10/02/2012 12:35 EDT | Updated 12/02/2012 05:12 EST

Toronto approves sale of Enwave for $168 M

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says city council has voted to approve the sale of the city's interest in Enwave, in what the mayor characterized as "a huge victory" that he expects will help to ease the municipal debt load.

Speaking to reporters at City Hall Tuesday, Ford said the deal to sell Toronto's share in the downtown heating and cooling system to a partnership sponsored by Brookfield Asset Management might be unprecedented.

"$100 million, that's a huge, huge sale. I don't think we've ever made a deal like that before," Ford said.

The sale is expected to close this month, at which time Brookfield will take on Enwave's debt and equity. In turn, the city will receive about $168 million.

The issue of whether to rescind council's decision to remove the bike lanes on Jarvis Street was also brought up Tuesday, when councillors considered bylaws pertaining to the newly installed separate bike lanes on Sherbourne Street.

But motions introduced by councillors Kristyn Wong-Tam and Josh Matlow to keep the existing Jarvis bike lanes or to put off the decision were later defeated. Both motions fell in 24-19 votes, meaning the Jarvis lanes will now be removed at the end of the fall.

Council voted last July to rip out the Jarvis Street bike lanes once the curb-separated lanes on Sherbourne are completed.

Cycling advocates had protested for months to save the Jarvis Street route, contending it's safer than riding along neighbouring Sherbourne Street and also arguing the removal of the bike lanes on Jarvis Street would increase congestion.

$270K to remove Jarvis bike lanes

Leading up to the debate, Ford described himself as "the only mayor who's invested more in bikes lanes than any administration has," and said he hoped council would back his wishes for a separated bike lane on Sherbourne Street.

It will cost roughly $270,000 to remove the bike lanes and install a lane of traffic for motor vehicles down the middle of Jarvis Street.

The chair of the public works and infrastructure committee, Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, had said council's decision last summer was final and the removal will go ahead this month.

Meanwhile, council is set to debate on Wednesday a motion filed by Coun. Peter Milczyn that seeks to reconsider a ban on plastic bags.

City solicitor Anna Kinastowski is to deliver her report advising council about possible legal action against Toronto resulting from the ban.

Concerns over plastic bag ban

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association contends the ban violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and has already announced plans to pursue legal action if the ban is implemented on Jan. 1, 2013.

According to the motion, it would be "prudent" for City Council to give further consideration to the decision to ban plastic bags.

The plastic bag ban was introduced by Coun. David Shiner in June, when council voted to eliminate a five-cent plastic bag levy.

Shiner tacked the motion onto the plan to eliminate the fee, and council passed it 24-20. Concerns were raised that council moved too hastily and did not seek public consultations when they approved the motion.