Two votes on stormwater in YSW

City Council also voted for two very interesting motions to reduce flooding, which has been a particular problem in parts of our riding.

One motion asks city staff to study a stormwater tax—which, if you think about it, is a rain tax. But it’s a super idea!

The trouble is that large, paved surfaces push much rainwater into the sewers. Right now, water users are charged for stormwater management, even though the water you use has nothing at all to do with how big your parking lot is. The motion introduced by Mike Layton will ask city staff to study taxing hard surface areas like parking lots. Councillor Frances Nunziata voted in favour. The motion narrowly carried.

A second motion, proposed by Nunziata, asks city staff to study naturalizing the Black Creek Channel.

The Black Creek was ‘channelized’ in the middle of the 20th century—meaning the river was replaced with a concrete channel instead of a natural environment.

Black Creek Channel, from the TRCA

The TRCA says that “while providing some riverine flood remediation benefits, [channels] do not fully protect the area from riverine flooding.”

Nunziata’s motion asks staff to consider “alternative design options for the Rockcliffe Riverine Flood Mitigation Project… and report on its findings.”

Petition and march for flooding in York South–Weston


MPP Faisal Hassan hopes to present a petition to the Legislature when it resumes. He is asking the province to “provide immediate relief to homeowners suffering from flooding damage and that green infrastructure investment in York South-Weston to immediately mitigate and ultimately prevent future flooding.”

While wet basements are often an issue in Weston, no part of the riding is harder hit than Rockcliffe, which often has terrible floods. Residents there marched today to draw attention to the issue.

The city and the province feds announced money for flooding last year.

Weston schools face closure review

Every driver eventually faces the same question: when does fixing cost more than replacing? Your correspondent predicts that the TDSB is asking the same question now about several local schools.

Weston CI is among 8 schools in Ward 6 facing an existential review. The TDSB is conducting a “Long-Term Program & Accommodation Strategy“, and is looking to “reduce surplus space and build viable programs” at the following schools:

  • Rockcliffe MS,
  • Dennis Avenue CS
  • Weston CI
  • Cordella Jr. PS,
  • Harwood PS,
  • George Syme CS,
  • Roselands Jr. PS,
  • Lambton Park CS¹

I am not an education administrator, but I see the possibility for amputation synergies. Many of these schools need almost as much in repairs as they would cost to replace. Perhaps the TDSB will do the same thing car owners do: junk the heap.

Rockcliffe, though not properly in Mount Dennis or Weston (the beats I stick to) is illustrative. As well as being ‘underutilized’, it is on the critical list for repairs: more than $7 million of work needs to be done. Its repairs will cost almost as much as a whole new school: the province estimates that they add up to 93% of its replacement value.

Surely it will be tempting to close a school in that kind of shape if it is not being much used—and just as surely it must be tempting to put as few repairs as possible into a dying school, fulfilling the vicious cycle.

In order of rustbucketiness, then, the underutilized schools being reviewed are:

  • Rockcliffe MS: 93% rust
  • Dennis Avenue CS: 58% rust
  • Weston CI: 55%
  • Harwood PS, 49%
  • Cordella Jr. PS 48%
  • Roselands Jr. PS: 41%
  • George Syme CS 29%
  • Lambton Park CS 20%

I’m sure there are many factors the TDSB will consider—including politics—but the cost of fixing a forsaken school must be high among them. I predict, therefore, that the viability of Rockcliffe, Dennis Avenue, and Weston CI will be closely examined.

The process, it is clear, will be very slow. Staff are currently working on some of the schools, and public consultation will begin this fall. Other schools will not be reviewed until next year.


¹The special education programs at Haney Centre and York Humber may also be amalgamated.