AMCTO Municipal Minute
Apr. 10, 2013

Crosstown LRT: Below Eglinton, first enormous machine set to tunnel east
Toronto Star
They used to be known as sandhogs. The tunneling crews that built New York City's subways and sewers around the turn of the last century only spent part of their shifts digging tunnels. Half their workday was devoted to decompression, so the urban miners working beneath the earth wouldn't die from "the bends," the atmospheric pressure-related illness that afflicts deep sea divers if they surface too quickly. More

With eyes on transportation, Premier Wynne takes a big risk
The Globe and Mail
The people around Kathleen Wynne don't want to hear about the parallels; probably don't even want to think about them. A rookie Liberal Leader will stake her fortunes on a controversial issue that captured her attention while she was a minister. She will gamble that voters are ready to move forward on it, even at some expense to them. She will do so knowing she is handing a populist club to her opponents, and counting on it to backfire on them.More

Rob Ford issues written defence of casino
Toronto Star
Mayor Rob Ford has released an open letter calling a downtown casino resort a "golden opportunity" Toronto cannot pass up. Ford's office released the letter to media outlets, including the Star, recently, instead of waiting for City Manager Joe Pennachetti's major report on the casino opportunity. The 11-paragraph letter, which begins "Dear Friends," states Ford has always said he would support a casino if it "produces thousands of good quality jobs and generate millions of dollars for important city services."More

Trent Hills bans e-bikes on municipal trails
Northumberland News
E-bike owners, the municipality wants you to stick to the roads and stay off its trails. If you don't and you get caught, you'll be fined. Council passed the bylaw at its recent meeting, at the request of the Trent Hills Police Services board and on the recommendation of director of planning Jim Peters.More

Perth Police Service disbands as OPP takes over
CBC News
The town of Perth, ON, made the official switch today from their own local police force to the Ontario Provincial Police. Thirteen members of the now disbanded Perth Police Service were sworn in recently as the newest members of the Lanark County OPP. Perth had its own police force for more than 162 years but mayor John Fenik said the cost to run the local force was too much for the community.More

Ontario probes cancer drug scandal
The Windsor Star
Ontario's health minister is promising a third-party investigation will take a hard look into the way life-saving chemotherapy drugs are provided to cancer patients, following revelations about diluted drugs being given to 1,100 patients, including at least 290 in the Windsor area. "My heart breaks for the people who've had to deal with this additional stress," Deb Matthews told The Star after she and Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the investigation to get to the bottom of the scandal.More

Ontario consumers will get protection from eco fees in new legislation
Toronto Star
Consumers will get more protection from eco fees — now charged on a variety of products from TVs to tires — in new legislation this spring, Environment Minister Jim Bradley said as the government came under renewed fire for the charges. The minority Liberal government issued the pledge after Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak called higher fees coming into effect lately "another Liberal tax grab" that will send shoppers across the border.More

GTA police target unsafe taxis, trucks in vehicle safety blitz
680 News
Police across the GTA launched a commercial vehicle safety blitz, targeting unsafe vehicles, in particular tow trucks, tractor-trailers, and taxis. The Ontario Provincial Police is also taking part in the joint-force operation. Vehicles are being brought to the Woodbine Race Track's parking lot at Rexdale Boulevard and Highway 427 for inspection.More

City of Hamilton steps up enforcement of smoking ban
The Hamilton Spectator
Hamilton is starting to enforce its smoking ban in city parks, recreation areas and at festivals this spring after having spent the past year educating people about the new bylaw. "As we move into season two (of the bylaw), our focus is still creating awareness, but we are also commencing to issue tickets," public health services manager Kevin McDonald said.More

Change to freedom of information law on Toronto City Council Agenda
CTV News
City council is expected to vote on a motion that would make councilor schedules and correspondence accessible through access to information requests.More

A sneak peek at Metrolinx's short list of 'revenue tools' for expanded transit
Toronto Star
The rubber hits the road on transit funding as Metrolinx releases a short-list of tools it favours to pay for a massive expansion of the Toronto region's long-neglected transportation system — possibly including such inventive ideas as an employer payroll tax or even GPS-tracked mileage fees. The list provides the clearest picture yet of how residents and corporations will dig into their pockets to fund a war on the traffic congestion that's sapping the region's prosperity.More

Why Scugog firefighters earn more than those in Toronto
Toronto Star
What four words strike fear in the hearts of many municipality budget planners and councilors? Essential. Services. Arbitration. Awards. When municipalities are unable to negotiate contracts with fire, police and paramedic unions — essential-services workers, who are not allowed to strike — the task goes to a conciliator, then an arbitrator. This can lead to settlements like the recent one in Scugog, which gave first-class firefighters a 26.7 per cent pay hike, bringing their salary to $80,440 — higher than their Toronto counterparts, who earn $78,741.More

City access-to-information requests continue to rise
Ottawa Citizen
The number of requests made to the city under access-to-information legislation continued to go up last year, says a staff report. The city received 855 requests for general records last year under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, up from 680 in 2011 and 576 in 2010. Staff in the office that handles the requests also reviewed and released more pages of records, says the report to council's finance and economic development committee. More

Municipal requirements — Energy Conservation and Demand Management
AMCTO
On April 4, the Ministry of Energy sent an e-mail reminder with information updates on the upcoming requirements surrounding O. Reg. 397/11 — Energy Conservation and Demand Management developed under the Green Energy Act, 2009. Click here to read more.More