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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

City Council this week

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There are some interesting things going down at September’s meeting of City Council. Here’s a primer:

1. Video screens on the Gardiner: As the Toronto Star reports today, Cineplex Galaxy on The Queensway at Islington in Etobicoke wants to put up twin high-definition video screens at the back of its building, next to the Gardiner. One screen would face southeast and the other southwest. Etobicoke’s community council approved the screens, but Spacing‘s favourite City councillor, Joe Mihevc, is urging council to block the decision. Les Kelman, director of the City’s traffic management centre, said in the Star today there is no evidence yet to suggest a correlation between accidents and video advertising signs, which oddly contradicts the City’s own staff report and safety concerns [ view the PDF report ]. In fact, in 2003, City Council voted in favour of a moratorium on any such signs adjacent to highways.

2. The anti-postering bylaw: There is a possibility that a new postering bylaw (which we hope will not be an anti-postering bylaw) may reach council for debate. The mayor’s office was given the chance to form a fair and balanced bylaw, and we hope they deliver on that. Stay tuned.

3. iPod transit shelter ads on Spadina: The semi-translucent iPod ads, attached to the Spadina streetcar LRT shelters, are illegal. The outdoor ad company Viacom, with the help of spineless City staff, found a loophole in the contract to allow advertisements on middle of the street shelters that are scattered around downtown routes. Car drivers cannot see pedestrians behind the ads, especially at night. Councillor Olivia Chow is putting forth a motion directing City staff to remove the ads immediately.