Nunziata faces citizens concerned about budget cuts

While your humble correspondent was off hiking in the wilds, Frances Nunziata, our city councillor, hosted a meeting about the funding cuts facing our community. InsideToronto has a write up.

About 60 residents and agency representatives from Ward 11 gathered at a meeting Monday, Aug. 15 to ask the local councillor about potential cuts to services in their community, which they say needs more resources and not fewer.

“We’re worried about our community. We’re worried about our services. Look at what we have. We have so little,” said Marion Newrick, a Ward 11 resident, who was hoping to establish an open, trusting, two-way dialogue with York South-Weston Councillor Frances Nunziata. “Our worries are very real.”

 

 

Mike Sullivan supports open libraries in letter to council

Mike Sullivan, the recently-elected MP for Weston, sent a letter to Mayor Ford and all members of city council urging them not to cut libraries and essential services in Weston. He told them that the libraries here are not “part of the ‘gravy’ you took aim at in the election campaign”.

The letter says that the libraries should not be considered for review as ‘non-essential’ services. Sullivan writes, “In fact, to many residents of this riding, wards 11 and 12, there is precious little gravy in the services they need from the city.”

Sullivan also argues against increasing user fees or fines, and says that “adding or raising user fees… is also unnecessarily punitive” for poor residents. User fees “penalize seniors, the poor, and marginalized residents. First because these person tend to use services such as community centres, pools and libraries more than more affluent residents, and second because the addition of such fees becomes, in effect, a tax on seniors and the poor.”

Mike Sullivan ended the letter by saying that he would do his part in the coming months to urge the government to provide more funding for infrastructure and transit.

Electrification Still Has Legs

Up for consideration at City Council today is a motion to find out whether the Air Rail Link between Pearson Airport and Union Station can be electrified in time for the Pan Am Games in 2015. If experts say it can’t be done (Metrolinx says it can’t), the motion calls for alternative transport arrangements for the games rather than beginning with diesel trains and later electrifying the line. This is in spite of the fact that diesel trains have already been purchased. Apparently the plan is to convert them to electric in 2017.

Who is behind this motion? None other than our own Councillor Frances Nunziata and Mayor Ford’s brother Doug. With backing like that, you can be sure the motion will pass handily and that in this election year, the Provincial Liberals will be torn between stonewalling and keeping the Ford boys happy.

You have to hand it to the Clean Train Coalition for keeping this issue alive and getting representatives at all levels actively involved.

Ford Says Eglinton Subway Next Priority after Sheppard

Rob Ford has personally responded to a WestonWeb editorial by saying that Transit City is not dead but is being refocussed underground. According to the Mayor, his first priority is to build a subway on Sheppard Avenue. His second is the Eglinton line, and it will open by 2020.  Ford says that he has asked the TTC to present plans that will achieve these goals.

This appears to be the first time that Mayor Ford has commented on specific Transit City priorities and on the Eglinton line in particular.

Mayor Ford’s correspondence finally brings some good news for Weston residents. We will have to see whether or not the line will reach Weston and where stations will be located, but at least we are included in transportation planning.

Rob Ford, Throw Us A Bone.

Our new mayor was elected by a considerable margin over his rivals, and it’s agreed he has a pretty strong mandate. Rob Ford’s distaste for street cars was no secret during the campaign, and he seems to be following through on his promise to turn the Transit City plan on its head.

Toronto does not compare well to other cosmopolitan areas when it comes to public transportation. Our subway system is limited to selected areas of downtown and the suburbs. Streetcars and buses are slow and prone to traffic delays; if you have a couple of hours to spare, take a bus or streetcar across town.

Yet while Toronto compares badly, Weston is in the basement.

In recent years, some rays of hope were unveiled. In 1994 work began on a subway that would have gone along Eglinton from Dufferin to Renforth with Weston stops at Keele North, York Centre, Jane North and Scarlett. In 1995, the Harris government ‘deferred’ the work and filled in all excavations. So much for the Common Sense Revolution.

Recently, a subway-like train was planned under Transit City. Originally this would have run along Eglinton—underground like a subway from Leaside to Black Creek Drive with limited stops 850m apart,  and then above ground to the Airport with stops 500m apart. This would have given Weston rapid access to the Yonge-University-Spadina subway and other parts of the city. Again it was being eroded by lack of funds—but at least a start would have been made.

Rob Ford is saying that he wants the Eglinton LRT cancelled. Instead, the money (and then some more) is to be spent on completing the white elephant Sheppard subway. While Toronto mayors have only one vote in council, it is likely Mr. Ford will get his way. The Eglinton LRT is probably dead.

Does this mean that Rob Ford has abandoned the people who strongly supported him here in Weston and his old Ward 2? (I can’t think Frances Nunziata supports cancellation.) What will he do to ensure that there is planning in the works for viable rapid transit options for Weston? Isn’t Weston due for a break soon? Do we have to put up with this and noisy diesels too? For heaven’s sake, throw us a bone Rob.