Chris Bundas –
Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver named among the best places to live in the world. TTC board approved report on service improvements. Tim Leiweke denies speculation of him leaving MLSE.
LEIWEKE DENIES HE’S LEAVING MLSE AMID SPECULATION
MLSE boss Tim Leiweke is scheduled for an ice-bucket dumping this afternoon at the Air Canada centre, but first had to dump water on fires spreading of his possible departure from Toronto yesterday. A tweet from Hockey Night in Canada reporter Elliotte Friedman yesterday said Leiweke was looking at the door, which then started a number of different theories. Leiweke says he’s not leaving the company amid speculation that he will be stepping down to look for a new challenge. Leiweke said he is, “very focused on this upcoming season and not thinking about anything else.” MLSE later sent a statement from Leiweke, which reads, “Any report stating that I am leaving MLSE is untrue. We are completely focused on the seasons at hand and I am not thinking of anything else but that. I am proud of all that we have accomplished here over the past year, but we have much more to do.” However, Leiweke never made a life-long commitment to this new job. He has already made an impact hiring Brendan Shanahan as president of the Leafs, Masai Ujiri as Raptors GM and new editions like Jermain Defoe to Toronto FC.
TORONTO, VANCOUVER, CALGARY NAMED AMONG BEST PLACES TO LIVE
According to a report by The Economist, Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary have been named as some of the best places to live in the world. In the annual poll, the magazine ranked Vancouver as the third most livable city in the world; followed by Toronto at number four, and Calgary tied with Adelaide, Australia for fifth place. Melbourne, Australia topped the list, with Vienna, Austria coming in second overall. Rounding out the top 10 were Sydney, Australia, Helsinki, Finland, Perth, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand. The Economist ranks the cities on 30 factors across various categories, including stability, health care, culture, environment, education and infrastructure.
WYNNE: MORE RESEARCH NEEDED BEFORE BANNING E-CIGARETTES
Premier Kathleen Wynne said Tuesday she won’t rush into a decision on banning electronic cigarettes in areas where smoking is prohibited. She said her government will look into the issue, as should the federal government. Toronto’s board of health is requesting the province to step up within six months before acting on its own and implementing city restrictions. The board wants the province to ban sales of flavoured e-cigarette products, displays in retail stores and selling the battery-operated cigarettes to those under the age of 19.
ONTARIO WON’T ALLOW TURBAN-WEARING SIKHS TO RIDE WITHOUT A HELMET
Ontario has decided it won’t allow turban-wearing Sikhs to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet. Premier Kathleen Wynne said she had struggled with striking the right balance between public safety and religious accommodation. The Canadian Sikh Association called Wynne’s decesion “deeply” disappointing. Mortality rates have gone down 30 per cent and head injury rates down 75 per cent in jurisdictions with mandatory helmet laws. Courts have also found that Ontario’s law doesn’t infringe on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the Ontario Human Rights Code.
TTC BOARD APPROVES REPORT ON SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS
The TTC board approved a report Tuesday that contains nine recommendations for improving transit service. The report still has to be approved by city council, which will meet next week on August 25. While speaking from his campaign headquarters in Etobicoke yesterday morning, Mayor Rob Ford vowed to back many of the proposals in the report. “We need to build a better subway system but these major projects take time and people say ‘Rob, what are you going to do now?’ Well this is what I am going to do now,” Ford said. “Today I am committing to fund these service improvements in my next term of office.” The TTC report also proposes a two-hour window in which riders could use transfers and all-door boarding on streetcar routes to help reduce delays. Ford does not support either of those ideas. “I don’t buy this two hours stuff,” Ford said of the time-based transfer, which would allow riders to hop on and off any TTC vehicle. “For $3, you can go from Kipling out to Scarborough. You will not find a cheaper way of getting around the city.” The total cost of improvements is about $288 million in capital funding, with an addition $69 million in operating costs, over the next five years if approved.
Full list of proposal recommendations:
1. All-door boarding and proof-of-payment on all streetcar routes
Capital cost: $0
Annual operating cost: $6 million
2. Adding buses and streetcars to reduce wait times and crowding during rush hour and off-peak times
Capital cost: $84 million
Annual operating cost: $18.9 million
3. Providing bus and streetcar service every 10 minutes on key routes all day, every day from 6 a.m. (9 a.m. on Sundays) to 1 a.m.
Capital cost: $13.8 million
Annual operating cost: $13.6 million
4. New express bus services on 20 bus routes during peak periods
Capital cost: $33.6 million, plus an addition $10.2 million for enhanced downtown express bus service
Annual operating cost: $13.3 million, with the enhanced downtown express bus service projected to cost an additional $2.4 million
5. Giving priority to the flow of buses and streetcars at intersections, and creating a “queue-jumping lane” for buses to bypass other vehicles turning right at an intersection
Capital funding needed: $2.4 million
6. Adding buses and streetcars to improve service reliability and punctuality
Capital cost: $34.8 million
Annual operating cost: $5.5 million
7. Restoring bus routes that were eliminated in 2011 because of budgetary constraints and operating all routes all day, every day
Capital cost: $0
Annual operating cost: $6.6 million
8. Introducing a time-based transfer so customers can ride in any direction during a two-hour period
The report says this change will result in an annual revenue loss of $20 million and would need an additional ongoing subsidy to make up for the loss.
9. Expanding overnight bus and streetcar service
Capital cost: $0
Annual operating cost: $2.9 million