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?
from a 1985 public consultation asking residents what they would like to see improved on their main street “Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame and Museum” “Weston Bicycle Festival and road race” “reduce speed” “take back the main street” pic.twitter.com/XMiTcxKhX6
On Monday night at the annual general meeting of the York-South Weston NDP, special guest speaker, Party leader Andrea Horwath outlined the major planks of her platform for the upcoming June 7th provincial election.
In his introduction to Ms. Horwath, York South-Weston riding nominee Faisal Hassan described her as an incredibly strong, passionate woman and a champion for working families who is working hard to build a brighter future for all Ontarians.
Ms Horwath went on to outline what an NDP government will do if elected.
Bring Hydro back into public ownership and lower bills.
Expand affordable not for profit quality child care (currently over $2000 monthly in Toronto).
Expand minimum wage to everyone (e.g. restaurant servers)
Make it easier to form unions
Make temporary workers permanent after 3 months
Match funds with the Federal and City governments for social housing repairs and maintenance
Give all Ontarians access to free prescription drugs
End the layoffs of workers
Fund healthcare to cover inflation and take care of the unique needs in each community.
Make sure healthcare funding matches population growth
Stop school closings – schools will become vibrant, well-funded community hubs
Combat anti-black racism through re-innstituting the Anti-Black Racism Secretariat (an earlier version of today’s Anti-Racism Directorate) and fight all forms of discrimination and hate.
Reduce our carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions in a way that’s fair and not costly to the poor – make polluters pay.
Ensure that indigenous people are able to have a decent life.
A coat drive in 12 Division, run by the good people in the Police Liaison, the LEF, the TTC, and the TDSB, has given out more than 400 coats to chilly people in York South–Weston—including 100 kids. Now they’re looking for some hats, mitts, and scarves.
If you have any you can donate, bring them by 12 Division, at 200 Trethewey Drive.
As the New Year opens, there are some hopeful signs that 2018 will be better and more cheerful than 2017. Here are a few in no particular order.
Minimum Wage and Paid Vacations.
From today, the Ontario minimum wage moves from $11.60 to $14.00. While this may be a tough slog for small businesses, for a large number of people in Weston / Mount Dennis and millions in Ontario, a 21% rise in hourly wages will be a great boost to their personal finances. Contrary to the debunked Trickle Down Theory, when poor people get money, they spend it, increasing growth.
Prescription plan for under 25 year-olds.
This little heralded plan will genuinely improve the lives of millions of Ontario children and young adults by ensuring that most prescriptions and health care supplies are provided at no cost. These two measures from the Ontario Government will provide a much needed boost to our local economy as disposable income rises. Better yet, they were implemented before an election.
Our spell of Alberta weather has no end in sight and is no doubt providing a bonanza to plumbers and furnace repair companies. Our days are already getting longer so can spring be far away? Besides, there are surprising benefits that come with cold weather.
Election year x 2
Here at Weston Web we love elections. Not only do we have a provincial election in June but a civic one in October.
In Ontario, Kathleen Wynne will be looking to hang on to power for the Liberals, battling the Tories’ Patrick Brown and Andrea Horwath for the NDP. Locally we have Laura Albanese who has gained in confidence and competence over the years and will be a formidable opponent. She will be facing Faisal Hassan who worked locally in former NDP MP Mike Sullivan’s office and Mark DeMontis whose compelling story and hockey background may resonate.
In Etobicoke Centre, Liberal Yvan Baker will probably hold his seat despite his seemingly limited thinking skills. In Toronto last year, around 50 people were killed by people driving vehicles, yet in spite of data showing distracted driving to be the major cause of deaths, Mr Baker chose to target pedestrians with his private member’s bill.
In Toronto‘s civic elections in October, Ward 2 will see Mike Ford handily re-elected while in Ward 11, Frances Nunziata will no doubt achieve the same result. The big story will be who will win the mayoral election and thus decide the future of the city. Doug Ford is already pulling rank on nephew Mike – Mike’s Christmas message was hijacked by Uncle Doug. Frances Nunziata will likely be speaker regardless of whether Tory or Ford win since she has a foot in both camps. The big question will be if a credible centre-left candidate can run and pull the rug out from under ‘Rob Ford in sheep’s clothing’, John Tory. The Mayor has already moved his talking points sharply to the left in anticipation and will be vulnerable to Ford as a result.
Another reason for optimism is that thanks to ward distribution, the three additional council seats may not be so friendly to Mayor Tory should he be successful.
The Weston Hub will see artists able to occupy their studio spaces in July as work continues on the 30-storey rental apartment tower, community space and rental storage facility.
Sewer Relining Ends
Sewer work will be ending this year along the Humber and peace will return, (hopefully in October) to our parks after years of clanking disruption from heavy machinery. Cyclists and walkers will appreciate having the Pan Am trail to themselves once more.
We’re Safer than Ever!
The Economist recently placed Toronto as the fourth safest city in the world after Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka.
