1705 Weston Road Meeting well attended

There was a crowd upwards of 70 people in attendance last night at 1901 Weston to hear details of a by-law amendment proposal that would allow a (so far, nebulous) 25-storey, 82 metre, mixed-use building to be built on a site at Weston Road and Victoria Avenue. The meeting was called by the City of Toronto so that residents could get more details about the proposal from the developer, architect and city officials. No decisions have been made yet -comments from residents concerning the proposal will allegedly guide the Planning Department as to what they will or will not approve. Councillor Nunziata and MPP Laura Albanese were present.

The meeting was kicked off by Sean Rooney a member of the planning department who stated that their goal is to see something built that fits into the local environment. He referenced the 2004 Weston Urban Design Guidelines state that buildings should be restricted to 8 storeys, having an appropriate size and scale and support the vitality of the area. There’s also the tall building guidelines that somehow come into play. In addition, new guidelines have also been added to encourage more children to be raised in high rises.

There were several groups in the crowd, not all on the same page. A group from ACORN would like to see an affordable housing component built into whatever ends up there. Local homeowners are concerned about the extra noise, shadow impacts and traffic; some want a condo built stating that we have too much rental accommodations in Weston while others reported that even Weston’s comparatively low rents are too high for them.

The proposed building. Note that there will only be four balconies per floor – these will be a feature of the two or three-bedroom units.

The building, it was revealed by the developer, will be a condo not a rental but in these early stages, there is openness to some leeway. According to the owner, talking about the interior details would be speculative as nothing has been decided yet.

The architect explained that the odd placement of the top section lumped onto the lower is to “align with the residential zone across the street” and also to assist with shadow impacts. Incidentally he glossed over the shadows that the building would cast in December. Weston Road will be widened in the future by 12 feet further restricting the site. A further limitation on the site is that there must be a 30 metre setback from the rail line. (I wonder how this would affect future rail corridor widening.)

Many expressed concern over the height of the building and the impact of traffic in the area. With a potential for over 500 residents in the building, and an assumption from the developer that 50% of residents would be using public transit, 6 visitor parking spaces seems low.

Other concerns from residents:

  • Noise from trains would be reflected by the tall building to other residents.
  • Property values of nearby homes will be negatively impacted.
  • 500 additional residents will bring unacceptable traffic levels along Victoria Avenue.
  • There is not enough ground floor retail space for a supermarket.
  • The development is not in keeping with the scale of the neighbourhood.
  • Other Toronto communities think 14 stories is too tall – why 25 here?
  • This is not responsible development.
  • Concern about density.
  • Concern about affordability.
  • The proposal does not fit into the community.
  • This will create a precedent if approved.
  • We don’t need another rental building.
  • Can a community control its own destiny?
  • What about affordable child care spaces in the building?
  • Why is there confusion over height guidelines? – They conflict with each other.

Sean Rooney from the Planning Department would like to hear further comments on the proposal.
Tel. No. (416) 394-8245
By email: here

Big Blue Wave’s a coming

From Twitter.

Every four years, election fever grips the land (did I mention we love elections here at Weston Web?). This year, there are two elections and the first (June 7) is to elect a provincial parliament for the next four years.

Before we go any further, as a helpful guide to our readers, here is a 3-point cynical guide to the Canadian political system’s 3 levels of government.

  1. The Federal Government collects most tax money (about $300 billion) and does the least for the average citizen on a day-to-day basis. It takes care of nation-wide things like defence, trade and border controls.
  2. The Provincial Government collects a lot less money (about $140 billion) but does more things that affect our daily lives like build and maintain major transportation links and run health care.
  3. Toronto Council has the biggest impact on our daily lives yet collects the smallest amount (about $36 billion) to serve 23% of Ontario’s population and because it is forbidden by law to run a deficit, has nowhere near enough money. To finance city operations, they must beg for funds from the other two levels. This may be because the other two levels know that on any given day, about one third of councillors are batshit crazy logic impaired and many of their decisions make no sense. To put things into perspective, PC leader Doug Ford was a Toronto councillor for four years and was considered at the time to be mildly eccentric.

Anyway, digression over. About two years ago, just before the last federal election, Weston Web went out on a twig and predicted that a big red wave was coming that would sweep the country. Dutifully, the Liberals under Ahmed Hussen captured York South-Weston from then MP Mike Sullivan.

We’re going to make another equally bold declaration for the upcoming June 7th provincial election. According to several polling companies, the Progressive Conservatives under Doug Ford are likely to form the next government barring a major upset. We don’t (that’s the royal ‘we’; I shouldn’t speak for Adam) beg to differ.

