Private garbage a mixed bag

The Globe has an article on the benefits, and detriments, that privatized garbage may bring to Weston.

Those of us who are new to town may not know that garbage pickup was privately provided here for many years. It was only brought into the same collection service as the rest of the city in 2007. And, if Rob Ford gets his way, it may be privatized again: Ford would like to privatize garbage collection west of Yonge.

According to the article:

In 2006, the last full year that Turtle Island Recycling, Inc. provided the service in her ward, Ms. Nunziata’s office logged just seven complaints. In 2007, when CUPE Local 416 workers took over in August, the figure increased from nine in the first half of the year to 27 in the second half. Since then, the number of complaints has grown to 49 in 2008, 56 in 2009 and 57 in 2010.

“I use to receive calls from constituents about how courteous the [private collectors] were,” said Ms. Nunziata, who represents Ward 11 (York South-Weston). “Now I get complaints that they [city workers] are emptying the garbage and just throwing their garbage can in the middle of the street.”

While Nunziata’s office received many more complaints, the 311 service has logged fewer complaints than in Etobicoke, which has privatized service:

The Globe, meanwhile, found that from Oct. 7 to Nov. 7, 2010, the number of calls to 311 for “missed” residential garbage pickup in the daytime was 107 for York and 510 for Etobicoke. That’s 0.16 per cent of households in York compared with 0.41 per cent for privately serviced Etobicoke.

YSW to be a race to watch in provincial election

Veteran NDPer Paul Ferreira will be running against incumbent Laura Albanese in the next provincial election,  according to InsideToronto. This could be a fantastic race.

Paul Ferreira has held the York South-Weston seat before; he squeaked out a victory in the 2007 by-election, before losing his grip only a few months later in the 2007 general election. Both elections were decided by only a few hundred votes.

While Ferreira has been out of office, he hasn’t been out of power. He was chief of staff to Howard Hampton and now works as a senior advisor to Andrea Horwath, the party leader, InsideToronto says. Ferreira has plenty of electioneering experience, too; this will be his seventh race.

Laura Albanese won’t go gently, I’m sure. She’s been an effective, if quiet, representative for York South-Weston. She sits on committees and seems to have a healthy record in the legislature. She gets the job done without drawing attention to her successes. And that may be a liability: Albanese, while capable and effective, doesn’t have much flash.

Frances Nunziata has flash. Rob Ford has flash. Ignatieff figured flash out, after a while, and Jack Layton seems to have been flashing since the day he was born. Flash is galvanizing. Flash is often off-putting. And Albanese just doesn’t polarize enough to pull people out to vote.

Certainly, the political currents are against Ferreira. We voted strongly for the right-wing Ford administration and re-elected socially conservative Alan Tonks by a large margin. Also, the NDP has almost always been the bridesmaid here, and rarely the bride.

But they’ve sometime been close contests, and Ferriera knows his stuff and is a party insider. If Ferreira can sparkle in our somewhat grey little community, he might just stand a chance.

Bad month to be in the pharmacy business

Another pharmacy in Weston was robbed this week. The Main Drug Mart at 2160 Weston Rd, was robbed at about 6:30 pm on February 7.  The pharmacy is on the west side of the intersection of Weston Rd and Church.

A man wearing a disguise threatened an employee with a handgun. He demanded and got cash and prescription drugs before fleeing. Nobody was hurt in the robbery.

Last week, the River Hill Pharmacy at 2086 Lawrence Ave (near Weston Rd) was robbed. The thief also produced a handgun and demanded cash and drugs before fleeing. The cases may be related, but the acts were committed by different people. In the first case the robber was white; in the second he was black.

Last year, Weston Drug Mart, across the street from Main Drug Mart was robbed similarly.

Another bus-stop mugging at Jane and Lawrence

You don’t want to take the busses at Jane and Lawrence. Toronto Police report yet another mugging, this time of a 20-year-old woman.

The victim was exiting the bus at about 10:20 pm on February 4 when she was grabbed from behind and robbed of her cell phone. The suspect knocked the woman down and fled westbound on MacDonald Ave. The victim was not seriously hurt.

This is at least the fourth mugging in recent months in the area. Late last year, three people were robbed in separate incidents near the bus stop at Lawrence and Pine.

You can view a map of the muggings the police report.

Kindergarten Registration Has Started

Kindergarten registration is underway at most elementary schools. Many area schools will continue to offer full-day kindergarten next year (Weston Memorial, H.J. Alexander, Portage Trail, Bala Avenue & Dennis Avenue). Pelmo Park and St. John the Evangelist continue to offer half-day programs.

Children born in 2007 are eligible for Junior Kindergarten and those born in 2006 for Senior Kindergarten (if your child is currently in JK you do not need to re-register for SK). Be sure to call ahead as some schools require appointments and others are operating on a drop-in basis.

Min-A-Mart robbed

Toronto Police report that the Min-a-Mart on Weston Rd at Church was robbed on January 28, at about 1 pm.

A male wearing a disguise entered the store, brandished a handgun, and demanded money. When the owner did not comply, the robber went behind the counter and grabbed cash and a pack of cigarettes. According to the police blotter, he fled northbound on Weston.

Nobody was hurt in the robbery.

minamart on Weston Rd

Alan Tonks tables motion for e-trains. In 2011.

Alan Tonks, the MP for York South–Weston, has tabled a private member’s bill that would call the federal government to look into the benefits of electric commuter trains.

When he spoke in the House to table Bill C-614, Tonks said,

This particular issue is with respect to a transportation strategy that has evolved, which has resulted in huge concerns in York South—Weston and throughout the Georgetown corridor with the Weston subdivision. Its development is so close to those railway lines that issues of safety, noise, environmental pollution and quality of health has now stood in the way of it moving ahead in a progressive way with respect to using rail corridors to relieve the congestion that exists in urban areas. This is not just in southern Ontario, this is a situation that exists right across the country.

This initiative calls upon the Minister of Transport to meet with his provincial counterparts and look at the potential that exists for the electrification of urban commuter rail operations.

Tonks has come to love electric trains rather late. While he has apparently had a change of heart, Tonks supported the diesel Air Rail Link between at least 2002 and 2006.

While today’s motion was adopted, private member’s bills rarely become law.