Golf course review

I ride my bike a lot (too much this weekend), and one—extremely obvious—thing I’ve noticed is that we have a lot of golf courses in the neighbourhood: Weston, Lambton, Oakdale, Scarlett Woods, and Humber Valley.

Three of the five are private, and expensive, but both Scarlett Woods and Humber Valley are city-owned, public courses. The city probably loses money on the courses every year, and that makes for a tough conversation about priorities.

Should taxpayers be subsidizing golf—not a particularly accessible sport—and green space that is closed off for much of the year to alternate uses? Are there opportunities for alternative and complementary uses? This year, for example, Scarlett Woods was opened in off-season to disc golf.

City staff will consult residents on June 14 about these issues. They ask that you register online.

Two local researchers up for Suzuki prize

Justine Ammendolia and Jacquelyn Saturno are finalists for the “Future Ground” prize from the David Suzuki foundation. Ammendolia and Saturno research pollution from discarded PPE.

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When the pandemic began in March 2020, Justine Ammendolia, an environmental scientist and data analyst, and her partner Jacquelyn Saturno observed masks, gloves and disinfectant wipes piling up in day-to-day places throughout their long daily walks around Toronto.

“The problem is there’s just too many facets of society using these types of items and it’s hard to get those numbers together,” Ammendolia says. “How do you measure? How do you know what’s coming into the system and what’s going out?”

The accelerating widespread production, consumption, and disposal of PPE makes it complicated to pinpoint these answers, but last May Ammendolia and Saturno decided to do something.

They surveyed six different locations using the Marine Debris Tracker, a geospatial citizen-science tool created by the University of Georgia New Materials Institute. Over the course of five weeks, they reviewed residential areas, commercial grocery store parking lots, a recreational trail, and a hospital district to gather their data samples.

The citizens choice prize is $2500, and you can vote online. It’s a tight race at the moment, and they are in third place out of 15.

Hassan co-sponsors clean train bill

Faisal Hassan co-sponsored a bill this week that calls for the electrification of the UPX line.

The “Clean Trains Now Act” would “establish a committee to review the UP Express” with the goals of:

  • Electrifying the trains
  • Increasing capacity
  • Integrating fares with the TTC

Electrification has long been promised. In 2013, Glen Murray, then the Ontario Liberal Minister of Transportation, said that the train would be electrified by 2017.