Sullivan stands with Stintz on OneCity plan

Mike Sullivan is onside with Karen Stintz’s radical plan to overhaul transit in Toronto. The plan would bring much-needed improvements to transit in Weston, including extra stops and electrification of the ARL and an LRT on Jane.

Sullivan wrote an open letter to all members of City Council and several members of the Provincial Parliament. It reads:

Dear Councillor Stintz:

I am writing to lend my support to your OneCity Transit Plan and to urge you and your colleagues on Toronto City Council to take the necessary steps to bring this bold but necessary plan to deal with Toronto`s gridlock to fruition. I would like to offer my assistance as a Member of Parliament for York South-Weston – a federal constituency within the City of Toronto – in helping to secure the necessary federal funds that are needed to bring this plan into reality.

There is no argument whatsoever that Toronto needs considerable investment in public transit infrastructure in order to relieve traffic congestion, improve economic productivity, and improve the quality of life of our residents and neighbourhoods. You are all familiar with the Toronto Board of Trade estimates of the costs to Toronto’s economy as a result of traffic gridlock in our city.

Your plan reveals the necessity of investment by other levels of government in order to solve Toronto’s traffic woes. Your formula of one-third funding from Toronto taxpayers (a significant commitment at $10 billion), and one-third each from the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada is, in my view, very reasonable. If we have learned anything from the previous federal infrastructure program is the necessity of federal funding in order to enable cities like Toronto to build their needed transit projects.

That is why we in the federal NDP have called for the establishment of a National Public Transit Strategy – a joint municipal-provincial-federal strategy that would develop broad principles to guide public investment into needed public transit infrastructure and assure stable, sustainable funding to enable these projects.

Lastly, I cannot help but notice your plan’s proposal to electrify the Air-Rail Link from Pearson Airport to Union Station, plus add more stops on its route. Bravo! This line is in my riding, and it makes so much sense to the community I represent that this line be electrified to avoid harmful diesel exhaust and to be accessible to the over 300,000 residents living in that corridor.

Please let me know how I and my NDP colleagues can be of assistance to you and Toronto City Council in bringing this plan into fruition.

Sullivan to CRTC – Take action now.

L to R, Staff Sergeant Daryle Gerry, MP Mike Sullivan, Chaminade College Students Alex Escobar and Alexander Colle.

Member of Parliament Mike Sullivan is fed up with phone thefts in his riding and held a press conference today outside Chaminade College School whose students have been particularly targeted. Eleven have been robbed of their phones on the way to or from school since September 2011. Part of the problem says Sullivan is that students are easily identified by their uniforms and so might be considered to be relatively well off.

Sullivan would like to initiate a private member’s bill but says that this involves waiting to be recognized by the Speaker in the House of Commons. “My motion might be presented late next year if my turn comes up,” he said. Instead Sullivan hopes that raising the matter and applying pressure in the form of a petition will cause the CRTC to act before then.

“Under Section 24 of the Broadcast act, the CRTC can order phone companies to refuse to register stolen phones and work together to share information on a stolen phone database,” says Sullivan. He addresses privacy issues, by saying that only the serial number of a stolen phone needs to be listed. Sullivan claims this will save money as large amounts of police time are taken up by phone thefts.

85% of street crime in 12 Division involves phone theft according to Toronto Police Staff Sergeant Daryle Garry and it ties up a large amount of police resources. Garry was accompanied by officer Cam Forrest. “We have blanketed the area with uniform and plain-clothes officers, but it’s hard to catch thieves in the act,” he says. Thieves are often brazen as stolen phones can be re-registered and so are easily ‘fenced’. Garry cited one case of a man involved in a car accident on Trethewey who  began phoning for assistance. A passer-by offered to use the man’s phone to call for help but ran off with it when it was handed to him.

Chaminade student Alexander Colle says that the thefts have had a large negative effect upon students. This was echoed by fellow student Alex Escobar who plans to raise the matter with the Catholic Students’ Association and circulate Sullivan’s petition.

Sullivan will be out this summer promoting the database and will have the support of Chaminade College students in collecting as many signatures as possible before the opening of Parliament in the fall. You can get a copy of the petition online here.

Huge changes to TTC would include fixing ARL

With luck and a lot of political will, sweeping changes will completely revamp transit—and life—in Toronto. Karen Stintz and Glenn DeBaeremaeker have a new proposal, called OneCity, that would add 6 subway lines, 10 LRTs and 170 km of new transit lines—and completely change the Air Rail Link.

