Sansone gets a boost

Frances Nunziata is a powerhouse. She has been a politician for 25 years, a councillor for 7 terms, and was once the mayor of York. The Toronto Star has made a startling endorsement, then: Fulvio Sansone.

The Star says

Incumbent Frances Nunziata, a veteran of 25 years in local politics, has been uninspiring of late. It is time for her to go. Fulvio Sansone, a staffer in the province’s Family Responsibility Office, deserves a chance to show what he can do.

Pelmo and Pellatt parks getting new play structures

Weston will soon have two new play structures at local parks.  The play equipment at Pelmo and Pellatt Parks has been torn down.  Both areas have been fenced off, and work has been at a standstill for over a week.  But if Grattan Park is any indication, it will not take long to complete once they start installing the equipment.

The play structure at Pelmo Park was made of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treated wood (pressure treated wood), which has been known to leach arsenic into the ground. In 2002, the structure was tested for elevated levels of arsenic in the soil and on the surface of the wooden structures.  In 2003, the city recommended that the structure be sealed and the soil be replaced. Parents will now be able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their children will have safe equipment to play on.

Over at Pellatt Park, the equipment was old, rusted and rickety.  A new play structure will be much appreciated by those who live in close proximity.

On a side note, plans are underway for the revitalization of W. C. Swanek Park (that play structure is also made of CCA treated wood).  The Pelmo-Swanek Community Association is supposed to be holding a meeting sometime in the near future to present an updated plan.

Ford not in favour of electrification

A recent circular by the Clean Train Coalition had an interesting tidbit: all the mayoral candidates, except one, have signed the “Clean Train Pledge” that calls for electrification of the Georgetown South GO line.

The Clean Train Pledge was devised by the coalition in June. It asks politicians to “call on Premier Dalton McGuinty to direct Metrolinx to electrify the Georgetown Corridor”.

The only mayoral candidate who has not signed the pledge? Rob Ford.

On the one hand, this is not surprising. Ford has been consistently in favour of automobiles, saying “it’s time to stop the war on cars”. He has also called the Transit City plan a “disaster”.

On the other hand, it is quite odd that Ford has not signed the pledge. The train will run through his former riding, Etobicoke North. Frances Nunziata is also one of his biggest boosters. It’s hard to imagine why he wouldn’t be in favour of electrification.

In September, Ford said that he wouldn’t “sign a blank cheque” for electric trains.

Pantalone has been consistently in favour of electrifying the tracks. Smitherman has signed the pledge, but has waffled somewhat, according to Now Magazine. He thinks that diesel trains may be just as clean and that electrification may not be possible before the Pan Am games in 2015.

Weston Tunnel presentation announced

GO Transit will be presenting their design for what they call the  “Weston tunnel” on October 28.

As part of the Georgetown South expansion, the GO tracks (and only the GO tracks) will be lowered from Lawrence to Weston Rd and covered at Church and King Streets.

The ‘tunnel’ at King and Church has been controversial. Community members in opposition have called it a ‘cut and cover’. The environmental report calls it a “structural cover” to a lowered track. Needless to say, there will be no boring machines putting the trains into the bedrock. Even the ditch, though, took a fight; GO had not planned to lower the trains as they passed through Weston.

The tunnel plan will be revealed at Weston Park Baptist Church at 1871 Weston Road on Thursday, October 28, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

GO seeking input on John St bridge

As part of the Georgetown track expansion, GO is closing the crossing at John St and building a pedestrian bridge. They are now seeking volunteers to help design that bridge as part of their community outreach.

According to an announcement this week, a committee of community members will select three bridges from a group of design submissions. Those three candidates will then be voted upon by the broader Weston community.

GO is seeking people who: “are members of the Weston community”, “have some knowledge of urban design, architecture, or urban planning”, and who are available for meetings through the winter.

Interested applicants are asked to submit an essay of 500 words.

Another swarming in Weston

Police report that another swarming happened in south Weston, very near the site of a swarming only a month ago.

On October 8 at 4 pm, a 15-year-old man was approached from behind by three men wearing disguises. They demanded his belongings and punched him in the face several times. The victim ran away, and the suspects fled eastbound on Denison Rd.

Last month, a young man was swarmed at the nearby Trimbee park by three young men and a woman. They stole his iPod. The vague descriptions are somewhat similar in both cases, though it is quite hard to be sure they were the same people. Both groups included two young, slim white men and one young black man.

Rob Ford will likely cut funding to Weston

On Thursday night, Rob Ford, the mayoral front-runner, said that he “hasn’t seen the benefits” of money sent to Toronto’s 13 priority neighbourhoods. Weston–Mt. Dennis is one of those neighbourhoods.

In a debate with the other mayoral candidates, Ford said “I haven’t seen the benefits from these initiatives. As you know, I coach football in a priority neighbourhood and I haven’t seen the benefits. I wouldn’t commit to anything… If we aren’t seeing results…. I can’t sit here and say I’m going to keep throwing money away at an issue that’s not getting results.”  According to The Star, he said “that as he has not yet seen any proof the initiative is working, he has trouble committing millions of city dollars to the program.”

Outgoing mayor David Miller says that scrapping the investments would be a “tragedy”. He says “the mayoral candidates should be competing to say how much more money they’ll put in. That’s how important it is”. He watched the debate with “incredible frustration and distress because what I see is candidates who want to tear this city down”.

The priority neighbourhood plan was started in 2005, and Weston–Mt Dennis was added to the list in 2006. The idea is to strengthen the most vulnerable neighbourhoods in Toronto by improving their community groups and social infrastructure , things like parks and play areas. The Jane St Hub, which will open next week, came to Weston as part of the initiative.

Joe Pantolone said “‘I would extend it, and I would expand it. The 13 neighbourhoods project has been very successful.”

George Smitherman extolled the community health centres he helped start as Health Minister and criticized the instability of funding to the neighbourhoods. He said, though, that funding shouldn’t be restricted to the 13 neighbourhoods:  “I support priority neighbourhoods…. But I’m interested in priority people. I think you have to sustain those funds for priority neighbourhoods. But don’t stop there… It’s not good enough to tell those young people that are struggling to find community space [in other areas] that because they’re not on the list, they don’t matter”.

Rocco Rossi criticized Ford to loud applause and said “the programs are working and need to be expanded.”