Archive for September, 2017

Ward 14 Gardiner Expressway billboard signs provide one of the largest advertising incomes for the city. Yet the income may be too little and too widely applied in the city budget.

Ward 14 Gardiner Expressway billboard signs provide one of the largest advertising incomes for the city. Yet the income may be too little and too widely applied in the city budget.

Ward 14 Gardiner Expressway billboard signs provide one of the largest advertising incomes for the city. Yet the income may be too little and too widely applied in the city budget.

The sign at 2 Strachan Avenue, is orientated to be viewed from traffic on the Gardiner Expressway, is undergoing a redesign and build, approved by the the city. The changes will reduce the 3 face configuration to just one each way with a reduction in the size of the image space, all good. A smaller sign size and the lessor number of faces will reduce night light, and driver distraction.

 

 


Click for full size

 

 

The sign should produce 964,233 thousand dollars for the city during the time period from July 2017 to July 2024, a period of 8 years. The will if the contract is not amended during the period produce an average of 120,529 per year for the city, reflecting a cost to sign permit holder of approx. 330 dollars per day.

With a average daily traffic volume of about 200,000 vehicles per day, in the area, measured at Bathurst St, *1, providethe sign rights holder a cost of just 0.00165 of a cent for each passing car. Before those of you inclined to jump to state, every car will not view the ad on sign, the blog acknowledges this. Yet the balance of probability, is that most will, especially during the slow speeds during rush hour congestion.

 

 

 

S

John Tory’s Cities of Opportunity method to win the New Amazon Headquarters, could just make us lose.

John Tory’s Cities of Opportunity method to win the New Amazon Headquarters, could just make us lose.

 

Our cities mayor has chosen to bid in unison with Mississauga, Durham, And Brampton, to win the bid to have Amazon site it’s new 2nd unit headquarters within the geography of the combined municipal areas. Ugh!

You can image the team at Amazon, reeling from the thought of having to deal with 4 or more separate municipal governments for years. No way they will even consider that. If you think they will, just watch the Cupertino City Council Meeting where Mr Steve Jobs presented the new Apple Headquarters (link). The municipal development lesson Mr Jobs had to deliver to just one municipal council foretells the failure of Mr Totpry’s plan.

Add in the partisan Toronto Council, and their lack of any grasp large scale urban economic development in the past two terms. If I were to ask you what your opinion of our councils ability to develop, plan and successfully implement a major city bettering, job creating, scheme. Would you have a feeling of no hope?

Amazon does have a short list of possible choice cites already, there is no way they do not. This opinion is based on how large companies plan operationally. Like this weeks Economist magazine, Amazon May simply be using the competition to gain concessions from the cities it already has it’s eyes on.

If Amazon can get over it’s probable fear of leaving the USA for Head Shop #2, Canada and Toronto are a great choice although a Euro #2 Headquarters has it’s benefits politically.

PWC the consultancy who came up with the Cities of Opportunity idea, has stated its models show London, Singapore, Toronto and Paris broad urban qualities that make 30 global business, finance and culture capitals successful.

So Toronto has a running, a chance where as a community we will have to run, if we are to win.

Maybe a few weekend shifts for staff, our council and the public?

 

Sunday – As crazy as the blog is going to called the Junctions have prime land locations for Amazon Headquarters.

City Tow Truck Industry Review will increase standard towing fees greatly,

Listed below the most relevent parts of the review,
.

Private Property Towing Rate

 

1. City Council increase the private property towing rate from $88 to $108 (plus applicable taxes), inclusive of all services that may be performed in relation to the tow.

Accident Towing Rate
2. City Council remove differentiated towing rates for the towing of vehicles from City streets (currently $166) and from highways (currently $188), and set a harmonized accident towing rate of $250 (plus applicable taxes), inclusive of all services that may be performed in relation to the tow, with the exception of any additional fees for recovery services and mileage, where required.
PLUS

permit tow truck owners and drivers to charge a fee of $100 (plus applicable taxes) should the performance of recovery services be required when towing a vehicle from an accident scene on a City street or highway.

