Mount Dennis Net Zero Community Meeting

Glen Murray discusses implications and possibilities for Mount Dennis.

Ontario Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray was the star attraction at a meeting held in Mount Dennis Library tonight. The meeting was hosted by Councillor Frances Nunziata and Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Laura Albanese. Jim Baxter, director of Toronto’s Environment and Energy Division was along to add support. Over 40 people came out on a 34° evening to hear some details about Ontario’s five year Climate Change Action Plan and how it can be applied in Mount Dennis.

Highlights of the meeting:

Minister Murray promised to coax Metrolinx into approving the rail path northward expansion through Mount Dennis and possibly Weston. He applauded the net zero initiative being undertaken in Mount Dennis.

There will be energy retrofits available for social and rental housing.

Home energy saving upgrades will be subsidized.

The Ontario Government is very supportive of more bike lanes and better cycling infrastructure.

He thinks that bike paths along hydro corridors should be encouraged.

The province will be offering an incentive of up to $14,000 towards the lease or purchase of an electric vehicle and up to $1000 to install a home charging station.

Four years of free overnight charging for electric vehicles.

Rebates to help trade to an electric vehicle.

Before selling a home, owners will be required to perform an energy audit so that potential purchasers will know the home’s energy costs.

Encouraging words were said about the Black Creek channel and its possible naturalization.

The Green Investment Fund will provide money towards retrofitting low energy systems in homes, apartments and businesses.

Minister Murray was keen to return to meet with residents for a hike / cycle along the Humber to look at the weirs along the river.

Elliot Strashin owns and is renovating the old Cooper Canada sporting goods factory on Alliance and presciently enough has been renovating it, placing a solar farm on the roof, geothermal energy systems and better insulation. One of his tenants is a company called Dynacert which designs computerized on demand water electrolysis systems that feed the product (hydrogen and oxygen) into existing fossil fuel engines instead of using diesel or gasoline. This process reduces carbon emissions and increases efficiency. Container ship engines generate huge amounts of emissions are being considered for application of this technology. He was wondering about what support there would be for expanding the factory. Minister Murray promised to meet up with Mr. Strashin to see what can be done.

Mr Murray seems quite taken with Mount Dennis and mentioned that what people are looking for is a community with a history and unique businesses, restaurants and cafes. They don’t want to find chain businesses in their locale. Ideally the neighbourhood should be walkable and have good public transportation and cycling options. In 2021, once the Eglinton Crosstown is opened, and cycling infrastructure is improved, Mount Dennis will be well on its way to being such a community. The formal motion to declare Mount Dennis a net zero community will be presented to Council in July.

The meeting ended with an individual question and answer session.

Mount Dennis CIBC Banking Centre to close

The Mount Dennis CIBC Banking Centre

According to the CIBC website, the CIBC Banking Centre at 1174 Weston Road will close on Friday, October 20, 2017 at 1:00pm and merge with the Keele and Saint Clair Banking Centre 3 km away. Despite big banks’ record profits, there is an ongoing trend to close and consolidate branches. Weston’s Scotiabank branch closed last year.

Who will be affected most by this? People in the neighbourhood who walk to the branch or even worse, those who are uncomfortable with or cannot afford computers; namely the poor and the elderly.

One wonders, if payday loan companies can afford to have branches on every corner, why can’t the big banks?

CIBC would like you to move your banking to here.

Banks know that customers are loath to change from one bank to another and feel that cutting service (and jobs) is better for business than serving people where they live.

Mount Dennis CIBC customers may wish to move their business elsewhere. Credit unions are noted for their customer service and would be happy to welcome new clients. If you have to use the car anyway…

Crosstown Line Update

The Eglinton Crosstown line will not open for another four years but they keep updating their website to give tantalizing looks at the future along with progress to date. Below is a view of Eglinton Avenue showing where the new Mount Dennis Station will be placed.

A sequence of past, present and future images of the Mount Dennis Station site. The Kodak Building is illustrated back in its original position in the 2021 imagining.

Incidentally, the anticipated speed of the Crosstown is illustrated in a graphic on the site.

Where’s the GO and UP Express?

I was on the UP Express a couple of days ago and according to my phone’s GPS feature, we were exceeding 125 km/h at times between Bloor and Weston. Of course that’s not the average speed (probably just over 60 km/h) but pretty impressive when comparing commuter rail track speeds in Canada. For example, the GO train trundles along at an average pace of about 50 km/h between Kitchener and Toronto.

The Crosstown site has also posted a recent ‘Flyover’ video (May 2) of stations along the line in an aerial viewpoint showing how work is progressing at each location.

Watch the video in fullscreen mode for a more detailed view.

Kodak Building 9 interior photographed.

The Kodak recreation building, (officially known as Kodak Building 9) was moved from its foundations last summer. The idea was to create new foundations that the building will return to and become part of the new Mount Dennis Station.

Kodak Building 9 interior. From Crosstown LRT  Twitter. Click for larger image.

It was recently photographed and the worker inside illustrates the awesome size of the building while graffiti still festoons the interior walls.

Read more about last summer’s move here.

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.

 

 

 

 

Readers, who do you patronize?

Weston / Mount Dennis are communities that are on the upswing after going through some rough times in the past couple of decades. New businesses like Supercoffee and Perfect Blend have opened up while a few of the old ones like Wards and P&Ms have survived and are thriving. We’re wondering if you, dear readers, know of a local business that is worthy of a mention. It could be a store, restaurant or a service but one that makes you glad you live here.

Please mention that local business you patronize in the comments section. If we haven’t already, we’ll try and write a feature story on them.