Nunziata’s office will be hosting a meeting to consider whether the owner of 135 John should be allowed to sever the lot and construct two new homes, with 8m wide lots.
The meeting will be at 7 pm on Monday, January 29 at Weston Memorial, . The owners will be there to present their case.
The OMB recently recently rejected a similar case just down the street at 96 John, in which the owners had asked to create two 7.5m lots. That appeal was denied on the grounds that the smaller lots would destabilize the character of the neighbourhood.
Another interesting set of thoughts from Anonymous is our Letter of the Week. Anon was responding to other comments on the image of the new Rockport apartments but first made a public service announcement which is also worthy of a more prominent airing.
..as always from “Fortress Weston”.
So, if I may, before I weigh in on the high rise rentals issue of concern, here’s some helpful news or at the very least, a public service announcement:
“The Community Police Partnership” group is looking for more members, ahead of an upcoming meeting between local police and community members who have already expressed interest in assisting in our troubled community.
The note comes from Councillor Nunziata’s office – sent out this morning – where she extends yet another invitation to anyone else still very concerned about the safety in our community, saying that there’s still time to join the group, if you’d like.
This call to join, stems back to the last major meeting she organized regarding the ongoing concern about “Community Safety in Weston” – the well attended meeting that was held at Weston Memorial Jr. PS, back in mid-November.
You may recall that this came shortly after the stabbing murder in town, ironically near Central United Church, in the Shoppers Drug Mart parking lot.
Many agree that it was an odd, tragic event, that appears as though it could somehow be linked to gang related activity, given the odd, unknown relationship between the players in this drama.
Risky business dealings?
But, no matter the reason, it was unsettling for most of us, even though the Staff Sargent and her team assured us that these types of violent crimes are gang related, unlike the nuisance crimes most complained about.
Anyway, the Councillor’s note this morning is an invitation to consider joining a group of like minded, worried or concerned Weston folks who would work with members of 12 Division in something called, “The Community Police Partnership”, which will try and maintain an ongoing dialogue regarding safety and policing matters.
She’d like to know if there’s anyone else interested in joining the group which will meet in a few weeks to come.
Worried, concerned or down right pissed off and want to do something?
Here’s your chance to reach out to her office and assist.
Make no mistake and no matter what, the members of 12 Division will continue to be on guard for our area, trying to address all concerns, even if many are deemed nuisance crimes, relatively speaking, of course.
But, it’s evident that the Councillor has 12 Division’s ear, and they could use some help in an obviously, concerned Weston community.
And, if you’re wondering, no. I don’t work for or represent the Councillor or TPS’s 12 Division in any way, shape or form.
Just hoping to see a better balance in an area that I still call home, amid extreme finger pointing.
Frankly however, I do appreciate it when I see someone who isn’t afraid of some heavy lifting and a little hard work.
Often, just hard, thankless work.
Could it be as easy as that?
Well, maybe not cause here’s the problem. And, to paraphrase an ancient French philosopher who once uttered in jest:
“.. The problem with the world is that everyone thinks they know the way, or has the answer.”
Anyway, somehow despite what you or I think of the Councillor’s efforts – as a politician or person – she continues to reach out in this community which includes a very disparate group of beings. And, she serves, unlike you and me.
“Takes a licking, but keeps on ticking”, n’est pas?
Run against her effort & record.
(She’s bound to lose one day.)
So, in the mean time, consider her invitation to join, if safety is top of mind.
Now, back to the topic of Rentals in this working class area that has longgggg had high rise rental accommodations with numerous precedents paving the way for even more demands for affordable housing, not always pleasing to many of us.
They’re here to stay, and more are needed.
So, given that, how to make them better – for the unit residents and in general, the Weston community which is going through it’s own form of gentrification.
Weston is still a pretty good buy – better yet with improved rail transit into the city.
Clearly, neighbourhoods need a relationship with a strong business and development community.
We understand that affordable housing is intended to assist the less than privileged types among us, who we hope are decent folks, and often are.
But sadly, perhaps too often they are sharing space with lawless types who hide out in their midst. (“Community Safety” issue?)
Now, as we know affordable housing is encouraged & later demanded by social activists in our city and community.
And, these activists are backed by other like minded altruists who attend these very kinds of information meetings, too when organized by the Councillor, which includes interested investors who want to see if Weston is worthy of their consideration, and investment dollars.
Fact is, more often than not these are pretty small and poorly attended meetings by the people who actually live in the area.
