`street furniture\' deal gets grudging thumbs-up

No objections, but a clear lack of enthusiasm, the Toronto keystone Executive Committee supports a controversial plan to have Astral Media outdoor LP provide street furniture for the city in the next 20 years. Some glum-
Members from the city\'s left side supported the plan, which will provide thousands of items for city streets, from bus shelters to bike racks.
The plan allows Astral to sell ads on bus shelters and information pillars.
In return, the city receives about $21 million a year from Astral.
\"I will vote in favor of this agreement;
\"I\'m holding my nose,\" said Senator Howard Moscow . \"
Ward 15 Eglington Lawrence).
Citizens in cities they see as selling public space for profit have been more outspoken in an angry lobby.
\"The advertising company won again, the city councillors and the public had no say, and the mayor was proud to be the city\'s pimps,\" Jonathan gozby of the Toronto Public Space Board said after the vote.
Goldsbie and more than a dozen others appeared before the committee, bashing the proposal, including provisions allowing for the total amount of advertising.
The City Council directed a reduction in total advertising and calculated the current 198,200 square feet of advertising.
Goldsbie and others disagree with the figure.
They calculated that, in fact, there are currently only 178,000 square feet of advertising on bus shelters, bins and benches, and said that the increase in the number of advertising was entered secretly through the back door.
Andrew koropeski, who is in charge of the city\'s project, told the member that this figure is accurate from the date the Council has set its policy.
Others have targeted the billboard of Astral and the Rami Tabello of the illegal logo.
Ca accused Astral of having many illegal billboards around the city.
City staff said they were investigating 175 complaints about illegal billboards and signs on city streets, 23 of which were Astral.
Star officials at the meeting declined to comment.
But some lawmakers have firmly defended the agreement, saying it will unify the various items that are now on the city streets by providing clear rules for the way street furniture is placed.
\"We have a dog\'s breakfast,\" deputy mayor Joe Pantalone said . \".
Others say the agreement will benefit suburban and urban streets.
Senator Glenn de belmekel (
Ward 38 Scarborough Center)
On a cold winter night, he said, the planned 2,000 new transportation shelters would be a boon because there are few buses.
\"No one in the Scarborough center called me and complained about the ads on the bus shelters,\" he said . \".
Mayor David Miller also strongly supported the plan, noting that measuring advertising with square feet is just a way to look at the issue.
Because benches and trash cans (
And some bus shelters)
There will be no more advertising, and there will be only about 4,100 advertised objects under the new system-less than the 6,000 currently advertised, so it is a \"major victory\" for the city \", said Miller.
\"I think this is an extraordinary opportunity for Toronto,\" he said . \"
\"We can finally buy garbage bins on the street.
\"Committee members propose to review a series of motions, starting on May 23, when the council considers the agreement.
These motions include plans to estimate how much energy the new lighting advertising logo will use and require Astral to prove that all signs and billboards are in compliance with the city\'s charter before the deal is finalized.
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