Toronto Parking Enforcement – Waiting until someone parks illegally …

rather  than ticket someone illegally parked!

During the 2010 municipal election parking enforcement was an issue and a frequent topic of discussion. At least one Toronto Ward 29 candidate and Rocco Rossi suggested that parking enforcement was too aggressive and that people  should get a “5 minute” grace  period. Although, I  personally think this is ridiculous (why not a 10 minute grace period), it is clear  that the behaviour of the parking enforcement people  is extremely antagonistic. That said, they (as they frequently repeat) are “just  doing their job”.

What is the job description of of a Toronto parking ticket officer? Well, I  assume their job is to ticket cars  that  are illegally parked  But, it presumably means more than just ticketing cars. Surely,  it means that they are required  to look  for cars that are illegally parked. Is there a difference between “actively seeking cars that are illegally parked” and sitting around waiting for    cars to park illegally? Continue reading


City parking: A primer

January 28, 2011 – 8:51 am

City councillors voted to “clarify” a bylaw that caused a furor over the summer because it appeared to restrict the number of cars that could be parked in a driveway.

“You can park in your driveway,” Toronto chief planner Gary Wright assured residents Thursday, after the planning and growth committee voted to amend what he called a “confusing” part of the city’s new harmonized zoning bylaw. “If you have six guests, and you want to park overnight in a driveway and your driveway is big enough, sure.” The previous city council approved the single city-wide zoning bylaw that sought to harmonize 43 disparate regulations across the city. Mr. Wright said the wording of the section dealing with driveway parking — which, prior to this, was technically not allowed in some parts of the city — limited the number of spots in the driveway to the number of spots in the garage, so that you could park one car in front of a single-car garage, and two in front of a double.

“I think that was too specific an approach on our part. The purpose of the amendment is to say, let’s not talk about one car or two cars. Let’s just say you can park in the driveway,” said Mr. Wright. The bylaw applies to new homes only. Any existing parking spots that were legal before continue to be. City council must sign off on the change before it takes effect.

Posted in: City Hall, Posted Toronto, Traffic & Weather Tags: ,

Second Donlands subway stop exit done deal

Street Perspectives Renderings showing the proposed second Donlands Station exit building as seen from Dewhurst Blvd in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. - Street Perspectives Renderings showing the proposed second Donlands Station exit building as seen from Dewhurst Blvd in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. | Toronto Transit Commission Website 

Second Donlands subway stop exit done deal


From Monday’s Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011 10:57PM EST
Last updated Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011 10:30AM EST

The train has left the station on a controversial Toronto Transit Commission plan to build a second exit from the Donlands subway stop on a quiet residential street, upsetting homeowners who pushed hard for a compromise and thought they were getting somewhere.

Despite months of discussions and a consultant’s study that pointed to several less-disruptive locations, TTC officials have settled on the same plan that prompted the outcry in the first place – to raze two homes on Strathmore Boulevard and partially expropriate another 10 properties to make way for the exit. Continue reading

Battered but unbroken, Bussin has no regrets

December 31, 2010–battered-but-unbroken-bussin-has-no-regrets

Robyn Doolittle

{{GA_Article.Images.Alttext$}}Former Ward 30 councillor Sandra Bussin talks about the election and her future plans

Sandra Bussin says she knew she was toast long before voters made it official on Oct. 25.

Throughout the city, entrenched left-wing incumbents who had been power players under David Miller appeared beatable for the first time in years.

Perhaps none was more vulnerable than Bussin, the sharp-tongued council speaker and former deputy mayor. Continue reading

Liberals kept G20 law secret for weeks before summit

December 09, 2010–liberals-kept-g20-law-secret-for-weeks-before-summit

Robert Benzie

Premier Dalton McGuinty’s officials plotted to keep the G20 law secret weeks before the Star revealed that Toronto police believed they had the power to arrest anyone near the summit site.

That extraordinary disclosure, which dominated Thursday’s debate at Queen’s Park, is buried in Ombudsman André Marin’s 125-page report, Caught in the Act, on what he called “the most massive compromise of civil liberties in Canadian history.” Continue reading

Don Cherry rips ‘left-wing pinkos’ at council inaugural

December 07, 2010–don-cherry-rips-left-wing-pinkos-at-council-inaugural

David Rider

{{GA_Article.Images.Alttext$}}Don Cherry adjusts the chain of office on Mayor Rob Ford in City Hall Council Chambers during the swearing in ceremony.


