Monthly Archives: May 2010

Davisville PS won’t close

School board staff recommend keeping five local sites open
Davisville, Eglinton, Hodgson, Maurice Cody, Spectrum should stay alive
Trustees make final decision June 23
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier May 27.)

Davisville PS was never in real danger of closing.

While other communities struggle with the prospect of school closures, parents in Davisville and Leaside can expect to see expanded programming.
School board staff has agreed with all the recommendations put forth by the Davisville school review committee.
The review focused on how best to accommodate students at Davisville/Metropolitan Toronto School for the Deaf, Eglinton, Hodgson and Maurice Cody public schools and Spectrum Alternative School without losing services.
“We came out of this with some real goodies,” said school trustee Josh Matlow. Continue reading

Patios on St. Clair West

Narrower sidewalks,street furniture make patios more difficult
City staff reject some applications, local councillor makes exceptions
By Kris Scheuer

(Written May 28 for Town Crier.)

Pain Perdu on St. Clair Ave W will soon have a new patio.

There’s may be a growing patio culture along St. Clair West, but not all businesses are having and easy time joining in the fun.
In some cases construction has resulted in narrower sidewalks and new garbage bins, bus shelters, trees and utility poles have made it a challenge for cafes and restaurants to get patio approvals due to the minimum clearance required on sidewalks to accommodate pedestrians, strollers, carts and wheelchairs. Continue reading

George Smitherman transit platform

Smitherman’s mayoral platform unfolds
By Kris Scheuer
(Published in Town Crier May 28.)

Mayoral candidate George Smitherman outside Toronto City Hall. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

George Smitherman  has started his mayoral campaign in earnest by unveiling his expansive transportation plan.
At an May 27 editorial board meeting at the Town Crier, Smitherman gave insight into his platform, which also includes a detailed roadmap emphasizing core services, jobs and community development.
His 10-year transportation plan includes specifics on the current Transit City plan for light rapid transit, bike lanes and subways.
Smitherman fundamentally backs provincial agency Metrolinx’s funding of the four key Transit City projects but would like to see some changes to the current plan. Continue reading

George Smitherman’s mayoral platform

First plank in Smitherman’s policy platform unveiled
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier, May 27. UPDATE here.)

Mayoral candidate George Smitherman at the Town Crier offices for an editorial board meeting. Photo by Victor Aguilar/Town Crier.

George Smitherman, the perceived frontrunner in the mayoral race, will be starting to unveil his campaign platform tomorrow starting with an expansive transportation plan.
At an editorial board meeting at the Town Crier offices the afternoon of May 27, Smitherman gave insight into his three-pronged platform, which will also include a detailed roadmap emphasizing jobs, community development and a focus on the city’s core services.
Details on how he’d focus on core services will come later in his campaign, but did speak specifically about recreation and parks. Continue reading

Lawrence Heights skateboard park

New facility opens after four years of pressure by local kids
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier May 18.)

Shaquille Williams, second from left, has been pushing for a Lawrence Heights skateboard park since 2006. It opened May 1. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

Teen Shaquille Williams has been waiting four years to hear the sound of boards and bikes rolling through Lawrence Heights.
Williams and his friend Joshua Orticello pushed for a local skateboard park for nearly four years and it opened May 1 at Lawrence Ave. West and Varna Drive.
The pair, both 14, solicited a campaign promise from councillor Howard Moscoe in 2006 and went door to door getting over 200 signatures in favour of the skateboard park.
The persistent youth followed up with Moscoe and city officials in order to ensure their dream came true. Continue reading

High Park daycare freeze

Interim bylaw extended preventing new home-based daycares
Temporary freeze applies to applications on High Park Ave
By Kris Scheuer
(Written May 18 for Town Crier.)

The home-based Teddy Bear Academy was allowed as of right before the interim bylaw froze new applications. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.

It’s going to be another year before the debate over home-based nursery schools in the High Park area is resolved.
On May 12, city council decided to extend the existing temporary ban on new such facilities opening on High Park Avenue between Glenlake Avenue and Dundas Street West.
In 2009, the Teddy Bear Academy opened up at a home at 167 High Park Ave.
A resulting protest from High Park Avenue Residents’ Association around traffic and safety concerns led to the temporary moratorium on new daycares to give the city time to study the issue.
The provincial Day Nurseries Act does have guidelines regarding standards such as drop off and pick-up zones, adequate space and the number of children allowed per daycare facility.
The facility that opened on High Park Avenue is licensed for 50 children, said John Bowen, who lives near the daycare. Continue reading

Rosina Bonavota withdraws Ward 15

Bonavota no longer running against Howard Moscoe
She registers instead for Catholic trustee race
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier May 19.)

