Four-way stop at Walwyn and Chantilly Gardens to be considered

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!

They say:

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.

Neat!

Today’s Etobicoke York Council Decisions

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:

Proposed apartment at 10 Wilby Crescent.

EYC recommends the following:

  1. Staff be directed to schedule a community consultation meeting for the lands at 10 Wilby Crescent together with the Ward Councillor.
  2. Notice for the community consultation meeting be given to landowners and residents within 120 metres of the site.
  3. Notice for the public meeting under the Planning Act be given according to the regulations of the Planning Act.

Decision: Adopted

8 Oak Street demolition

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.

Decision: Amended

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.

Traffic Calming Poll Results – Rosemount Avenue

The Director, Transportation Services, Etobicoke York District recommends that:

Etobicoke York Community Council NOT to approve installing traffic calming on Rosemount Avenue.¹

Decision: Adopted

All-Way Stop Control – Rosemount Avenue and MacDonald Avenue

The Director, Transportation Services, Etobicoke York District recommends that:

Etobicoke York Community Council NOT approve the installation of all-way stop controls at the intersection of Rosemount Avenue and MacDonald Avenue.

Decision: Adopted

Pedestrian Access to City Laneway – Lawrence Avenue West to MacDonald Avenue

Transportation Services recommends that:

Etobicoke York Community Council NOT approve installing fencing across the laneway between MacDonald Avenue and Lawrence Avenue West, east of Ralph Street in order to block access to pedestrians.

Decision: Adopted


¹(Sorry, we reported this wrong. They did vote to approve speed humps.)

Weston Treasures – Toronto Bell Cote.

The former St. Matthias church newly renovated.
The former St. Matthias church newly renovated.

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

Details of its condition can be found here.

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 sympathetic addition can be seen on the right.
The sympathetic addition can be seen on the right.

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.

Speed bumps to nowhere.

Hickory Tree Road looking towards Lawrence Avenue West.
Hickory Tree Road on a typical afternoon looking towards Lawrence Avenue West.

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.

Democracy at work; gotta love it.

96 John St requests severance

The owners of 96 John Street have asked the city to let them sever their property. Doing so will violate several planning regulations, including

  • The frontages will be less than required
  • The lot areas will be smaller than required
  • The dwellings will take up a larger-than-allowed portion of the lot
  • The lots will not have the required amount of lawn or landscaping
  • The garage will be larger than required

The applicants will be making their case before the committee of adjustment this Thursday at 1:00 pm at the York Civic Centre, 2700 Eglinton Avenue West.

Oct 30, 2014 2 3 Oct 30, 2014

Wendell to be slower; Weston to get another traffic circle

Etobicoke York Community Council overruled city staff and voted to lower the speed limit on Wendell Avenue between Queenslea and Gary Drive. The limit will be lowered from 50 to 40 km/h.
At the same meeting, Council voted (with staff) to install another roundabout–Weston’s second–at the intersection of Queenslea and Deerhurst. Two additional stop signs will also be installed.
Frances Nunziata has a history of overruling city staff recommendations when it benefits Weston.