Full Report below

 

Amended

Ward:All

Tow Truck Industry Review and Recommendations
Public Notice Given
Committee Recommendations

The Licensing and Standards Committee recommends that:

Tow Truck Owners and Drivers

Towing Rates

Private Property Towing Rate

1. City Council increase the private property towing rate from $88 to $108 (plus applicable taxes), inclusive of all services that may be performed in relation to the tow.

Accident Towing Rate

2. City Council remove differentiated towing rates for the towing of vehicles from City streets (currently $166) and from highways (currently $188), and set a harmonized accident towing rate of $250 (plus applicable taxes), inclusive of all services that may be performed in relation to the tow, with the exception of any additional fees for recovery services and mileage, where required.

3. City Council direct that the private property and accident towing rates shall automatically increase, annually, based on the Consumer Price Index for the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area.

Recovery Services

4. City Council permit tow truck owners and drivers to charge a fee of $100 (plus applicable taxes) should the performance of recovery services be required when towing a vehicle from an accident scene on a City street or highway.

5. City Council direct that tow truck owners and drivers be required to take a minimum of two clear photographs to justify charging for recovery services.

6. City Council add a definition of “recovery services” to mean: “A service carried out to relocate or reposition a vehicle that involves the use of a winch or a specialized extraction device and that must be performed to prepare a vehicle for attachment or towing, but does not include the use of a hoisting device, a hook, a dolly, a flat bed, or other standard equipment used in the towing of a vehicle.”

7. City Council delete the section that permits tow truck owners to charge and include a fee on their schedule of rates (which must be filed with Municipal Licensing and Standards) for the uprighting of an overturned vehicle and winching, as these services are included in the City’s proposed regulated rate for recovery services.

Second Tow from a Collision Reporting Centre

8. City Council delete the current restriction on re-tows and permit tow truck owners and drivers to charge a fee for towing a vehicle from a collision reporting centre to a destination as directed by a consumer, provided that the fee is agreed upon in advance by the consumer.

Mileage

9. City Council permit tow truck owners and drivers to charge a fee of $3.25 per kilometer (plus applicable taxes), for each kilometre of travel outside the City, when directed by a consumer to tow his or her vehicle from an accident scene to a final destination more than 5 km outside City limits.

Schedule of Rates

10. City Council direct that the schedule of rates that tow truck owners must file with Municipal Licensing and Standards, list maximum charges for specific towing and storage services, rather than listing ranges containing a minimum and maximum charge, and that towing rates set by the City of Toronto need not be filed.

11. City Council direct that tow truck owners be required to file a current and up-to-date schedule of rates with Municipal Licensing and Standards, when any changes occur or upon licence renewal.

Vehicle Weight

12. City Council add a definition of “Manufacturer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)” to mean: “The maximum total vehicle rated capacity, as rated by the manufacturer specification stamp on the vehicle, which includes the weight of the vehicle’s chassis, body, engine, engine fluids, fuel, accessories, driver, passengers and cargo.”

13. City Council increase the regulated vehicle weight to which regulated towing rates apply from 6,000 lb to 3,175 kg (7,000 lb), to ensure that the majority of passenger vehicles are subject to regulated rates for private property and accident towing.

14. City Council amend all weights specified in the bylaw, from imperial units to metric units.

Written Authorization

15. City Council direct that:

a. tow truck owners and drivers receive written authorization from a consumer or someone acting on the consumer’s behalf before providing or charging for towing and storage services; which authorization must include:

1. information explaining the roles, rights and responsibilities of the tow truck owner/driver and the consumer;

2. the date/time the tow truck arrived on scene;

3. the origin/location of the tow;

4. the final destination of the tow as directed by the consumer (or where applicable, a police officer);

5. the name and contact information of the towing company;

6. the tow truck operator’s ML&S tow truck driver licence number and ML&S tow truck number plate;

7. information of the vehicle being towed (make, model, year, VIN #, licence plate);

8. the name and contact information of the consumer;

9. the name, badge number, and detachment of the police officer leading the accident investigation (where applicable);

10. an itemized bill listing services provided, the cost for each service and the total cost charges (and any estimated charges);

11. the signature of the consumer (or the police officer in charge of the accident investigation) giving consent to perform the listed towing services; and

12. the signature of the tow truck owner or driver.

b. the written authorization be completed in duplicate, with one copy provided to the consumer and the other copy retained by the tow truck owner;

c. tow truck owners and drivers be prohibited from altering any information on the written authorization, once the tow truck owner or driver and consumer have agreed upon and signed-off on the written authorization; and

d. in the event that the agreed upon final destination is not able to accept a consumer’s vehicle, that the tow truck owner or driver obtain authorization from the consumer (or someone acting on the consumer’s behalf) for an alternate destination.