Rosina Bonavota withdrew from council race and is supporting another candidate. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

Councillor Howard Moscoe has one less opponent to worry about in this fall’s election.
Rosina Bonavota has withdrawn from the Eglinton-Lawrence Ward 15 race. She’s registered instead for Catholic school board trustee in North York Ward 5.
Bonavota said she wasn’t pressured to drop out but after meeting up with candidate Ron Singer decided to support his campaign.
“I think Ron Singer has a better chance of beating out Moscoe,” she said May 19.
Both Singer and Bonavota ran against Moscoe in the 2006 election. Continue reading

Robert Walker Ward 31 candidate

Toronto can offer something for everyone: Walker
Candidate running in East York against Coun. Janet Davis
By Kris Scheuer
(Written May 13 for Town Crier.)

Ward 31 candidate Robert Walker. Photo courtesy of Robert Walker.

Beaches-East York candidate Robert Walker says he’s got some ideas to helping Torontonians get the most out their city.
The first-time candidate is running in Ward 31 where he lives with his 14-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter.
“I’m a homeowner and single dad,” the 48-year-old said. “I pay taxes like everyone else. I feel I could do a better job allocating taxes to help everyone.”
On his website, he laments about the rifts between drivers and cyclists, left versus right, downtown against the suburbs and so on.
“I think there’s enough of this city for everyone to have the city they want,” he said. “There’s enough room for people to travel across this city in any manner they want.”

Continue reading

Surplus social housing sell off

Toronto social housing sold to Wigwamen
City sells 20 properties to affordable housing provider
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier May 14.)

Toronto Community Housing is giving affordable housing agencies first dibs on properties for sale, including 5 Hubbard Blvd. across from Kew Beach. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

The city’s largest social housing landlord has begun the process of selling surplus Beach homes worth millions for a fraction of their market value.
On May 12, city council voted to sell 20 properties across the city with a combined market value of $8.6 million for $395,156 to the non-profit Aboriginal housing provider Wigwamen.
The Toronto Community Housing properties include single-family homes on Pape, Malvern and Golfview avenues, and Milverton Boulevard.
That selling price is the remaining mortgages on the homes.
The process is actually cost-effective, says a city councillor.
Normally, if the city sells or demolishes any social housing units in its stock, it is mandated to replace them within the same community. In this case, the units were sold to an agency that will maintain the properties as social housing, so the city’s not required to replace the housing.
“This is cost neutral,” explained Councillor Paula Fletcher, who sits on the TCH board.
If the city had sold the properties for $8.6 million to a developer, for instance, the city would have spent about the same to build 20 replacement units. According to a city staff report, it would have cost $6.1 million, plus the cost of land for replacement units.
It’s a good deal, said Jeffery Ferrier, spokesperson for the city’s housing agency, because a sale and replacement scenario would have been a money-losing proposition for Toronto Community Housing.  “You can’t just look at the market value. You have to consider costs to replace the units with better housing. The costs of (real estate) commissions, construction, demolition and land would cost more.”

Continue reading

Toronto a day in the life 13

Are Torontonians rude?
Is it the consequence of living in the big city
What is making us so indifferent to people around us?
By Kris Scheuer

An extreme example of litter during '09 T.O summer strike. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

I am a born and bred Toronto resident who’s called this beloved city home for all my 40 years.
But really people, are we getting ruder?
I am not perfect, by all means, but I TRY to be considerate of others. And I find examples of people in this city who seem so very oblivious to others who share this same public space.
Case in point, and this is something I witness almost daily, littering. I see people tossing items from their hands in such a blatant way that it goes beyond not being able to find a trash can. It’s as if people are making a statement, “I don’t care about the city, environment or anyone around me.”
On Friday afternoon I was on a lunch break and was on the southwest corner of Yonge and Dundas on my way to city hall south.
As I approached the mall, I saw two 20-something women walking towards me when one tossed a water bottle towards the Eaton’s Centre (now Sears).
I thought maybe she was aiming for a garbage can, but missed. As the plastic bottle hit the side of the H&M clothing store, I saw that no there was no garbage can. She never intended for it to end up anywhere but the street. And she did not even offer a backward glance to see where her discarded item landed. Continue reading