Weston walk, bike and run!

Happy New year!

What if there was a way to improve your health and wealth while meeting new people and possibly some new friends? What if you could help clean the air, ease congestion, and help save money on road repair cost?

That sounds like a lot to accomplish doesn’t it? It’s actually as simple as riding a bike or putting one foot in front of the other. There is a group for that right in Weston, and you wouldn’t even have to leave the comforts of Weston to achieve this!

Last May, I started the “Weston Walk, Bike and Run“. Weston Walk, Bike and Run has an open concept when it comes to posting and creating events. Looking to go for a walk and interested in company? Feel like riding the Pan-Am Trail to Old Mill and Bloor (or further)? Training for an event and looking for training partners? Or are you just looking to get active and connect with other like-minded people? Just post to the page and hopefully there will be some takers in the group!

To find “Weston Walk, Bike and Run”, just type the group name into the search bar at the top of your Facebook page.

I’m looking grow the group in 2015! With more people and more outings!

Sincerely
Mike McLean

Pearen rink in the news!

The super-ultra-fantastic volunteer-run Mount Dennis skating rink made it to the front page this week. Simon Chamberlain was interviewed by Metro Morning on the CBC:

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Simon says that he desperately needs more volunteers to help out with the skating program, and I can attest that he is the very finest man, and this is the very finest program, in the whole city. If you or yours feel inclined to give back to Mount Dennis, this is the way.

The Pearen Park skating rink is open every day that weather allows.

Bulldozers we will cheer for a change

The city may soon get the power to demolish derelict buildings—of which Weston has quite a few.

Presently, Licensing and Standards can force owners to board up, lock doors, and disconnect utilities. It cannot, however, tear buildings down. And so we get empty hulks like those miserable eyesores Weston Road, which have been vacant threats for as long as your humble correspondent  has lived here—at least 7 years—and likely a decade longer than that.

 

Welcome to Weston

The Licensing and Standards Committee is trying to get more power for the city. The city and staff would have “additional tools in the event that properties are not compliant, up to and including the potential for demolition permissions.”

Of course, much must be done—research, consultation, and analysis—and the new powers will not even be proposed until October.

Still, the staff’s goal is lofty: “to move the property from community nuisance to community enhancement.”

It couldn’t happen soon enough.

Nunziata on the Liquor Licensing Steering Committee

Will Frances Nunziata sit across from or beside her brother, a political lobbyist, when they sit at the table of new Liquor Licensing Steering Committee?

In the past, Frances Nunziata has been hard on bars and restaurants and has also—justifiably—come down on after-hours clubs. Now, though, she will be pushed by her brother to lighten up on them.

Until last year, the city also closely regulated applicants and frequently put extra conditions on them.  In August, however, the province told Toronto it would stop enforcing those conditions, and the city, in response, stopped processing applications. To resolve the impasse, committees were created.

Frances Nunziata was nominated to this sub-committee last week, along with four other councillors. Her nomination will be confirmed by City Hall.

John Nunziata, Weston’s storied former MP, and Frances’ brother, has had a long and controversial history, and he now works as a lobbyist for, among others, the Ontario Restaurant Hotel Motel Association. The association has already said that it wants to work with the city’s new committees  “to find ways to … not prohibit growth”.

 

Art contest to decorate John Street bridge

The city is soliciting designs for the art around the forthcoming John Street bridge. Metrolinx and StreetARToronto are asking artists to solicit ideas for a mural project that will be installed on the panels running along the accessibility ramps.

The budget for the project is about $47,000, of which up to half can go to artist commissions, and the city isn’t looking for amateurs; only those with experience in similar-scale projects are invited to apply.

Bridge

The city’s drawing of the bridge looks—at least to me—completely bizarre, like a plaza in Brasilia or a Spanish outdoor auditorium. Certainly, I know nothing about these things—but I confess to doubts about the number of people we will actually see lounging, flirting and reading on the steps in the winter or as trains go by nearby. I look forward to my error, however.

 

Litter plagues Weston Village

Looking towards Weston and Lawrence.

Looking towards Weston and Lawrence.

In the future, Weston Village could be a showcase of how to do retail but currently it’s a showcase of how not to do it. In the GTA, Bloor West Village, Roncesvalles and Streetsville come to mind as old established neighbourhoods whose stores have successfully made the transition into the post-big box and shopping mall era. ‘What’s holding Weston back?’, you may ask. Well, there are many things – one is the stubborn refusal of the citizens of Weston to shop locally and another is the filth and litter that seems to pervade the place (perhaps the two are linked).

Near the bus stop on Weston Near Lawrence.

Near the bus stop on Weston at Lawrence.

Part of the problem is that the intersection of Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue West is a transit hub. Many people are coming and going and as a result lots of litter is generated. Let’s not dwell too much on the people who do the littering. It’s a fact of life in a big city. What is obvious though is a tolerance for litter that exists on the part of shopkeepers and also the people responsible for removing it. What’s also obvious is that the same litter stays in place for days if not weeks on end. This attracts yet more litter.

The guano may have been washed from the seats but Weston's own experiment in composting proceeds apace.

Recent rain may have washed the guano from the seats but Weston’s own experiment in leaf and litter composting proceeds apace.

While it is Winter and litter is sometimes difficult to remove at this time of year with salt and snow everywhere, thats an excuse you won’t hear in the places mentioned above. It’s certainly no excuse in the current snow-free spell.

Five minutes with a good broom should take care of this.

Five minutes with a good broom could take care of this.

If retail establishments find that the City isn’t taking care of the litter problems, they should complain. Property taxes go towards street cleaning and transit hubs need more of it. It also might be an idea for businesses to spend five minutes daily to clean up around their properties. It might be another idea for our councillor and the Weston Village Business Improvement Area to tackle this problem. This is something that can be implemented quickly with beneficial results.

Even the Royal Bank's entranceway is dirty.

Even the Royal Bank’s entranceway is dirty.

As citizens, we too can play a part. 311 is the Toronto City Council number to call about litter (and many other) issues. Calls from several people about the same problem may mean quicker action.

To discuss the matter more directly call Councillor Nunziata at 416-392-4091 or Weston Village B.I.A. at 416-249-0691.

Post Script. Not having seen any action on the clean-up, I phoned 311 on Thursday 22nd January to report the mess and was assured that there was nothing to do as the area had been cleaned up. On walking through the intersection today, it was clear that nothing had been done.

Thursday January 23: problem reported to 311 and this time I have a reference number. Apparently it takes about 3 business days.

 

Police seek four in robbery and assault

The police are looking for four people who are accused of robbing and assaulting a woman in an elevator.

On December 23, a 24-year-old woman was threatened by a woman in the elevator of an apartment near Weston and the 401 (they did not release the address).

The victim tried to run from the elevator when two men and another woman swarmed her. She was assaulted and robbed.

The police are looking for a white man,  “18-22, 6’2″, dark shaggy hair, with a slim-to-medium build. He was wearing a jacket with a large Montreal Canadiens emblem on the back.”

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