No blood drawn in debate

Tonight’s debate among the Ward 11 candidates was interesting if not enlightening.

The contenders, responding (or not) to questions about public transit, public-sector salaries, public safety and business interests, engaged in a lot of cross-talking and some arguing about facts.  In the 60-second initial spot and a 30-second wrap-up, each presented themselves, unsurprisingly, as the best person for the job.

What viewers think will be clear on voting day.

Guest post by M. Lennon.

John Tory to moderate Weston mayoral debate

John Tory will be the moderator for the Weston-area mayoral debate.

The debate will include the five most prominent candidates: Rob Ford, Joe Pantalone, Rocco Rossi, George Smitherman, and Sarah Thomson.  Rocco Achampong, who has not been prominent in this year’s contest, will join them, as he grew up in the area.

John Tory is, of course, the former leader of the Conservative Party, former mayoral candidate, and an all-round go-getter. He was widely rumoured to have been considering a run for the mayorship himself.

The debate has been organized by the residents’ associations of Weston, Silverthorn, Mount Dennis, and Greenhills. It will be held at 7:30 on September 9 at York Memorial Collegiate, 2690 Eglinton Avenue West, at the corner of Keele St. and Eglinton Ave.

Mayoral Debate to be held in Weston

The mayoral candidates are coming to Weston.

The residents’ associations of Weston, Mount Dennis, Silverthorn and Greenhills have organized a mayoral debate to be held on Thursday, September 9, at 7:30. It will be in the York-Memorial Collegiate Auditorium.

Council to consider new bike paths in Weston

This week, City Council will be pushed toward two new bike paths in Weston.

The first part of the motion asks council to direct the city to “work with Metrolinx to explore all opportunities for a bike trail network running adjacent to the tracks along the Georgetown Corridor, beyond the boundaries of the West Toronto Railpath, and if possible, connecting to the West-Toronto Railpath and other existing trails.”

The West Toronto Railpath runs along disused tracks from roughly Dupont to Dundas St. Joining it would make it a cinch to commute downtown from Weston on a bike.

The second part of the motion asks the city to explain what steps are being taken to fix the Weston gap in the Humber River trail. The gap in the trail severs a long path that would otherwise almost join the northern reaches of the city to Lake Ontario. There are other small gaps, but the one in Weston is the nastiest; it forces bicyclists to ride along a very busy section of Weston Road near the Superstore.

The motion does not appear to commit the city to actually building the paths; it asks the city to explore and report. It was proposed by Nunziata and seconded by Ainslie.

The gap in the Humber Trail. Purple shows the route the city recommends. Red shows the most direct route. Past Cruickshank, the path runs almost uninterrupted to the lake. Past the 401, it runs nearly to Finch.
The West Toronto Railpath

George Brown College takes the first steps to Weston campus

George Brown College wants to build a new campus in Weston. The province confirmed this week that the college had submitted an application for funding.

In May Councillor Nunziata wrote to John Milloy, the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, to recommend Weston for a campus. This week, Milloy responded, saying, in part, “George Brown College has submitted its capital project template, and … the proposal for a new campus in Weston has been included.”

Paul Bedford, former chief planner for the city of Toronto, had first proposed a Weston campus at a community meeting in May, as one of several other ideas for reinvigorating the town. He said then that “George Brown College has taken interest in expanding a campus to Weston, although talks are in early stages.”

Lately, the status of the talks had not been clear, but Nunziata says “this is no longer just an idea—there is now a plan”. Of course, there are several hurdles yet to be overcome, not the least of which is securing approval and financing from the government. The province is collecting proposals from all colleges this year and will announce its plans in 2011.

College staff have toured the roughly 75,000 square feet of empty retail space at 31–35 King, which has sat vacant for several years. It is not yet clear whether that space is still being considered, but a space of that size would, by your humble correspondent’s rough calculations, be able to hold about 1000 students (George Brown has 15,000 full-time students).

The potential new site for George Brown College's Weston campus

Stimulus programs in Weston

While people have been saying the recession has been over for more than a year, the economic stimulus programs keep chugging along.

There are very few stimulus projects in Weston, though: only four, in fact. Three of the four are quite small, too—only one is more than $100,000.

By a huge margin, the largest project is in Weston Lions Park. According to Laura Albanese’s speech on Monday, the city, province, and feds are building an inflatable recreation dome. The project will cost about $2 million.

Other projects are tiny by comparison:

  • Improvements in Pelmo Park—$99,000
  • Improvements in Pellatt Park—$99,000
  • Resurfacing of a laneway near Weston and Laurence—$80,000

Oddly, almost all of the money in Weston is being spent on parks. City-wide, there are 9 categories of spending, the biggest of which are transit, water, municipal buildings, and roads. Weston did not get any money to build projects within these categories. Your humble correspondent worries that we missed opportunities.

Yet while we might have forgone some government money, our big project was funded much better than the city average. The average park project within Toronto was given about $400,000. The Lions Park Dome was given quintuple that.