Will you be my pollution partner?

I’ll soon have the chance to do a bit of scientific research, and I was wondering if any loyal readers in Mount Dennis or Weston might be interested in participating.

My plan is to build low-cost (no cost to you) sensors that will detect noise and dust pollution. The sensors would automatically post data online so that we could all see how trains, construction, and traffic affect (or don’t affect) our lives.

To participate, you’ll need wifi, a place outdoors where you can put a little box, and some patience with me.

If you’re interested, drop me a line: adam@adamnorman.com

Hussen faces tough situation

Having been released from prison for serious crimes, Abdoul Kadir Abdi, a Somalian-born childhood refugee, faces deportation. Abdi’s adoptive mother and Ahmed Hussen, the man who holds Abdi’s fate in his hands, both have ties to Weston: she lives in the riding, and Hussen is both her MP and the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, and Refugees.

Eighteen years ago, Abdoul Abdi was taken by Nova Scotia’s child services, and he lived in many foster homes—but the province of Nova Scotia did not apply for Abdi’s citizenship. Had they done so, he would not be facing deportation now.

Asha Ali, his aunt (who has been Abdi’s mother since his birth mother died in a refugee camp) says she couldn’t apply. She spoke to Desmond Cole:

I tried! I insist more than three times in a row, but unfortunately I couldn’t succeed because the Department of Community Services, along with Children’s Aid, blocked my way and take me to court and said, “legal guardian of these kids permanently is us, and that’s our job. Asha should not apply [for] their citizenship.”

She says she met with Ahmed Hussen before he was elected, who, she says, told her her he would help. She says she has since been rebuffed:

DESMOND: And what has he done in recent times on this issue for you?

ASHA: Nothing. I tried since the last year going back and forth his office. His secretary and his assistants asked me [for] all the documents in this case. I put them up, I gave them. and then they asked me, “come back.” Tomorrow, next day, he’s not here, he’s in Ottawa. He’s gonna meet you next week. Week after week. And then next thing I know they said, “Ahmed Hussen’s not able to help you for this case—we’re closing the file.”

Abdoul’s sister asked Justin Trudeau about her brother’s deportation. He told her “As far as I know there hasn’t been any final decisions made yet…. I can assure you that our immigration minister, who himself came to this country as a 16-year-old Somali refugee, understands the challenges and the situation that your family is facing right now””

96 John appeal rejected as “destabilizing”

The application to sever 96 John Street has been rejected by the Ontario Municipal Board on the grounds that it wouldn’t be in character with the neighbourhood. This may set a good precedent for the village.

The owners had asked to sever the lot and for permission to build a second home. The lots would have been 7.5m wide—unusually small for the community.

The decision is very encouraging if you believe, as I do, that Weston has a unique character that shouldn’t be fiddled with. The OMB based its decision on the size and character of the village’s lots, and said that approving a division would be “destabilizing”.

[The] Weston neighbourhood is currently a very stable neighbourhood that is not undergoing any change in its lot fabric and pattern of lot sizes… In the Board’s view, to allow this consent would thus represent a significant departure from the lot fabric of lot sizing and lot configuration that exists as part of the physical character of the Weston neighbourhood….

Although cases must be decided on their own merit, and although the possibility of establishing a precedent should not interfere with the examination of the merits of any application, in a neighbourhood such as the Weston village, the consequential impact of approving the first severance of this nature cannot be overlooked, nor the potential destabilizing effect that such a precedent might then cause.

The OMB also appeared baffled by the planning department  staff, who initially submitted a single-line email saying “Planning has no concerns” without, it seems, having actually reviewed the facts in the lot study.


Events this week

The Weston Historical Society will be holding its General Meeting on at 7:30 on Wednesday February 7,  2018 at The Village of Humber Heights Retirement Home, 2245 Lawrence Avenue West.

Our guest speakers will be Mary Louise Ashbourne & Cherri Hurst.
Their topic will be “Celebrating What Was and Still Is (In Weston).”

All are welcome, and refreshments will be served. The meeting is wheelchair accessible.

Residents bugged by bad behaviour

Westonians on Victoria Ave are being bothered by the poor behaviour of Mr. Automotives Sales and Finances, according to InsideToronto.

The dealership is taking up all the parking spots on Victoria, making it hard for residents to park, or even leave their driveways:

“They have the audacity to block my driveway,” DiMarco told The Guardian. “It’s getting really frustrating.”…

Mr. Automotives customers do park on the street, according to manager Laura Davidson. And, “there is some overflow (of the parking lot) while we do some juggling (of cars),” she said.


Job opportunites for youth this summer

With the weather like this, it’s hard to believe that there ever will be a summer. Nonetheless, Service Canada remains faithful, and will be having a summer jobs fair on January 17th at 5pm at 99D Ingram Drive.

The Toronto Police will also be hiring for their Youth In Policing Initiative. The information is in the poster below.

Child poverty report damns Weston

While the business world is a-tizzy with the minimum wage and the city consults on the budget in this election year, you should cast a glance today at the kids walking home from school. Four in ten of them are desperately poor. They are your neighbours.

40% of Weston children live in poverty; 37% of Mount Dennis children do, a number that has not budged in the last 5 years, according to a report done in November by Social Planning Toronto and other social agencies.

Map of child povertyAnd make no mistake: children in poverty are very poor indeed: their families make between $25,498 (one parent, one child) and $36,426 (two adults, two children). They are more likely to be Indigenous, visible minorities, recent immigrants or refugees, and members of single-parent families, according to the report.

% of racialized children in low-income families
Weston’s poverty rate is much higher than the rate in the city as a whole, which is, in turn, much higher than in the rest of the country. Toronto has the highest child-poverty rate of any city in Canada: roughly 25%—more than double the rate in Calgary or the Halton region.

Even in Toronto, though, child poverty is unequally distributed. North and north-central Toronto are rich because the poor are pushed to the margins, generally in the inner, older suburbs.

Unequal City has one simple recommendation: pay for all the things we’ve already promised:

In recent years the City has developed, and City Council has overwhelmingly approved, a range of strategies to improve access to training and good jobs, as well as key supports and services, by those who face the most barriers to success. However, many of these strategies have not been implemented because they have not been fully funded.

Doing so would be cheap: $66 million a year, if we don’t include housing, which “may be partly supported at the provincial level”. That, as the report points out, is less than 1% of the city’s budget.