MDCA collecting opinions on reading garden

The Mount Dennis Community Association and the library are collecting opinions on improvements to the reading garden, and they’re shooting for a grant from the City. Your opinion will doubtless help.

Reading garden plan

Complete with a vertical garden, solar-panel operated ventilation and a rainwater collection system, the vision for the garden was beautifully portrayed in local resident and George Brown Architectural Technology student, Rachel Carter’s concept drawing.

 

Net zero sets the media on fire

Mount Dennis’ Net-Zero drive has set the media world ablaze (with low-carbon emissions). About 60 people turned up to hear the plans for Toronto’s first EcoNeighbourhood at the open house this Monday.

The CBC and Metro ran a nice pieces on the developing plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, reduce strain on infrastructure, build energy resilience, and provide local growth.

District energy systemAccording to the city, building retrofits (especially to apartments) and more stringent design of new buildings can virtually flatten emissions growth if—a big if—almost everybody participates. Solar power can put another, albeit small, dent in emissions.

Block-scale infrastructure projects have much promise. These are technologies your correspondent is unfamiliar with, such as sewer-heat recovery , district energy systems (DES) and combined heat and power (CHP)plants.

District energy systems are already used elsewhere in Toronto. Instead of each building having heating and air conditioning, production is done centrally. Pollution reduction comes from hooking up to CHP plants, which use waste heat from energy production to warm water and homes.

The city says that 21% savings can be achieved in less than 5 years. Conserving more than half of the energy consumed will take more than 10 years.

 

 

 

 

Weston and Mount Dennis are sparkling

The Weston and Mount Dennis areas are (a little more) sparkling after community volunteers took to the parks, alleys, and streets this past weekend as part of a city-wide cleanup.

About 12 people turned up at Elm Park in Weston, and more kids and adults at the park joined in as the day went on, according to Patricia Videla, who organized it. They certainly stayed busy. “Some of the participants headed to the old hospital site to clean while the rest of stayed back at Elm Park.  Afterwards, we all headed to Pelmo Park to pick up rubbish.”.

Another group, including volunteers from the WKNC, tackled the area around the BIA, and the indefatigable MDCA will this weekend have the last of its five cleanups at the Eglinton Flats SE entrance.

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From Nunziata’s Twitter
WKNC volunteers
From Nunziata’s Twitter

Tory’s transit plan under attack. Again.

John Tory’s transit plan for Mount Dennis has come under scrutiny, and has raised some community hackles. The Globe and Mail sent a reporter out this past weekend to check it out.

His verdict? It’s never going to happen.

The city-wide problem is substantial: Tory doesn’t know how to pay for it. But the Mount Dennis problem is significant too: how can this mammoth thing be built on the cheap?

The article is succinct in its assessment:

Mr. Tory has said he won’t demolish homes or run surface rail through parks, so you cross off those areas. You can eliminate places where development is pending. The rail corridor will have to be at least 30 metres wide, so any open space more narrow than that is also out. After that it’s simple math. Metrolinx standards are that their trains cannot go up or down at greater than a 2.5-per-cent angle, a common passenger rail restriction….

This process suggests that, if the train goes underground at Mount Dennis, it cannot come above ground until just west of Martin Grove. It would emerge about 8.5 kilometres from the rail corridor where the tunnel began.

 

Tunnelling costs, roughly, $200–300 million per kilometre. The Mount Dennis section of the track would cost, then, about $2 billion—or about a quarter of the total budget. And that’s just for the Mount Dennis tunnel.

The SmartTrack plan isn’t popular with Mount Dennis residents either. The Mount Dennis Community Association issued a scathing press release that said, amongst other zippers,

“We’re not prepared to stand by and watch a plan unfold that could cause traffic chaos for residents, seriously hurt local businesses and divide this community in two without demanding answers,” said community association vice-president Jules Kerlinger. “And we want answers before the election on Oct. 27, not after.”

Tory has said that he will meet with the community association, though he hasn’t said where or when.

Mount Dennis a major issue in campaigns

Weston–Mount Dennis is becoming a turning point in the mayoral campaign.

Olivia Chow has been  hammering John Tory’s SmartTrack plan for the bungled Mount Dennis section. She’s been saying his plan was drawn on the back of a napkin and has egregious errors—which, indeed, it seems to.

Yesterday, Chow poked fun at Tory’s plan for Mount Dennis in a mayoral debate on the arts.

Roy’s been over the plan already once before, here’s the gist of the problems:

  • The land along Eglinton that Tory needs has already been sold and has houses on it
  • Tory says he has a plan to pay for the train, but it’s not much of a plan at all.
  • The train ends near the airport but not at the airport
  • And there’s already a train going that way. It’s going to cost $25 each way, though.

Mike Mattos from the MDCA told the Sun:

“We finally got the LRT to a stage where the community is pretty happy as far as station placement goes. It has been a lot of work over 10 years and his plan comes along and throws a monkey wrench into the transit hub and the LRT station,” he said. “This is a poorly-thought out plan.”

 

 

Final week for skating in Pearen Park

It’s the final week of skating in Pearen Park, the excellent, free, community-organized skating rink in Mount Dennis.

I’ve been taking an online class on documentary making, and I’ve been working on a show about the people behind the magic at the rink.

Keep in mind that it’s for an international audience‚ so I’ve conflated Etobicoke, Mount Dennis, and Weston. Though the distinctions matter, I hope you’ll overlook them to see how much I admire the local heroes Josie and Simon.