9 years later, two houses remain dangerous eye-sores

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.

Nine years ago
Today

Today, on my way to pick up dinner, I thought I’d stop by. There’s a fence, after

It’s a little hard to tell, but this is the view *through* the front window. That’s snow and daylight.

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?

More info on Weston Village development

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.

 

Affordable units assigned through lottery, starting Monday

47 affordable apartments at 22 John and 33 King St will be put on the market between tomorrow, Monday, January 14 and Monday, January 28. The units will be given to lucky residents who win a lottery.

Rents for the units will be “no more than 80% of the average market rent” for at least 25 years. 12 units will be set aside seniors, and five will be for residents receiving a housing allowance.

The federal and provincial governments will contribute $7 million to the affordable units. The city will not collect development charges, property tax, or education levies, forgoing $1.2 million.

What’s up at Church Street Hospital?

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.”

Photo from Sunnybrook

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.

10 Wilby sales going well

10 Wilby Crescent – artists concept.

The Humber, a 22-storey condo under construction at 10 Wilby is now 40% sold according to Options For Homes’ latest newsletter. Demand for parking spaces has exceeded supply (from the original 131) and OFH is planning to add another level of underground parking in response. This entirely non-smoking, (vaping allowed), building should be ready by 2021 or 2022.

OFH is offering a $500 reward to anyone referring someone who goes on to purchase a home in The Humber. Find out more here or in the latest OFH newsletter here.

Incidentally, OFH has some great information on their site about the amenities here in Weston.

Welcome to Weston Videos

I was away for a while last month and missed these two excellent videos on Weston produced by Options for Homes. OFH is currently building a condo on the banks of the Humber at 10 Wilby Crescent.

Both videos feature Squibb’s Stationers owner (and Weston Village Residents’ Association Communications Director), Suri Weinberg-Linsky talking about Weston and promoting it as a place to live.

Here they are in one convenient spot.


 

Rents rising in Weston, Mount Dennis.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Toronto’s apartment rental costs increased substantially between 2012 and 2017, particularly in the Weston and Mount Dennis area. The Toronto Star has used CMHC data in an interactive map which shows that Weston’s rental prices jumped nearly 18% during that time period while Mount Dennis prices increased by 27.8%.

In 2012, apartment rental averages in both neighbourhoods were roughly comparable at around the $1000 level but by 2017, rentals jumped to $1117 in Weston and $1201 in Mount Dennis. While this is still low compared to downtown where rents average over $2200, it will be of little comfort to people who come to the suburbs looking for more affordable accommodation.

The average annual rent increase over that period (thanks to the power of compound interest) seems to have been about 2.5% for Weston and 4% for Mount Dennis. Under Ontario’s rent control legislation, the average yearly rent increase over that period should have been 1.68%. Why the discrepancy? Once a tenant moves out, landlords can charge whatever the market will bear. In areas with more turnover, rents can rise rapidly if there is sufficient demand.

From the Toronto Star.

Premier Ford recently legislated the end of rent controls on all new rental buildings occupied after November 15th. He apparently believes that this will encourage more rental apartment construction. Incidentally, PC Premier Mike Harris ended rent control in 1997 claiming that a boom in rental housing construction would result.

It didn’t.