If we don’t go to meetings, the balance is thrown off.
And then, what we get is this – too much right wing influencing the debate or too much left wing winning the day for their needs.
We perhaps then, get what we earn when we don’t get involved, especially when invited.
And yeah, I don’t always go these meetings either.
(I pick my spots, too. Not good. But, that’s life.)
But, here’s the thing for me when it comes to rentals – I very much believe in something often referred to as “pride in ownership” which is something I don’t think you get from living in a rental space.
And yes, I suppose as a consequence, I don’t much like having my hard earned tax dollars carelessly squandered by politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists or activists, of any persuasion.
Nevertheless, I fully understand that we sometimes have to spend shared taxation monies to improve societal needs, which hopefully benefits most involved & concerned.
A balance, a yin & yang influenced by those who choose to get involved.
So, like it or not, as it stands Weston has always been a working class neighbourhood which has given the have-nots of the world a place and a chance to start. A chance to improve, grow and move on up.
Many very proud Westonites from my past have moved on up & out.
(But, they always remember where they’re from, somehow in a prideful way.)
Some have grown to know the value of an opportunity to gain some ground. And others, will never know it because perhaps they’ve not had the good fortune of proper mentoring which clearly helps and begins in a family, who shows you the way.
My folks were working class stiffs originally from an Eastern bloc country, who bought their Weston home for $21,000 back in the day.
And, my in laws did so too, for about $5000 less, a few years prior to Mom & Dad’s closing date in the 60s.
They worked hard in the factory jobs available to them and knew the importance of saving, as best they could.
And, even though my folks had a real aversion to any left leaning politics given their life experiences in eastern Europe, they were involved in their workplace labour unions, working hard at obtaining some fairness, a balance in their workplace & community.
However, rhetoric goes only so far and like most, they sought better, too.
For them, apart from their mortgage, they never borrowed or used credit. Dad believed in paying cash for everything. Or would flex and consider a “lay away” plan for furniture & luxury items, a pretty much unheard of approach these days of instant gratification.
Life was relatively modest for us and people like us.
We were never middle class, but I never felt we were poor – just perhaps not as fortunate as others, never really coveting what someone else had in comparison.
I just had an awareness through my folks that if I truly wanted something I’d have to work carefully & hard to achieve it.
I was lucky – I had mentoring types from an early age.
Early in their journey, my mentoring types did have to rent many times before they finally could realize the dream of home ownership, and the pride that goes with ownership.
And so, thanks to them I hope I learned some important lessons well, that I might have shared with our kids, by example.
Also thankfully, don’t know what it means to have a good work ethic, but no where to earn a living the way many folks – young & old – are challenged these days.
Looking back, it did seem easier then, where even if you had no inclination for post secondary scholastics and what might materialize from those grand efforts – you could go off to a CCM, a Moffatts, construction trades or an auto mechanics job at a local dealership of which we had all brands represented in Weston.
It was tough then for working class folks and those who aspired to at least that level. But, probably tougher now.
The common denominator between then & now is that the community of Weston was and is more affordable than many other areas in the city of Toronto.
And, given the need for affordable rental housing everywhere, it’s not likely going to change too soon in the Weston area.
It will always be a growing concern.
Now, how to make it better?
Well, our web host once noted that, it is we the people who are the government, and it has a better chance to work & succeed if we people get involved, when these moments arise like they do in Weston.
This afternoon and tonight at the York Civic Centre, Budget Subcommittee members will hear public presentations on the 2018 Operating & Capital Budgets at the York Civic Centre, located at 2700 Eglinton Ave. W. on January 9, 2017. Included in the discussion will be proposed changes to user fees.
It will be interesting to see if the John Tory administration will continue to increase user fees to place more of the burden on users. If they don’t, it might indicate a leftward shift in time for next October’s election.
There will be two sessions; one beginning at 3 pm and the other from 6 to 8 pm.
As we approach the year end, here are some things that seem to be holding us back locally. This is the second a five part series, which began yesterday.
As always, your comments are welcome.
2. The Retail Experience in Weston Mount Dennis
Believe it or not but Canadians only buy 5% of their non-grocery goods online. The rest is done in brick and mortar stores. Unfortunately, businesses in Weston and Mount Dennis are under-patronized as it often seems easier to jump in the car.
