Councillor Pasternak wants community space to offer free rec
(Written April 4 for Town Crier.)
Councillor James Pasternak wants the city to make Antibes a Priority Centre where all recreation fees would be waived. Photo courtesy City of Toronto.
Residents in the under-served Antibes community shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for rec programs offered at the local community centre, councillor James Pasternak says.
The Ward 10 rep is asking city council to consider making the Antibes Community Centre, located off Bathurst Street, north of Finch Avenue, a designated priority centre.
City program fees continue to increase, and programs formerly offered for free now have costs, Pasternak said. This is affecting participation rates in a neighbourhood where the average annual family income is about $30,000 lower than Toronto’s average.
“Making (Antibes) a priority centre is crucial for Ward 10,” Pasternak said. “It would allow unfettered access to recreation. It would help newcomers and low-income residents.” Continue reading
Posted in Toronto poverty
Tagged Antibes, centre, community, councillor, fees, free, James Pasternak, Kris Scheuer, priority, Recreation, Town Crier, waived
City voted to remove housing board members
Interim director in place until new board appointed
Councillors question legality of decision
(Written and revised March 10 for Town Crier)
THC tenant reps Catherine Wilkinson and Dan King were among board members removed by city. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.
Mayor Rob Ford got his wish. The four remaining members of the Toronto Community Housing’s board were removed last night after a midnight vote by city council.
It its place a single managing director has been appointed to take over the board’s duties.
It’s been confirmed former deputy mayor Case Ootes will fill that role until a new board is formed no later than mid-June.
Councillor Raymond Cho, who along with Councillor Maria Augimeri and tenant reps Catherine Wilkinson and Dan King were removed from the community housing board, said during the debate he felt the mayor was telling him to get lost by asking him to resign from the board after he was just appointed in December.
Last week, the other two councillors appointed to the board after last year’s election, John Parker and Frances Nunziata, resigned at the mayor’s request.
Posted in Toronto News
Tagged audit, board, Case Ootes, Catherine, city, community, council, councillor, Dan, decision, Doug Holyday, gone, housing, King, Kris Scheuer, Maria Augimeri, Mayor, remove, reports, Rob Ford, Shelley Carroll, Toronto, Town Crier, Wilkinson
PC party asked Pitfield to run in Ontario election
But she declined offers, focused on other projects
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 22)
Former Don Valley West Councillor Jane Pitfield has declined offers to be a PC candidate in the provincial election. Francis Crescia/Town Crier file photo.
Former Leaside councillor Jane Pitfield is busy with a lot of projects these days, but running a campaign for a seat in the Ontario legislature isn’t one of them.
Pitfield said she was approached to run provincially for this fall’s
election, but declined.
“Three different ridings all looking for Conservative candidates asked me
to think about it,” she said in February. “I said I wasn’t interested.
“The level of government that appeals to me the most is municipal.”
Pitfield ran in a competitive race in Toronto-Danforth Ward 29 during last
fall’s municipal election. She came second to councillor Mary Fragedakis.
Though surely disappointed that she wasn’t able to get back to city hall as
a municipal representative, Pitfield began tackling other projects.
This January, Exchange Solutions contracted her services to help them launch
a new program Give Get that allows shoppers to donate to various charities
just by buying products at participating retails.
It’s free to join Give Get and there will be a list of charities online that
customers can choose to support when they purchase products at participating
businesses. The website is going live this month.
A website associated with a Leaside fundraiser connected to the Give Get program is already online.
Beyond charitable work, Pitfield is also the new owner of Gaultois Inn in
the Coast of Bays region of Newfoundland. She said it is scheduled to open
in May. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto Politics
Tagged candidate, councillor, election, get, give, Jane Pitfield, Kris Scheuer, Leaside, Ontario, provincial, run, Toronto, Town Crier
Canada’s first female MP lived in Leaside home
But it has no heritage protection or plaque
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 23)
Agnes Macphail lives at 2 Donegall Ave and efforts are underway to push for a heritage designation and plaque of the property. Photo by Joshua Freeman/Town Crier.
Walking by 2 Donegall Ave in Leaside you wouldn’t know it was once home to politician Agnes Macphail.
The 1937-built home is neither historically listed, designated nor does it have a plaque recognizing it as the former abode of Canada’s first female MP.
