TORONTO – Another jam-packed council agenda is coming to City Hall next week. Here’s what you need to know.
The Municipal Licensing and Standards committee debated the future of hookah smoking in licensed establishments last week and now the issue is coming to council.
The committee voted 3-3 to see the removal of hookah use in establishments like bars, cafes and restaurants.
It will be coming to council without recommendations.
READ MORE: City council to debate hookah ban next week
Councillor Glenn De Baermaeker is against the use of hookah in licensed establishments, saying that the recreational use of the waterpipe has the same harmful impacts as smoking cigarettes.
“Whether you smoke with a cigar, or you smoke with a pipe, or you smoke with a cigarette, or you smoke with a hookah pipe, it’s still smoking and it should all be banned,” said in an interview last week.
Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti voted against banning hookah, saying before making any decisions, council needs to understand the impact a ban would have on the industry and its employees.
“We properly have to understand what we are doing to an industry … You can’t just say ‘see ya later’ – that’s my position – You can’t get rid of an industry without completely understanding,” Mammoliti said.
“It’s my understanding that nobody has broken any laws around this and the same sorts of concerns they have on health related issues exist with food.”
Mammoliti added that people in the industry are willing to work with the city to find common ground.
“They are willing to work with the city to try and facilitate some sort of an agreement to make them work.”
If you think all the talk around Uber is finished, think again.
Council has requested a staff update on the enforcement of Uber operations in Toronto.
In October, council voted in favour of the Licensing and Standards committee to report back with new regulations for Uber and similar services.
Recommendations will not be ready untill 2016, but in the meantime, council has asked Uber to cease operations.
Mayor John Tory spoke with media on Thursday saying Uber had previously indicated they would get a license.
“I would have to take them at their word and I certainly hope that they would proceed to do with what they said they would,” Tory said.
Tory added enforcement is at the discretion of Licensing and Standards executive director Tracey Cook.
The mayor has previously come under fire from the taxi industry for saying Uber and companies similar to the ridesharing app, are here to stay.
“What we are trying to do here is take account of reality and reshape an industry and regulate an industry in the context of the way the world is,” Tory said.
“Nothing we have ever said has contemplated life without taxis. There will be a taxi industry and there will be taxi drivers and they have to be able to make a living.”
Tory added that he understands companies like Uber have impacted people working in the taxi industry.
“It’s a problem for some people and I am very sympathetic of that – especially the cab drivers,” Tory said.
“But it’s also an opportunity to change and make yourself better, to serve the public in a better way and to address what the public are clearly saying this is something they want.”
More ‘TORONTO’ signs
Should city get more ‘TORONTO’ signs?
Councillor Norm Kelly certainly thinks so.
He put forward a motion to council asking them to consider creating more signs – similar to the existing ‘TORONTO’ sign in Nathan Phillips Square – of ‘The 6′, and ‘T.Dot’.
Councillor Justin Di Ciano backed the 74-year-old councillor’s motion saying the ‘TORONTO’ sign brought a lot of excitement to the city.
“I think this is going to be a great exercise in establishing our identity in the city,” Di Ciano said.
“Our city is cool and people know us from different names. It’s become kind of a pop culture thing.”
Tory said Thursday that he welcomes the discussion around having more mobile 3D signs put around Toronto.
“As I had previously said in the summer … I was told that it was cumbersome and expensive to move the big sign around,” Tory said.
“I welcome the fact that Councillor Kelly has initiated discussion of this and I think it would help us understand what the costs are around having two or three of these more mobile, 3D signs that are a bit smaller and easier to move.”
Tory said people are excited at the prospect of having these signs at big events or neighbourhoods, adding that the city will try to find a way to do it through sponsorship.