Weston kids to share a cup with soldiers

Weston Memorial grade 4 and 5 students will be visiting Toronto Emergency Medical Services today to pass along Tim Horton’s gift cards they collected. The cards will be sent to Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

The “Share A Cup with a Brave Canuck” program was started two years ago. It aims to give every soldier, sailor and airperson a thank-you card from someone back home in Canada. The program is led by Toronto EMS, and school children from Weston Memorial, Montogomery Village School, and St Jane Frances school will attend the event.

UrbanArts announces Winter Expo

UrbanArts has announced the dates for their annual Winter Expo. It will be held on Thursday, December 9, from 6 – 9 pm at George Harvey CI,  and will feature performances from local artists.

UrbanArts is a Weston arts group that offers programs to local youth. They have after-school and summer programs, and produce exhibits and performances several times a year.

The Winter Expo is a spin-off from the After School Arts Program (ASAP), which is for young people from 11 – 18. ASAP runs five days a week from 3:30 until 5:30 and gives instruction in visual arts, music, drama, dance, and improvisation.

The event will be hosted by Baby-G from CHRY radio and Weston CI’s student president, Devante Burey.

Two events from Heritage Weston

The Weston Heritage Convervation District has announced two events for the coming weeks. On the 27th, they will be having their AGM. Richard Charbonneau will be a guest speaker, explaining stone wall preservation.

On Wednesday, December 1, the Weston Historical Society will be having its 30th annual Christmas Carol and Hymn Sing.

All are welcome at both events.

Electrification Comment

How is it that just about every jurisdiction in Europe can install and run electric locomotives but here in Toronto, it’s beyond our ability? The use of the Pan-Am games to justify diesel (Metrolinx claims electrification cannot be achieved by 2015) is either faulty reasoning or a flimsy excuse. The 16-day Pan-Am games will manage just fine without a rail link.

Politicians need to understand, people don’t want smelly, noisy diesel locomotives barreling through suburban neighbourhoods several times an hour.

Electric locomotives are cleaner, quicker, quieter and more efficient. People would support this project enthusiastically if electrification were the goal. Let’s not get stuck with a poor choice because of lack of determination on the part of politicians or Metrolinx officials.

GO Transit responds

The Weston Community Coalition says GO Transit wants to expropriate six homes in Weston to make space for the Georgetown corridor. Metrolinx would beg to differ. Sort of.

According to Manuel Pedrosa, Community Relations Manager, GO Transit is “not planning to raze any homes. [But] we’ve concluded that one of the best options is to purchase the property during the three to four years that we’ll be building the Weston tunnel.” When asked what GO would do if the homeowners didn’t want to sell, Pedrosa said that they would have to cross that bridge when they got to it. Like other large government agencies, Metrolinx does have the right to expropriate, however.

Pedrosa says that the negotiations with homeowners are at an early stage: “We’re looking at a dialogue with the owners to see what their perspective is. Our first step is to contact them. We’ve been going door to door and calling them to explain what the impacts are.”

The impacts could be severe. Some of the properties are only a few feet away from the construction and might be severely affected, he says. “A couple of properties are only two feet away. So there will be potential damage.”

Pedrosa said that he is “not at liberty to reveal how many homes we have contacted. This a private dialogue between the impacted property owner and Metrolinx.” When I pressed him and made the point that telling the community the number of homes without identifying which ones in no way compromises the privacy of the homeowners, he stuck to his guns.

The meeting tomorrow night will not be focused on the property issues, although GO is willing to discuss it. Instead, GO will discuss the tunnel design, its look and feel, and how it integrates into Weston.

Metrolinx now wants to expropriate homes

Metrolinx is now planning to expropriate at least six homes in Weston to make way for the Georgetown line expansion, according to Mike Sullivan, the chair of the Weston Community Coalition and a longtime Weston advocate.

Metrolinx had planned a public meeting this week to discuss the design of the cut-and-cover tunnel that will be put through Weston. The meeting announcement does not mention that they are now planning to expropriate houses, although this is surely the most salient aspect of the design. Further, according to Sullivan, Metrolinx has said in the past that no expropriations would be necessary.

The homes that will be destroyed are between Church and King streets, on both sides of the tracks. They are on King, Church, and Fern.

The meeting will be at Weston Park Baptist Church at 1871 Weston Road on Thursday, October 28, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Everyone is welcome.