A week in Toronto council: flagpoles, ice rinks and doubling down on crazy
Racing to meet a deadline—that pesky election that we’ve heard so much about—Toronto’s city council is hard at work trying to tie up loose ends from the past four years, and in one case, trying to tie up a loose end that’s been bothering it for 12 years. What did council get up to this week? Catch up on its hijinks after the jump.
- Two enormous projects received the thumbs-up from council on Thursday: Giorgio Mammoliti‘s gigantic flag pole was approved (the number of penis jokes was a bit much even for us), as was the revised four-storey “ice-scraper” hockey rink for the lower Donlands. Amusingly, the flag pole was approved on the condition that the Emery Village BIA finance it entirely, while funding for the arena is still short some $30 million. Hockey: officially more popular in Canada than the Maple Leaf.
- The city endorsed the Vienna Declaration, which has nothing to do with either The Sound of Music or Mozart, but instead promotes harm-reduction policies for drug abusers. Shocking exactly nobody, the Harper government’s official policy is still criminalization, so this is basically a feel-good measure.
- Twelve years after the megacity was created, council swept away dozens of zoning bylaws left over from the six old municipalities that became Toronto in 1998. Replacing them will be one relatively svelte bylaw document that’s merely a foot thick. Some of the high points: stricter rules on the location of propane facilities (wonder why?), restrictions on bar patios (boo) and a ban on paid visitors’ parking.
- And finally, council showed its masochistic side this week. Two years ago, it voted to compensate Mammoliti and Adrian Heaps for legal costs incurred during their 2006 re-election campaigns (despite being told that it was illegal and the city would lose any court battle it got into). We thought this had ended last week when the city’s executive committee had apparently let the matter die, but we were wrong. Yesterday, council (led by David Miller) voted 24-14 to give “grants” to the two councillors, and to take this case to appeals court. Miller says this is to protect the little guy so he can run for office; it would be nice of council to find a way to do this without clearly breaking the law.
• Mammoliti’s vision of grandeur [Toronto Sun]
• Council moves forward with waterfront ice rink [Globe and Mail]
• Toronto formally endorses harm reduction on drug use [Globe and Mail]
• 12 years later, Toronto gets its common zoning bylaw [National Post]
• Council headed to appeal court over legal tabs [Toronto Star]