The Toronto Star says that the new plan would bring great changes to Weston:

  • An LRT along Jane from Steeles to Bloor—an idea originally in Transit City.
  • Extending the Eglinton LRT to the airport instead of having it stop in Mt Dennis
  • Adding three stops to the Air Rail Link to make it public transit
  • Renaming the ARL the “Etobicoke Express”

MPP Jonah Schein says that the plan would also electrify the ARL and calls for people to support it at a Metrolinx meeting tonight.

The new lines would be funded with $180 a year in extra property taxes. Rob Ford has already expressed his disapproval, saying “If they want to hijack the process and hike taxes I’m not supporting that.”

St John gets approval for new school from TCDSB

Long-suffering students at St John the Evangelist got one huge step closer to a new school today. The Toronto Catholic District School Board approved a new school instead of an addition or another half measure. 

St John needs a new school terribly. The present location is overcrowded and has little green space. Parents have been pleading to have a new school built on the present grounds while the train line is being installed so that the students will face as little disruption as possible–they are already being forced to move to another school quite far away while construction is ongoing. 

The Ministry of Education is still reviewing the ‘business case’ for a new school, but has promised $6.5 million: enough money for an addition and full-day kindergarten. 

Events for the week of June 24

Wednesday June 27, 2012: Electrification Update: Metrolinx is holding a public meeting to provide an update on the Electrification of the Kitchener and Lakeshore rail corridors, including the new Airport Rail Link (ARL) service.

6:30pm – 8:30pm

Lithuanian House, 1573 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario M6P 1A6
This venue is wheelchair accessible

At this public meeting, project team members will provide information and an update on the:

  • Environmental Assessment process for electrification of the ARL service along the Kitchener corridor
  • Electrification design for the Kitchener and Lakeshore rail corridors
  • Development of performance standards for electrification for the Kitchener and Lakeshore rail corridors

 

Superintendent Mark Saunders: Crime is down.

Despite sweltering heat, a large crowd attended Councillor Frances Nunziata‘s June 20 meeting to address crime and specifically muggings in the area. On hand were Superintendent Mark Saunders,  Inspector Scott Gilbert, Sergeants Daryle Gerry and Steven Lorriman. Among other notables in attendance were MPP Laura Albanese, Paul Ferreira (for MP Mike Sullivan), Frontlines Director Kristy Opoku and Weston Business Improvement Area Chair, Masum Hossain.

In the interest of brevity, here is a paraphrasing of the highlights:

Politicians:

TAVIS was successful last year but moves elsewhere (31 & 23 Divisions) this summer. Video surveillance promised for last year but not delivered may be installed at Weston and Lawrence, Jane and Lawrence and in the laneway by Hickory Tree. The shots that hit the apartments on Hickory Tree Road were fired by a patron leaving a booze can. These activities are a problem but should be reduced by passage of Laura Albanese’s bill which will add teeth to liquor licence enforcement and increase penalties for serving liquor in unlicensed premises. Mike Sullivan will be introducing a motion in Parliament and raising public awareness about the need for a stolen phone registry. He is holding a press conference early next week.

Police:

The Toronto Police Service is one of the best in the world with outsiders coming to Toronto for advice on policing. Re-aligning 31 and 12 divisions has been a success. There has been a reduction in violent crime in 12 Division. Street robberies have been an issue but are not confined to the area. Changing the law (so that stolen phones cannot be re-used) will help. A stolen phone is worth up to $300 because it can be re-activated (without risk). Bell is the only major phone company that checks phones against a stolen phone registry.

Extra officers have been assigned to the area and have been advising students in schools on how to deal with suspicious individuals. The Chaminade High School students knew they were being followed but didn’t call police. Bicycles are good for making contact with the community but are not good for rapid responses. We are not facing a rash of robberies – four, not five as previously stated. Only 3 or 4 people are involved, two of whom have been arrested before. One has been caught based on video evidence. Call police whenever you suspect a crime is being committed. Don’t feel you’re wasting police time if you’re calling with good intentions.

Other Stuff:

Apparently it took 8 years for 12 and 31 Division boundary changes to be implemented.

Police on bicycles are not allowed to go through a red light in an emergency.

Policing levels are determined to some extent by the volume of calls received from the public.

It’s dismaying for the public to see Councillor Nunziata attempting to score points on Mike Sullivan by saying several times that she’s pleased the MP ‘has followed our lead on this’ (cellphone legislation). Mr Sullivan is not entirely blameless either, having publicly issued similar remarks. Governing Canada requires navigating through a complicated mess of overlapping jurisdictions. We need politicians at every level to work together to make Weston achieve its awesome potential. Nobody cares who has an idea; ideas are cheap. Successful politicians and community leaders implement good ideas through hard work and by making everyone part of the process.