Roy Murray has lived in the area since 1993 and loves the variety, ethnic diversity and huge potential of Weston. It contains a heritage community built for walking with a storefront retail area full of possibilities, a farmers market, transportation links that whisk people downtown in under 15 minutes and a string of parks along the beautiful Humber River that are second to none. His articles follow themes that basically call attention to and invite dialogue on the following:
The need for support from residents:
Weston’s residents often choose to spend their money elsewhere and fail to support the many and varied stores, services and restaurants which struggle to keep afloat. A 40% voter turnout at election time is considered normal.
An endangered historical legacy:
Weston’s Carnegie built library dating from 1913 is a treasure. Unfortunately, many other heritage homes and buildings in Weston exist purely at the whim of developers.
A failure of politics:
Despite being an area that is very needy in terms of civic investment, politicians, planners and developers have exploited, neglected and destroyed the fabric of Weston for decades. The lowest property taxes in the GTA have led to cuts that choke off services, transit and infrastructure spending, while necessitating higher user fees for things like children’s activities.
Public consultation e.g. ‘charettes’ for major projects is done using arms of the development industry instead of neutral parties. In spite of a huge high-rise population, there is no community centre within walking distance and no indoor swimming facilities. Public land is parcelled off to developers behind the scenes and without adequate public consultation while new buildings are often constructed to ensure maximum profits for the developer rather than maximum benefits for all. The City’s building guidelines are used to harass small businesses yet are swept aside for a few crumbs of Section 37 money from developers.
Our streets, once built to a human scale are now dangerous thank to the prioritizing of cars rather than pedestrians and cyclists. Sidewalks are narrow and our main streets are unattractive.
Weston’s reputation as a high crime area (even among its own residents) is completely and demonstrably without merit. Regardless, people are needlessly intimidated by reports of crime and our police, directed by our politicians, continue to use an antiquated model based on reaction rather than prevention.