OK readers, your turn. What makes you cheerful about 2018?
Chris Ballard’s father worked at the Kodak plant during the heyday of Mount Dennis and it was fitting that his son would return as Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change to lend support to the area’s revival in the post-industrial future. Now living in Aurora, the Minister recognized that there is ‘something special’ going on in Mount Dennis. The size and enthusiasm of the crowd and organizers attested to that fact.
He was speaking in the Mount Dennis Legion to upwards of 80 people who braved last night’s cold to attend the Mount Dennis Community Association‘s AGM. Applauding the MDCA’s Net Zero initiative under way, he commented that their strong organization and forward thinking should be emulated by all communities.
After an opening invocation and ceremony from indigenous leaders, the Minister outlined Ontario Government initiatives designed to reduce energy consumption and promote conservation. He encouraged residents to visit the website greenon.ca to see the financial incentives designed to help people conserve energy. The money for such grants comes exclusively from the cap and trade system recently set up in Ontario.
MPP Laura Albanese and MP Ahmed Hussen (by recorded message from Ottawa) greeted the crowd and Councillor Frances Nunziata announced that the Pinetree Daycare Centre will become a net zero facility and will increase its capacity to 98 spaces, making it the largest daycare in the area. In addition, the Cycling Committee under her leadership will be making a number of recommendations to the community soon.
All in all, a very impressive showing for the dynamic Mount Dennis Community Association as their initiatives continue to gain momentum on a variety of fronts.
Last year, it was announced that up to 15 new homeless shelters would be built in wards throughout Toronto. One of them, a temporary shelter located at 731 Runnymede, just south of St. Clair Avenue West was proposed with a lease of 10 years with two 5-year extension options. Much effort has been put into ensuring that the shelter was to be state of the art after addressing many community concerns.
Early this morning, Ms Nunziata came up with a way of killing the shelter by cleverly proposing that the shelter site be leased for only 5 years at a time, effectively rendering the proposal dead given the uncertainties of the short time frame.
For some time now, Ms. Nunziata has been taking credit for chopping the proposed 100 bed shelter down to 50 but was shamed into voting for the temporary shelter’s 10-year lease when Mayor Tory gave the councillor and her allies a strongly worded lesson in compassion. Ms. Nunziata also managed to accuse city staff of misleading the council about the project but was forced to withdraw her comments by the mayor.
Her allies on the motion were Cesar Palacio and one of our many deputy mayors, Denzil Minnan Wong. No doubt it helps that Mayor Tory has the power to strip these councillors of their privileged positions on council.
Watch the whole process unfold here:
and part 2 here (Mayor Tory’s speech is in this one):
Perhaps Mayor Tory isn’t the worst mayor ever…. We’ll see.
It’s well known that many more people in Toronto would cycle if they were isolated and safe from other traffic. The Ontario Government announced today that it will be spending up to $42.5 million on cycling infrastructure across the province. According to Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca, the Ontario Municipal Cycling Commuter Program aims to, “promote safety for cyclists and make cycling more comfortable and more appealing for daily commutes and other frequent trips”. The Ministry has also set up a website to promote cycling. This is great news as York South Weston is one of the most under-served wards in the city when it comes to separated bike lanes. As pointed out in a previous article, a few sharrows are the main concession to cycling in the Weston, Mount-Dennis area.
Toronto Council and the mayor were no doubt horrified and shamed by the recent tragic death of a five year-old riding with a parent in a separate but unprotected lane adjacent to busy traffic. This lane should have been physically separated from Lakeshore Road traffic had the city followed its own guidelines. The fact that it wasn’t is an indication of the low esteem in which cyclists and their safety are held in the city. The Mayor has offered to dither study the matter once more – a familiar council tactic designed to do nothing after the clamour for action has died down.
Instead, Mayor Tory may wish to actually read the city’s existing guidelines concerning cycle trails in the city. I’ve saved him the bother of doing a ‘study’ by quoting the relevant section.
6.4.1. Trails Adjacent High-Volume or High-Speed Arterial Roadways
High-volume and high-speed roadways may have space for trails in the lands dedicated to them. Generally,
these are roadways with speeds of 60 km/h or more and four or more lanes of traffic. These types of roadways often do not have sidewalks, and a trail adjacent should be planned in a similar manner as a trail within a dedicated right-of-way.
The conflict between high-speed traffic and trail uses is best addressed by distance. Designers should try to achieve the maximum distance between the trail and the roadway. Aligning trails at the maximum distance from the roadway will also help to “future-proof” the trail against road expansions.
Where an appropriate distance cannot be achieved, guide rails and a physical separation such as a fence or landscaping are recommended.*
Toronto City Council has a large number of car-centric members. Read here (and weep) for some of our elected officials opining on two-wheeled transportation.
So the bad news is therefore that any spending has to be approved by individual members of Toronto City Council. Let’s hope it won’t take any more lives before some concrete and meaningful action is taken. With the province providing up to 80% of the funding, there will no longer be a valid excuse not to act.