Deviation in Final Bill of Services

16. City Council prohibit tow truck owners and drivers from charging an amount more than 10% above the estimated amount authorized by a consumer, to align with provincial amendments to the Consumer Protection Act, and delete the current provision which prohibits tow truck owners and drivers from charging an amount that exceeds the amount indicated in their filed schedule of rates, or, the original estimate amount plus 15% (whichever is less).

Payment Methods

17. City Council direct that tow truck owners and drivers accept credit/debit card payments, in addition to cash.

Stops during Towing Service

18. City Council direct that tow truck owners and drivers be prohibited from making any intermediate stops when towing a vehicle to a collision reporting centre or specified location, as directed by a consumer or a police officer.

Consumer Access to Personal Property in Vehicle

19. City Council direct that tow truck owners and drivers be required to permit a consumer access to his or her vehicle to remove personal property, at no additional cost or fee.

Procedure for Dropping a Vehicle at a Collision Reporting Centre

20. City Council direct that tow truck owners and drivers dropping or depositing a vehicle at a collision reporting centre, be required to:

a. park the vehicle in the designated area of the collision reporting centre;

b secure the vehicle (e.g., doors are locked, windows closed, lights and hazards are off, etc., as applicable);

c. immediately return the vehicle’s keys to the consumer or to collision reporting centre staff if the consumer is not present;

d. present proof of a valid ML&S tow truck owner or driver licence to collision reporting centre staff, in order to receive payment for depositing/dropping a vehicle; and

e. collect payment and exit the premises as soon as the vehicle has been deposited/dropped according to the above requirements.

Tow Truck Vehicle Weight

21. City Council direct that all tow trucks have a minimum Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 4,536 kg and be registered with the Ministry of Transportation for their weight rating.

Tow Truck Equipment

22. City Council direct that tow truck owners be required to maintain the following equipment in every tow truck owned by him or her:

1. a functional digital camera or a mobile phone with functional camera (for use in justifying the performance of recovery services); and

2. a high visibility florescent safety vest, to be used/worn by tow truck owners and drivers when working on a City street or highway.

23. City Council require tow truck operators to wear personal protective equipment while performing a recovery on any municipal road or highway.

Record Keeping

24. City Council direct that tow truck owners be permitted to keep records electronically or in hard copy.

Drop-Fees

25. City Council delete restrictions that prohibit an owner or driver of a tow truck or a tow truck broker to demand and/or receive a payment of a drop fee or commission in return for towing a vehicle to a particular place, to align with provincial amendments to the Consumer Protection Act.

Other Amendments

Tow Truck Vehicle Inspections

26. City Council authorize Municipal Licensing and Standards to suspend a tow truck owner’s licence for failing to have their tow truck examined by a designated mechanic, or, when a mechanical inspection certificate is not provided.

Use of Hoisting Devices

27. City Council direct that tow truck owners and drivers be required to ensure that hoisting devices are lowered at all times when a tow truck is in motion, except when a vehicle is being towed.

Referral of Billing Disputes to Police

28. City Council delete the section that directs tow truck owners and drivers to refer disputes with consumers related to amounts and rates to be paid to the Police.

Stylistic Amendments

29. City Council approve amendments to Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 545, Licensing, Article VI, Owners and Drivers of Tow Trucks, to reflect the recommendations and authorize the City Solicitor and Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, to re-structure, consolidate and simplify all existing requirements to improve the readability of the Bylaw.

Public Garages

Schedule of Rates

30. City Council direct that all vehicle storage providers be required to file a schedule of rates containing their charge(s) or fee(s) for storage; with requirements consistent with the schedule of rates required to be filed by vehicle repair facilities and collision reporting centres.

