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Why Metrolinx prefers an overpass for the Davenport Diamond rail crossing

Why Metrolinx prefers an overpass for the Davenport Diamond rail crossing

Metrolinx has released a report detailing its case for an overpass to replace the Davenport Diamond rail crossing, where CP Rail trains intersect and regularly delay GO Transit’s Barrie line service. By eliminating the street-level rail crossing, Metrolinx says it can improve and expand GO rail service in the area. The report ( www.metrolinx.com/en/regionalplanning/rer/davenport_report.aspx ) includes a “feasibility analysis” prepared by engineering consultant Hatch Mott MacDonald for the project based on several factors for getting rid of the Diamond, such as construction impacts, building costs and traffic concerns. Here’s a look at some of the report’s main findings, which makes clear Metrolinx’s preference for an overpass over all other options. THE OVERPASS IS OVER $260 MILLION CHEAPER TO BUILD THAN THE OTHER DIAMOND OPTIONS Building the 1.4 kilometre bridge from north of Bloor Street to south of Davenport would cost $140-million to construct. In contrast, a trench or underpass could cost as much as $406-million. Placing the Diamond crossing in a tunnel is by far the priciest option at $626 million. THE OVERPASS WILL TAKE A MAXIMUM OF TWO YEARS TO COMPLETE Hatch Mott MacDonald estimates completing an overpass will take around 18-24 months to finish, while a trench will need six years of construction at least to complete. A tunnel for the Diamond would mean a minimum of five years of work. THE OVERPASS WILL HAVE THE HIGHEST VISUAL AND NOISE IMPACTS ON LOCAL NEIGHBOURHOODS Obviously, building a bridge in an area where there was none will have an impact visually, and the overpass will have the highest effect in that regard. An 8.5-metre bridge will also have impacts on noise and vibration at certain locations from the elevated GO rail traffic, necessitating the need for noise wall barriers. Of the options, a tunnel would “reduce significantly” the noise and vibrations from GO trains. THE OVERPASS WILL “UNLOCK” LANDS FOR PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS Earlier this year, Metrolinx convened a special residents panel to determine what could be done with lands freed from eliminating the Diamond. Some of the recommendations include new cycle paths, a pedestrian bridge and observation...

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Joe Oliver to take part in debate in Toronto

Joe Oliver to take part in debate in Toronto

TORONTO — Canada’s finance minister is speaking again tonight, this time at a Toronto debate on issues important to the Jewish community. Joe Oliver, who has largely stayed out of the national spotlight during the election campaign, said in a news conference this morning that he’s been focused on winning over voters in his riding of Eglinton-Lawrence. Tonight’s debate, hosted by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, takes place in nearby York Centre — a longtime Liberal stronghold until it was won by Conservative Mark Adler in the 2011 election. Oliver will face off against New Democrat Hal Berman, who is hoping to unseat Adler, and Bill Morneau, the Liberal candidate in Toronto Centre. The Conservatives’ vocal support for Israel has drawn consistent praise from many segments of the Jewish community, who traditionally voted for the Liberals. Although the Harper government has moved closer to Israel than any previous government, Canada still supports a two-state solution and formally opposes the continued construction of Israeli settlements. By The Canadian Press Source...

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Liberals would spend $3B on home care

Liberals would spend $3B on home care

SURREY, B.C. — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is promising to pump $3 billion over the next four years into improved home care and an unspecified additional amount to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and expand mental health services. Trudeau’s promises are contingent on negotiating a new, long-term health funding accord with the provinces, which have exclusive jurisdiction over health care and may have different ideas about how best to spend federal transfer payments. The Liberal leader indicated he won’t impose his agenda on the provinces, but professed confidence that his priorities are shared by premiers. “Every single province is challenged with an aging population and a need for better home care,” Trudeau said after unveiling his health care plan Wednesday at a seniors’ home in Surrey, B.C. “We are committed to renegotiating, to re-engaging on the health care accords, on the Canada health transfer, with the provinces … and we are bringing to the table $3 billion for something that has been a priority for provinces and for Canadians, which is greater investments in home care.” Trudeau did not commit to increasing health transfers by six per cent a year, the so-called escalator built into the 2004 federal-provincial health accord which expired last year. Stephen Harper’s Conservative government did not attempt to negotiate a renewed accord; instead it unilaterally informed provinces that it would scale back the growth of health transfers. Starting in 2017, increases in health transfers are to be tied to nominal economic growth but guaranteed to be at least three per cent. That change could mean as much as $36 billion less for the provinces over 10 years. “We need a federal government that is willing to sit down and work with the provinces, not dictate at the provinces but set clear targets and expectations,” Trudeau said. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has similarly not committed to reinstating the six per cent escalator, even though he promised a year ago that doing so would be an NDP government’s first priority once the budget was balanced. He has instead promised to invest $5.4 billion over four years for health and seniors’ care, including working with the provinces...

