The short story: everybody is on board for a more prosperous, better-connected Mount Dennis. Alex Bozikovic wrote in the Globe:
Spread new growth across the neighbourhood. Focus on jobs and mix up jobs with some housing. Bring lots of people to live near transit. It sounds simple, but would require some changes to the city’s usual planning approach.
Interestingly, many locals are on board with this agenda. Mike Mattos, who heads the Mount Dennis Community Association, says the group largely welcomes the ULI proposals and, in places, development. “We need more people in the area,” he told me. “We don’t think the retail strip is going to survive with the current population. And we need more of the right kinds of jobs.” With all that, and some inventive policy, this could become a more prosperous place without becoming any less interesting.
Options For Homes is a non-profit condo developer with a building called ‘The Humber‘ under construction at 10 Wilby Crescent in Weston. To say that they are bullish on Weston is a bit of an understatement but they have a history of choosing and building in ‘up and coming’ neighbourhoods, calling themselves urban pioneers. Here is their take on the Weston neighbourhood.
There are two buildings in Weston that really get under my skin. Every time I see them, they upset me.
They’re the houses at 2276 and 2274 (or so) Weston Road. For much more than a decade, they’ve been falling down. They’re patently dangerous, but since I’ve lived here they’ve remained standing—becoming ever more hazardous and ever uglier.
Today, on my way to pick up dinner, I thought I’d stop by. There’s a fence, after
a fashion, on the front of the property—but it has gaps, and there’s nothing at all on the side of the property.
The roof and first storey on the rightmost building has fallen in, and it’s possible to see daylight and snow in the house. The porch roof, too, has collapsed. The roof of the taller building is collapsing, and it looks like someone has been prying at the boarding on the back.
I am not a lawyer, but the half-hearted fencing and missing boarding both seem to be bylaw violations. The city says that all vacant buildings must be securely boarded up and that the owners of hazardous buildings “shall erect and maintain fencing to prevent access to the property.” The fencing is supposed to be made permanent if work isn’t being done on the building.
There are larger issues: it’s not at all clear why, even after 10 years, the bylaws aren’t being enforced.
It’s especially unclear why the city allows houses to fall down—and to drag property values with them. I once got a whopping ticket for putting out my trash on the wrong day, but it seems that allowing my whole property to become a dump would be a-okay.
And it’s totally opaque to me why we—you and I—haven’t complained until these homes got fixed. Those houses are a necrotic spot on Weston’s artery. Did we stop noticing the ache? Were we hoping it would pass?
The Weston Village developers sent along some details about the homes they have planned at the corner of Church and Weston.
To my untrained eye, the homes look very nice. The smaller homes (Spruce, Hampshire and Willow) are 1250-or-so square feet and start at $710,000. The most expensive homes (Everton, Beech, Hampton and Willington) are about $1,050,000, and around 1850 square feet.
The largest homes are the townhomes. They are between 2100 and 2200 square feet and fall in the middle of the price range.
Way back in 2018, I was asked what was up at the Church Street site of the Humber River Hospital (and I never did find out). An answer has come to light thanks to some readers and Frances Nunziata’s circular: It’s a “Reactivation Care Centre”—an off-ramp for acute-care hospital patients, who “no longer need acute care services, but often find themselves waiting for an alternate care facility, such as convalescent and long-term care.”
Our RCC is the second in the province, preceded by the Finch Avenue site that was also part of the Humber River Regional Hospital group.
According to Nunziata’s circular, things are still getting started at our location, and at present, there are 94 beds. An additional 120 will be opened in March.
The Church Street site will alleviate pressure at local acute-care hospitals that are part of the Central Local Health Integration Network. Sunnybrook, for example, typically has “an occupancy rate of over 100 per cent”; sending patients to the Church RCC will free up beds needed urgently, and give patients specialized restorative care.
So it’s a win-win.
It’s also great news for Weston.
When the Church Street site was closed, many residents were concerned that it would be sold to developers, and that a high-density development would be built in a low-density neighbourhood. There were also concerns we would be missing the chance to develop a public good, like a college, seniors’ home, childcare, or park.
Plans to sell the property were thwarted, at least at first, by an odd legal artifact: 70 years ago, the Trimbee family sold the land to the Town of Weston with the condition that it would be used only for a hospital. The city sought to vacate that condition.