Loading articles...

Council approves BMO Field expansion, new food truck rules

Toronto city council has voted in favour of a new food truck vendor program, which means you’ll soon be able to enjoy more than just hotdogs, French fries and ice cream cones at the curb.

The item with amendments passed 34-3 after nearly 3.5 hours of debate late Thursday afternoon.

Up to 125 food trucks, including the existing 27 food trucks, will be allowed to set up shop in front of any city block and serve from any pay-and-display parking spot in Toronto. But they can’t park within 50 metres of a restaurant and can only stay in the spot for three hours each day.

The program, which goes into effect on May 15, will be reviewed in a year’s time.

Mayor Rob Ford’s motion to nix the 50-linear-metre restriction was defeated 4-33. He had argued that “it’s not very business friendly.”

A proponent of food trucks, he said, “I want to thank them for expanding in our city,” adding that what he saw on Wednesday from the five vendors who rallied in front of city hall was just “the tip of the iceberg. It was very exciting and I’d like to see that throughout the city.”

Click here to read the agenda item.

Honouring Olympians, Paralympians and Mandela

Ford was allowed to fix two mistakes he made on Wednesday when council reopened voting on two separate items on Thursday.

He voted incorrectly on a motion to honour the late Nelson Mandela by naming a Toronto street after him and to congratulate Canadian athletes who competed in the Sochi Winter Games.

The votes were taken again on Thursday and both passed unanimously.

After the re-vote, Ford thanked councillors for their support.

In the past two days, council voted 44-0 to further study a proposal that would see the runways at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport expanded to accommodate jets, and approved a motion to consider a bid for Toronto to co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

They also approved an additional $4 million to repair the city’s roads and sidewalks in a motion dubbed “Potholepalooza” and to plant 100 red poppies to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.

BMO Field expansion plan

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment wants $10 million in funding from each of the three levels of government and plans to spend $90 million itself to expand BMO Field, a city-owned and MLSE-operated stadium.

The city’s executive committee had voted in favour of giving MLSE $10 million, with the only vote against coming from Mayor Ford.

The company wants to add 10,000 seats to the stadium, improve amenities inside the stadium, add a partial roof and a longer field to allow it to host the Toronto Argonauts. It would be a potential site for a major event like hockey’s Winter Classic.

Construction is expected to begin in September 2015 and take a year to complete.

Council voted 39-3 earlier on Thursday to approve the planned expansion.

Mayor Ford, Coun. Doug Ford and Coun. Mike Del Grande voted against the motion.

The mayor has called the plan “corporate welfare.”

Coun. Josh Matlow asked city manager Joe Pennachetti if that was true.

“No, in fact it’s the opposite,” Pennachetti said. “It’s one of our bigger city-building projects.”

Under questioning, Pennachetti went on to say that the city would put in $10 million but receive back $14 million, for a gain of $4 million. As well, the city would still own the asset.

Del Grande, a former city budget chief, also spoke against the expansion.

“You’re asking for taxpayer dollars to go into sports and I don’t think that’s our business,” he said.

Click here to read the agenda item.

BMO stadium - current
BMO stadium – current
BMO stadium – TFC
BMO stadium - CFL
BMO stadium - Special events SPORTSNET
BMO stadium – Special events SPORTSNET


Gardiner Expressway

City staff members are recommending the 2.4-kilometre portion from Jarvis Street to Logan Avenue be replaced with an eight-lane stretch of Lake Shore Boulevard, but an official decision won’t come until early 2015.

The west deck of the Gardiner, from Exhibition Place to Grand Magazine Street, needs to be replaced. City council will open that process up to tender during the monthly meeting.

Click here to read the agenda item.

Winter storm funding

City council discussed planned funding from the province in the wake of last year’s ice storm. The item was adopted.

The Dec. 21, 2013, storm downed power lines and left 600,000 customers in Ontario without power. It cost the GTA an estimated $275 million, including $106 million for Toronto.

The Ontario government says it will provide up to $190 million to help municipalities, including Toronto, pay for the cost of cleanup and recovery from the storm.

Click here to read the agenda item.

With files from Showwei Chu