Written Authorization

31. City Council direct that all vehicle repair and storage providers be required to receive written authorization from a consumer or someone acting on the consumer’s behalf before providing or charging for repair and storage services.

Consumer Access to Personal Property in Vehicle

32. City Council direct that vehicle repair facilities and storage providers be required to permit a consumer access to his or her vehicle to remove personal property, at no additional cost or fee, if access is requested during regular business hours.

Deviation in Final Bill of Services

33. City Council direct that vehicle repair and storage providers be prohibited from charging an amount more than 10% above the estimated payment amount authorized by a consumer, to align with provincial amendments to the Consumer Protection Act.

Drop-Fees

34. City Council delete the restriction that prohibits the operator of a public garage from paying a tow truck owner, driver or broker a drop fee or commission for towing a vehicle to their public garage or any other particular place, to align with provincial amendments to the Consumer Protection Act.

Technical/Stylistic Amendments

35. City Council approve amendments to Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 545, Licensing, Article XXII, Public Garages, to reflect the recommendations, subject to such technical and stylistic amendments as required by the City Solicitor and the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards.

Review of Collision Reporting Centres

36. City Council direct the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to undertake a review of the City’s collision reporting centres to ensure consumer protection, in consultation with the Toronto Police Service, and report back on any further recommendations to the Licensing and Standards Committee.

Implementation

37. City Council direct that the changes to Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 545, Licensing, Article XXII, Tow Trucks and Public Garages, come into force on November 1, 2017.
Decision Advice and Other Information
The Licensing and Standards Committee requested:

1. The Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to review the deputations and submissions received at the Licensing and Standards Committee meeting on September 18, 2017 and report directly to City Council on October 2, 2017 on any possible amendments to the original staff recommendations in the report (September 6, 2017) from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, if necessary.

2. The Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to give additional consideration to private property tows, the recovery rate, and waiting times at collision reporting centres with a view to potentially recommending greater compensation and report directly to City Council on October 2, 2017.

3. The Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to report back to the Licensing and Standards Committee, in the first quarter of 2018, on a requirement to request tow truck operators to have reflective protective measures on their vehicles.

The Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards gave a presentation on the Tow Truck Industry Review and Recommendations.
Origin
(September 6, 2017) Report from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards
Summary
As directed by City Council and Licensing and Standards Committee, this report recommends a number of amendments to Toronto Municipal Code (TMC) Chapter 545, Licensing, Article VI, Owners and Drivers of Tow Trucks, and Article XXII, Public Garages, following the completion of a comprehensive Tow Truck Industry Review. The proposed amendments respond to public complaints and issues raised by the industry.

In 2014, the Province of Ontario concluded a review of the towing industry that the City of Toronto participated in. Based on the results of that review, the Province enacted new requirements under the Consumer Protection Act, Highway Traffic Act and Repair and Storage Liens Act pertaining to towing and vehicle storage.

Building upon the new Provincial legislation, staff have reviewed Toronto’s Tow Truck Industry regulations. The Tow Truck Review has engaged more than 400 stakeholders through 11 formal consultation sessions, various stakeholder meetings, 5 issues-based surveys tailored to specific towing stakeholder groups, and the posting of draft proposals. Staff have also reviewed emails, phone calls, letters and written proposals containing issues and recommendations as a part of the review.

Collectively, the proposed amendments aim to improve Toronto’s towing industry, balancing the need to protect consumers and the public interest with the need to ensure a sustainable tow truck industry.

Key amendments include:

Increasing Towing Rates:
– increasing the private property towing rate to $108 (currently $88);
– eliminating the current distinction between an accident tow from a City street (currently $166) and an accident tow from a highway (currently $188), and establishing a new, harmonized rate of $250;
– permitting tow truck owners and drivers to charge a fee of $100 for recovery services;
– permitting tow truck owners and drivers to charge a separate fee for a second tow from a collision reporting centre, provided that the fee is agreed upon in advance by the consumer;
– permitting tow truck owners and drivers to charge $3.25/km for each kilometre of travel beyond 5 km outside City limits, when directed by a consumer to tow a vehicle from an accident scene directly to a final destination (in situations where a visit to the CRC is not required);
– building in an automatic annual inflation adjustment on the regulated accident and private property towing rates.