Residents and politicians have been pushing for over a decade for some recognition for the Toronto property and while things are currently at a standstill, there is renewing pressure to have something done.
The Simmons family, owners of 2 Donegall Ave/720 Millwood Rd home, agreed to install a plaque in 2001 as a compromise to avoid the building becoming historically designated.
But the plaque never materialized because there was no agreement on the wording and cost involved, said property owner Laura Simmons.
She told the Town Crier Feb. 23 she would be agreeable to erecting a plaque if it cost her $500 maximum, but is still against designating her home.
Mary Macdonald, acting director of Heritage Preservation Services, said city staff had recommended designation in 2001, but council voted for the plaque instead.
Posted in Toronto Heritage
Tagged Agnes Macphail, councillor, Donegall, East York, Geoff Kettel, heritage, Janet Davis, John Parker, Kris Scheuer, Laura, Leaside, plaque, preservation, Simmons, Toronto, Town Crier
TTC moving forward with construct of new site
It will be used to maintain and store light rail vehicles
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 3)
Leslie Street resident Caron Court, with son Owen, questions need for Ashbridges Bay LRV storage yard. Photo by Kelly Gadzala/Town Crier.
It’s full steam ahead for a new streetcar maintenance and storage facility at Ashbridges Bay, but area residents and the local councillor are still hoping the TTC will put the brakes on the project, and move it elsewhere.
On Feb. 2, the TTC approved a contract to remove contaminated soil from a site at Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard.
This is the first construction step toward building the $435 million Ashbridges Bay light rail vehicle yard.
A new storage yard is needed to make room for 204 new 100-foot, low-floor vehicles, which are replacing an aging fleet of streetcars.
At the TTC meeting, local councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon requested a 90-day delay on soil removal, in order to explore whether the Ashbridges site is needed at all.
The TTC voted to proceed on schedule.
Posted in Toronto transit
Tagged Ashbridges, Bay, Caron, councillor, court, facility, Karen Stintz, Kris Scheuer, Leslie, light, Mary-Margaret McMahon, rail, storage, streetcars, Town Crier, TTC, vehicles
Councillor Filion’s ward has 100,000 people
City average is 58,000
So he wants city wide ward boundary review
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 3)
John Filion wants the city to redraw ward boundaries so the population is more evenly distributed for council representation.
And if it doesn’t happen soon, he’s looking at taking matters into his own hands.
A few years ago the Willowdale rep asked for a staff report on redrawing the 44 ward boundaries, but it never materialized. He expects a report this council term.
Filion has taken up the cause again because his ward is so densely populated.
His office represents 88,840 residents, according to city stats projections to 2009.
Filion said the current number is closer to 100,000 people. The city median is 58,776 residents per ward, so Filion represents almost double the average. Ward 23 is bounded roughly by Steeles Avenue, Bayview Avenue, Highway 401 and Bathurst Street. Continue reading
TTC votes on revised plan to reduce service
Hours reduced on 41 routes
$4 mil to be reallocated to increase buses elsewhere
(Written Feb. 3 for Town Crier.)
Christine Miller's commute is getting more difficult as two of her bus routes are among service reductions. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.
The TTC voted late last night to cut off-peak service on 41 bus routes despite pleas from residents.
In January the commission proposed reducing service on 48 routes, but delayed a vote in order to get feedback from riders. The revised proposal, approved on Feb. 2, includes maintaining current service on seven routes and various reductions to 41 routes.
These routes were chosen as they fell below the TTC’s minimum ridership threshold of 15 riders per hour.
However, some disputed the commission’s numbers on specific routes.
Councillor Josh Matlow told the commission that he counted 95 people riding the 74 Mt. Pleasant bus between 7-9:30 p.m. one evening, 52 more than official TTC numbers indicate for that route at that time.
Councillor Josh Matlow (right) talks with a bus driver on 74 Mt. Pleasant bus about service reductions. Photo by Karolyn Coorsh/Town Crier.
Mitch Stampler, TTC service planning manager, explained the commission employs 28 full time employees to do accurate ridership counts on all routes.
“It’s true there are some variations in ridership from day to day,” Stampler told the commission.
In the end service was cut on the 74 Mt. Pleasant bus after 7 p.m. seven days a week as recommended.
