New Year’s Resolutions for 2015

There is a saying that ‘All politics is local‘. Here in Weston, we are blessed with politicians and three levels of government that don’t neglect to tax us in various ways yet seemingly invest little in our neighbourhood.

This is my personal list for our politicians and even for the citizens of Weston. Readers are encouraged to add their own contributions.

There is much that is wrong with Weston and at the same time reason for optimism. Weston looks tired and could be so much more. Nobody likes to shop in a run down area yet customers are the life blood of stores. The type of main street layout seen along Weston Road is the basis of revitalization in Bloor West Village and other parts of the city. It’s one thing to attack political opponents for criticizing Weston’s appearance but as recent Council candidate Dory Chalhoub pointed out, the reality of litter strewn streets, empty stores and dilapidated signage stares us in the face every day.



Bicycle (and skate) maker CCM went bankrupt in 1983 and yet we still use the slogan ‘Home of the Bicycle’.


Our slogan could just as legitimately be ‘Home of the Skate’ or ‘Home of Bankruptcy’, or even… ‘Home of the B.I.A. (Weston Village Business Improvement Area is one of the oldest and has been going since 1979).


Weston BIA Resolutions:

1. Come up with a plan to replace the tired bicycle logos and ‘Home of the Bicycle’ slogan with something more meaningful to Weston – perhaps along the lines of our proximity to the Humber and beautiful parkland.

2. Encourage BIA members to take advantage of the City of Toronto’s financial support for sign replacement.

3. Members should keep their properties in good order and clean up litter on a daily basis.

3. Work on schemes that will boost attendance at the Weston Farmers Market.

4. Stores that sit vacant for months on end do nothing for the community and lower custom in remaining stores. Contact owners and find creative ways of beautifying vacant storefronts and using empty space.




Frances Nunziata: Resolutions:

1. Focus on the appearance of Weston through the B.I.A. and similar organizations as well as money from the City.

2. Work to reduce litter and visual pollution along Weston’s business areas.

3. Revitalize the Weston Farmers’ Market.

4. Find ways of dealing with empty storefronts that plague our business districts.

5. Continue to look for ways to bring meaningful and well paid employment to Weston.

6. Encourage and facilitate completion of the Humber Trail from Mallaby Park northward.

7. Encourage 12 Division officers to get out of their cars and walk the streets of Weston.

Laura Albanese: Resolutions

1. Use your position to get the Weston Farmers’ Market in on the LCBO pilot project (even though it’s now beginning its second year). This would surely boost attendance.

2. Continue to press Metrolinx to electrify the UP Express and the Kitchener GO line. Also continue your efforts to lower fares on the UP Express with the goal of creating an above ground commuter line that will serve communities along the way.

3. Look for grants that will elevate the poorer parts of the riding and encourage education and prosperity.

4. Look for a way to establish a government office in Weston. This will boost employment and stimulate local business.

5. Investigate the possibility of attracting a community college or university campus to Weston.

6. Work with Councillor Nunziata to encourage and facilitate completion of the Humber Trail from Mallaby Park northward.

Mike Sullivan: Resolutions


1. It’s great that you have a constituency office here in Weston. Set an example by freshening the paint and landscaping its exterior. Use the business directly across the street as your model.


2. Continue to bring matters pertaining to Weston to the attention of the community and the appropriate representative. No, your party is not in government; we get that. Yes, we understand you’re a federal politician, not a provincial politician or the city councillor. As an MP, your mandate is to help and facilitate matters for all your constituents and not be hung up about jurisdictions.

3. Work in conjunction with colleagues from the other levels of government to reduce the levels of crime and poverty in Weston.

4. Call attention to the role of payday loan companies and their predatory effects on the poor.

4. Continue to call attention to the Harper Government’s attack on the environment with particular emphasis on how it affects Westonians.

Citizens of Weston: Resolutions

1. We need to stop lamenting the past glories of Weston and move on. We have an active Historical Society that helps us celebrate the past. The only thing we can change is the future.

2. A vibrant shopping district needs people who will take the trouble to patronize its stores. Don’t expect stores to sell us what we want without actually visiting and spending money.

3. Crime levels in Weston are lower than in many areas of Toronto. Get out of the SUV. The walk will do us good.

4. Politicians have no idea what we think unless we tell them. Don’t be shy.

Weston Business Improvement Area: Phone: 416-249-0691

Laura Albanese: Phone: 416-243-7984

Frances Nunziata: Phone: 416-392-4091

Mike Sullivan: Phone: 416-656-2526


GO back tracks

GO Transit has heard you, people of Weston, and is backtracking on its plan to extend the hours of construction. In a statement issued today, they also announced plans to deal with residents’ complaints.

