One of the problems of living in a big city is that much of the surface is paved over. When it rains, water drains quickly and can raise river and stream levels as well as create flooding in low lying areas. The solution is well known. Plant trees, build green roofs and where possible create temporary holding tanks for sudden water flows. To pay for this, staff last year proposed charging homeowners for the amount of non-absorbing roof and parking surface on their property. These are the people creating the problem so it’s fair that they should help pay for the solution. When Toronto’s Executive Committee considered the matter, following the Mayor’s direction, they recommended voting against the charges.
Councillor Nunziata voted with the mayor when the matter came to a full meeting of council but today has issued a helpful email itemizing what to do if your basement floods. That will be of small comfort to the many people whose lives have been disrupted yet again.
Running a big city costs money. Without a mayor and council with the courage to do the right thing, ordinary people are left to suffer the consequences. Charging people for the runoff they create would encourage a reduction in stormwater runoff and help pay for larger-scale flood prevention measures.
Instead of following staff recommendations, Mayor Tory and Councillors Mammoliti, Nunziata and others seemed place their trust in the short memory of voters, believing their re-election chances are more important than flooded basements. Kindred spirit Giorgio Mammoliti framed the charge as a ‘roof tax’ that would not play well in the suburbs.
City Council voted to oppose a proposed affordable-rental building at 2346-2352 Weston Road until the builders and staff negotiate some compromises.
The proposed building would be 15 storeys tall and have 157 units, primarily one-bedrooms or smaller. As proposed, it violates a number of regulations “with respect to built form, density, height, massing, site layout, shadow impact, proximity to the Humber River valley, access, parking and loading.”
A beautiful ‘spring’ day along the Pan Am Path that runs below and to the West of Weston Road. There’s a whole different world by the river in Cruickshank Park. This evening, a cyclist travels north towards where the trail ends at a set of steps (St Phillips and Weston Road). This part of the trail was built in 2013 and hopes were high that it would continue north. Instead, cyclists must haul their bikes up the steps and continue along Weston Road to Fairglen (where the trail continues) with fading sharrows their only protection from busy traffic. If the stair climb doesn’t get you, a driver on Instagram will.
I’ve been super busy this week with the end of term, and I haven’t been able to write as much as I would like. I haven’t been entirely idle, however: while I should have been marking, I flailed about at computer programming so badly that my friend Mohammad took pity on me and made this:
It’s Weston’s first backyard air pollution monitor!
Regular readers will recall that I applied for a grant from my employer to create a network of low-cost air quality monitors. I’m sorry to say that my application was declined, so I won’t have the money to roll many of these out. But I have rolled out one—so far!
The chart shows air quality information for the past seven days. The green band indicates very good air quality, and the yellow and red bands show what you would expect: middling and poor air quality, respectively. I should point out that this is far from scientific—after all, it’s a $50 sensor that I made. But it’s a start!
The details are not exciting, but the price is: I built it for about $65 (and $3000 of Mohammad’s time).