In the future, Weston Village could be a showcase of how to do retail but currently it’s a showcase of how not to do it. In the GTA, Bloor West Village, Roncesvalles and Streetsville come to mind as old established neighbourhoods whose stores have successfully made the transition into the post-big box and shopping mall era. ‘What’s holding Weston back?’, you may ask. Well, there are many things – one is the stubborn refusal of the citizens of Weston to shop locally and another is the filth and litter that seems to pervade the place (perhaps the two are linked).
Part of the problem is that the intersection of Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue West is a transit hub. Many people are coming and going and as a result lots of litter is generated. Let’s not dwell too much on the people who do the littering. It’s a fact of life in a big city. What is obvious though is a tolerance for litter that exists on the part of shopkeepers and also the people responsible for removing it. What’s also obvious is that the same litter stays in place for days if not weeks on end. This attracts yet more litter.
While it is Winter and litter is sometimes difficult to remove at this time of year with salt and snow everywhere, thats an excuse you won’t hear in the places mentioned above. It’s certainly no excuse in the current snow-free spell.
If retail establishments find that the City isn’t taking care of the litter problems, they should complain. Property taxes go towards street cleaning and transit hubs need more of it. It also might be an idea for businesses to spend five minutes daily to clean up around their properties. It might be another idea for our councillor and the Weston Village Business Improvement Area to tackle this problem. This is something that can be implemented quickly with beneficial results.
As citizens, we too can play a part. 311 is the Toronto City Council number to call about litter (and many other) issues. Calls from several people about the same problem may mean quicker action.
Post Script. Not having seen any action on the clean-up, I phoned 311 on Thursday 22nd January to report the mess and was assured that there was nothing to do as the area had been cleaned up. On walking through the intersection today, it was clear that nothing had been done.
Thursday January 23: problem reported to 311 and this time I have a reference number. Apparently it takes about 3 business days.