When Westminster United Church closed last year, the Weston Village Daycare was forced to close as well. Many parents (and citizens) wondered why that had to be so—isn’t it better, after all, to make a little money from rent rather than none at all?
Almost a year after the church shut down, it remains unsold and vacant. (Your humble correspondent thought about buying it but found the $3,850,000 asking price slightly out of reach.)
Next week, City Council will debate a motion by Paula Fletcher that would ask staff to figure out what can be done in situations like this. If passed, staff will inventory the services provided in churches and come up with options for preserving them when churches close.
InsideToronto and the Learning Enrichment Foundation are launching a new website to reimagine the Kodak lands. They are asking for your submissions. InsideToronto has an interesting article on the possibilities.
“The former Kodak lands are at one end of the project and we’re big believers the entire community has to be involved in their redevelopment,” he said. “We love to play a role of catalyst for community discussions.”
The city has expropriated the overgrown lot at 14 John Street near Peter the Barber’s shop. Interestingly, the lot was not expropriated because it was an eyesore; it was taken to make space for a “Cultural Hub”.
John Street will soon be permanently closed to traffic, and Metrolinx is building a pedestrian bridge over the tracks. The bridge, though, needs to take up some space in the parking lot on John.
That space, though, was supposed to be used for an expanded Farmers’ Market and as space for cultural activities. The lot beside was expropriated by the city to ensure that the hub would still be viable.
The city does not say how much they paid for the lot.
The city had an open house last week to reveal their plans for the intersection of Lawrence and South Station Street. The plans call for:
- A more walkable village
- Streets that are more than car corridors
- A greener village with more large-canopy trees
- More cultural expression
- Identifiable landmarks to mark Weston
What the future may hold¹
What we have got (so far)
The redesign came out of a design conference nearly three years ago. We were promised a lot: essentially a comprehensive rethinking of the village, with improvements to the streets, public safety, lighting, cleaning and policing.
These new plans are, frankly, a good first few steps—but not the end of the trip. More may yet materialize. Jennifer in Nunziata’s office says that “Streetscape improvements will be secured along Weston Road as developments are submitted for approval, and as City capital projects occur.”
Construction will happen this summer.
I’m sure the cobblestones will totally make it into the final plan
¹ I captioned the photos incorrectly in the first version of this post. The captions implied that the redevelopment hasn’t lived up to the plans. I had meant to imply that the development has been slow. I’ve made that more clear now.
Developers are proposing ninety-nine townhomes on the current site of the Satin Finish hardword flooring factory. The application will require a bylaw change.
The factory would be turned into 18 blocks with a single street entrance and four ‘mews’—small streets, presumably between the blocks. Traffic is already a bit of a mess around there and recently was made worse by the elimination of the right-turn lane into Crossroads Plaza.
The application was filed December 13.
Your humble correspondent has had only two good ideas in his whole life. The second, and best, is to invest in properties that have a high product of tree canopy to cheque-cashing stores per square kilometer. Nice neighbourhoods have lots of trees; cheap neighbourhoods have lots of cash stores.
And, tendentiously, your humble correspondent’s favourite neighbourhood is a rocketing winner. Frances Nunziata’s office released the numbers for Ward 11. Weston Village has 35% tree canopy, far higher than the average of 23% for Ward 11, and higher than the Toronto average of 26%. (Spare a moment’s pity for the poor Junctionites, who have a lamentable 6.7% of shade.)
Weston’s tree canopy is scientifically ideal, too. A city report says that “Urban foresters¹ recommend tree cover for urban areas of between 30% and 40%, to maximize the social, economic and ecological benefits derived from trees.”
The rest of Ward 11 has tree canopy thus:
- Lambton Baby Point: 33%
- Rockcliffe-Smythe: 30%
- Mount Dennis: 26%
- Pelmo-Humberlea: 18%
- Brookhaven Amesbury: 18%
¹ I hate my life.
Let’s be honest: Sewers are not a sexy issue. But did you know that strong storms in 20 years will dump three times as much rainfall in Toronto as they did in the past? That incredible storm we had this year was a spring shower compared to what’s coming. In future, we can expect a third more rain than that diluvian drenching—166mm of rain will be the new normal. This summer we got 126 mm.
Canadian Underwriter magazine has an excellent article on the petition our MP, Mike Sullivan, presented to the House of Parliament asking for federal funding for improved sewers.
The petition, the article says, has been signed by more than 1000 people, and asks the feds to “immediately take action necessary to fund urgent municipal infrastructure projects to prevent property damage such as that suffered by the residents of the City of Toronto on July 8th 2013.”
It’s a shame the feds will flush it.