Faisal Hassan considering NDP leadership run

Faisal Hassan, our former MPP who narrowly lost to Michael Ford, is considering a run for the leadership of the NDP, according to The Star.

An MPP who lost his York South-Weston seat by just 796 votes to Progressive Conservative Michael Ford — the premier’s nephew — said he is also mulling a leadership bid.

“I know I’m not part of the party establishment,” Faisal Hassan told the Star, saying more racial diversity is needed in the contest. Hassan said he was discouraged he didn’t get more help from other NDP candidates in the GTA who won their ridings by comfortable margins.

UrbanArts is hiring


UrbanArts is hiring eight people as part of the Canada Summer Jobs Program. Applicants must be between 18 and 30, and “a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, have a valid Social Insurance Number and be legally entitled to work in Canada.”

The summer jobs are:

Michael Ford joins cabinet as Minister of Multiculturalism

Michael Ford, our MPP and the premier’s nephew, has been made the Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism. He immediately faced accusations that he had got the job through nepotism.

The NDP took issue with his appointment, saying “we have a lot of BIPOC folks wondering… there are plenty of people, people of colour, in Ford’s caucus that could take that position. And he chose to appoint his nephew. And, as we all know, the qualifications there are dubious.” Ford is 28 years old and white.

Michael Ford told CityNews, “I totally dismiss that. I’ve been elected to Toronto District School board, I have served on Toronto City Council for a number of years, representing one of the the most diverse communities in one of the most diverse cities in the world.”

Act fast to send feedback on large proposal at Weston and Little

If you would like to provide feedback about the large buildings proposed at Weston and Little, a reader has sent along the following information—but you need to act fast. The deadline is noon tomorrow.

You can send written comments by email to the Etobicoke York Community Council at [email protected]   If you want to address the committee meeting on Monday, you can register to speak at the same email address.

You can also call 416-394-8101.

The details of the file are as follows

The developer is Weston Asset Management Inc, and they are asking to “To Amend the Official Plan and Zoning By-law” with application number 19 219985 WET 05 OZ.

In short, they are asking to build two large, tall buildings at 1956-1986 Weston Road and 1, 3, 3a and 5 Little Avenue.

You can also, I’m sure, include Councillor Frances Nunziata on your email. Her address is [email protected]

Opposition building to LRT in Eglinton Flats

Opposition to Metrolinx’ plan to build an elevated rail line through Eglinton Flats is growing. A local group, Stop the Trains in Our Parks, has called on newly-elected MPP Michael Ford to “Get It Done” and tunnel the trains through the Flats.

In a press release, STOP said,

While campaigning as a candidate in YSW earlier this month, Progressive Conservative Michael Ford wrote to local residents stating that as MPP and part of a Doug Ford government he would be in the best position to advocate for the community’s priorities on the Eglinton Crosstown West LRT issue. In a June 13 tweet, thanking Etobicoke North, Michael Ford cited one of his accomplishments in his riding as  “Championing new transit connections for our community. Tunnelling Eglinton West in the south”.

Now that Michael Ford is the current York South-Weston MPP, will he work with his new constituents and Get It Done?

Metrolinx is planning to build an elevated LRT through the parks at Eglinton Flats because, they say, it isn’t feasible to tunnel through the valley. The LRT will

  • Be in the park (not on the roadway),
  • Lead to deforestation
  • Close bike, car, and pedestrian routes for 8 years
  • Have large tunnel entrances.

Transit blogger and guru Steve Munro has an excoriating history of the ECWE in Eglinton Flats. He supports STOP’s argument:

The structure is presented as unobtrusively as possible, and the effects of construction are ignored. As at other locations on Metrolinx projects, the effect on green space is treated as an unavoidable side-effect of transit expansion.

He also has some devastating images. Metrolinx said in 2012 that the train would (and presumably could) run down the centre of Eglinton instead of in the park. The images also give some sense of the scale of the construction.

Munro also criticizes the late response of City Council, saying: “this is an example of Council sitting in blissful ignorance of the damage inherent in Metrolinx plans until the last possible moment when nothing but hand-wringing remains as an option.”

City staff approve of large development at Weston and Little

City staff have recommended approval of the large development at 1956-1986 Weston Road and 1-5 Little Avenue. The development will be considered by Etobicoke York Community Council on June 27.

If approved, one of the buildings will have 35 storeys—up from 29 storeys in the 2019 plan—and be the tallest in Weston. The other will have 29 storeys. Together they will have 733 condominium units, up from 592 three years ago.

In the past, the development was opposed by staff, the Weston Village Residents’ Association, and community members, who said, among other things, it was too tall, too dense, too ugly, too close to the property line, and would cast too long a shadow.

Some of those concerns have been addressed. The buildings, while taller, take up less of the property. One of the buildings has been “reconfigured from the original proposal and pulled further back on the site, and angled away from Weston Road. This was to provide a stronger pedestrian perception area”.

Also, the developers have agreed to build a 3,400 square foot “non-profit community cultural space located on the ground floor of the existing heritage building at 3 & 5 Little Avenue” for the city.

However, issues remain. The 2019 staff report said the buildings “would result in a bulky, overwhelming presence which would not fit in with the surrounding area nor provide adequate transition in height to the surrounding properties”. The developers made some design concessions, but the buildings still seem overwhelming to me.

Staff also said “[we] suggest that the northwest portion of the site be re-designed to be a mid-rise building”. That, clearly, hasn’t happened. The shorter tower remains 29 storeys high.

Staff had concerns about shadows, particularly “regarding the shadow impacts on Little Avenue Memorial Park”. The new report doesn’t address the effects on the park—which presumably remain—but says shadows will fall on Weston Common (erroneously called the Weston Hub) at least some of the year for part of the day.

Other reasoning in the report is odd. For instance, the author says “although Tower A has a larger floorplate than typically recommended, it is in keeping with the existing built form context and is complemented by Tower B having a varied and generally smaller tapered floorplate.”

Even if a large tall tower were complemented by a smaller tall tower—which, honestly, I don’t get—there is a large, 12-storey podium joining the two towers, and the tower floorplate is invisible at ground level. Nobody will see the putative complement except from the air.

The development is also scheduled to be considered by City Council on July 19.