What does that mean for Laura Albanese, MPP for YSW since 2007? Over the years, she has formed alliances, grown into the job and holds down a cabinet post. She is hard working and well liked with an effective and experienced staff. Will she be swept away and lose her seat to the PC Candidate, Mark DeMontis? Will the animosity towards the Wynne government combine with a blue Ford Nation wave to propel young Mr. DeMontis into office? Then there’s the NDP. Running for the first time is well known community activist, Faisal Hassan. Can the NDP under leader Andrea Horwath mount an opposing Orange Wave between now and June 7? Will York South-Weston’s left of centre voters consolidate under Mr. Hassan’s NDP banner in order to stop PC leader Doug Ford? Let’s not leave out Bonnie Hu and Grad Murray running for the Libertarian and Green parties respectively.

What does it mean for Toronto and in particular YSW? The provincial government is vitally important in steering much needed money towards Toronto’s woefully inadequate transit system, lousy infrastructure, and other neglected projects like public housing. If allocated funds are cut off, or are diverted to projects that align with a new government direction, the city will have to start the laborious planning process from scratch. More on this in later articles.

At the moment, campaigning cannot officially begin until May 9th but leaders and candidates are straining at the leash. Let’s hope they can get the electorate to participate more than they did last time. In 2014’s provincial election, Ms. Albanese won with 15,660 votes – a mere 22% of the 72,000 eligible voters in the riding. Sadly, almost 39,000 eligible voters in YSW didn’t vote for any candidate. Thats 54% of voters!

From TrinbagoViews.com

Engaging those, ‘Who cares?’ non-voters may be the key to winning on June 7.

Weston Janes Walk next Saturday, May 5th.

Janes Walks are free, community organized neighbourhood tours, volunteer led by the people who live there.

Jane’s Walks encourage people to share stories about their neighbourhoods, discover unseen aspects of their communities, and use walking as a way to connect with their neighbours.

Named after American born community activist Jane Jacobs who moved to Toronto in the 60s. She revolutionized thinking about what it means to live in a city.

The Weston Historical Society has organized several Janes Walks over the past few years and they are offering another on Saturday May 5th at 10:00am.

A River Runs Through It – And So Much More
Led by Cherri Hurst and Mary Louise Ashbourne, Weston Historical Society
10 – 11:30 am | Meet at St. John the Evangelist School at 49 George Street, Weston.

Showcasing Weston’s history but informing participants of what is new and exciting about Weston will be the main theme of this year’s Walk. With some of it showing the Humber River’s part in Weston’s history and its present contribution to making Weston the place to be. Fourteen stops only begin to show what someone can find in the area. With participants ranging from the BIA to Options for Homes to the Lions Arena this year’s Walk promises to be interesting and informative. There is one downhill slope and one medium size uphill slope. Ramps on and off the bridge. The steps can be avoided by taking a secondary route. This Walk will end in front of the mural on the old fire hall in the parking lot at the corner of Little Avenue and Weston Road.

Best french fries in Weston / Mount Dennis?

From Wikipedia.

I’m on a quest to find the best french fries and I need your help dear readers. French fries are my guilty pleasure. They’re packed with calories, have way too much fat and salt and probably shorten our lives but who cares? Good fries are worth it.

There aren’t that many variables in creating good fries. The type of potato is important, the fat or oil has an influence, how they’re cooked (once, twice etc.) and at what temperature as well as seasonings added before or after cooking.

The mark of a good fry is that it can be eaten on its own without too much ketchup, vinegar or mayo. My wife insists that the best fries in the world are sold at just about any food joint inside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem. While I have to agree, it would be nice to find some just as good here.

We’ve quite a few places to choose from when it comes to local fries but quality seems to vary. If you go to P&M’s, you can be sure to get fresh cut fries and lots of them. Close by, Zeal Burger has great fries; especially with the ‘Z Sauce’ that Mark makes. Golden Crisp in Mount Dennis gets good reviews. Local political activist Riley Peterson insists that the fries at Weston Lions Arena are the best by far.

As a community service, readers are invited to share where the best local fries are. We are excluding chains like MacDonalds which add things like beef flavour and dextrose (a form of sugar) to their fries.

So dear readers; where are the best local fries? Please share. As part of my personal mission, I’ll be trying some at the arena this Saturday to see if the rumours are true.

Sad Postscript: Weston Lions Arena is closed until October. I went round there today and they are melting the ice.

Here are some of the comments from WestonWeb’s FaceBook account.

What about this idea, Council?

Giorgio Mammoliti speaking at City Council made absolute sense today when he questioned the uniform application of development charges across the entire city. Development charges are what the city bills developers for putting up new housing or building non residential floor space. These are the current rates for the city. Speaking shortly before the lunch recess today, Mammoliti seemed to indicate that Councillor Nunziata agrees with him.

He will be putting forward a motion at council this afternoon  that would encourage developers to build in the far flung suburbs by reducing development charges in areas like his own Ward 7, Weston, Mount Dennis and other parts of Toronto where some encouragement for development is needed.

Let’s hope he succeeds.

Watch this afternoon’s City Council session live here.