Weston ten years ago: November 2010

The new steps at Mallaby Park as they appeared in November 2010.

Here’s a taste of what was happening in Weston back in November 2010.

Some new steps had replaced the wooden ones at Mallaby Park, near St Phillips and Weston Road.

The Weston Farmers Market had wrapped up for another year.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford nominated Councillor Frances Nunziata as Toronto Council Speaker; a powerful position she has held since then. She was being sued by a disgruntled ex-employee and Adam looked at her expenses.

Artscape was investigating the possibility of an arts hub in Weston and where it might be located.

The In Touch Retirement Home was under scrutiny after two residents and later, a third resident died.

A brand new soccer facility in Lions Park was almost complete.

Adam reported on what our local politicians had been up to.

The Clean Train Coalition was battling Metrolinx and rallying over electrification.

Weston Clean Team

The Weston Clean Team is an awesome group of volunteers who regularly beautify parts of our neighbourhood. WCT has transformed many corners of Weston in the past and they will be in action this weekend, assembling Sunday at 1:30 on John Street south of the pedestrian bridge.

From their Facebook post:

1) We ask you to join us in the capacity that suits you best.**** Independently for 1- 2 hours at an area you want to change -or-**** Join the physically scattered group 1:30 -3:30 meeting on John, between Weston and the bottom of the pedestrian bridge.

2) If you find a shopping cart, place your garbage in it and text Mel Hamelin where it is.

3) Councillor Frances Nunziata has expressed gratitude for our efforts and will also be joining.

4) Please pick up one thing at a time to refrain from injury and contact of unseen items.

5) At the impromptu clean up last weekend, we brought our own bags and gloves. While we are organizing this in response to the request to join, we are not an organization and so do not have the supplies. Councillor Frances Nunziata Ward 5 indicated she will bring bags to the 1:30 meeting location

6) We are doing this simply because. Because we are a community, because we care.

7) If you yelled, ‘Thank you’ to us last weekend; if you liked our clean up post, please show your gratitude by joining us on this impromptu clean up.

Having been part of WCT clean-ups in the past, I can vouch that joining the group is a great way to meet some awesome neighbours while doing something positive for our community.

Ten years ago this month…

Suri Weinberg-Linsky speaking in support of Olympic Variety in September 2010 (file).

Here’s a little taste of what WestonWeb was covering a decade ago.

In September 2010, crime was a big issue with a rash of muggings and a double murder. Eighty people met in support of Olympic Variety in Weston Village. Have we settled down since then? I’d like to think so.

A Weston retirement home was coming under scrutiny – beginning a long saga that (we think) ended last year.

John Tory was about to referee a local mayoral debate for the 2010 civic election. Rob Ford, endorsed by then and current councillor Frances Nunziata was the surprise winner of that race. No doubt Tory foresaw his own 2014 candidacy at that meeting.

Lions Park’s soccer field was undergoing extensive preparations before being covered in artificial turf – it has proved to be an incredibly popular year-round attraction.

Urban Arts had completed a new mural and Toronto Council looked as if it would do something for Weston cyclists. Sadly a golden opportunity to build a path along the rail tracks was lost and ten years later the dangerous ‘Supercentre’ gap in the trail is still there.

Finally, speaking of rail tracks, the Clean Train Coalition (who successfully lobbied for an airport express station in Weston) was rallying in support of electric locomotives for the then unbuilt and unnamed UP Express. That dream is still a few years away although GO electrification plans will allegedly be developed by next year.

Walkers in Weston’s 2010 Pink Parade participate in the seventh annual Weekend to End Women’s Cancers. (file) Click to enlarge.

Nunziata supports Tory’s changes to policing

In her most recent email circular, Frances Nunziata says she supports Mayor Tory’s proposed changes to policing in Toronto. The changes

The changes are in three categories:

  1. Creating “alternative service delivery models for community safety response, particularly for individuals experiencing mental health crises, which would not involve police officers attending the scene”
  2. Managing a “fundamental re-alignment of the Citys budget priorities that focuses on the most marginalized in our community, to ensure they have the supports they require to address the root causes of crime”.
  3. Implementing “in full” recommendations to “stamp out discrimination in policing and improve response to people in crises” and review the police budget line-by-line with the Auditor General.

Tory also wants the police to wear body cameras by January 1, 2021.