Posted in Toronto transit
Tagged bus, Christine, councillor, cuts, Josh Matlow, Karen Stintz, Kris Scheuer, Miller, Mitch Stampler, Mortimer, Mt. Pleasant, Pape, reductions, service, Town Crier, TTC
Residents, Councillor Pasternak not a fan of townhouse plan
(Written for Town Crier Jan.4)
Residents Maria Korenberg, Maureen Simpson, Harold Raven, Daisy Stone, Les Resnick are among hundreds against the current townhouse proposal. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.
A plan to add almost 200 townhouses to a quiet enclave in North York is drawing the ire of nearby residents, who say they want the land to remain as green space.
The Toronto District School Board sold vacant land at 55 Antibes Drive to developer Menkes, which has proposed 197 condo townhouses.
If approved, the development will feature 16 units facing Antibes and 181 townhouses accessed from a new public road.
The grassy site is northwest of Finch and Bathurst and residents have been using the property as a playing field especially as it is directly east of Antibes Park. Resident Harold Raven has helped organize neighbours to fight the project.
“The community as a whole objects to the redevelopment of the site,” the Antibes resident says. “It is green space.”
With the oval-shaped neighbourhood lined with narrow roads, condos, highrise apartments and townhouses, Raven said the area is high density already.
“Traffic is horrific now, If you get 197 town homes with 300 cars it will turn the traffic problem into a nightmare,” he said.
Posted in Toronto News
Tagged 55, Antibes, councillor, drive, Harold Raven, James Pasternak, Kris Scheuer, Mark Karam, Menkes, North York, Town Crier, townhouses
Proposal to erect noise buffer near Allen and Eglinton chopped
Toronto councillor pushes for project to be added back in TTC budget
(Written for Town Crier Jan.20)
Residents living near Eglinton’s Allen Expressway on-ramp say they are furious with TTC for quashing a plan to put a noise barrier between their neighbourhood and a noisy commuter lot.
The approved noise barrier project was noticeably absent when TTC presented its 2011 capital budget in January.
Residents Tom Sandler, left, and Randy Daiter are petitioning the TTC to restore funding for a noise barrier near Allen Road. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.
For years, residents living on Wembley Road have complained about honking, beeping and cursing from drivers competing to enter the expressway from Eglinton Avenue, and the noise coming from an adjacent commuter parking lot.
Four years ago, local councillor Joe Mihevc began pushing for funding of a noise barrier along the north side of the lot and the south side of the road’s residential properties.
“There’s been a 10-year plan for all the noise barriers on the Allen,” Mihevc said. “This is the last piece.”
In 2010, about $1.2 million was approved for the noise barrier. The plan was to design and tender it for contract this year, then build it in 2012, Mihevc said.
But there’s been a change of heart at the transit commission. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto transit
Tagged Allen Expressway, barrier, budget, councillor, Jared Green, Joe Mihevc, Karen Stintz, Kris Scheuer, noise, Randy Daiter, Toronto, Town Crier, TTC, Wembley
Commission delays vote on bus service reductions
Cuts would impact 1.2 mil transit rides a year
(Written for Town Crier Jan. 12. Feb 1 UPDATE.)
Councillor Josh Matlow updates his website with a list of the 48 bus routes where service could be reduced. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.
Yesterday it was fare increases that were cancelled, today the TTC voted to put on hold a decision to cut service on 48 bus routes.
The plan was to shorten hours on nearly 50 underused routes starting March 27 and reallocate money to improve service on busy, but unnamed routes this fall.
Residents, transit advocates and councillors made deputations pleading for the commission to reconsider.
“This isn’t the kind of efficiency people are looking for,” said ex-Ward 17 councillor candidate Jonah Schein, who uses the Davenport bus.
Resident Walied Khogali said he found out yesterday his daily Wellesley 94 route was on the list for reductions.
“I talked to people (on the bus) coming to and from work and they had no clue about the service cuts,” he told the commission. “Ride the buses and find out how people will be affected.”
In the end, TTC commissioner and councillor Cesar Palacio moved the motion that deferred a decision on the reduced bus hours until the Feb. 2 commission meeting. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto transit
Tagged buses, Cesar Palacio, chair, commissioner, councillor, cuts, Gary Webster, Joe Mihevc, Jonah Schein, Josh Matlow, Karen Stintz, Kris Scheuer, reductions, routes, service, Toronto, Town Crier, Transit, TTC