Public meeting with no deputations
People fill out comment sheets, talk to TTC reps
(Written for Town Crier Jan. 26)
Christine Miller looks at info on a bus route cut impacting her commute. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.
As part of the 2011 budget process the TTC has vowed to cut 48 bus routes in order to increase service on other unspecified routes.
However, a decision on bus route reductions was postponed until Feb. 2 to allow for public consultations so those impacted by the cuts can plead their case.
At the meeting held at the North York Central Library Christine Miller, who relies on two of the bus routes were service reductions are proposed: 56 Leaside and 62 Mortimer, told the Town Crier that the proposed cuts could imperil her safety.
“I take them for work and a night out,” she told the Town Crier. “I get off (work) at midnight. That’s my safe ride home.”
She works as a security guard in midtown and lives in East York. For her the cuts would mean no service after 10 p.m. on weekdays and after 7 p.m. on weekends on the 56 Leaside route. And on 62 Mortimer no service after 10 p.m. on weekends.
“I work ‘til midnight on Saturdays and Sundays as well,” said the 27 year old. “One alternative is 25 Don Mills.”
This would take her close to home but walking a different route that has safety concerns, she said.
Posted in Toronto transit
Tagged Brad Ross, budget, buses, Christine, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, Councillor Jaye Robinson, Councillor Shelley Carroll, cut, Kris Scheuer, meeting, Miller, public, reductions, routes, service, Toronto, Town Crier, TTC
Residents, business people have their say on 2011 budget
Opinions vary widely on priorities
(Written for Town Crier Jan. 21)
Margaret Watson advocates to sub-budget committee to not increase user fees for recreation. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.
Councillors got an earful from residents, businesses and community groups who came out to speak on the city’s budget at North York Civic Centre.
New councillor Doug Ford, brother to Mayor Rob Ford, chaired the meeting at times with occasionally humourous results.
He mistakenly introduced Margaret Watson from the Canadian Pensioners’ Concern as a deputant about prisoners’ issues. He made a joke of it by saying he needed glasses and playfully referred to former budget chief Councillor Shelley Carroll as “the warden”.
For her part, Watson gave a feisty presentation about preserving services.
“Many seniors are tenants who receive pressure from landlords. We are disappointed you have cut $100,000 from the tenant defence fund,” she said at the Jan. 19 public meeting. “We hope council doesn’t want to put more tenants at risk of homelessness.”
Posted in Toronto News
Tagged 2011, budget, Carol Wilding, city, Denzil Minnan-Wong, deputations, Doug Ford, John Cartwright, Josh Matlow, Kris Scheuer, Margaret Watson, public, service, taxes, Toronto, Town Crier
How to impact change in Toronto
(Column written for Town Crier Dec. 22)
“You say you want a revolution,” the Beatles sang. “Well, you know, we all want to change the world.”
Even if it’s not a revolutionary change you are seeking, here are some tips on preserving a cherished service or advocating for a new policy at city hall.
As I wrote in a previous column, you can achieve small changes by calling 311, your municipal councillor, or by making a deputation at city hall.
But if you are seeking larger policy changes or want to protect services from being slashed, you’ll need a stronger game plan.
Do your research
Councillor Gord Perks is no stranger to activism, dating back to 1987 when he was involved with Pollution Probe, Greenpeace Canada and Toronto Environmental Alliance — all before he entered politics.
“You will have opponents so your information has to be as good or better,” he said.
So know your facts: why does it make economic, social and political sense for policymakers to agree with you? Continue reading
Former exec director of North York Symphony sues board for wages
Filion states he wasn’t board member, seeks city help for legal fees
(Updated and revised article for the Town Crier.)
Councillor John Filion is among 18 alleged North York Symphony board members named in a lawsuit for backpay by a former employee Linda Rogers.
Willowdale Councillor John Filion has settled a lawsuit involving a former North York Symphony employee who claimed $50,000 in unpaid wages for her final years of employment.
City council decided to foot the bill for Filion’s legal expenses.
Trouble is Filion says he was never a member of the board and doesn’t understand why he was named in the suit to begin with.
The claim for the symphony’s former director, Linda Rogers, was filed with the Ontario Superior Court last summer. Since then, a judge has ordered Filion and another individual served with papers to pay Rogers damages.
Rogers lawyer James McDonald of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell confirmed in an early February interview that he and Filion’s lawyer have reached a settlement.
Filion says the original inclusion of naming him in lawsuit is puzzling.
“I never attended any board meeting,” Filion said Jan. 18. “I don’t believe I was ever on the board. I especially was not on the board by anyone’s account in the period when the employee (Linda Rogers) alleges they weren’t paid in 2008 and 2009.”“The whole issue has nothing to do with me,” he said.
In a summary judgement the court ordered Filion and Krajny to pay Rogers a total of $34,336.37 plus $1,150 in costs plus two percent interest starting Nov. 22, 2010, according to court documents.
Posted in Toronto News
Tagged Anna Kinastowski, court, fees, James McDonald, Kris Scheuer, lawyer, legal, Linda Rogers, Maria Augimeri, Milos Krajny, North York Symphony, pay, sue, Toronto Philharmonia, Town Crier
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
City proposes reducing service on 48 bus routes
(Update on the Feb. 2 decision.)
TTC proposes cutting service hours on 48 bus routes with few riders and increasing service elsewhere.
The TTC voted today to postpone cutting weekend, evening and holiday service on almost 50 routes.
But the issue will come back to the commission’s Feb. 2 meeting. The TTC will hold four public meetings on the proposed cuts.
Here is the complete list of proposed service cuts.
5 AVENUE RD – No service after 7:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. No service on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
61 AVENUE RD NORTH – No service after 10:00 p.m., Sundays and holidays.
6 BAY – No service after 10:00 p.m., every day.
9 BELLAMY – No service after 10:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. No service after 7:00 p.m., Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Continue reading