Nunziata said that she supports the mayor’s recommendations. “They provide a comprehensive framework for a calculated approach to reallocating police funding toward community-led crisis intervention programs, and propose to re-align the Citys budget priorities to put an even greater focus on a robust system of social supports and services, including ongoing investments in Black, Indigenous and marginalized communities.”

She also sits on the Toronto Police Services Board.

Nunziata opposes defunding the police

Frances Nunziata opposes defunding the policethe international movement to reduce police budgets and redirect the money to other social programs. Her position is nuanced, though: she does believe “there are concrete ways in which the City can improve on emergency responses and replace armed police officers with mobile, community-based crisis programs to de-escalate and triage non-criminal incidents”. She also says that she supports funding for social programs as alternatives to the criminal justice system.

Nunziata says she will oppose a City Council motion that would cut the police’s $1.22 billion budget by 10%.

In an email forwarded to me, she said:

Our society is coming to a touchstone moment for a necessary shift in the way we approach racial injustice, policing, and crisis response. I have been genuinely inspired by the spirited dedication and motivation I am seeing and hearing from residents – and especially youth – across our city. This is a time to express emotions, have what are often considered those uncomfortable conversations, and address what comes out of these conversations in engaged, thoughtful and effective ways.

I do not support the motion to defund the Toronto Police Service by ten percent. While I appreciate the emotion behind it, I do not agree with the recommendations.

There is undoubtedly a need to engage in the conversation and indeed take action on the issues and injustices that are being discussed, but I do not believe that this motion is the way forward.

I wholeheartedly support allocating funding for community-led alternatives to policing and the criminal justice system, anti-racism education, programs identified in the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy, childcare, affordable housing, Tenants Defence Fund and food security.

There are still a number of days before City Council and I am listening to all sides of the conversation.

At the Toronto Police Services Board meeting on June 19th, a Motion by Board Member Uppala Chandrasekera was put forward with recommendations for the Board related to current events. The Board referred the report back to the Chair to allow time to engage in broad public consultation on it. I look forward to hearing these discussions.

I do believe that there are concrete ways in which the City can improve on emergency responses and replace armed police officers with mobile, community-based crisis programs to de-escalate and triage non-criminal incidents involving mental health, addictions and homeless individuals. I also believe that these solutions should be decided in consultation with Black, Indigenous and People of Colour community-led organizations and mental health, restorative justice and legal experts.

 

ActiveTO Quiet Streets launch dead on arrival.

Toronto the Careful™ has struck again.

Call me jaded but the plan to open up Toronto’s streets to pedestrians and cyclists seems to be (like most council actions in our fair city) massively underwhelming and certainly in Ward 5 the selection of streets doesn’t seem to address the spirit of the initiative. The idea was to ensure that, “people have space to get around on sidewalks while respecting physical distancing“. 

57 km or a minuscule 1.7% of Toronto’s 3,322 km of neighbourhood streets (excludes expressways, arterial and collector roads) will be temporarily signed and barricaded off to all but local traffic. York South-Weston is giving this treatment to 3.7 kilometres of its streets. Sadly none are in Weston or Mount Dennis.

The Ward 5 closed off streets will be:

StreetFromToLength
Bicknell AveRogers RdEglinton Ave 0.9 km
Silverthorn AveSt. Clair Ave WDonald Ave 

Total of 2.8 km

Donald AveSilverthorn AveHaverson Blvd
Haverson BlvdDonald AveCameron Ave
Blackthorn AveCameron AveEglinton Ave W

Source: Councillor Nunziata’s May 13 COVID Update.

Council felt the need to do something, and something, albeit timid and careful has been done. At least they restrained themselves from calling it a pilot. Additional streets will be considered ‘thereafter’.

The affected streets are shown with red dotted lines. Click to enlarge. Adapted from Google Maps.

According to Councillor Nunziata’s update, the criteria for selection of these streets was, “…several factors including, but not limited to, population density, equity, access to greenspace, car ownership rates, and traffic volumes.“. The councillor’s selection appears to be entirely inside her newly acquired constituency – Frank DiGiorgio’s  former Ward 12 so perhaps this is a little nod to them.

Incidentally, all but one of the selected streets have sidewalks on both sides so it’s hard to imagine crowds of people jostling for space.

Looking south from where Blackthorn Ave and Haverson Blvd meet at Cameron Ave. From Google Maps.

Readers are invited to suggest locations in Weston and Mount Dennis that might be more suitable. We will forward them to the councillor for future consideration.

Update: The city has published their list of ‘Quiet Streets’ and the Ward 5 selections are nowhere to be seen.