VIA does 121 through Weston Station

A reader alerted me to a danger at the Weston Station: twice daily, the VIA train goes through without slowing down—and boy, is it going fast. According to a  spokesperson, the VIA train is going 121 km/h (75 mph)–a speed that was “determined by the railway owner”.

At this speed, the train generates a lot of slipstream, and it is passing close to passengers. Our reader said it leaves “a huge swirl of dust, newspapers, and plastic bags. A child, or pet [could] be hurled against the platform columns or on to another platform”.

The spokesperson said that VIA has not received any complaints about the trains’ speed, but concerned residents can leave a comment and contact VIA Rail’s customer relations department at customer_relations@viarail.ca.

From Wikimedia

 

 

 

 

MacDonald Avenue to get 19th Century upgrade.

A tree on MacDonald Avenue weakened by utility pruning. (Google.ca July 2017)

Here is a notice from Toronto Hydro:

MacDonald Avenue

  • Project ID: W18159
  • Activity: Overhead Civil and Electrical
  • Timeline: October 2017 – December 2018
  • Status: Current

Toronto Hydro is planning to rebuild the aging overhead electrical system in the community to help improve service reliability. The rebuild includes upgrading overhead electrical cables and replacing hydro poles within the City of Toronto’s public property allowance in front of or adjacent to the lot. Throughout this project, planned outages may be necessary to switch from the old to the new electrical system and we intend to provide advance notice. Toronto Hydro crews and contractors will take extra care and precautions around the property. Please be advised that as a result of the project, our contractor may be trimming a number of the overgrown trees on the public road allowance in order to accommodate new hydro infrastructure. Upon project completion, affected areas will be restored.

So, instead of replacing MacDonald Avenue’s overhead wiring with underground cables, Toronto Hydro will continue to use a 19th Century method of bringing power to homes and businesses. This will ensure a continuing vulnerability of the power supply to ice storms, lightning strikes, vehicle collisions and falling trees. Speaking of trees; pruning them to make room for wiring is harmful and our trees would last far longer if they weren’t weakened by being trimmed.

The average life of a hydro pole is about 35 years so the MacDonald Avenue installation should last until 2053. Oh, and don’t hold your breath expecting that all of the old poles will be completely removed.

It seems that Toronto Hydro would rather spend its money on executive remuneration than on upgrading infrastructure, preserving trees and improving our streetscape. Yes, it would be initially more expensive to bury power lines but it would be an investment in the future and save money (repairs from the 2013 ice storm cost over $170 million) and inconvenience in the long run.

Today in Weston: April 7, 2018

The York Jets Soccer Club under-17 boys soccer team practising this afternoon in cold conditions at the Weston Sports Complex soccer field in Lions Park. The club has been active since 1983 and in February, the under 17s played in the Mayors Cup International Soccer Showcase in Las Vegas.

The team is looking for under-17 boys interested in playing in YJSC’s rep program. Call (416) 652-6904 for more details.

Shakespeare In Action needs help

Shakespeare In Action will be moving to Weston and into their first permanent studio home when Artscape Weston Common opens later this year. This will involve expenses for moving as well as furnishing the space in their new home.

SIA is asking the public for financial help with their move and has donation levels based on Shakespeare’s own Friends, Romans, Countrymen and a couple of higher categories.

Let’s hope Westonians can welcome this dynamic group to our community with some generous support. For more information about donation levels and how to donate, click here.

10 Wilby keeps on growing

The original concept for 10 Wilby; 10-storeys and 131 units.

‘Riverstone Condos’ was to be a 10-storey building on Wilby Crescent, just off Weston Road, south of Lawrence. Many people put down deposit money back in 2013 in the hopes of getting an affordable condominium apartment in a beautifully designed 10-storey building overlooking parkland and the Humber. Hopes were dashed when the project fell through as prices were considerably higher in the proposed Riverstone than for existing condos on nearby Hickory Tree.

In October 2016 the project was revived, this time it was to be 234 units in 16 storeys and the building (and common amenities) not quite so architecturally splendid.

The 16-storey, 233 unit re-incarnation.

A year later and the project became 21 storeys and 235 units.

21 Storeys 235 units.

Now, according to Urban Toronto, a public relations organ for the local real estate and development industries, it’s going to be 22 storeys with 233 units. The article states rental units (not that there’s anything wrong with rental) however, Options For Homes confirmed that the units will be condos and not rentals.

Now 22 storeys, 233 units.

Stay tuned. This may not be the final version.

Finally, last time we wrote about changes in the building design and height, Options For Homes sales director, Mary Pattison wrote the following and we’ll give her the last word:

Hi – this is Mary from Options for Homes. I would be more than happy to tell you why I’m so proud to work at Options for Homes and why I think this new building will be a positive addition to your neighbourhood. Please reach out directly at maryp@optionsforhomes.ca. In the meantime, it’s helpful to understand two things:

1) We make home ownership affordable, not “affordable housing” (in the way that I think you’re referring to) Over the past 24 years we’ve often been at the forefront of the revitalization of neighbourhoods (eg. Distillery District, The Junction). We help middle-income Canadians (HHI 40-90K) with down payment support to accelerate home ownership dreams and ensure we combine that with the lowest maintenance fees in the city (about .46 a square foot presently).

2) The changes to the design are a function of increasing construction costs (due to demand) and development charges that have more than doubled in the time it’s taken to get the project approved by the city. We agree that it was lovely and we’re very proud of the new design as well.

We’re also proud of this video that shows many of our buildings and you can judge four yourself if this is what you think of when you think “affordable housing”

1985 Weston wish list

Cycle YorkSouth-Weston has tweeted this fascinating wish list for Weston drawn up by residents back in 1985. Some very forward looking ideas were proposed and some have actually come to pass (the Humber footbridge). Would the people who created this list 33 years ago be pleased or disappointed with the progress made since then?

Discuss.

RBC Bank robber arrested.

The word that the Weston and Lawrence RBC branch had been robbed twice within six days created anxiety in many people. The details of the robberies have been released and it transpires that it wasn’t an armed gang so much as a one-man mini crime wave. On March 2nd, a 30 year-old suspect allegedly saw an opportunity and attempted to grab money from a customer at an ATM. The 62 year-old customer was able to hold on to his or her money and the suspect then doubled down and allegedly went to a teller and threatened to shoot her if she did not hand over money. He allegedly fled with some cash but was not wearing a disguise.

The same person came back again on March 8th allegedly wearing sunglasses and a scarf and instead of going to a teller, made demands of the manager who complied.

The police gave no further details of the alleged suspect except that he was arrested later the same day of the second robbery and was due to appear in court last Friday.

Hats off to the brave people working at RBC in Weston. It’s got to be a horrible experience to be present during a robbery; not knowing the weaponry or state of mind of the robber(s). There are few other civilian jobs where this dangerous potential constantly looms in the background. Thankfully the police acted quickly and this man is off our streets.

One can only speculate what his alleged motivation (let alone history) was but a drug dependency might be one of his demons. Investing in more resources to directly tackle addiction and mental health is seen as more and more important as a prior intervention might have got this man some help and saved people a great deal of anxiety. Now, the courts and prison system will be his social worker, doctor and psychiatrist – at a much higher cost to all of us, and indeed to him. If he is convicted, many doors will close.

Points of interest.

  • Adult correctional services cost the people of Canada over $4.6 billion in 2015/16. We pay around $203 per day to keep someone in a provincial jail and $283 daily in a federal jail.
  • People aged between 25 and 34 are the biggest age group in jails.
  • Canada incarcerates about 115 people for every 100,000 of population; India, an astonishing 33 and the U.S. an equally astonishing 698.