Our new mayor was elected by a considerable margin over his rivals, and it’s agreed he has a pretty strong mandate. Rob Ford’s distaste for street cars was no secret during the campaign, and he seems to be following through on his promise to turn the Transit City plan on its head.
Toronto does not compare well to other cosmopolitan areas when it comes to public transportation. Our subway system is limited to selected areas of downtown and the suburbs. Streetcars and buses are slow and prone to traffic delays; if you have a couple of hours to spare, take a bus or streetcar across town.
Yet while Toronto compares badly, Weston is in the basement.
In recent years, some rays of hope were unveiled. In 1994 work began on a subway that would have gone along Eglinton from Dufferin to Renforth with Weston stops at Keele North, York Centre, Jane North and Scarlett. In 1995, the Harris government ‘deferred’ the work and filled in all excavations. So much for the Common Sense Revolution.
Recently, a subway-like train was planned under Transit City. Originally this would have run along Eglinton—underground like a subway from Leaside to Black Creek Drive with limited stops 850m apart, and then above ground to the Airport with stops 500m apart. This would have given Weston rapid access to the Yonge-University-Spadina subway and other parts of the city. Again it was being eroded by lack of funds—but at least a start would have been made.
Rob Ford is saying that he wants the Eglinton LRT cancelled. Instead, the money (and then some more) is to be spent on completing the white elephant Sheppard subway. While Toronto mayors have only one vote in council, it is likely Mr. Ford will get his way. The Eglinton LRT is probably dead.
Does this mean that Rob Ford has abandoned the people who strongly supported him here in Weston and his old Ward 2? (I can’t think Frances Nunziata supports cancellation.) What will he do to ensure that there is planning in the works for viable rapid transit options for Weston? Isn’t Weston due for a break soon? Do we have to put up with this and noisy diesels too? For heaven’s sake, throw us a bone Rob.
Thanks to two million dollars’ worth of Federal Government infrastructure funds, Weston can now boast of a FIFA standard soccer field in Lions Park. It’s almost complete – there just remains some upgraded lighting and proper fencing to keep stray soccer and baseballs away from each other. Oh and yes, goal posts will be coming too.
The pitch is pool-table level. Bulldozers worked for weeks scraping, compressing and flattening the ground. As for the playing surface, gone are the days of hard bristly artificial turf when players would risk abrasions and burns whenever they slid along the ground. This new material is very soft with a layer of shredded rubber between the fibres.
Lastly, you have to get down onto the surface to appreciate how soft and dry it is. The drainage is phenomenal. I was able to kneel without getting wet.
Players are looking forward to the opening of this world-class facility in spring.
As readers may know, Toronto is divided up into police jurisdictions called divisions. These divisions are numbered (rather than named) in a way that seems rather counter-intuitive—but that’s another story. There is a proposal to change the boundary of 12 Division so that Weston will be contained entirely in this division rather than split between 12 and 31 Divisions.
The northern border of 12 Division will move north from its current location of Lawrence up to Highway 401. According to insidetoronto.com, Scott Gilbert, project overseer, is confident that the proposed change will be implemented. If this is the case, we can only hope it will lead to more coordinated and successful policing in Weston.
How is it that just about every jurisdiction in Europe can install and run electric locomotives but here in Toronto, it’s beyond our ability? The use of the Pan-Am games to justify diesel (Metrolinx claims electrification cannot be achieved by 2015) is either faulty reasoning or a flimsy excuse. The 16-day Pan-Am games will manage just fine without a rail link.
Politicians need to understand, people don’t want smelly, noisy diesel locomotives barreling through suburban neighbourhoods several times an hour.
Electric locomotives are cleaner, quicker, quieter and more efficient. People would support this project enthusiastically if electrification were the goal. Let’s not get stuck with a poor choice because of lack of determination on the part of politicians or Metrolinx officials.
In spite of media giving the impression that crime is on the rise in the city, official statistics are painting an interesting picture of crime in the two police divisions that Weston sits astride.
Weston south of Lawrence falls into 12 Division; above Lawrence, Weston sits in 31 Division.
Looking at crime indicators year to date, crime is down overall throughout the city of Toronto. Robberies and assaults are down slightly while auto theft and theft over $5000 are down by about 16% compared to last year at this time.
In 12 and 31 divisions, the numbers are slightly different. Because Weston sits in two large police divisions it is difficult to know the specific crimes that happen in our neighbourhood.
Assault and Break and Enter
The charts show that in 12 Division, assault and break and enter are higher while everything else is lower. Conversely, Break and enter crimes are considerably lower in 31 Division while robberies have increased.
What we can learn from this is unclear. While we can take comfort from a lowering of crime across the city, we should be alert to any upward tendencies such as can be seen here.
The perception and the reality of crime are two different things. These figures from Toronto Police help us understand that.
FIFA head Sepp Blatter has stated that artificial turf may play a large part in the future of soccer. It will certainly play a large part in Weston’s soccer future.
As previously noted in WestonWeb, the soccer field in Lions Park has been under construction since June and is about 40% complete. The two-million-dollar project will see the field covered with Domo Turf, a FIFA approved brand of synthetic turf. The playing surface will be painted with regulation white markings and will be used exclusively for soccer.
Improvements to the site have already been made to provide drainage as the old field was notoriously muddy. Water drained from the pitch will flow directly into the Humber. Players’ benches and goal posts will be added, as well as fencing to separate the softball fields from the soccer field (to stop stray balls). There are no plans as yet to cover the field with a dome in winter.
The turf holds the promise of an extended season for soccer players. There is a similar installation in Cherry Beach that operates right through November although end of season dates are determined by local Parks Staff.