Scotiabank gives Weston one last wedgie.

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Right at the corner of Weston and Lawrence sits a unique wedge shaped building that has been there for decades. On July 22nd, the occupant, Scotiabank, will be pulling out of 1885 Weston Road in an attempt (one presumes) to maximize shareholder value. This in spite of earnings up a healthy 6% over the first quarter of last year.

Our local politicians can blather all they want about the evils of payday loan companies in the area but here is a profitable, successful corporation demonstrating that it cares so little about its customers, they can now do their banking at the next closest branches at Weston and Eglinton or Lawrence and Keele – a hefty hike or a $6.00 round trip by TTC. These are the same compassionate folks who recently cut hundreds of jobs in Alberta.

For those of us who don’t use Scotiabank or who do their banking electronically this is probably not a big deal. For low income folks, this is another push towards payday loan companies. Many seniors are not comfortable banking by computer and will be severely inconvenienced by this closure. In addition, as a sign of confidence in Weston’s emergence from decades of neglect, this is a terrible setback. No doubt yet another payday loan company will open in its place.

If I was Councillor Frances Nunziata, MPP Laura Albanese or our non-resident MP Ahmed Hussen, I would be in front of the branch waving placards protesting the closure – in fact I’ll be happy to be part of any such demonstration should any of these representatives wish to show their displeasure and shame Scotiabank for their vote of non-confidence in our community. Embarrassing Scotiabank is probably the only way to get any reconsideration especially if as a result, people decide to move their money to the remaining banks in the area; TD Canada Trust, RBC and BMO.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada is interested in hearing from customers who will be inconvenienced by this move: 1-866-461-3222.

If you would like to express your displeasure to Scotiabank directly, call 1-888-722-3970.

And finally, a quote from the lovely folks at Scotiabank:

Although our reach is global, our energies are focused on individual customers, employees, and shareholders, and on building a strong community presence.

Scotiabank to close, pot shop to open

The Scotiabank in Weston will close in July, according to Frances Nunziata’s recent email circular. It will be merged with an existing bank much farther away, at Keele and Lawrence.

In other business news, a marijuana clinic has opened up across the street from the Superstore. The website hardly inspires confidence; it’s filled with stock photos, spelling mistakes, and highly dubious claims.

You cannot grow pot on a petri dish
You cannot grow pot on a petri dish, despite what this ‘doctor’ says.

Still, Canabliss Health says they can hook you up with book you an appointment with an obliging experienced doctor, and one of their dudes “experienced counselors” will help you choose your weed.

 

Executive Committee to Metrolinx, we expect better for Kodak Lands

The Kodak lands at Black Creek Drive and Eglinton have sat empty for many years. Speculation regarding the future of this property has been a constant since Kodak sold it to developers Metrus for $19.5 million in 2006. Metrus sat on the property until 2012 then sold it for a cool $48 million to Metrolinx (yes, we’re all in the wrong business). When an announcement finally came about developing the property, many residents were dismayed to learn that plans were to make it the home of a maintenance and storage facility (MSF) for light-rail vehicles that will (Ford brothers permitting) be using the Eglinton LRT Crosstown Line.

The Kodak recreation building.
The Kodak recreation building.

Metrolinx sees Mount Dennis and specifically the Kodak lands as a future transit hub that will provide links to GO, the U.P. Express and the crosstown line. Their vision includes an LRT line incorporating the old Kodak Recreation building and the Scotiabank building at Weston and Eglinton as well as new parkland and the contentious storage facility. The Toronto Star has an article that dwells on the heritage aspects of the site.

Once citizens heard of the new plans for the site, many were dismayed by the stark vision offered by what seemed to be a marshalling yard. Instead of generating jobs and perhaps providing parkland and a retail component, the site seemed destined to have a grim future. Protests were registered resulting in Toronto’s Executive Committee updating a series of ‘principles’ that were passed by the full council yesterday (October 8th). These principles can be summarized as follows:

  1. Consider a broad range of uses for the site rather than just an MSF.
  2. Minimize the land used by the MSF while maximizing development elsewhere.
  3. Seek further input from a broader section of the community.
  4. If future MSF needs decrease, explore appropriate alternative uses.
  5. Preserve existing ’employment lands’ especially along Industry Drive.
  6. Use innovative ways of accommodating grade differentials of the site.
  7. Create seamless transitions between the site and adjacent areas.
  8. Employ professionals to use excellence in design throughout.
  9. Preserve and incorporate the Kodak recreation building and the Scotiabank premises at Weston and Eglinton into plans for the site.
These changes have been effected through direct citizen involvement in the political process. With a civic election due next year, now is an ideal time to keep applying the pressure. Although Metrolinx is fond of telling everyone they are a provincial agency and not obliged to listen, the Liberals are in no position to have another contentious issue on their plates.
Let’s keep up the pressure.