The Ward Broome building at 2431 Weston Rd will almost certainly be demolished. In Community Council yesterday, the recommendation of city staff was approved.
The Broome building was spared once before. An application to demolish it went all the way to City Council before it was pulled back for a second thought. The Weston Historical Society was given a chance to have a peek inside and see if the building was worth saving.
The Society found a few things of interest, which they will have the chance to preserve. The Historical Society will also be notified in the future if another building is threatened with demolition.
Toronto is a feudal city, in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, says a widely-publicized report from the Cities Centre of University of Toronto. Weston and Pelmo are among few areas in the whole city that have remained middle class, but growing income disparity threatens all the inner suburbs, the author, J. David Hulchanski, says.
The report, “Three Cities within Toronto” says that poverty has moved from the downtown to the edges of the city, and into the northwestern and northeastern suburbs in particular. The middle class is disappearing: fewer than 1 in 3 households is middle-income, down from 2 in 3 in 1970.
Hulchanski compares the Toronto of 1970 to the Toronto of 2005 and extrapolates into the future. 35 years ago, neighbourhoods were mostly middle class, with a tight spread around the middle income. A few places were richer, and a few were poorer, but there were few large disparities.
The Toronto of 2005 is much different. A few areas have become richer, but the middle class has slipped in comparative income and Toronto has become bifurcated: the rich live in an upside-down T along the subway. The poor live in the rest of the city. The author sees this trend continuing into the future. Much more of the city will become poor; some of it will become rich. Weston, according to the maps, will not be fortunate.
The author’s views should be studied cautiously, of course. First, it is not clear why Weston will fall from middle income to poor. The author does not mention Weston, and none of his clear assumptions seem to apply to our town, even using his own data. His conclusion is based on the the assumption that changes that have occurred will continue. Yet Weston has not yet slipped at all, so it is not clear from his report, why it would begin to do so.
Second, the author is adamant that this is not an inevitable change. Income distribution programs, a more equitable distribution of low-income housing, and policies that foster growth among the poorest classes can slow and reverse the unpleasant scenario he describes.
The author also says “Implementation of the Transit City plan and the Tower Neighbourhood Renewal initiative are also essential for making [the poorer neighbourhood] desirable for both its residents and for a broader socioeconomic mix of households. The segregation of the city by socio-economic status need not continue. It can be slowed and reversed.” Alas, both these programs are threatened by the Ford administration.
Eleven families have been given the keys to new houses in Weston, courtesy of Habitat for Humanity.
The houses are on Weston Road between Denison and Jane. According to the Toronto Star, more than 10,000 volunteers donated more than 100,000 hours to build them. The 11 lucky families each also put in 500 hours of volunteer work.
The families will not receive the homes for free, but will get their houses for far less than they would otherwise cost. The average price of a Habitat house is about half of a typical Toronto home. The new residents will pay that back in an interest-free 25-year mortgage.
Toronto City Council has referred the demolition application for the Ward Broome Building back to Etobicoke York Community Council, at Frances Nunziata’s request.
City staff had previously recommended that the demolition of the building be allowed to proceed, and the Etobicoke York Community Council gave its go-ahead on December 10. City Council usually rubber-stamps applications like this, once they have been given the imprimatur of the lower levels. This time, however, Nunziata asked to have the issue sent back to community council to be reconsidered.
According to Jennifer Cicchelli, Nunziata’s office was “contacted by several residents in Weston who expressed concern that the building in question has heritage value.” In the re-evaluation period, the Weston Historical Society will have a look at the building to see if it has any preservation value. They will report to Community Council with their findings.
The Ward Broome building is across from the lot that Metrolinx bought as a staging area, leading to speculation that it might also be used for that purpose. Frances Nunziata’s staff has no information, however, about what is planned for the site.
The vacant lot at Weston Rd and Oak St will remain vacant for the next five years, according to InsideToronto. This lot is directly across for the Ward Broome Building, which will likely soon be demolished. Your humble reporter does not know if the two issues are related.
The vacant land had been zoned for condominiums, but the article says Metrolinx has since purchased it, and will use as a staging area for the construction on the Georgetown line
A sidebar to the article lists some of the other vacant properties in Weston.
The Ward Broome building at 2431 Weston Rd, just south of Oak St, will likely be demolished.
Dave Tomei applied to Etobicoke York Community Council for permission to demolish the former industrial paint and coating building. City staff have given their go-ahead, subject to conditions, and the matter will go one more time before the community council before going up to the city level for approval.
The existing private trees must be preserved, and Tomei will have to negotiate a beautification agreement with city staff.
The dining scene is dismal in Weston. There are few restaurants, and fewer good ones. And now an old standby, Peter Anan Thai Restaurant, has closed.
Peter Anan’s was a strange place. It forewent the bamboo and Buddhas for the style of a 1960s cafe. The food was merely decent, but the prices were fair, the service was excellent, and the owner and staff were kind.
Now the windows are papered over, and Anan has put a sign on the door: “Dear customer, THANK YOU for all the past business.”