“Put that in your pipe you left-wing kooks,” hockey commentator Don Cherry told a shocked inaugural meeting of the new city council, blasting “left-wing pinkos.”

Cherry was Mayor Rob Ford’s pick for a “special guest” for the pomp-filled ceremony. Cherry turned up in a pink-and-white silk jacket and patterned tie that was eye-popping even for the famously flamboyant TV star. Continue reading

DiManno: Make it right, Chief Blair

December 08, 2010–dimanno-make-it-right-chief-blair

Rosie DiManno

{{GA_Article.Images.Alttext$}}This officer, identified as J. McIntyre, was in the company of the officer who beat Adam Nobody.

Vincenzo D’Alto

There are recognizable faces. There are identifiable names.

And that should make quick work of holding at least a few brutalizing police officers to account for their despicable conduct during the G20 Summit protests. Continue reading

Homeowner ordered to stop parking in her own driveway

November 17, 2010–homeowner-ordered-to-stop-parking-in-her-own-driveway

Chloé Fedio

{{GA_Article.Images.Alttext$}}Felicia Wang, 25, was surprised to get a notice from the city saying her car could be towed or ticketed for being illegally parked in her own driveway. 


An East York woman woke up to a yellow notice on her windshield warning that her car could be fined or towed for being illegally parked in her own driveway.

The city notice states, “Park in front of garage door only.”

Have you received a notice about parking in your driveway? Contact us

Felicia Wang has lived at the same house on Parkview Hill Cres. for all her 25 years. She has always parked her silver Honda sedan next to her parents’ vehicle on the family’s double driveway, which extends past the single garage.

The notice that she was in violation of a bylaw came as a surprise.

“We parked three cars there when my brother used to live there. Why now, all of a sudden?” she said.

A new bylaw that restricts parking on residential driveways sparked outrage when it came into effect Oct. 1. While that bylaw is grandfathered and only applies to new developments, Wang was in violation of an old bylaw that requires residents to have a licence for a widened driveway, said Joe Colafranceschi, the supervisor of right-of-way management in the East York area.

About 13,000 homes in Toronto have licences for widened driveways, but Wang’s is not one them.

“They are parking illegally,” Colafranceschi said. “We may have received a complaint.”

Residents who want to park in a widened driveway must apply for a licence and pay the annual $200 fee, but Colafranceschi said the city has tightened restrictions on residential parking. Even if Wang applied for a licence, she would be refused because licences are no longer issued for Ward 31, where she lives.

“There are many wards in the city where it’s just not permitted anymore,” he said. “We cannot accept applications for front-yard parking any more in Ward 31. It doesn’t matter if parking was pre-existing or not.”

However, Wang said two cars fit comfortably side by side in the driveway. The idea that the familiar paved space on her parents’ property is illegal and should just exist as “dead space” is ludicrous, she added.

“I learned how to ride my bike on that driveway,” she said. “It’s never been an issue.”

She added that property owners should not be expected to be experts on bylaws — especially those that are rarely enforced.

“There’s an old bylaw and now there’s a new bylaw. People are going to get confused,” Wang said. “I guess to some people it can be an eyesore, especially if people park on lawns — but we don’t. We take care of our area so I don’t see why we should be ticketed.”

Homeowners aren’t the only ones confused. Some city councillors admitted they weren’t aware that they voted in favour of limiting the number of vehicles that can be parked on a residential driveway because the new bylaw was buried in nearly 5,000 pages of regulations and maps that make up the city’s harmonized zoning document. Since amalgamation in 1998, city officials have been standardizing bylaws, melding the bylaws of the six former cities that now make up Toronto.

Under the new bylaw, residents with a single-car garage can park one vehicle on the driveway while those with a double-car garage can park two.

The restrictions are meant to reduce clutter in residential neighbourhoods, but city officials have said bylaw officers won’t actively seek out offenders.

Refusal to comply could mean a trip to court and a fine of up to $5,000.

How exactly grandfathering of the new bylaw works is a question at least one city councillor is asking.

“It’s one of the things that we’ve got to get clarity on in the new term,” said Janet Davis, Ward 31 councillor. “I think it needs to be looked at and I know that there are several councillors who expressed that feeling as well.”

Life after city hall: Law school, anyone?

