GTA Transit Planning Revealed.

From bms.co.in

The latest news of how transit gets built in this area comes as no surprise to most people in the GTA.  In the latest outrage, straight from the manual of how to operate a corrupt government, Provincial Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca possibly acting in a craven bid to keep his own seat, seems to have pressured Metrolinx into approving two unnecessary GO stations. One in his riding and another $25 million station which was (literally) forged into existence, in order to satisfy (Rob Ford in sheep’s clothing) Mayor Tory’s ill-conceived SmartTrack needs. With a wink and a nod to voters in next June’s election, Del Duca could point to the $100 million GO station as a reason to re-elect him. One might speculate that the March resignation of Bruce McCuaig was a reaction to this nonsense, knowing that the truth would eventually come out.

This chart illustrates the weekly passenger loads on TTC lines and routes. The downtown relief line would serve four times as many people as a Scarborough Subway. Click to enlarge. From reliefline.ca

The $3.35 billion, one-stop Scarborough Subway is another example of how transit planning is perverted by politicians for their own re-election purposes. Torontonians will be paying for that white elephant for the next 50 years while knowing that a much better LRT was already planned and paid for. Line 1 is overcrowded with 731,000 passengers weekly. Line 3 has only 40,000. In the meantime, politicians like Glenn de Bearemaeker and John Tory stick to the same nonsense that Scarborough deserves a subway. Even our own councillor, Frances Nunziata supports this obscenity presumably because she wants to Tory to keep her on as Council Speaker.

Closer to home, the UP Express was originally designed to be built privately and run non-stop to the airport. It was going to cost taxpayers nothing while barreling at high speed through our neighbourhood. Luckily the community got involved in the form of the people of Weston and the Clean Train Coalition. As a result of community pressure, Weston got its own station and a tunnel was built to put some of the line below grade. In spite of common sense, we’re still stuck with the CP tracks not going in the tunnel with the other lines, broken links between streets like John Street and a sell-off of the old GO parking lot for development without any community input. On the plus side, we now have an inexpensive, quick and frequent train to the airport and downtown but in fairness, no politician planned this; it was forced on them by community pressure.

Sadly, most politicians will do whatever they need to do in order to get elected. Public vigilance and pressure is the only answer. Being well informed and vocal is in every citizen’s best interest.

From Smart Citizen Engagement – Power to Sense: Dr Mazlan Abbas. Keynote Presentation at Asia Pacific Smart City Forum 2016

There is an old saying that war is too important to be left to the generals. Along the same lines, governing is too important to be left to politicians. Demanding and participating in community consultation events has never been more important. Especially since there is about to be a huge surge in redevelopment in Weston. Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat’s resignation on Monday will only serve to stress the importance of informed citizen input.

Greenland Farm to develop old Loblaws site.

Greenland Farm Supermarket in January 2016 (File).

Greenland Farm at 1956-1966 Weston Road is a one-store supermarket that occupies a site once used for the same purpose by Loblaws many years ago. If you like fish, or a wide variety of products from all over the world, then GF is a great place to shop. It has for example, more types of hot sauce than you would find in a lifetime of searching through any chain supermarket.

It turns out that the owner would like to develop the site which is quite large as it includes the supermarket itself and a fairly substantial parking lot also fronting onto Weston Road. According to the latest newsletter from Councillor Frances Nunziata, there is interest in, “…redeveloping the site with commercial uses at grade level and residential above.”

Greenland Farms occupies a large site and parking lot in downtown Weston (from Google Maps). Click to enlarge.

In many ways, this is a vote of confidence in Weston but the quality of the proposal, the appropriate use of land and the height of the residential component will need to be carefully scrutinized.

A meeting will be held to discuss the owner’s thoughts and for residents to provide feedback so that a submission proposal can eventually be drawn up and presented to the City (which will be represented at the meeting).

In the formative stages of this idea it’s probably a huge opportunity for Weston residents to make their ideas and opinions count.

The meeting will be held at the York West Active Living Centre, located at 1901 Weston Road.

  • Date: Tuesday, August 29
  • Time 7:00 pm
  • Location: 1901 Weston Road

Wasted Weston part 1

This is the first in a hopefully-short series on waste in Weston: wasted opportunities, wasted money, and wasted space.

Today, a wasted opportunity. The 85-year-old and very pretty Satin Finish office was torn down this week, in exchange for a ‘beautification agreement’¹ with the builders.

Former Satin Finish buildingYour correspondent had other, better plans. It could have been a small rec or youth centre, with after-school programming for the many kids in the new development. Imagine a sunlit space with oak beams and hardwood floors—a nod to its history—with an AV lab, a homework space and a videogame room, where kids could go and play LAN games.

We could have had an institutional daycare—there hasn’t been one since the Weston Village Childcare closed up more than 4 years ago. Or perhaps it could have had a meeting space or a job centre, where we could go, network, and post and find work.

Instead, it will be townhomes.

 

 


¹ Nobody knows quite what that means.

 

 

Another idea for Weston / Mount Dennis

Like Weston and Mount Dennis, Parkdale was devastated by changing circumstances in the 1950s and 1960s. Recently, Parkdale has been gentrifying and residents have formed the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust in order to have some control over the current boom in development.

Last month using fundraising and grants, the trust purchased land that had been denied building permits. The Trust had already received permission to garden on the 5000 square foot site. Ownership will mean that future gardening at that location is guaranteed.

More details here.

An idea for Weston?

Dunnville Ontario is a small town on the Grand River near Lake Erie. They are commemorating local war heroes through a series of banners throughout their town. An extension of this idea might be to celebrate Westonians alive or dead who have made a contribution.

Another amazing thing about Dunnville is the clean appearance possible on a street with no overhead wiring. If Dunnville can do it, why not Weston?

Who was the man killed by police?

The Toronto Star has an article about the mystery of the homeless man killed by police in Weston last year. It was the second time he had been shot by police in Weston, both times after threatening them with a butcher knife.

The police have little idea who he was.

 

No one knew John Doe.

Not his real name, not his birthday, not where he came from. More than a year after Doe ambushed Toronto police officers with a kitchen knife in a dusty rail corridor in North York, leading one of them to fatally shoot him, all investigators can say is that he was a sex offender with a violent past.