This week, Etobicoke York Community Council will consider a proposal to put a four-way stop at the corner of Walwyn and Chantilly. City staff say it doesn’t make sense because not nearly enough foot- and vehicular-traffic comes through the intersection. It is possible, however, they’ll be overruled.
And get this: staff say common sense ideas about traffic restrictions are completely wrong!
Empirical evidence shows that when all-way stop controls are installed at low volume locations such as this, they have minimal impact on reducing vehicle operating speeds or traffic volume, may encourage non-compliance, and will contribute to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and vehicle noise.
Etobicoke York Council meets about once a month to deal with local issues. Local councillors discuss matters of local concern and adopt, defer or reject motions which are sent to the full council for adoption and enactment. Today’s decisions that may be of interest to our readers are:
Toronto Building recommends that the City Council give consideration to the demolition application for 8 Oak Street and decide to:
Approve the application to demolish the two storey industrial building without entering into a beautification agreement with the City and the appropriate City officials be authorized and directed to take the necessary action to give effect thereto.
Update: The minutes don’t give details of the amendment yet, however, InsideToronto says that Councillor Nunziata asked for a heritage report on the building that will be delivered at the April EYC meeting.
There is a small white church on Scarlett Road (in Greater Metropolitan Weston) that featured large in the aftermath of Hurricane Hazel. Then named St. Matthias Anglican, (the congregation relocated in 1957) it became a centre for community donations to assist victims of the disaster that killed and rendered homeless many people in the area. Even without that role, it has a fascinating history having been built in Malton in 1895 and was moved to its current location on Scarlett Road in 1923. Eighty years later, in 2003, the site was given Hertitage Site designation by the city thanks to the hard work of local historical societies. An application to have the site redeveloped as a townhouse complex came in 2004 but the City and then the OMB said no (demonstrating the worth of a heritage designation).
In 2010, current owners, the Sukyo Mahikari organization tried to have it demolished, justifying demolition with a report which stated that:
the building has fallen into disuse and disrepair, it has been neglected and is in a rapid state of deterioration
the foundation walls are on the verge of collapse, and there is an immense amount of energy loss given the original construction materials and methods
The building is a major eyesore in the community
When the application was made for heritage designation, critical structural and material analysis were not completed which would have revealed unsafe conditions
In order to maintain and rehabilitate the current building, the cost would be overwhelming
City planners recommended against demolition, and mercifully, Etobicoke York Council unanimously voted against the application. The group was told by then Councillor Doug Hoiyday to have a re-think and look around for grant money which they did – very successfully – and the rest is history so to speak. The costly renovation that has been done is very sympathetic and has ensured many more years of existence for the 120 year-old building and the preservation of a local landmark. The installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system will ensure low running costs for many years to come.
The Sukyo Mahikari organization has only one location in Toronto and this is it.
The church is one of 16 buildings competing for a Heritage Toronto Architecture award in the category of projects which “restore or adapt buildings or structures that have been in existence for 40 years or more, or are included on the City of Toronto’s Inventory of Heritage Properties.”
The church is still working on further restoration and a major project will be to replace the bell that went missing a few years ago.
If readers would like to have a tour, one may be arranged by phoning 647-748-2683.
Torontonians have a love-hate relationship with speed bumps. In their own neighbourhood they are life-saving, civilization-restoring child-protecting humanitarian structures. In other parts of the city, they slow down emergency vehicles and are a shock absorber-destroying menace that keep people from getting home to their families. They bring traffic to a crawl and because of this, allegedly reduce accidents and injuries. There is a political process for the installation of these traffic calming devices and part of that consists of a residents’ survey to determine if the bumps are actually desired by a majority.
The ball started rolling on this project in 2007 but nothing much seemed to happen until this year for some reason. Eventually, a survey was held last September and tellingly, the issue wasn’t deemed important enough by residents for a majority of them to make the effort to respond. In fact, out of 378 eligible voters, 55 stalwart citizens mustered the indignation needed to participate: 52 voted in favour, one was opposed and two people were somehow able to spoil their ballots.
So the project was doomed to fail you might think. Not so. Mathematical wizards at City Hall turned these dismal polling numbers into a positive by saying that even though the threshold of 50% of resident participation wasn’t met, 94% of those voting actually wanted speed bumps. In the real world though, there’s no disguising the dismal reality that only 14% of affected residents were sufficiently motivated to vote for speed bumps.
As is often the case, regardless of the rules and the survey’s validity, our fearless leaders at Etobicoke York Community Council consistently propose and vote in favour of speed bumps regardless of the process. In spite of Transportation Services recommending no speed bumps on Hickory Tree Road, Councillor Nunziata and her colleagues didn’t fail to disappoint. Cost to the taxpayer: $12,000. Plans are here.