Did you know….?

An UP Express train at Weston Station (file).

Metrolinx has just published news of increased GO Train speeds along the Kitchener Line, specifically through Guelph. Speeds will be increasing from the current snail’s pace to slightly faster. What caught my eye was that the changes were given in miles per hour. Apparently all railways in Canada must measure their speeds in the old Imperial system – which might explain some of their other idiosyncrasies.

In the same blog article was a warning that trespassers can be hit with a fine of $5000. Cor blimey mate, that’s almost ¬£3000 in old money!

Development Charge overhaul

Cities used to develop organically. Once streets were laid down and divided into lots, neighbourhoods developed through general consensus. Noisy and smelly industrial areas were generally built away from residential areas and as cities expanded they relied heavily on businesses to provide the needed services and amenities. Nowadays, businesses pay a shrinking share of revenues to the city. To replace those lost revenues, Toronto uses development charges applied when new homes and businesses are constructed. Here are the amounts the city charges for new residential units.

Single homes & Semis $87,299

Multiples 2+ Bedrooms $72,158

Multiples 1 Bed and Bach. $36,198

Apartments 2+ Bedrooms $51,103

Apartments 1 Bed and Bachelor $33,358

Dwelling Room $23,660

These charges are applied regardless of the size of the home or the value of the land they are built on. For example, a detached 10,000 square foot Rosedale home built on an acre of land pays the same development charge as a 1200 square foot semi-detached in Rexdale. A luxury three-bedroom penthouse pays the same as a two-bedroom ‘affordable’ apartment. This doesn’t seem fair and may explain why some areas of the city lack appropriate services and amenities.

Readers have often wondered why developers need apartment buildings to be so much taller in Weston than in more affluent parts of the city. Development charges may be part of the reason.

Also under review is the Alternative Parkland Dedication Rate along with Section 37 charges. The idea behind Section 37 was to compensate for shoddy and overbuilt architecture by having the developer ‘donate’ to, for example, a community art project. One notorious example is the Nictophilia installation at Eglinton and Weston. Another is the exercise equipment in Cruickshank Park. The danger with this type of funding is that the local councillor’s hands are all over the project and it can end up appearing as a ‘gift’ from the councillor. Another problem with Section 37 funding was that the money generated was dependent on the value of the project. Downtown projects generated huge amounts of Section 37 money while our neck of the woods received token amounts. Read more here on the various charges or ‘Growth Funding Tools’ as the City now calls them.

The Province is asking for public input. Sadly, because I was slow in writing this article, two public information sessions have come and gone but it is not too late to provide input to the city by emailing¬†[email protected]

Autumn Arts tomorrow

Shakespeare in Action and Castlepoint Numa have planned an event for tomorrow: Autumn Arts (Hearts) Weston

Autumn has arrived in Weston! Between 1:30 – 4:30PM on Saturday October 16th, 2021 at 1844 Weston Rd., Shakespeare in Action will partner with Castlepoint Numa to host a free day for community members of all ages to gather outdoors around food in the Fall, and experience professional music and storytellers who will share stories around themes of harvest, food, and abundance.

This day of festivities will be hosted by the wonderful Amanda Cordner! Different community organizations and vendors will be on site with fall food & crafts as well as featured art by Star Nahwegahbo. Performing acts include Weston Silverband, Brandyn Leo, Rubena Sinha, Pierre Williams and many more! We hope to see you there!

Look inside the Kodak building

I don’t have a lot of nice things to say about Metrolinx, but I will admit that they moved heaven (figuratively) and earth (literally) to save the Kodak building at the Mount Dennis station.

About a month ago, they posted a short look-around inside the refurbished building on their blog. It’s worth a visit.

Other park concerns

Metrolinx’s September 28 meeting about the Eglinton West LRT raised several concerns. Regular readers will know that Metrolinx is planning a raised train through and above Fergy Brown Park. They are also planning a new, longer access road and “extraction shaft and portal” through what appears to be a stand of trees on park land.

Image from Metrolinx

My interpretation. Obvs, I’m not a cartographer.
From Metrolinx