5 Things To Know Today
Extreme cold weather in the GTA. Chief Blair suspends carding. Maple Leafs begin life without Carlyle. Air Canada considers leaving Billy Bishop airport. Privatizing garbage collection east of Yonge added to city agenda.
EXTREME COLD WEATHER
Warming shelters are open, car batteries are groaning and people in Toronto are bundling up for the coldest day we’ve had in nearly a year. The mercury will plunge to the -18 range this afternoon and with some stiff winds it’s going to feel like -30 or worse. At that rate, exposed skin can freeze in as little as 5 minutes. The city has yet to issue an extreme cold weather alert but that didn’t stop Mayor Tory from ordering the opening of the extra shelter beds for the homeless last night. The city is responding to calls from anti-poverty activists to do more for the homeless, especially in this current cold snap. Two men have been found dead outside in the last two days. The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty visited Toronto City Hall today demanding more access to services for the homeless. Mayor John Tory said the city would open two warming centres Tuesday night, and has ordered shelters to relax their usual restrictions. Normally an Extreme Cold Weather Alert would need to be issued by Toronto Public Health for such initiatives. The two 24 hour warming centres are Margaret’s Toronto East Drop-in and St. Felix Social Ministries Outreach, transit tokens are also being offered at other drop-ins so people can get to those locations. It’s not just you that will be feeling the cold today, your car battery will be too. Yesterday the CAA responded to 6600 calls and today is expected to be worse. Also, the humane society is warning pet owners not to leaver their 4-legged friends outside when it’s this cold.
CHIEF BLAIR SUSPENDS CARDING
Toronto police have suspended the controversial practice of carding “until further notice” under orders from Chief Bill Blair. A spokesman says the suspension began on on Jan. 1. Carding allows officers to stop people on the street and collect information such as their height, weight, hair and skin colour. Blair is expected to provide an update on the move after the police board’s next meeting in February. The president of the Toronto Police Association, Mike McCormack told the Toronto Star “All I know, it’s been suspended, so that would mean it hasn’t been terminated.”
MAPLE LEAFS BEGIN LIFE WITHOUT RANDY CARLYLE
The Leafs begin a new life tonight as they welcome the caps to the ACC. The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired coach Randy Carlyle after less than three years on the job. The move follows their seven game road trip, during which they won only twice, ending with an embarrassing 5-1 loss in Winnipeg. The team has not yet named a replacement but assistant coaches Peter Horachek and Steve Spott will handle the duties behind the bench for tomorrow night’s home game against Washington. Carlyle compiled a record of 91 wins, 78 losses, and 19 overtime and shootout losses in 188 games with Toronto.
AIR CANADA CONSIDERS LEAVING BILLY BISHOP AIRPORT
Air Canada is considering pulling out of Billy Bishop Airport, where it operates 15 round-trip flights a day between Toronto and Montreal. The carrier would like to fly to more destinations but Porter Airlines owns and controls the terminal and holds almost all the takeoff and landing slots there. The Toronto Port Authority has also made it clear that there are no plans to expand beyond the existing 202 plane slots. Air Canada says it is assessing the viability of its island airport operations based on the current imposed terminal rates and terms. City council still has to decide whether to approve Porter’s planned runway extension to fly Bombardier’s new CSeries jets. An environmental assessment and preliminary runway design studies are underway.
PRIVATIZING GARBAGE COLLECTION EAST OF YONGE ADDED TO AGENDA
It’s an idea that is reminiscent of the Ford era at city hall, and John Tory appears to be following the same path. On Tuesday, Mayor Tory was approached on the topic of contracting out garbage collection services east of Yonge Street, a move that Rob Ford promised to put in action if he had won the race in 2014. When discussing facts and reports before the city’s Public Works Committee, the Mayor told reporters that he stands in favour of saying “we’ve done what we need to do to make sure garbage is being collected in the way that gives people the best service.” Garbage is currently under private contract west of Yonge Street through to the city limits in Etobicoke, with areas west of Yonge taken out of the public sector’s hands in 2013, saving taxpayers $11 million. A report on facts and questions that currently sit without answers is due back to the PWC by April, with Tory wanting to see a debate and possible decision by summer. The city’s contract with it’s public garbage collectors is set to expire at the end of the year.