One of Weston’s finest has been pushing back against the furore this week surrounding school resource officers. Constable Peter De Quintal has been taking to Twitter, Newstalk 1010, and the CBC to make a gentle case for his role in schools.
I take a lot of Pride in being a School Resource Officer(SRO) & believe in the program. I give my best to my community. pic.twitter.com/YriJQe5VZ8
The Toronto Police Services Board considered the role of School Resource Officers last week, generating much protest about racism and the marginalization of vulnerable students. One protestor said,
“Police officers in schools have been discriminating against black children, indigenous children and other racialized youth and I just don’t think that there is a world where we need to have guns in schools with kids who are there trying to learn,” Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder Sandy Hudson told CP24.
Constable Peter De Quintal, AKA “Star Wars Cop” is the SRO for Weston CI and other schools in the neighbourhood. He is famous for, among other things, bike rodeos, Star Wars toast, and the most charming selfie I’ve ever seen—taken when he was being honoured as a Portuguese community leader.
De Quintal told the CBC “I believe the student body in general wants us there, they’re welcoming. I don’t turn the school into a police state, I don’t patrol the hallways. I’m a resource to them, I’m a means of engagement”.
The Police Services Board postponed any decisions about police in schools until December.
If transit electrification were a train, you’d be better off taking the ankle express.
The province took some more small steps toward electrifying the UP Express and GO trains. It announced this week that it “will assess the environmental impacts of converting core segments of the GO rail network, including the UP Express, from diesel to electric.”
It also announced that hydrogen fuel cells, the fuel of the forever-future, will be considered.
In 2012, Laura Albanese said the UPX would be electrified by 2017. In 2013, Glen Murray, then Transportation Minister, said the same.
The TTC Board approved express-bus service-improvements that will help Weston and Mount Dennis in its meeting yesterday. There are only two problems: it will be several years until they happen, and there is no money to pay for them.
Among many other changes announced in the plan, there are three benefits for York South–Weston: Jane Street will get longer, articulated buses to serve the city’s busiest express route, and Lawrence Ave and Weston Rd will both get new express services running in the morning and afternoon peak periods.
City-wide, the service improvements will cost $34 million, plus $13 million a year. The TTC says it will be excellent value, however, because it will reduce travel times.
If the money can be found, the Jane and Lawrence West routes could see changes by 2020; Weston Road will take until 2021.
Today, the Weston Farmers Market officially began its 39th year and a trio of local politicians was there to celebrate. Local folklore as recorded by Councillor Nunziata claims that there’s never rain on opening day and this year was no exception. The Market is in its second of three years at the UP Express parking lot.
The grand opening of the Weston Farmers’ Market will be at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday, with face painting, bouncy castles, music and animals.
The executive of the Weston Historical Society will have a table at the Market and invite people to drop by and say hello. They will have artifacts, colouring pages for children along with WHS mugs and Weston maps for sale.
Ontario Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray was the star attraction at a meeting held in Mount Dennis Library tonight. The meeting was hosted by Councillor Frances Nunziata and Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Laura Albanese. Jim Baxter, director of Toronto’s Environment and Energy Division was along to add support. Over 40 people came out on a 34° evening to hear some details about Ontario’s five year Climate Change Action Plan and how it can be applied in Mount Dennis.
Highlights of the meeting:
Minister Murray promised to coax Metrolinx into approving the rail path northward expansion through Mount Dennis and possibly Weston. He applauded the net zero initiative being undertaken in Mount Dennis.
There will be energy retrofits available for social and rental housing.
Home energy saving upgrades will be subsidized.
The Ontario Government is very supportive of more bike lanes and better cycling infrastructure.
He thinks that bike paths along hydro corridors should be encouraged.
The province will be offering an incentive of up to $14,000 towards the lease or purchase of an electric vehicle and up to $1000 to install a home charging station.
Four years of free overnight charging for electric vehicles.
Rebates to help trade to an electric vehicle.
Before selling a home, owners will be required to perform an energy audit so that potential purchasers will know the home’s energy costs.
Minister Murray was keen to return to meet with residents for a hike / cycle along the Humber to look at the weirs along the river.
Elliot Strashin owns and is renovating the old Cooper Canada sporting goods factory on Alliance and presciently enough has been renovating it, placing a solar farm on the roof, geothermal energy systems and better insulation. One of his tenants is a company called Dynacert which designs computerized on demand water electrolysis systems that feed the product (hydrogen and oxygen) into existing fossil fuel engines instead of using diesel or gasoline. This process reduces carbon emissions and increases efficiency. Container ship engines generate huge amounts of emissions are being considered for application of this technology. He was wondering about what support there would be for expanding the factory. Minister Murray promised to meet up with Mr. Strashin to see what can be done.
Mr Murray seems quite taken with Mount Dennis and mentioned that what people are looking for is a community with a history and unique businesses, restaurants and cafes. They don’t want to find chain businesses in their locale. Ideally the neighbourhood should be walkable and have good public transportation and cycling options. In 2021, once the Eglinton Crosstown is opened, and cycling infrastructure is improved, Mount Dennis will be well on its way to being such a community. The formal motion to declare Mount Dennis a net zero community will be presented to Council in July.
The meeting ended with an individual question and answer session.
The remaking of the Ontario Municipal Board may have profound effects in Weston and Mount Dennis. Under proposed rules, community members will be unable to challenge high-density buildings built within 500 meters of a transit station—such as the Eglinton Crosstown stop in Mount Dennis and the GO Transit stop in Weston.
The 500 meter radius would encompass much of the village of Weston and some of the developed parts of Mount Dennis.
The CEO of the Ontario Homebuilders’ Association told the Globe and Mail,
“I would imagine that ratepayer groups would be up in arms,” Mr. Vaccaro said. “It is almost like trying to find a way to shield the municipalities … by saying to them: ‘If you make that tough decision, you don’t have to worry about the OMB appeal. We’re going to shield you from your angry residents.’”
Weston had the controversial Weston Common project approved despite considerable community opposition, including by us at WestonWeb. The 30-storey building was mandated by Toronto planners adhering to tall building guidelines meant for downtown.
Under the new guidelines, similar buildings could be put up without appeal to the OMB if they are first approved by City Council.
Update: Chris sent in a much better map based on the fact that the station is linear. 500m covers much more of Weston.