More Crosstown Delays

Influential Toronto transit blogger Steve Munro is reporting a significant development in construction of the Eglinton Crosstown Line. Metrolinx has consistently stated that the line will not open until all stations are ready. Now it seems that thanks to various factors, Eglinton Station (at Yonge) might not be ready until May 2022 and a direct connection to the subway will be delayed until fall of that year.

Why the change in plans? Steve points out that, “The expected June 2022 provincial election will bring considerable pressure to provide a ribbon cutting for Premier Ford at whatever cost is necessary.”.

Read his blog post here.

View an interesting take on the line from Reece Martin below:

Update: Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster has called talk of a partial opening as a ‘distraction’. Verster seems unhappy with builders of the line, Crosslink Transit Solutions.

Read more here.

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.

Mount Dennis Station drone footage

Here’s the latest drone footage of the Mount Dennis Eglinton Crosstown station showing the latest progress in building the structures needed to connect Mount Dennis to the rest of the line. The Kodak building features prominently and the scale of the project can be appreciated from the air. An impressive entrance is shaping up on Eglinton. Let’s hope we actually get to use the line one day!

Enjoy.

Eglinton Crosstown Extension update.

The route of the proposed Crosstown extension from Mount Dennis to the airport.From Metrolinx.

It seems as if the Ford government is determined to push through a couple of transit projects; one is the Scarborough Subway and the other is the westward expansion of the Crosstown line from Mount Dennis to Renforth Drive and from there link to Pearson Airport. True to their promises, Ford and Etobicoke Centre MPP Kinga Surma want much of the line along Eglinton to be underground and so a Request for Qualifications was issued on March 10 for companies to express their interest (and show their credentials) in the tunnelling. Six kilometres of the line between Scarlett Road and Renforth Drive will be underground.

An RFQ seeks interested parties who, if they qualify, will then be invited to bid on actual contracts.

Read more here.

For a detailed view of the various options for the extension read this.

City to 1821 Weston developer: Try again.

The subject properties at 1821 – 1831 Weston Road. From Google. Click to enlarge.

The City has responded to a 36 storey proposal for developing this pair of properties on Weston Road just south of the UP Express station.

The consolidated property consists of a former movie theatre (Biltmore Odeon) now used as a place of worship (Bethel Apostolic Church) and a two-storey mixed use building.

The site and proposed development from the Toronto Planning document.

The developer is BSäR Group of Companies with a mostly positive reputation with this exception where in 2017, BSäR pleaded guilty to four counts of recovering possession of a rental unit unlawfully and was fined $14,000. Like many developers, BSäR has a minimal web presence. Established in 2007, its Principal is Tarek Sobhi and its President is Tyler Hershberg. The architects are Turner Fleischer.

Spoiler alert – BSäR wants to erect something too large for the site and build closer to the tracks and neighbouring properties than Metrolinx and the City would like.

Some lowlights highlights of the proposed building:

36 storeys
6-storey podium
454 apartments
261 resident parking spaces
29 visitor parking spaces
5 retail parking spaces
463 bicycle parking spaces.

Spaces:
10,000 square feet (approx) of communal indoor space spread over 3 floors
10,000 square feet (approx) of communal outdoor space on the podium roof.
At grade retail on the first floor.

Apartments:
74% 1 bedroom or bachelor
16% two bedrooms
10% three bedrooms

City Planning Staff Concerns:

  • Maximum allowed floor plate for tall buildings is 750 square metres; developer wants 820 square metres.
  • Minimum allowed setback from property lines is 12.5 metres; developer wants to shrink to 10 and 7.5 metres.
  • There will be strong shadow impacts on the UP Express station plaza.
  • The development may limit the potential of future development on adjacent land.
  • Rooftop communal area would be subject to uncomfortable and unsafe wind levels.
  • There should be fewer bachelor and one bedroom apartments and more two and three-bedrooms.

Section 37 money.
(Section 37 money is a ‘fine’ paid by developers in exchange for crappy architecture or overbuilding on a site.) Here’s where the City thinks the money should go:

  • Affordable housing or the securing of purpose-built rental housing at mid-range or affordable rent level categories.
  • An on-site day care facility or funding for one.
  • A contribution towards the revitalization of Weston Library.
  • A contribution towards the replacement of the Falstaff Community Recreation Centre (not even close to Weston).
  • Improvements towards local parks.

Other concerns from the City:

  • Planners haven’t been told if the BSäR Group are building rentals or condos. They would like a range of affordable rentals / ownership units.
  • Is the old Biltmore Odeon Theatre worthy of a heritage designation? Planners intend to find out.
  • Dog relief stations will be needed to ease pressure on local parks.

Bottom Line:
Staff have told the developer to revise the proposal so that it is more in keeping with the City’s guidelines.

At the moment, City staff are sending notices about this development only to people living within 400 feet of the site. If you would like to comment or to be added to the mailing list, contact City Planner Rory McNeil at: (416) 394-5683 or,
[email protected]

Provinces kills UPX-to-TTC fare discount

The discount program that knocks $1.50 off fares for commuters transferring from the GO or UPX to the TTC with a Presto card will end on March 31. The provincial government has ended funding for the program, which went over budget.

The program was started by the Liberal government in 2017. Its cancellation may hurt Weston more than most, because our best connection to downtown is on the UPX or GO trains.

Global says:

The province paid $18.5 million a year to offset the cost of the discount for both transit agencies, but the current Progressive Conservatives say the funding was designed to be temporary. A three-year agreement on the subsidy is set to expire in March 2020.