Opposition to 96 John

Community members are petitioning to stop the severance of 96 John St. The owners asked the city to allow them to split the property into two, and to build another house with a shared driveway.

The houses would be violating several planning rules; in short, they would be too big for the properties.

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In other planning news, Frances Nunziata says that the developers of 8 Oak Street (the Satin Finish property) are asking to change their plans. Now they want a  “mid-rise development” instead of 3-storey townhomes.

Alberta Clips Payday Loan Companies

source: angelafee.tumblr.com
source: angelafee.tumblr.com

As readers are painfully aware, the Weston / Mount Dennis area is plagued by a large number of payday loan companies. These pseudo banks prey on the poor by charging high rates thus continuing the cycle of poverty that poor people (and those with a low credit rating) often find themselves in. Scotiabank’s recent departure from Lawrence and Weston didn’t help and it seems that computerization will encourage more banks to close their branches.

Each year, approximately 400,000 Ontarians take out a payday loan

There are 796 payday loan licensed locations in Ontario, operated by 249 different businesses

Approximately $1.1 – $1.5 billion in payday loans are issued each year

The average payday loan is $460 and has a two-week term

Sources: Estimates developed by Deloitte and Ministry of Consumer Services payday lending licensee database

Alberta is going through some tough times lately and to help stem the exploitation of people with a poor credit rating, the NDP government there has cut the interest rates that PLCs can charge. Alberta will now have the lowest rate in the country at $15 for every $100 borrowed over a period of two weeks.

In Ontario the rate is $21 per $100 which compounded annually is a startling 14,299%. There has been talk of lowering the rate but a bill to amend the laws around PLCs has been languishing in a committee that was supposed to report this spring. Payday loan companies have a fairly well-connected lobby group fronted by Tony Irwin of the Canadian Payday Loan Association. Irwin maintains that if rates go down, some PLCs will close thus driving lenders to loan sharks. From what I can gather, in the days before PLCs put loan sharks out of business, loan sharks charged around 6% to 10% a week. Slightly less than today’s PLCs. Collection tactics were a bit more assertive however.

So, Ontario – the ball is in your court. Where is the committee report and legislation that will curb predatory lenders? Where are the banks and credit unions in all of this and why are they not making better efforts to reach the poor?

Farmers Market – my 2 cents.

I made my first visit of the year to the Weston Farmers Market on Saturday in its new location. It’s not for lack of trying but a family vacation, a sick relative and Saturday morning forgetfulness have kept me away until now.

It was re-assuring to see many familiar traders there such as Grandpa Ken and the Egg Man.

Other traders I spoke to seemed to feel that business is slow but has been picking up recently. This makes sense as at this time of year, there is more legitimate produce from actual farmers.

Just a couple of observations from the point of view of a ‘naive’ visitor looking at the location for the first time.

Seen from Weston Road, there is little to indicate that a farmers market is happening.
Seen from Weston Road, there is little to indicate that a farmers market is happening.

One of the big advantages of this new temporary site is that the market has a much higher visibility, being situated in full view on Weston Road. There seemed to be interest from passing vehicles; cars were slowing but moved on, possibly because they couldn’t figure out what was happening.

The best view of the market is from the station side rather than the road.
The best view of the market is from the station side rather than the road. There is no mistaking from this angle what is happening here.

Strangely, the best view of the market is from the station end of the stalls rather than the Weston Road side. Cars and end stalls block the view from the street.

Even from this close, it's not that obvious what is happening.
Even from this close, it’s not that obvious what is happening and it looks a mess. The gold and red SUVs hide the market from the street. Photo taken at 10:15am.

It would seem that a couple of simple adjustments would make a big difference and attract more passing traffic. It might also remind people who haven’t been this year that the market still exists.

  1. There is a need for a large banner outside the market to indicate what is going on and entice people to stop.
  2. Traders’ vehicles should not be blocking views of the market from the road.
  3. All traders should be arranged in rows perpendicular to Weston Road for maximum attractiveness, accessibility and visibility.

Discuss.

New Lions Park Steps.

Looking up to Hickory Tree Road from Lions Park soccer field.
Looking up to Hickory Tree Road from Lions Park soccer field.

There is a lot of construction ongoing in Lions and Raymore Parks. In addition to sewer pipe re-lining and a retaining wall along the Humber, the rickety wooden steps leading from Hickory Tree Road to Lions Park soccer field have been demolished. Replacing them will be new sturdy metal steps that will not need winter salting. The work is scheduled to be completed by the fall. The work was originally scheduled for September of last year.

A nighttime view of the steps taken in February 2015.
A nighttime view of the old steps taken in February 2015.

The blue jays and the lions

Fresh buttery popcorn, steamy hotdogs, and an amazing game; that’s what baseball is all about! With the Blue Jays immense victories, Weston has never been closer to the vast culture of the city than it is right now.

The Weston Lions Club has been working with the Jays for an amazing 39 years and are a huge part of why going to see the Jays is so spectacular.

Ashley and the Jose army!

If you have ever been to the dome, you know occasionally they give out some amazing merchandise. But you may ask, who are these friendly people giving me these Jays gems? The answer to that question is the Weston Lions Club!

Jim and Jose

At the doors of the dome, members of the Lions give away everything from Blue Jays bobble-heads to Jerseys to bucket hats! Thousands of Torontonians, flood into the Rogers Center excited for the game and the giveaway. They are almost as ecstatic to get their presents as the Lions are to give them away!

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However, the Weston Lions Club wasn’t always down at the dome! 40 years ago, another Lions club was doing these giveaways! Unfortunately, they were unable to continue, but the Jays still wanted a community group to take over the deed. As soon as the Weston Lions heard about this, they jumped on board and took the place the previous lions left behind. Teaming up with the original Blue Jays fan club, and local teenagers looking to get their community hours; the Lions were down at the dome almost every weekend handing out Blue Jay’s goodies.

What the Lions are doing isn’t just for fun, however. The Blue Jays donate money to the Lions, for them to give back to the community. Over the years The Weston Lions club has raised over $600,000 for the Weston Community, by doing these Jay’s giveaways, and hosting many other fundraisers! They’ve managed to purchase 7 service dogs and have given countless scholarships to students perusing post-secondary education. The list goes on and on for the amazing work the local Lions do.

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“Working with the Jays is amazing. The best part about it all is seeing happy people at the dome all while helping the community and knowing what you’re doing is making a difference.” Enthusiastically exclaimed Jane Ross, past president of the Weston Lions Club, when I spoke to her about the work the Lions do.
She told me all about how people of all ages help out down at the dome. The oldest volunteers being in their late 80’s and the youngest in their early teens; the Jays and Lions alliance only ever does good for the community.
“we’re like the silent heroes of the community. Everyone knows about the money that gets put into the community, but no one knows where it comes from. This is where it comes from” She continued.
Interested in being part of this amazing team? You can contact Jane at: [email protected]

The Lions are always looking for more people to aid in their work with the mighty Jays, and getting to help Weston and see the jays in action? What could be better than that?


This post was brought to you by: Luisa Bada: Living in Weston and loving it

John Street bridge to be closed for another month. At least. 

Frances Nunziata has followed up with more information about the John Street bridge. It turns out that it’s a bit more complicated than we thought.

Laura Albanese’s circular said that Metrolinx and the city were trying to hash out who would be responsible for the upkeep. Not so. There isn’t even an agreement “because Metrolinx has not yet drafted one”. 

The real hold up, Nunziata’s office says, is that Metrolinx hasn’t installed safety barriers. They are “on order” and should arrive in a “month or so”. 

The bridge was supposed to open in 2014.