A happy Canada Day to all our readers! We truly are lucky to live in Canada.
Bouncy castles galore; July 1, 2015.
Don’t forget that tonight at 10:00, Weston’s own annual fireworks display gets under way at Lions Park. The weather promises to be fine but cool by 10:00 so dress warmly for the evening. If you’ve attended in the past, you know what a treat is in store. Come and listen to Elvis and other talented musicians, meet your favourite politicians, gorge on some french fries and onion rings and try out a slide or bouncy castle – perhaps not in that order!
A word to the wise – if you can walk to the celebrations all the better as parking tends to be filled early and after the fireworks, there may be a bit of a wait while everybody queues up to leave.
Fireworks at the ready; July 1 2015.
L to R: M.P. Mike Sullivan, Councillor Frances Nunziata, B.I.A. Chair Masum Hossein, ‘Elvis’ and M.P.P. Laura Albanese.
Weston’s politicians were out in force for the annual official opening of the Weston Farmers Market, now in its 36th year. Elvis was on hand again to serenade the crowd and many of the stallholders have returned with a few new additions. Artscape and Rockport Group have a combined table where patrons can get more information about the new Hub and 30-storey rental apartment coming in the next couple of years. Once construction begins, the market will move temporarily to the GO / UP Express parking lot.
It will be interesting to see if a greater exposure to traffic in the new location will draw more visitors to the market.
Yesterday I took a look at Weston Station and two things are evident;
1. The station still needs a lot of work before it is complete.
2. It’s going to look very nice – a lot nicer than the old one.
Judge for yourself in these images.
Weston Station – a work in progress.
A northbound train heads towards the Weston Tunnel.
The southbound platform.
Workers finish off planter beds.
The ramps leading to the platform.
The pedestrian bridge deck.
A view between the rail and pedestrian bridges over Lawrence Avenue.
Lots of expensive floral displays.
The pedestrian bridge over Lawrence Avenue is not open yet.
Lots of work yet to do.
A Union Station bound train leaves the station.
Rockport Group’s Jack and Daniel Winberg sat down with Adam and I in a cordial meeting of minds on Monday. It’s fair to say we were impressed by this father and son team and were were able to find out more of what’s involved in the proposed Cultural Hub. A longer article will emerge from the interview but in the meantime in the spirit of fairness, a couple of correction. On April 13, I mentioned that:
“As a sidenote, Mr Winberg’s company built Scarlett Heights retirement home along Lawrence and handily smacked down residents’ objections when the development was inevitably taken to the OMB.”
This sidenote was incorrect; although Rockport built Scarlett Heights, I was confusing that building with Humber Heights on Lawrence. Scarlett Heights is actually on Eglinton and there was no involvement with the OMB. For the record, here is a list of their completed projects.
With regard to development charges, an impression was created in my articles that the City was waiving them entirely. In fact development charges are waived only for the Hub component and not for the rental apartment building.
It was a full court press at the annual general meeting of the Weston Village Residents’ Association (membership of almost 100 apparently). Mayor John Tory had agreed to attend along with the president of Artscape, Celia Smith and all three of our political representatives. The meeting was no doubt sold to His Honour as an opportunity to bask in the approval and gratitude of residents. After all, aren’t we getting a wonderful new cultural hub?
Mayor Tory checks out the audience.
The elephant in the room was a giant middle finger (ok enough metaphors) seemingly directed at the people of Weston in the form of a 30-storey rental apartment building; allegedly the unavoidable price of getting the hub. Despite organizers’ best efforts (I was in the second row yet somehow invisible when I raised my hand) a couple of awkward questions were asked about the latest tower proposal and judging by the spontaneous applause, a growing concern is shared by many in the audience. This latest rental apartment in Weston seems destined to become like the others (only taller).
The questions that still need answers are,
- Was it necessary to sell the old GO Station parking lot to a developer? Why didn’t the negotiating team look at retaining the site and developing a decent Wychwood Barns type space with parkland and no 30 storey rental apartment building? Costs could have been amortized over years rather than all at once.
- Who owns the podium at 33-35 King? (The largely unoccupied building that is about to be bailed out by this project.)
- What did 33-35 King bring to the table to offset the costs of developing the hub since they stand to gain millions from this in rents, parking charges and a more valuable building?
The ‘Podium’ – Who owns it and what did they bring to the table? Click for expanded view.
- Was Rockport the only developer asked to submit proposals? If not, who else made proposals and why were they rejected?
- Is the current deal the best the negotiating team could make? Who was on the negotiating team?
- Metrolinx paid $1 million to be applied to the purchase of the additional land to the south of the TPA lot. The City ended up purchasing the lot in a separate deal. What will happen to the $1 million? Where is it now? Why was this information withheld from the public?
- Were the highest ethical standards applied in making this deal?
- Why is extracting information about this project so difficult?
Until the public gets answers to these questions (and others) we are working in the dark and cannot provide an informed consent to this project (if that was ever an option).
Let’s have some daylight on this, please.
2292 Weston Road. From Google Earth.
This 65 unit 8-storey rental apartment building was sold recently for $10.2 million. That works out to an average price of approximately $157,000 per unit. The building had been owned by True North Apartment REIT (real estate income trust) and the deal was expected to close today, June 1. No details as to the identity of the purchaser.
For more details, follow this link.