Last June, at the end of a year-long process of consultation, Metrolinx revealed the Weston Station Master Plan through a presentation followed by a discussion and question and answer session held at the Active Living Centre. The plan itself was not available in document form at the time but has now been finalized and released as a stand-alone 80-page document. The plan outlines the vision created when planning experts’ ideas have been combined with those of the community to produce a fascinating look into the future of Weston.
As residents we should all take the time to review this important document and take note of the implications for ourselves and future Weston residents.
As Adam has noted with regard to recent thefts from the new station’s bike racks, it is hoped that all aspects of the vision can be implemented with a clear eye on the realities of an urban environment.
The third Weston Station Master Plan meeting last night seemed well attended until the non-civilians were asked to stand up. Perhaps 25 citizens not on a related payroll (city, TTC, Metrolinx, politicians…) had bothered to come out (in fairness, during the last game of the Stanley Cup) and listen to the latest Weston Station news and developments. There seems a genuine desire to help Weston regenerate and Metrolinx is spending large amounts of taxpayer money in order to do this.
Some news delivered at the meeting:
The station opening date has slipped another week to late July.
There are three stages of development for the station; the 2012 version, the 2015 version and the beyond 2015 version.
2012 Station: this will minimalist with a platform and temporary ticket office.
2015 Station: Will have a canopy over the platform and a building with ‘lots of glass’ incorporating a local stone feature wall. ‘Kiss and ride’ and dedicated taxi lanes will ease access and for cyclists, bicycle access and shelters. The Airport Link platform will be at the north end of the station. Platforms will be kept clear of ice and snow without the use of salt (using glycol apparently). The pedestrian bridge across Lawrence Avenue will match the station architecture.
Beyond 2015: Metrolinx will work to facilitate more mid-rise development along Weston Road (south of Lawrence). Taller buildings will be set back from the street. The North parking spaces (currently visible) will eventually be redeveloped and the parking put underground. Because the platforms are away from the streets, there will be an effort to promote activity in the station area.
Residents’ questions focussed on traffic congestion caused by construction, especially at Weston and St Phillip’s and Rosemont. Once the station is up and running, there shouldn’t be huge numbers of cars leaving the parking lot. According to Frances Nunziata, there is a left turn signal in the works for southbound Weston Road traffic that should be implemented soon.
All levels of government were represented by Councillor Frances Nunziata, MPP Laura Albanese and Paul Ferreira (for MP Mike Sullivan in Ottawa). It was Ferreira however who seemed to capture the spirit of the evening when he pointed out that the station plans beyond 2012 are merely a vision. It’s up to all concerned to make sure that the vision is realized.
Weston Station is giving residents a fantastic opportunity to shape the future through careful attention to the details of the new station and surrounding development. What we already have in Weston is a rough gem of a community with unlimited potential. Occasionally, older residents remember the thriving ‘downtown Weston’ of old with its own Loblaws, several jewellers, tailors and a Kresge’s. Yorkdale killed that in the 60s and bad planning did the rest.
Today we still have many businesses in Weston – a large supermarket with a much bigger selection of foods than the old Loblaws ever had; restaurants galore and so on. Some of the businesses are ones that have been around forever and some that are new and perhaps unwelcome. However, if we choose to shop, buy services and dine elsewhere, we’ll have no-one to blame but ourselves when desired businesses fail and main street is left with dollar stores and payday loan companies. By voting for Weston with our custom and involvement in the political process, we signal confidence in Weston our ability to shape the present and the future.
York South–Weston MP Mike Sullivan continues to campaign for electrification of the rail corridor that passes through Weston and in particular, the Airport Rail Link. Signs to that effect are available for front lawns, balconies etc . To get your sign, email Mike Sullivan with your name, full address and phone number.
Davenport MPP Jonah Schein tabled a private member’s bill in the Ontario Legislature on Thursday May 3rd. The bill amends the Metrolinx Act of 2006 and passed its first reading (this is a formality – the hard part is yet to come). The bill’s wording is interesting as well as brief:
Bill 83 2012
An Act to amend the Metrolinx Act, 2006
Note: This Act amends the Metrolinx Act, 2006. For the legislative history of the Act, see the Table of Consolidated Public Statutes – Detailed Legislative History at www.e-Laws.gov.on.ca.
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
1. The Metrolinx Act, 2006 is amended by adding the following section:
Passenger railway to airport
5.1 The Corporation shall ensure that any passenger railway system established between downtown Toronto and Toronto Pearson International Airport is not powered by diesel fuel.
2. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.
3. The short title of this Act is the Metrolinx Amendment Act, 2012.
Instead of asking for electrification, the bill asks that the Airport Link is not powered by diesel fuel.
As mentioned above, the next stage of the bill is the hard part. In the second stage Jonah Schein will be allowed to speak to the bill for up to ten minutes and then time is given for other parties to respond. Unless the bill passes its second reading unanimously, it will be referred to the ‘Committee of the Whole House’ where the bill is discussed more informally in the legislature and where it can be modified.
MP Mike Sullivan has called a ‘Community Town Hall’ meeting for Thursday 8th March at the York West Active Living Centre. Apparently Metrolinx has backed away from the number of GO trains promised because the Airport Link (using the same tracks but different platforms) will have priority. In addition, he would like community reaction to the 27-year timeframe for electrifying the line as proposed in a recent provincial study. Davenport MPP Jonah Schein, will be on hand as NDP Transport Critic. Should be a lively meeting.
Date: Thursday March 8.
Place: York West Active Living Centre,1901 Weston Road.