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Harper makes direct pitch to Chinese voters

Harper makes direct pitch to Chinese voters

RICHMOND HILL, Ont. — At a Mid Autumn Festival celebration in a Toronto suburb Tuesday night, Stephen Harper took the stage in front of hundreds of Chinese Canadians and was handed a brush for the traditional painting of the lion’s eyes, done to awaken the sleeping giants so they can begin to dance. Harper had his choice of coloured beasts to anoint but of course chose the one in Conservative blue. The Conservative leader was at the event in Richmond Hill, Ont., to awaken another giant — the Chinese Canadian vote. There are an estimated 1.4 million Canadians of Chinese origin, and in several of the coveted ridings in the greater Toronto area in particular, they are the dominant ethnic group. The Conservatives should be their natural party, Harper told a banquet hall where people stood in the aisles ten deep, many holding their phones aloft to record his remarks. “A strong work ethic, a commitment to education, dedication to family and faith are keys to success,” Harper said. “These are the values of the Chinese Canadian community and they are also Conservative values.” The Conservatives have more candidates of Chinese origin than any other federal party, Harper said, listing off people running in Vancouver, around Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor, Ont. and Quebec. Harper has long courted coverage from the ethnic press, of which Chinese-language media is a dominant force in Canada. Now, much like the Conservatives have used their own communications tools to reach around English and French media and go directly to voters, they’ve also launched a Chinese-language version of their website. Harper billed it Tuesday as an effort to connect more directly to Chinese speakers. The home page of chinese.conservative.ca includes a picture of him and his wife Laureen in China with a panda on their laps. While the photo may be all cuddles, Harper’s relationship with China got off to a rocky start. He was initially outspoken on the country’s human rights record and angered Beijing by hosting the Dalai Lama in 2007, which they viewed as meddling in the conflict between them and Tibetans. But the trade power of China eventually...

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City to post signs at construction sites to keep public aware of work

City to post signs at construction sites to keep public aware of work

If you see a road or lane closed for construction, but no apparent activity, the city would like you to know there is still work taking place. In an effort to dispel “myths” about construction, such as ‘where are all the workers?’ the city plans to unveil new signs that say in detail the reasons why a lane or road is closed. Expect to see the new mesh banners up at various city construction sites beginning in the fall, said city spokesperson John Kelly. “We get complaints when people don’t see any active construction going on and they think there’s no reason for the road or lane to be closed,” said Kelly during an interview. “We’re trying to put key information up there and provide the contact for further details, which is typically sending people to (city support line) 311.” According to Kelly, director of design and construction of underground infrastructure for the city, there are many reasons why a closure is in effect without any obvious activity taking place. For one, the work might be taking place below the surface, like in the case of watermain installations. In the case of a recently concluded installation on Gerrard Street, which required closures for intersecting River Street, Kelly said his department received many complaints from the public for just that reason. “For quite some time you might not have seen anything happening because the majority of work was taking place 25 metres below the ground,” he said. “There could be many reasons why there’s a closure.” Another example is repair work taking place on the elevated portion of the Gardiner Expressway. Lane closures are in effect until next fall, and in some cases, like when work is taking place below the expressway, they are in place to protect motorists unaware conditions are unsafe. Other examples given by Kelly of seemingly mysterious lane closures: new concrete, which may appear hardened but needs more time to set before the road can re-open, and the need to disinfect new watermains before connecting them to local water supplies. “We can’t start making connections to private properties until...

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Community invited to have input for vacant lot at Sherbourne and Gerrard until development application approved

Community invited to have input for vacant lot at Sherbourne and Gerrard until development application approved