November 11, 2010–life-after-city-hall-law-school-anyone

David Rider and Paul Moloney

{{GA_Article.Images.Alttext$}}Howard Moscoe, 71, has a gig lined up, but not yet confirmed, to work for the Smart!Centres shopping mall developer and is also applying for law school.


Howard Moscoe (Ward 15, Eglinton-Lawrence):

I’m 71 and I have applied to Osgoode Hall Law School. Who doesn’t want a 75-year-old lawyer? I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was 12. Maybe it was watching Perry Mason. I’ve spent the past 31 years making laws — I figure it’s time to find out what I was doing wrong. I’m scheduled to write the LSAT on Feb. 12. I’ve got some other things, four or five offers. Two are developers and the others are government relations. That would be consulting. The alternative would be sitting at home arguing with my wife about where to hang pictures. That’s not my style. Continue reading

‘All I wanted to do is build a house’

Inspectors have hauled Craig Morrison, 91, into court six times over his hand-built home. | Kâté Braydon/Telegraph-Journal

Neil Reynolds

From Monday’s Globe and Mail

It was the fifth house that Craig Morrison built with his own hands, and the last. He had built things with his own hands for 70 years, often using lumber he produced at his own small sawmill. Now he would build a modest, single-storey house where he could look after his wife, Irene, suffering from Alzheimer’s. He would do the work himself, of course. Didn’t everyone in New Brunswick? “I’m not flush with money,” he explains now. “I didn’t want to go into debt.”

Thus it was that Mr. Morrison broke ground three years ago – at 88 – for a bungalow on land overlooking the Bay of Fundy near St. Martins, a seaside village east of Saint John. And thus it was that Mr. Morrison got into trouble with the law for the first time in his life.In the past two years, building inspectors have hauled Mr. Morrison into court six times, each appearance more harrowing than the last. A couple of weeks ago, the provincial agency that employs building inspectors demanded that the court forcibly remove Craig and Irene Morrison from their home, that the house be bulldozed, and that Mr. Morrison be found in contempt of court – meaning, almost certainly, imprisonment.

Mr. Morrison worked long hours into his 92nd year, fixing the inspectors’ long lists of defects. But for the court, he made his position clear: He would not vacate the house. If the court found him in contempt, he would go to jail.

In a memorable account of these proceedings, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal writer Marty Klinkenberg reported Mr. Morrison’s lament: “I thought this was a free country, that we had liberties and freedoms like we used to have, but I was sadly mistaken. … All I wanted to do is build a house, and I was treated as if I was some kind of outlaw.”

Building inspector Wayne Mercer found many things wrong with Mr. Morrison’s house – although it wasn’t obvious that the building-code infractions he cited made it particularly unsafe. He noticed that Mr. Morrison’s lumber – custom-sawn – did not carry the requisite stickers. The windows did not carry the requisite stickers, either. The roof trusses and floor joists, he thought, were questionable. He wanted the ceilings torn out, drywall removed and wall studs replaced.

“[The inspectors] seemed to find fault with everything I did,” Mr. Morrison said. “They were out to get me because I was doing it with my own land and my own lumber and my own trusses and floor joists in my own time.”

At one point, a professional home builder, Raymond Debly, volunteered to do an independent inspection. He determined that the house exceeded the requirements of the National Building Code. It was “built like a fort.” The lumber, old-growth spruce, was superior to any lumber on the market. (“Some stamped lumber,” he said, “shouldn’t be used to build a doghouse.”) The floors were double strength. (“You could walk an elephant across them.”) And the trusses were fine. (“They were built the old-fashioned way,” said Mr. Debly, himself 80, “the way we did it in the ’60s.”)

Mr. Morrison’s long struggle with an implacable bureaucracy came to a merciful end in a Saint John courtroom on Nov. 1 when Mr. Justice Hugh McLellan ordered the planning commission to negotiate a settlement with Mr. Morrison, saying, “I’m not going to order a 91-year-old man to jail and have his wife placed in a nursing home.” The planning commission subsequently agreed to allow the Morrisons to live in their home, without further molestation, until they die.

Son of a lumberman and cattle rancher, Craig Morrison comes from self-sufficient stock, the sturdy people who built this country with their own hands. He raised seven children (and has 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren). Yet, government inspectors almost took him down.

This is a true Canadian story, a cautionary tale of the tremendous power of the state over the individual in an age of pervasive bureaucracy. It is, indeed, a profound parable of irretrievably lost independence and casually forgotten freedoms.