The third Weston Station Master Plan meeting last night seemed well attended until the non-civilians were asked to stand up. Perhaps 25 citizens not on a related payroll (city, TTC, Metrolinx, politicians…) had bothered to come out (in fairness, during the last game of the Stanley Cup) and listen to the latest Weston Station news and developments. There seems a genuine desire to help Weston regenerate and Metrolinx is spending large amounts of taxpayer money in order to do this.
Some news delivered at the meeting:
The station opening date has slipped another week to late July.
There are three stages of development for the station; the 2012 version, the 2015 version and the beyond 2015 version.
2012 Station: this will minimalist with a platform and temporary ticket office.
2015 Station: Will have a canopy over the platform and a building with ‘lots of glass’ incorporating a local stone feature wall. ‘Kiss and ride’ and dedicated taxi lanes will ease access and for cyclists, bicycle access and shelters. The Airport Link platform will be at the north end of the station. Platforms will be kept clear of ice and snow without the use of salt (using glycol apparently). The pedestrian bridge across Lawrence Avenue will match the station architecture.
Beyond 2015: Metrolinx will work to facilitate more mid-rise development along Weston Road (south of Lawrence). Taller buildings will be set back from the street. The North parking spaces (currently visible) will eventually be redeveloped and the parking put underground. Because the platforms are away from the streets, there will be an effort to promote activity in the station area.
Residents’ questions focussed on traffic congestion caused by construction, especially at Weston and St Phillip’s and Rosemont. Once the station is up and running, there shouldn’t be huge numbers of cars leaving the parking lot. According to Frances Nunziata, there is a left turn signal in the works for southbound Weston Road traffic that should be implemented soon.
All levels of government were represented by Councillor Frances Nunziata, MPP Laura Albanese and Paul Ferreira (for MP Mike Sullivan in Ottawa). It was Ferreira however who seemed to capture the spirit of the evening when he pointed out that the station plans beyond 2012 are merely a vision. It’s up to all concerned to make sure that the vision is realized.
Weston Station is giving residents a fantastic opportunity to shape the future through careful attention to the details of the new station and surrounding development. What we already have in Weston is a rough gem of a community with unlimited potential. Occasionally, older residents remember the thriving ‘downtown Weston’ of old with its own Loblaws, several jewellers, tailors and a Kresge’s. Yorkdale killed that in the 60s and bad planning did the rest.
Today we still have many businesses in Weston – a large supermarket with a much bigger selection of foods than the old Loblaws ever had; restaurants galore and so on. Some of the businesses are ones that have been around forever and some that are new and perhaps unwelcome. However, if we choose to shop, buy services and dine elsewhere, we’ll have no-one to blame but ourselves when desired businesses fail and main street is left with dollar stores and payday loan companies. By voting for Weston with our custom and involvement in the political process, we signal confidence in Weston our ability to shape the present and the future.