that the city should lower speed limits on residential roads in the Annex. Ford complained a change from 40 to 30 km/h would snarl traffic and cause total and utter gridlock. Ford was similarly outraged when the medical officer of health recommended the same thing last year. Should residential streets have lower limits?

The TTC is considering closing Pape station over several six weekends or for 12 consecutive days in order to speed up construction work. Keeping the station open would mean work to completely renovate the station, platforms, and add a second exit wouldn't finish until December. A temporary closure could bring that date forward to September. Is it worth it?

The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition isn't too happy with councillors Adam Vaughan and Mike Layton. The group, which is in favour of a casino and supportive of Rob Ford, has filed a complaint with the city integrity commissioner Janet Leiper over comments the pair made about a casino staff report. Vaughan and Layton called it a "fictional report" with "fantasy numbers," according to the Sun, allegedly breaking rules about respecting city staff.

Will-she-won't-she mayoral candidate Olivia Chow clarified comments she made about the safety of the Gardiner Expressway made in a constituency pamphlet yesterday. Chow said the elevated highway "doesn't qualify as 'safe' anymore" but later said she uses the road on a regular basis.

Porter Airlines could be about to announce a fleet of new jets capable of reaching destinations across Canada, not to mention increasing the size and number of planes using Billy Bishop airport. A press conference, titled "Porter Airlines to spread its wings," is scheduled for later today.

Holy tequila! Union LCBO staff could be heading for a strike. It's not clear how many workers could walk out, or whether Toronto would have to go liquor-free, but talks are due to resume today. Let's hope they make a deal.

And finally, winter might not be done yet - the city is under a winter storm watch for Thursday with ice and snow pellets in the forecast and the potential for power outages. Ugh.


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Jason Cook/blogTO Flickr pool.

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