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.

Korce group goes to court

Rather than follow the city’s repeated instructions to better manage their garbage, Korce Group, the landlord of 29 Church Street, has decided to go to court.

The city told Korce to build screened walls around their garbage areas and to fix the fences. Korce appealed to City Hall and lost. They have now appealed that decision to the Superior Court.

One must wonder about the relative costs of lawyers and fences.

Garbage at 29 Church

Garbage at 29 Church

Traffic calming on Hickory Tree Road to be debated

Now here’s a question: should the city break the rules when a small and vocal minority wants something?

Should it break the rules if nobody objects? What if the small and vocal minority is right?

On the one hand, your correspondent detests special pleading. On the other hand, 95% of respondents on Hickory Tree Road want speed humps. On the other other hand, only 15% of the surveyed voters responded, far short of the 50%+1 the city requires. But on the other other other hand, speed humps are fantastic things, a delight to children, pets, pedestrians, park-users and bicyclists everywhere, and an irritation to planet-killing and neighbourhood-destroying eroto-autocists, who probably take Hickory Tree Road as a shortcut past the busy intersection at Weston and Lawrence.

Etobicoke York Community Council will have to decide on the 13th of January. Ah, screw democracy—the majority of the minority should win.

Hickory Tree

The community council will also decide whether an all-way stop should be installed at Walwyn and Limerick, even though there is not nearly enough traffic to warrant one.

walwyn and limerick

No tunnel noise walls

Weston is about to get much noisier. Metrolinx is abandoning its plans to build some of the noise walls that would have dampened noise from the new airport trains.

Manuel Pedrosa, a spokesperson for Metrolinx, says that “planned noise walls were not technically and economically feasible to be built on the Weston Tunnel Walls. The noise walls, as designed, are too heavy to be attached to the Weston Tunnel wall”. (Emphasis mine.)

Pedrosa says there will be no noise walls on the “strutted area” of the tunnel. This includes the areas between, roughly, John and Queenslea (in purple).

  weston_rendering1-1000x750 (1)Westontunnel

It is not yet clear whether there will be noise walls in the other areas of the Weston tunnel (in red). Pedrosa said “We are currently reviewing the constructability [sic] of the other planned noise walls in the area”; I have asked him for clarification. I have also asked him to clarify the effects on nearby properties and the farmers’ market.

In the Junction, they do not want walls, but they’re getting them. In Weston, we want them but we are told we can’t have them.

29 Church wants a break on garbage bylaws

The landlord at 29 Church has asked the city to not enforce the bylaws about on-site garbage.

The city told the landlord, Korce Group, to build screens around its outdoor waste storage. Korce argues, among other things, that

  • they are being unfairly singled out,
  • the city issued order in November, when construction is difficult, and without asking nicely first
  • they have been managing garbage in the same way for 20 years

Korce is asking the city to quash or set aside the order until May of next year.

29 Church

From Google Street View

The city also told Korce to fix the fences around the property. Korce has asked for the same break.

Leaf collection creates stir

Who knew? Only parts of Toronto get mechanical leaf collection. In fact, only parts of Weston get leaf collection.  Few streets north of Church get it, and no street south of the village does. Now Frances Nunziata is pushing the apparent unfairness of this; she and InsideToronto are saying that the city needs to be more equitable.

From Nunziata's office

Leaf collection in Weston

Nunziata told InsideToronto that “It would make sense that the city should implement it city-wide…. There are some places that you can’t because of on-street parking. But maybe the city should go out and collect the leaves.”

Nonsense. This is great politics, but it’s terrible economics. It would be silly, for instance, to collect leaves on Dundas St W, where I used to live: There are very few trees. It makes much sense to collect them in the Weston where flooding has been a problem (leaves clog catch basins) and there are many trees.

Even my kids know that fairness doesn’t mean treating everyone the same (if it did, we’d have a subway). Fairness means treating people right. It might make perfect economic sense to clear the streets of Weston.