Weston Federal Building Update.

Last August WestonWeb commented on the dismal state of buildings along Weston Road. This is the first in a series of updates starting with 2050 Weston Road – what was once known as the Weston Federal Building, containing the post office for many years. In 2012 the Federal Government sold the building after efforts by Mike Sullivan and Frances Nunziata to make the property available for community use. The premises have stood vacant for years but now, while things are happening inside, external appearances have changed little.

The old Federal Building. No trace of its former tenant remains.

The old Federal Building as it looked last August.

There Federal Building in July 2014

The Federal Building as it looks today – little changed, its facade still blighted by ugly utility wiring.

A reader of the original article commented that changes to the building had been held up because of asbestos issues on the second floor. These seem to have been fixed as the interior is currently being worked on.

While there has been quite a bit of activity inside the building, the once attractive brick, cement and granite exterior remains largely as it was with a broken window and old graffiti allowed to remain. The planting beds outside the building have been cemented over.

The upper floors are being converted into apartments and are advertised for rent.

Work is in progress on the ground floor.

The interior has been stripped and work is in progress on the ground floor.

Broken windows invite more vandalism.

A broken window outside the old entrance.

Graffiti is still there after nearly a year.

Graffiti is still there after more than a year.

This bench is an artifact from the old City of York and belongs in a museum.

This bench is an artifact from the old City of York and belongs in a museum.

While First Avenue Properties has had a ‘For Lease’ sign displayed on the premises since last August, several calls to arrange a viewing were put off with the comment that, ‘The agent who deals with the property is not in the office’. They did allow that the upper floor apartments will be bachelors and one-bedrooms.

If readers wish to try for themselves, the phone number is 905-856-3031.

Liberal Nomination Candidates Post their Details.

Readers may be aware that a Federal Election must be held on or before October 19 of next year. Although the Tories legislated the actual date of the election, the Prime Minister retained the right to call an election before then. The likelihood of an earlier election is therefore strong as the Tories will no doubt seize any opportunity to take advantage of high polling numbers should that occur.

Three candidates so far are contesting the nomination to represent the Liberal Party of Canada in the riding of York South-Weston. They have responded to the questions posed by WestonWeb and these responses are presented below. WestonWeb will alert readers once the date of the nomination meeting is announced.

Anthony Cesario

Relevant experience:

Anthony is a small business owner and a lifelong Liberal. Prior to starting his own business, he worked in municipal government for over 10 years and volunteered with various city, provincial and federal politicians over the last 15 years. Anthony has been working on the nomination process since mid-January. He is the son of immigrants who came to Canada with the hope of a brighter future.

Main Issues:

Anthony believes that the riding has lost its voice in Ottawa and that he can help restore that voice by being part of a Liberal government that is interested in the priorities of the York South-Weston: seniors’ concerns, funding community services, providing effective transit service and combating youth unemployment.

Residency:

He doesn’t presently live in the riding but has many relatives and friends that do. He has provided services and assistance to the riding through his work in municipal government.

Monique Rudder

Relevant experience:

1: Immigrated to Canada from Trinidad & Tobago in the West Indies in 1989, at the age of 13, raised by a single mother, attended University of Toronto through a combination of scholarships, student loans, summer and part-time jobs.

2: Earned a Chartered Accountant designation and has 15 years of business experience. Her job involves working with colleagues and collaborating with clients to develop solutions. MP role is similar – must listen and engage with constituents from varying backgrounds and community leaders, develop recommendations to address needs and be a strong advocate for public policy beneficial for the riding.

3. Has volunteered with various groups through the company she works for and also participated in income tax clinics, United Way events, Canadian Women’s network, volunteered for an NPO that supports Pan-Asian professionals and co-facilitated a course for the University of Waterloo’s Master of Taxation program for 5 years.

4. Has been a member of the Liberal Party for a few years, has canvassed with MPP Laura Albanese as well as acting as a scrutineer in the recent provincial election. Now wishes to become more involved and give back to the community where she grew up.

Main Issues:

1. Jobs and training

2. Housing and enforcement of standards so that people can live in dignity.

3. Access to equal opportunity and ability to get ahead, including subsidized day care.

She has canvassed in low income buildings, continues to meet with community groups in the riding and understands the struggles that people are going through.

She believes the Liberal Party is committed to invigorating the political process and achieving increased engagement with citizens. She is also interested in the increased engagement of women and youth in public service.

Residency:

She lived in York South-Weston until her early twenties and feels at home in the area. She currently lives in Parkdale High-Park with her husband and two children. Her mother still resides in the riding. Previously her grandmother also lived in the riding until moving to a retirement home due to the need for specialized care.

Bill Saundercook

Relevant experience:

As a city councillor, first for the City of York then for our mega city, Toronto, I learned a tremendous amount about our communities in York-South Weston. I’m very proud of my achievement of starting the first Blue Box program in York (all of Toronto followed), and many years of affiliated committees to the health of our Humber River. My association with numerous committees is too long to mention here, but maybe at another time. Being a life long resident of York, living in 7 different communities of west end Toronto (formerly York) has allowed me to experience the diversity of  neighbourhoods. Now, having raised our family of 5, my wife, Anne and I live in Swansea. Anne teaches in the riding, Our Lady of Victory and I taught many years (mostly part time) in Mississauga (Dufferin-Peel Catholic Board). Having the privilege of representing York-South Weston as their Member of Parliament would allow me to bring much of my life experience to the everyday lives of most of the constituency.

