Board of Health passes motion to report on potential health hazards from uranium plant; funding for Indigenous program pulled from 2018 city budget; Concerns over expanding Woodbine; resident and business groups’ wishes have weight at city hall’s Sign Variance Committee

6:32 p.m., April 20, 2018. Police watch what is left of the crowd of pot smokers who gathered for the 420 pro-marijuana rally at Nathan Phillips Square.
6:32 p.m., April 20, 2018. Police watch what is left of the crowd of pot smokers who gathered for the 420 pro-marijuana rally at Nathan Phillips Square.

Weekend Newsbrief: April 21, 2018

What happened at Toronto City Hall this week

Board of Health passes motion to report on potential health hazards from uranium plant at Lansdowne Avenue and Dupont Street. On Monday at the Board of Health, a environmental activist’s safety concern about a local uranium processing facility at Lansdowne Avenue and Dupont Street developed into an additional recommendation for council that the city’s officer of health report to council on any potential health hazards from the facility at 1025 Lansdowne Ave. Lenore Bromley, spokesperson for Toronto Public Health, said staff review the results of annual tests conducted by the operators of the uranium processing plant, but noted the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is the regulator. Board of Health member Stacey Berry commented when introducing her motion to the committee for a vote: “One of the things that we found curious, based on what the deputant raised, is – are there potential health hazards? It’s worth looking into, at least.” Berry’s motion passed, along with two others: one to support for the city’s reaffirmation of its position as a nuclear weapons-free zone and another to request the Government of Canada sign the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. (Read the story)

Aboriginal Affairs Committee learns funding for Indigenous program didn’t make it into 2018 city budget; organizers push forward anyway on plans. Andrea Chrisjohn, board designate of Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, told the Aboriginal Affairs Committee she wanted to bring the Restoration of Identity project “back to the table” after learning the $500,000 request from her organization did not make it through the 2018 budget process. The project involves an architectural plan for the southwest corner of Nathan Phillips Square that will include a turtle sculpture by Solomon King, set amid grass and rocks. The intention of the space is to honour residential school survivors. The three-day program is expected to include 50 teepees between 16 feet and 22 feet in height, the unveiling of a replica of King’s turtle sculpture, workshops, films, food trucks, craft vendors, artificial turf, picnic tables, information booths, multiple stages and an elders tent. (Read the story)

Community expresses concerns over expanding Woodbine complex in “desperate, desperate area” of Etobicoke. Mayor John Tory’s Executive. Committee moved forward proposed new developments for the Woodbine Racetrack this week. Local Councillor Michael Ford was excited about the plan and “what goes beyond this project … It is a miniature city of investment about connecting with the local colleges and universities in the area, creating green space, residential development and the whole nine yards … It is the greater vision for the north-west. It just doesn’t stop here.” Members of the public who came to speak about the item were skeptical of the community benefits in the plan before the committee. Theo Lagakos, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 533, said in his deputation to councillors, “We have a lot of single moms, and a lot of times, they’ll come to me, they’ll come to the union office, and they’re trying to manage things, manage their life, and most of them can’t afford any type of child care … you hear horror stories. Sometimes, someone will tell me in confidence, ‘I’ll leave my kid at home and work the night shift.’ You can’t do that, but people are desperate. That’s what Rexdale is. It’s a desperate, desperate area of the city, and no offense to Mr. Ford there, but nothing, nothing has been done in the last 30 years in Rexdale. My opinion.” (Read the story)

Resident and business groups’ wishes have weight at city hall’s Sign Variance Committee. Members of the Sign Variance Committee decided Wednesday morning not to allow a third-party wall sign to be installed at 146 Bloor St. W. The 7,500-square-foot building, which once housed the Cumberland movie theatre, is listed as part of EmTwo Properties’ portfolio. Three out of the four members in attendance agreed that there was not enough evidence to prove the proposed sign is in the public interest, which is one of nine criteria that applicants need to meet for a sign variance. “The neighbourhood folk, to me, have a strong voice on this,” Sign Variance Committee member Brian Huskins said at the meeting. (Read the story)


Good to know

This weekend:

The Don Valley Parkway is closed this weekend for maintenance. The closure affects both directions of the DVP between Highway 401 and the Gardiner Expressway. It will be remain closed until Monday, April 23 at 5 a.m.

The subway will also be closed between St. Clair West and Union stations.

Shuttle buses will be running between Spadina and St Clair West stations only.

Track and maintenance work on the Harbourfront Tunnel and on King Street will mean diversions and shuttle buses for the 509 Harbourfront, 510/310 Spadina, 504 King and 514 Cherry routes.

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