8 Oak St facing a fight

Councillor Nunziata says that the potential builders at 8 Oak Street will have a fight on their hands.

Earlier this week, our councillor held a meeting about the proposed development of the Satin Flooring factory near the Superstore. The developers—oh, how I hate that word!—are proposing 99 townhomes.

The homes would be between Knob Hill Drive and the CP Rail line. The site plan is—in your humble correspondent’s humble opinion—a little uninspired: rows of houses quite tightly packed.

Satin Finish

 

There are a number of things I don’t like.

To start with, there is only one playground. This, to me, is a terrible waste. Townhomes and condominiums work on a simple principle: some things are best bought in a group. There is no sane excuse for each one of us having a ladder or a drill. They’re used once a year. Nor is there a good reason for each of us to have a playground in our individual backyards. Playgrounds are best when they are shared, and townhome developments like this—which seems destined to attract first-time buyers—should have lovely, large, well-sited playgrounds (in the plural) for different ages and different styles of play. They should also have a field, for open play, and berms and rocks and streams, and all the things that children delight in every once in a while—things that it makes sense to share. This development has nothing like that.

It fails, too, in the private space. I once lived in a townhouse just like these proposed. My townhouse was larger, nicer, cheaper, and better designed than my home in Weston. When I moved here, I essentially bought a $160,000 backyard.

These townhouses have no backyards. They have no private outdoor space at all. And don’t tell me a rooftop patio can suffice; it cannot. Rooftop patios are for frying eggs, not having barbecues, which are illegal, I found.

Prosaically, the traffic is going to be a pain, I’ll bet. The intersection at Oak and Knob Hill is already stupidly done; it’s impossible to make a right turn around stopped traffic, for instance. This development is going to create minor headaches, since entering traffic is going to block the busy two-lane Knob Hill Drive.

Finally, there is no sense of heritage here. That factory is interesting. Where is the old brick building? Where is the nod to its industrial history? The silo? The people, the jobs, and the buildings that are being displaced? It looks from here that we’re getting another set of honeycomb houses. Those have their place, but we can do better.

Best Place To Live in the World? Toronto – we have proof!

Most of us believe we live in a great city but now we have corroborating evidence. Influential British magazine The Economist has proclaimed Toronto the world’s best place to live based on a number of factors covering things such as personal safety, infrastructure, democracy and food security. While Toronto isn’t number one in any of these indexes, because it ranks consistently high on most of them, it is considered to be the best overall. For example it ranks #70 in cost of living but #4 in both liveability and business environment. As for personal safety, Toronto at #7 is safer than anywhere in North America or Europe except for Stockholm.

OK, Toronto, don’t let it go to your head; now go clean your room. Read the full survey here.

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.