Main Issues:

Some of the main issues of York-south Weston, to mention just 3, would be, the aging population, youth unemployment, and infrastructure needs and concerns for the future. Without getting into too much detail, here is a thought on addressing all 3 at the same time. It has come to my attention, in dialogue with the President of the Humber River Regional Hospital, that not too far into the future, we will be dealing with a surplus building! What better location to offer our seniors a centre for activity, residence possibly, and health related care and at the same time, hopefully offer many of our youth opportunities to engage and work with our elderly! This may be a project that touches all levels of government and community, but would serve the Trimbee family proud for keeping a local service approach to the future use of this building!

Residency:

I currently do not live in the boundaries of York-South Weston. But, over the years, the boundaries have changed many times and subsequently, I have lived and voted many times for candidates representing York-South Weston.

An Apology

Today seemed like a slow news day and I thought I had stumbled onto news about a boundary change for the Federal Riding of York South-Weston. Once published, a reader questioned my accuracy and as I was composing a clever reply, Paul Ferreira from MP Mike Sullivan’s office came to my rescue through a quick email pointing out my error. Red faces all round (well here anyway). To anyone who read the article (since assigned to the dustbin) please accept my apologies and know that I will try harder in the future.

I Can Too Research.

Last week, an anonymous commenter responded to an article on the coming Liberal revival with the following comment:

Roy may not know this — research doesn’t seem his strong suit — but there was a fourth candidate contesting the Liberal nomination: A young, gay, Aboriginal man who actually lives in YSW. He had a very vigorous campaign going and was signing up plenty of members. But he was instructed by Trudeau’s minions to drop out. So much for a new, inclusive Liberal party. No thanks . . .

The blatantly truthful bit about my research skills (we have thick skins here at WestonWeb) was overshadowed by the possibility that this commenter, while lacking the integrity to come forward with his or her real name and email address, may actually be on to something. OMG, an actual scoop. With this in mind, I put on my ace cub reporter’s hat and contacted Riding Association President Ryan Ward for a comment. He quickly referred me to Liberal Party spokesperson Kunal Parmar who again quickly responded that for confidentiality reasons he was unable to reveal why the candidate had withdrawn. He stated that, “Anything to do with this individual is up to them. He will not be commenting further.”

Repeated attempts to contact the candidate by phone and email failed – even though as of July 15, a website still proclaims his candidacy. Obviously if he feels aggrieved, he’s not saying so.

So there we have it – pretty much a non-story but I promised a follow-up and here it is.

Big Red Wave’s a coming.

Can you hear it? The faint but steadily increasing roar of a second big red Liberal wave about to crash on the shores of York South-Weston. After the excitement and dramatic results of the recent provincial election, all eyes will soon turn to the Federal Liberal York South-Weston nomination process. According to riding association president Ryan Ward, the Liberals are looking for a high profile candidate to unseat incumbent NDP MP Mike Sullivan. To date, three candidates have come forward; Anthony Cesario, Monique Rudder and Bill Saundercook. The nomination meeting will be held later this year.

In the interest of brevity, WestonWeb asked the candidates three questions:

1. What relevant life experience have you had that would serve you well as an MP for York South-Weston?

2. What do you see as the main issues in the riding?

3. Do you live in the riding?

Weston Web will publish the answers once they come in.

Canada Day Celebrations in Lions Park

After a damp and unpromising start, Weston’s annual Canada Day celebration took place in beautiful weather. Some people arrived early and made a day of it while others took their chances and arrived later in the evening. Local performers (and ‘Elvis’) entertained the crowd while politicians pressed the flesh with their constituents.

Although not mentioned in many official lists of fireworks displays, Weston’s version is always well attended and in their spectacular location, the fireworks are enjoyed by many on both sides of the Humber.

MPP Laura Albanese.

Newly re-elected MPP Laura Albanese.

Mike Sullivan MP.

Mike Sullivan MP chats to a constituent.

Councillor Frances Nunziata warms up the crowd.

Councillor Frances Nunziata warms up the crowd.

Pan Am Path extension officially opens

Urban Arts entertains the crowd.

Urban Arts entertains the crowd.

Another link officially opened today in a major step towards completion of the much anticipated Pan Am Path. This 84km path is being created by linking existing shorter trails and will eventually allow pedestrians and cyclists to move from Brampton to Pickering without encountering motor vehicles. After the ceremony, a Jane’s Walk took pedestrians along the path and a group of cyclists followed later. Bike Share Toronto (formerly Bixi) had bikes for those wishing to try the new link. Dynamic youth support organization UrbanArts provided music and an art activity for the celebration.

Urban Arts art activity.

Urban Arts art activity.

One of the more distasteful aspects of these events is the unseemly scramble for credit. Political representatives from all three levels of government were jockeying for position. Freshly re-elected MPP Laura Albanese announced a $400,000 grant from the Trillium Foundation to be spent on projects covering the length of the trail (strangely the Trillium Foundation site has no trace of this in their list of grants). Councillor Frances Nunziata announced (again) the $48,000 worth of exercise equipment to be installed in Cruickshank Park (well before the Council election in October no doubt). This money was extracted from several developers in exchange for Council concessions. Another guest speaker, Etobicoke Centre Tory MP Ted Opitz prattled on about his support for the path despite the Federal Government contribution of precisely zero to this project. It takes some nerve to remove protection from the Humber River (as the Tories have done) and then bask in the glory of others’ work. Then again, there will be a federal election by October 2015 at the latest. Right leaning mayoral hopeful Karen Stintz was in attendance but mercifully kept a low profile (until the ribbon cutting). Incredibly, our own MP Mike Sullivan told me he was not invited and therefore didn’t get to speak. Organizers from Friends of the Pan Am Path claimed there had been an oversight.

Brent Chamberlain and Frances Nunziata cut the ribbon.

Brent Chamberlain (Friends of the Pan Am Path) and Frances Nunziata (with scissors) cut the ribbon.