Upcoming events: Weston Library is 100!

The Weston Public Library will be celebrating its 100th anniversary on Saturday, November 22. The party starts at 9 and lasts all day with a street band, an entertainer, police on horseback, a firetruck, a choir—and the official launch of Weston’s Pages of History project. (A hint: you can get a sneak peak, and it looks great!)

Metrolinx will also be having the last of their construction thank-you gatherings that weekend. It will be held at the GO Station Parking Lot, 1865 Weston Rd, on Sunday, November 23 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m.

My endorsement for councillor

Let’s start with this: Frances Nunziata is an excellent retail politician. If you call her, she will call you back. If you need something done, she’ll get it done.

But Weston has been suffering under her watch. Stores along Weston Road are struggling. Transit is gasping. We seem to be in a constant state of construction and disruption, and our town is getting very little out of work that will benefit everyone but us. Something is wrong.

And though this is not entirely Nunziata’s fault (she did not invent the digital camera that killed Kodak), Nunziata’s politics are not helping.

Frances—can I call her Frances?—is part of Ford Nation. She believes in subways, cars, and low taxes. She believes in business, the little guy, public-private-partnerships, and small government. And these are good things. Except for Weston.

They’re not what Weston needs right now. Weston needs public infrastructure and public goods. These are things that increased taxes buy.

What kind of public goods? Things that will make Weston a more pleasant place to do business and a more delightful place to live. Off the top of my head:

  •  Childcare
    • A city-subsidized childcare would make this a more desirable neighbourhood for young couples. We used to have one.
  • Functioning, funded transit
    • Buses, buses, buses. Bus infrastructure. Express buses. Articulated buses. Decent bus shelters (why do we wait outside in the winter?)
  • Bike paths
    • Join the Humber gap, create safe bike infrastructure to get to the GO, and build a bike path along Wilson to join North York and Toronto.
    • Build a path south to the Junction and Bloor. It’s impossible to get there now by bike.
  • Public art
    • Work with the BIA to make Weston Road lovely again
  • Trees and parks
    •  Trees along Weston Road and Jane Streets would calm traffic and noise and create a nicer pedestrian environment
    • The dilapidated houses on Weston must be expropriated and demolished.
  • Indoor community spaces.
    • A YMCA would be great, but let’s start small. There are no community programs at schools in Weston. Why not? The Elms and Amesbury have them. Weston could too.

These require taxes, government, patience, and cooperation. These are not the beliefs of Ford Nation.

You might then think that Dory Chalhoub would be my endorsement.

He is not.

Calhoub has guts. He’s running on a shoestring budget against an entrenched opponent. He shows up, he campaigns, and he tries. And he ought, above all, to be commended for that. I salute him wholeheartedly for his noble, and Quixotic, campaign.

But I cannot endorse him.

While Chalhoub he has put himself forward as the person to fix the riding he, too, appears to be fiscally conservative, and as long as he thinks that we can fix our problems without working together—and that’s just another way of saying “taxes”—then he is mistaken.

He has no experience. Chalhoub says that every new candidate starts off without it. True. But other candidates prove themselves in the minor leagues before trying out for the majors: Chalhoub, as far as I know, has not been much involved in the riding, certainly not in Weston or Mount Dennis.

Dory—can I call him Dory?—also lacks vision. He did not respond to PositionPrimer or InsideToronto to give details about his platform. (Nunziata did.) Dory did not even disclose which mayoral candidate he would back—surely the shortest cut to a platform he could take. His website is incomplete (the links to his policy pages are broken), he has no social media, and even the photos on his website are clipart: in this beautiful town, he chose a picture from Hamilton to represent neighbourhood beauty.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say he’s running on a very simple platform: “Not Nunziata. But close.” The lack of policy could be intentional. Like staring at clouds, we can see what we want to.

Our choice, then, is between two unsatisfactory candidates, neither of whom seems to have a long-term vision for Weston.

I cannot endorse either.

Restaurant round up

The head and the heart are so often in conflict, but never more than in matters of pizza. My heart breaks when pizza joints fall from their places in the firmament. This week was bad—but not as bad as that week when I learned that supermodels are genetically men (come back when you’re done, okay?).

Weston BBQ Chicken and Pizza got yellow carded this month for a litany of bad choices, including:

  • Not taking the garbage out
  • Not cleaning the bathroom
  • Not having hand-washing supplies
  • Not providing pest control.

Pizza Alps got yellowed for

  • Not keeping hazardous food cold
  • Not covering food.

Pizza Pizza also got a two significant warnings:

  • Not having soap
  • Not having toilet paper.

 

No TAVIS this summer

12 Division, which includes Weston, will not be getting the TAVIS program this summer, according to Frances Nunziata’s office.

The TAVIS program, which puts extra cops on bikes and in the community in the summertime, had run in Weston since at least 2011. It is designed as an intensive crime- and violence-reduction strategy.

TAVIS will be in 51 Division (Regent Park) this year.

Four years!

Every week I wonder if there will be anything at all to write about. Every week there is—and yet, for four years, I’ve kept worrying.

On May 13, 2010, four years ago today, your humble correspondent wrote the first post on WestonWeb.ca.

A few numbers, because I find them interesting:

  • We’ve posted exactly 1400 stories in that time—if you give me a week off between Christmas and New Years, that’s one a day, every day!
  • At, very roughly, 100 words an article, Roy and I have typed 140,000 words—almost two short novels’ worth.
  • But people don’t read novels, while we get about 5000 visitors a month. It’s hard to tell exactly what that means, since I can’t figure out how many of them are unique and how many are repeat visitors, but heck, any way you cut it, it’s pretty great.
  • There are 2,875 comments on the site. Wow! Thank you for being a part of this.
  • 112,365 spam comments did not make it to the site.  Really.
  • The site has cost about $650 to run. In four years, I have made exactly $0.00 from advertising, despite my repeated attempts and fantasies of internet dozens. When I’m feeling vain (which is a often), I think that I’m doing the same kind of thing as a small town newspaper used to do. But, on the one hand, my god, has the internet ever changed things: I can ‘publish’ a ‘paper’ for $12 a month. And, on the other hand, my god, has the internet ever changed things: there’s no money community news.
  • It’s the best $650 that I’ve ever spent.

Weston soldier honoured

Chief Warrant Officer Stuart Gordon Hartnell, from Weston, received the Meritorious Service Medal yesterday from Governor General David Johnston. The medal goes to people whose “specific achievements have brought honour to the Canadian Armed Forces and to Canada.”

CWO Hartnell has served for 28 years in the military, including in the Airborne and special operations.

As battle group sergeant-major in Afghanistan from April to November 2010, Chief Warrant Officer Hartnell was a key player in high-intensity counter-insurgency operations. Tenacious in combat and a firm disciplinarian, he was respected throughout the unit as a model for others to emulate. Whether providing advice to the commander or leading soldiers in combat, Chief Warrant Officer Hartnell demonstrated impressive leadership and soldiering ability, which proved to be critical to the battle group’s operational success.