While the long-vacant lot at 307 Sherbourne St. is slated to eventually house a rental apartment building, developer Oben Flats is working to ensure the land is not wasted while they await approvals. The development application calls for a 13-storey building to be built on the site, but Max Koerner of Oben Flats said it would be at least another year before construction would start. In the meantime, the developer is teaming up with local resident and urban planner Danny Brown and other local organizations to turn the derelict property into something the whole community can enjoy. “We decided it would be a good idea to beautify the site, which has sat empty for over a decade now,” Koerner said. Oben Flats contacted Brown after the latter staged a community activation and beautification project there earlier this year for the 100In1Day celebrations. They have reached out to the David Suzuki Foundation, Sustainable TO and the PATCH Project to devise ways to bring more community uses to the space. On Saturday, Sept. 26, they gathered at the site to engage local residents in mural painting, while also gathering feedback on what those who live in the area would like to see on the site. “We’re still brainstorming and collecting ideas,” Koerner said. “We’d like to see some community gardening or maybe a pollinator garden start up there next spring, and we could maybe have something going on there over the winter as well.” He added many in the community backed the idea of a community garden and youth who dropped by offered their own ideas, some of which were not feasible. Brown said the plan going forward is to continue engaging the David Suzuki Foundation, SustainableTO and the PATCH Project – the latter of which worked on Saturday’s mural unveiling – as well as local residents to help determine what would go in the space. “Over the winter, we’ve talked about having a holiday market with pop-up vendors or maybe even a homemade skating rink if we can flood the space with water,” he said. Brown added he hopes to get...

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Union says talks with U.S. Steel to continue

Union says talks with U.S. Steel to continue

HAMILTON – The union that represents most employees of U.S. Steel Canada says that mediated talks with the company are continuing behind closed doors, ahead of a public court hearing that’s expected to be held next week. Leaders of United Steelworkers locals in Hamilton and Nanticoke, Ont., say in a statement that the parties cannot provide details of what has been discussed during five days of talks in Toronto. They say the discussions will continue and called on Steelworkers members, retired members and supporters to attend a public hearing before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Oct. 7 and 8. The union is opposing U.S. Steel Canada’s request for permission to stop paying for certain benefits to retirees and its request to stop making certain contributions to the pension plan. U.S. Steel Canada Inc. said on Sept. 17 that it will seek a court order to continue restructuring under court protection beyond this year. The process began in September 2014 and its protection has been most recently extended to Dec. 11. The former Stelco Inc was purchased by U.S. Steel in 2007. It has been unable to negotiate a sale of its operations, or reach a restructuring agreement with its creditors. By The Canadian Press Source...

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When Hoteliers Become Heroes – Are Your Staff CPR Trained? | By Larry Mogelonsky

When Hoteliers Become Heroes – Are Your Staff CPR Trained? | By Larry Mogelonsky

LMA Communications Inc. 20 Eglinton Ave West Suite 1102 Toronto, ON M4R 1K8 Canada Tollfree: 1.800.387.1399 Phone: 416.440.2500 Fax: 416.440.2504 Visit Website On the unusually warm spring night at New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania, Security Supervisor Ruben Hernandez had just begun his shift when he received an urgent call for help. The call was for an unconscious male, not breathing and not showing a pulse. Start the conversation, or Read more at Hospitality Net. Source...

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Mulcair pledges food plan for Canada's North

Mulcair pledges food plan for Canada's North

IQALUIT, Nunavut — An NDP government would spend $32 million over four years to ensure more northerners have access to nutritious food, party leader Tom Mulcair said Tuesday. Mulcair, who flew to Nunavut for a brief northern swing, chastised the government under Conservative Leader Stephen Harper for failing to ensure an adequate supply of affordable healthy food in the North. “Stephen Harper has used northern communities as convenient photo-ops for years while failing to address the most basic concerns of families: access to affordable food,” Mulcair said in a statement on arrival in Iqaluit. “We will take a different approach.” Mulcair said it’s unfair that remote Inuit communities in Nunavut and elsewhere across the North frequently have to rely on unhealthy food simply because it is cheap. Such foods, he said, puts their well-being at risk. Nunavut, currently held by Conservative Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, is grappling with daunting problems, such as suicides of young people and an unemployment rate more than double the Canadian average. Mulcair, who said he wants to see locally produced foods used more as well as lower costs for food, also pledged to improve relations with Canada’s aboriginal peoples, saying both the Conservatives and Liberals have failed them. “The NDP is offering a new era of nation-to-nation relations with the Inuit, First Nations and Metis communities,” he said. Mulcair’s food plan calls for the money to go into expanding a subsidy program called Nutrition North to include 50 isolated communities he said the Conservatives have excluded from subsidies. The NDP would also review the program, in partnership with northerners. Territorial politicians have called for action on Nutrition North, while the auditor general has reported that no one knows if the program is working as intended or helping those most in need, Mulcair said. After visiting a supermarket, he emerged with an $11.75 container of orange juice that retails in most of the country for about $4.75. “It’s just an illustration of why the Nutrition North program has been a failure under the Conservatives,” he said. In a statement, Aglukkaq said no other government in Canadian history has made the North...

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