Strengthening Consumer Awareness/Protection:

– increasing the regulated vehicle weight from 6,000 lb to 3,175 kg (7,000 lb), to ensure that the majority of passenger vehicles are protected and subject to regulated rates for private property and accident towing;
– requiring tow truck owners and drivers, vehicle repair and storage providers to obtain written authorization from a consumer before providing or charging for any services;
– requiring tow truck owners and drivers to accept credit card payments;
– prohibiting tow truck owners and drivers from making any intermediate stops when bringing a vehicle to a collision reporting centre or to a final destination as directed by a customer or the police; and
– requiring tow truck owners and drivers, vehicle repair and storage providers to allow a consumer access to personal contents in their vehicles.

The Toronto Police Service and Legal Services were consulted in the preparation of this report.
Background Information
(September 6, 2017) Report from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards on Tow Truck Industry Review and Recommendations
(www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2017/ls/bgrd/backgroundfile-106679.pdf
(September 6, 2017) Public Notice on Tow Truck Industry Review and Recommendations
(www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2017/ls/bgrd/backgroundfile-106722.pdf
(September 18, 2017) Presentation from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, on Tow Truck Industry Review and Recommendations
(www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2017/ls/bgrd/backgroundfile-106994.pdf
Communications
(September 13, 2017) Submission from Lawrence S. Gold (LS.New.LS21.1.1)
(September 15, 2017) Letter from Raymond Chan, Government Relations Specialist, Canadian Automobile Association South Central Ontario (CAASCO) (LS.New.LS21.1.2)
(www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2017/ls/comm/communicationfile-71910.pdf
(September 18, 2017) Letter from Aris Marinos (LS.New.LS21.1.3)
(September 14, 2017) E-mail from D. G. (Doug) Nelson, Executive Director, Provincial Towing Association (Ontario) Inc. (PTAO) and Ontario Recovery Group (ORG Inc.) (LS.New.LS21.1.4)
(www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2017/ls/comm/communicationfile-71937.pdf
Speakers
Michelle James
John Parsons, Volunteer Advisor
Aris Marinos, Toronto Director, North American Auto Accident Pictures Towing Division (NAAAP-TD)
Lawrence Gold _ LAWRENCE GOLD APPRAISALS + BAILIFF LOGISTICS SERVICES INC. + FAIR VALUE QUANTIFICATION CONSULTANTS INC.
Candace Cullen, Toronto Police Service
Raymond Chan, Canadian Automobile Association South Central Ontario (CAASCO)
Joey Gagne, Abrams Towing

Motions
1a – Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker (Carried)
That the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards be requested to review the deputations and submissions received at the Licensing and Standards Committee meeting on September 18, 2017 and report directly to City Council on any possible amendments to the original staff recommendations in the report (September 6, 2017) , if necessary.

1b – Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker (Carried)
That City Council require tow truck operators to wear personal protective equipment while performing a recovery on any municipal road or highway.

1c – Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker (Carried)
That Recommendation 9 be amended to delete the words “beyond 5 km” so that Recommendation 9 reads as follows:

Mileage

9. City Council permit tow truck owners and drivers to charge a fee of $3.25 per kilometer (plus applicable taxes), for each kilometre of travel outside the City, when directed by a consumer to tow his or her vehicle from an accident scene to a final destination more than 5 km outside City limits.

1d – Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker (Carried)
That Recommendation 17 be amended to replace the words “credit card payments” with “credit/debit card payments.”

2 – Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Frank Di Giorgio (Carried)
That the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards give additional consideration to private property tows, the recovery rate, and waiting times at collision reporting centres with a view to potentially recommending greater compensation, as part of the Supplementary Report to City Council on October 2, 2017.

3 – Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Jim Karygiannis (Carried)
That the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards be requested to report back to Licensing and Standards Committee in the first quarter of 2018 on a requirement to request tow truck operators to have reflective protective measures on their vehicles.

4 – Motion to Adopt Item as Amended moved by Councillor Cesar Palacio (Carried)