John Lorinc, one of the few downtown journalists who truly seems to care about Weston and Mount Dennis, had an excellent article in the Globe this weekend about the failure of Metrolinx to employ local workers.
On a foggy morning this week, Wendy Whiteley dropped by the office – a construction trailer – for some practical advice about her résumé. A retired educational assistant, she wasn’t sure whether the trailer – which is open only one morning a week – will help matters. “If [Metrolinx is] trying to expand, they need to come up with job opportunities for people in the area,” she said. “Myself, I haven’t heard of anyone who lives in the area who has gained from all this.”
For many years, there have been high hopes about future development of the Kodak lands site. The site was sold to Metrus in 2006 for $19.5 million but for decades employed thousands of Mount Dennis and Weston residents directly and indirectly. In recent years came the disquieting rumour that the TTC would like to purchase the site from owners Metrus in order to install a marshalling yard. Residents were not happy about this because it would be the worst possible outcome. They have consistently told politicians that the site should be developed so that a balance of housing, parkland and top notch industry would occupy the site. A marshalling yard will be noisy, create few jobs and destroy the natural potential of the site.
Well, it’s official, except that Metrolinx quietly bought it last month and will use the entire site, presumably to shuffle and store light rail vehicles. It seems that in spite of ample warning of this looming disaster, no politician at the city or provincial level has been able to invoke the will of the people.
As long ago as 2007 the city was hoping for ’employment density’ on the site. Now the last hope is that City Council and the Provincial Liberals can act to encourage Metrolinx to be a good corporate citizen and do something to mitigate this disaster.
Is it too much to hope that Councillors Frances Nunziata, Frank Di Giorgio and MPP Laura Albanese can do a little marshalling of their own and derail this worst of all outcomes?
In Mount Dennis, the Bank of Nova Scotia and a daycare will be expropriated to make room for the Eglinton LRT, according to Frances Nunziata.
The westernmost station will be at Weston and Eglinton, no longer Jane and Eglinton, and it will be in large measure underground. Previous plans had called for the expropriation and demolition of more buildings; now only two will be required.
Nunziata says, that things
are still very preliminary at this point, but the City will be requiring that the daycare be relocated within the community and in close proximity to where it is now, so that it doesn’t cause unnecessary strain or inconvenience for those that use the services. They will also be working with the Bank of Nova Scotia to find a suitable place within the community.
The Weston and Mount Dennis library branches will have to cut service hours if City Council accepts the recommendations of the city’s chief librarian. Both the Weston and Mount Dennis branches will be asked to close for an additional 2.5 hours every week.
The cuts have been ordered by Rob Ford, who told every city department to cut 10% of its budget. Not all libraries, however, are being told to close early. Of the 98 libraries in the city, 29 dodged the axe.
Despite Doug Ford’s stated willingness to close library branches, none of the libraries in the riding of the mayor’s brother are facing service cuts. Both libraries in Frances Nunziata’s riding are, however.
Rob Ford promised in his election campaign that “services will not be cut, guaranteed”. Cutting service will only solve part of the library’s budget problems however; collections will also be reduced.
The Learning Enrichment Foundation is in the running for a big grant from the Aviva Community Fund. If you vote for their project,they stand a chance of winning the money they need to start an indoor farmers’ market in Mount Dennis.
The primary campus of the LEF is off Black Creek Drive. They offer job training, language education, newcomers’ services, and other programs for adults and youth, in a big, attractive building in an odd, industrial part of town.
On Thursdays, LEF has a market that sells fresh local food to a small number of customers. They’d like to grow the market by providing a dedicated staff member, children’s activities, and support and education for the vendors.