Dave Bennett is a busy man with deep ties to the Weston community. Apart from helping raise a family of four, he has been active as a volunteer in Weston for quite a while having been a member of the Weston Residents’ Association for many years and is now the chair. He is past president and current board member of the Weston Heritage Conservation District, volunteers with Weston Minor Hockey, has coached house league for almost 15 years, has supervised a division for 9 and has been a VP for the past few years.
His role as a parent at St John the Evangelist Catholic School has now ended (his youngest child graduated last year) and Dave is now community relations advisor to its Parent Council having been chair for many years. As a result of his knowledge and experience, he feels he can make a contribution in terms of the way schools are run in York South Weston and has entered the race to become a school trustee with the Toronto Catholic District School Board. When asked about his chances of winning, Dave feels that his chances are pretty good. This is not a surprise considering that Mr. Bennett is used to achieving things in his life.
Dave says that the new school was long overdue and tells me that the old (now demolished) building was really two additions joined together. The original school at 23 George Street was added on to when more space was needed and later when enrolment increased, the older building was replaced with yet another addition. In later years the school needed twelve portables to accommodate students. The new building will be almost twice the size of the old one and will even have room for 36 day-care students. He modestly points out that many people are responsible for the new building’s existence, including former MPP Laura Albanese. He is obviously proud of the new school and easily rattles off facts and figures along with other details of its unique construction. At the moment, SJTE students are being accommodated a few minutes’ away at St Philip Neri on Beverly Hills Drive near Jane and Wilson.
He proudly points out that the new school field rests on a styrofoam base inside a giant concrete container covering the UP Express and GO Train tracks. The styrofoam helps reduce the load on the tunnel while not being deep enough for the field to float during heavy rains .
While his children are now too old to attend the new school, he feels some satisfaction in knowing that future generations of Westonians will enjoy the new facilities which will open in September 2019.
Getting back to his passion for hockey, Dave says his neighbours are always impressed by the timing of the Bennett annual backyard rinks, built following Farmers’ Almanac winter forecasts. Dave says that the Almanac hasn’t let him down yet. Based on their forecast, expect to see the family rink by mid-December at the latest.
One of the quirks of the new ‘slimline council’ legislation is that nominations for Toronto councillors (and trustees) were re-opened on Monday. People who feel that their chances might be better running in the larger York South-Weston ward (now Ward 5) have another chance to throw their hats in the ring and face off against incumbents Frances Nunziata (formerly Ward 11) and Frank DiGiorgio (formerly Ward 12). There are a few well known politicians living in York South-Weston Ward 5 who no doubt will be mulling over the possibility of running; taking advantage of the vote being split between the two incumbents. Current main opposition to the incumbents, Chiara Padovani is mounting a vigorous campaign and has set up headquarters in Mount Dennis while a former Ward 12 contender from 2014 is Lekan Olawoye who has withdrawn.
Will any of Weston’s political figures be tempted to step into the fray? Strange things can happen in the midst of chaos. For the latest list of candidates use this link.
Previous 47-seat council nominees are required to declare their intention to remain as candidates and all nominations will close at 2:00 pm on September 14 – less than six weeks from the election date of October 22.
Incidentally, Ms. Padovani should do her supporters a favour and ask for contributions over $25 – small contributions over $25 get a 75% rebate. The full rebate table is here.
US political site Counterpunch.org has an article commenting on the current provincial election campaign. Apparently the Ford name has piqued interest down there. The author, Canadian political commentator, Doug Johnson Hatlem claims that no Liberal seat in Ontario is safe and that York South-Weston has become a safe NDP seat. The author states that when families get together over a long weekend, they have a chance to mull over the political situation as a group and opinions become firmer.
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.