Nunziata concerned about payday loan shops

Weston likely has more payday loan shops than any other part of Toronto. That may change, if only a little, as loan businesses come under increased pressure from local government.

For a large fee, payday loan shops will convert a post-dated cheque into cash. They are often used for short-term ‘cash crunches’, when a person is employed but does not have enough money to meet immediate expenses. The loans, however, are very expensive: Cash Money, a very popular franchise with 350 locations in Canada and 5 locations within 5 km of Weston, charges $21 for a 14 day loan of $100, the maximum allowed by law.

Payday loan and cheque-cashing business have been expanding rapidly but have recently been subject to much more regulation. Last year, the province restricted the amount of interest lenders could charge and limited their ability to ‘rollover’ loans—paying off one loan with another to the same client. These practices made it difficult for clients to get control of their debts.

The Etobicoke York Community Council (which covers Weston), heard a report today about payday loan stores. The report was commissioned because the council identified a “proliferation” of payday loan stores in the neighbourhood and because of concerns that these stores were operating without the correct permits. The council was concerned that some payday loan stores were accepting collateral (like old gold).

The report was referred for further review.

Councillor Nunziata explains her vote against bike lane on University Ave

Frances Nunziata explained her decision to vote against the bike lane on University Avenue. She voted to defer the decision on that lane until a study from Fire and Emergency Services had been completed.

Councillor Nunziata said that she was worried by the number of hospitals on University and that there could be conflict between bicyclists and ambulances. Jennifer Cicchelli, a staff member for Nunziata, said “emergency services felt that bicycle lanes would not be safe, as ambulances frequently have to speed up and down the street, and make quick turns to get to the hospitals, which could jeopardize the safety of cyclists using the proposed bicycle lanes.”

On the phone Nunziata said that she voted for all the other bike lanes considered last week. She said she would consider voting for the new lane on University when the study is completed and the lane is reconsidered, perhaps next year.

Mike Sullivan to run again?

Mike Sullivan, the former NDP candidate for Ward 11 and anti-diesel airport train campaigner, may be taking another run at the federal seat for York South-Weston.

On Tuesday, Sullivan appeared with Peggy Nash and Andrew Cash in a video that identified them all as NDP candidates. Cash and Nash had previously made their intentions to run clear, but Sullivan’s website had not announced his candidacy.

Three candidates for councillor

Three candidates are running for the position of councillor for Ward 11, with the municipal election still months away.

Incumbent Frances Nunziatta, who has served for three terms, is up against underdogs Leo Marshall and Abdi Hashised. Marshall has recently started a website, while Hashised appears to have no online presence.