From now on, they say

  • Fewer trucks will be allowed on site, reducing dirt and dust
  • Better equipment will be used to wash the trucks
  • Generators will be less polluting
  • Lights will be pointed away from houses
  • Some houses will have their exteriors cleaned

20130417_Construction Action Plan FINAL

Metrolinx jobs program not working

GO Transit’s local employment initiative, which was supposed to help residents find jobs, is not living up to its promises. Only four people have been hired, and most of the few jobs now posted are nowhere near here.

The Georgetown South Employment Initiative was launched in October of last year. According to GO, the train lines being built in Weston “will support thousands of design and construction jobs” and their “contractors working on the GTS Project have committed… to consider qualified community members to fill any employment positions”.

But Westonians (and Torontonians) are not finding jobs—because most of the ones posted now are in Alberta. Three jobs are posted on GTS jobs site— but two are at the Calgary Airport.


Nor has even a small fraction of those “thousands” of jobs materialized. According to Salza, a spokesperson for Metrolinx, “contractors have posted 10 positions ranging from traffic control flagging to administrative support… 10 individuals have received interviews. Of those four have been hired.”

In Metrolinx’s defense, they have a caveat that they “will not guarantee a specific number of jobs” but will only “identify any employment opportunities that may exist and make them accessible to qualified individuals.”




Weston Station Master Plan released

Last June, at the end of a year-long process of consultation, Metrolinx revealed the Weston Station Master Plan through a presentation followed by a discussion and question and answer session held at the Active Living Centre. The plan itself was not available in document form at the time but has now been finalized and released as a stand-alone 80-page document. The plan outlines the vision created when planning experts’ ideas have been combined with those of the community to produce a fascinating look into the future of Weston.

As residents we should all take the time to review this important document and take note of the implications for ourselves and future Weston residents.

As Adam has noted with regard to recent thefts from the new station’s bike racks, it is hoped that all aspects of the vision can be implemented with a clear eye on the realities of an urban environment.

ARL could have been electrified by 2015

The Air Rail Link could have been electrified in time for the Pan Am games, according to Metrolinx, InsideToronto says. The Pan Ams had been used as justification for rushing the construction, even though the athletes will not take the ARL and the event is only two weeks long.

The 2015 ‘deadline’ had already seemed concocted and the conversion seems unnecessarily expensive. That the electrification is being held up–assuming it indeed happens–by paperwork does nothing to burnish the image of a much-disliked agency.

“We’ve been meeting in this room for five years now,” said Dobson. “One thing after another has been proven wrong.”

One more big push for St John

It’s a make-or-break day for St John the Evangelist elementary school. Tonight the Catholic School Board trustees will decide whether St John gets a new school as the train line gets built.

St John is terribly over crowded—there is so little space that classes are held in a nearby church basement. Construction of the ARL will also force the students to move next school year.

Dave Bennett, Chair of the Parent Council, is pleading for people to come out and show their support. If you make it to the school before 5:45 pm, you can catch a ride. If you plan on going directly, the board meeting will be at 80 Sheppard Ave E, and will start at 7 pm.

New Weston Station opening in mid July

The new station taking shape on Weston Road south of Lawrence. The platform is behind the vehicles on the right.

The new Weston Station platform - viewed from the end of the old platform.

Four inquiring minds gathered to take the Weston Tunnel tour on Thursday May 17. The tour was ably led by GO Community Relations Supervisor, Kathryn Hanford. While there is no actual tunnel yet, preparations are well under way. The Weston Tunnel is being built to lower GO and VIA tracks so that the increased number of trains anticipated by 2015 will not split Weston in two at Church and King Streets. Because of grading issues, trains cannot be completely underground at John Street, so John will be split in two but will have its two sections connected by a footbridge. At the same time, storm sewers and water mains are being upgraded in conjunction with the City of Toronto.

Passengers leaving the GO Train at old Weston Station - the new tracks will be a couple of metres lower here at John Street and completely underground between King and Church in 2015.

Hanford spent some of her formative years in Weston and has worked on similar projects in the U.S., South Africa and most recently the Diamond Grade Separation Project near the stockyards. She says she is proud of the way in which the community has been consulted in shaping the changes needed for the Air Rail Link. She also mentioned a couple of other points; Weston GO Station will move to its new location on Weston Road just south of Lawrence in mid-july. The station itself will be housed in a temporary portable structure until the ARL opens in 2015. She also said that developers have been snapping up real estate in anticipation of higher property values once the ARL is in place and also when GO becomes an all-day service (although GO seems to be quickly backing away from this promise).

A VIA train moves north-west along the future Weston Tunnel (at King Street). The metal structures are forms for a large patterned concrete retaining wall.