Come February, recovering heroin addicts looking for a methadone fix will be able to get one on King East in Corktown.
But area residents are none too pleased about the recovery program, which will be run out of a doctor's office.
Suzanne Edmonds , president of the Corktown Residents and Business Association , says the area already has a drug problem, forcing residents to retrieve discarded syringes and pipes from parks and backyards.
Locals are now pushing the city to pass specific bylaws restricting methadone clinics ideally, Edmonds says, to hospitals. But there's little the city can do to stop the clinic. It's the federal government that licenses doctors to prescribe methadone, in some cases at the order of the courts.
Michelle Buckley , constituency assistant to area Councillor Pam McConnell , points out that when the city tried to pass a bylaw against another methadone clinic a few years back, "we not only lost at the Ontario Municipal Board, but the city had to pay costs."
Local MP Bill Graham expresses concern that "the zoning rules as they currently exist allow for the opening of this clinic in what is a residential community without any kind of input from the community."
Still, Councillor Kyle Rae , who led the city's task force on harm reduction, says the concept of a city bylaw to restrict clinics is "ridiculous."
"People go to their doctors to deal with all sorts of illnesses," he says. "I don't see why there'd be a special status for methadone. It's syrup in a little plastic bottle. No one's injecting."
No cash for the birds
If you think Toronto is for the birds, you might be right. But a number of community groups trying to persuade the city to invest $25,000 to educate the public about migratory birds slamming into downtown office towers weren't exactly flying high after the January 9 planning and transportation committee meeting. The group was denied the funding.
Like moths to a flame, winged creatures are attracted to the office lights. But the city currently has no regulations requiring skyscrapers to flick off the lights after hours. Building owners say it's up to the tenants.
Michael Mesure , executive director of the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP), points out that warblers and woodpeckers generate millions of dollars from touring birdwatchers, not to mention birds' crucial work eating insects and pollenating plants.
"It's obvious that birds play a vital role in the ecosystem. Without them we're in deep trouble," he says.
However, some councillors believe there's not enough money in the budget. "Everyone wants to help birds, but this is just not a priority," adds Eglinton-Lawrence Councillor Karen Stintz .
But Councillor Joe Mihevc says the money being requested is "small bucks" for a cause Scarborough Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker insists "prevents crushed skulls and broken wings very horrific ways for creatures to pass."
Since 1993, more than 32,000 birds from 158 species have died after flying into the lit windows of Toronto buildings late at night. The TD Centre on Wellington alone picked off up to 800 birds.
In addition to turning off the lights, FLAP hopes to persuade building owners to apply an ultraviolet coating to glass during migration season that only birds can see.