Retail in WMD is a bit like the old weather adage. Everyone complains about our shopping but nobody does anything about it. People use all kinds of excuses for not shopping locally but the bottom line is that if people want vibrant local shopping, they have to encourage local stores that go some way to meeting their needs. Weston and Mount Dennis will not be confused with Bloor West Village anytime soon but there are glimmers of hope that need to be encouraged. There is a symbiotic relationship between patronage, meeting the needs of customers and a vibrant shopping area.
If people don’t like the appearance of the streets or feel threatened, (More on that tomorrow : Part 3 – The Public Domain) they need to talk to the relevant parties such as 311 or Councillor Nunziata’s office. Statistically, we should understand that we put ourselves in the greatest danger when we drive our cars or cross the road.
Landlords: our empty stores need to be occupied. The tax rebate for empty stores will be ending by June 2018. This is a good thing that will provide an incentive to quickly re-let a storefront. Empty stores detract from the ambience of a shopping area and landlords with empty stores should allow non-profit groups to use the empty stores until paying tenants are found. Weston BIA and Mount Dennis BIA should get the ball rolling on this. If landlords are still happy to allow stores to sit empty, the city should go one further and tax vacant stores at a higher rate.
When Greenland Farm supermarket closes, many Weston residents will lose their only walkable source of produce. Is there another store waiting in the wings? The owner / developer of the GF site can promise that a major supermarket chain will be moving into the podium of the new development when it finally materializes on the site. It will be a meaningless and empty promise as the podium space will be leased to whoever is willing to pay. Councillor Nunziata should do all she can to encourage a seller of produce along the lines of the Royal York Fruit Market in the Royal York Plaza.
Banks are disappearing. We need walkable storefront bank branches.
Readers, what businesses would you like to see in your local shopping area? What stops you from shopping in WMD? Which stores have you patronized?
Chris Ballard’s father worked at the Kodak plant during the heyday of Mount Dennis and it was fitting that his son would return as Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change to lend support to the area’s revival in the post-industrial future. Now living in Aurora, the Minister recognized that there is ‘something special’ going on in Mount Dennis. The size and enthusiasm of the crowd and organizers attested to that fact.
He was speaking in the Mount Dennis Legion to upwards of 80 people who braved last night’s cold to attend the Mount Dennis Community Association‘s AGM. Applauding the MDCA’s Net Zero initiative under way, he commented that their strong organization and forward thinking should be emulated by all communities.
After an opening invocation and ceremony from indigenous leaders, the Minister outlined Ontario Government initiatives designed to reduce energy consumption and promote conservation. He encouraged residents to visit the website greenon.ca to see the financial incentives designed to help people conserve energy. The money for such grants comes exclusively from the cap and trade system recently set up in Ontario.
MPP Laura Albanese and MP Ahmed Hussen (by recorded message from Ottawa) greeted the crowd and Councillor Frances Nunziata announced that the Pinetree Daycare Centre will become a net zero facility and will increase its capacity to 98 spaces, making it the largest daycare in the area. In addition, the Cycling Committee under her leadership will be making a number of recommendations to the community soon.
All in all, a very impressive showing for the dynamic Mount Dennis Community Association as their initiatives continue to gain momentum on a variety of fronts.
Two local politicians apparently are so confused in their thinking that they can’t distinguish between the dangers posed by a pair of feet and a car. Both Councillor Frances Nunziata and Etobicoke MPP, Yvan Baker seem to believe that distracted drivers present the same danger to life and limb as Instagram-surfing seniors. Baker wants to pass a law that would penalize distracted pedestrians. Neither he nor Ms Nunziata seem to have bothered reading the studies that have shown distracted pedestrians pose a threat only to their auto-correct software. It’s no surprise that the two politicians live in the outer suburbs and have the mentality that cars are the only way to travel. Had Ms. Nunziata, and for that matter the Liberal Party of Ontario, supported decent funding for the TTC during their respective decades in office, young Mr. Baker might not feel the need to drive from Etobicoke to Queens Park on a regular basis – presumably while carefully avoiding legions of zombified pedestrians hurling themselves at his car.
The Star goes into fuller detail here, noting that most pedestrians killed and injured on our streets are seniors and more likely to be focussed on surviving the all-too-brief pedestrian crossing times rather than sexting their besties.
The hideous model home at Weston and Dora Spencer that caught fire on September 17—and which remained undemolished thereafter—was on fire again this weekend. About 20 vehicles were called to the scene.
The new fire raises questions about why the model home was still standing after the fire more than a month ago—or, indeed, at all. It does not seem to have been used in years; a Google Street view from 2011 shows it in disrepair.