Archive for May, 2009

GO to study electrifying rail lines

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The Toronto star has an article on how GO Transit is begin to study to study electrifying it’s rail lines.

From the article….

GO Transit will begin a study this summer on electrifying its entire train system.

Metrolinx plans to announce today that the study, to be complete by winter 2010, will be overseen by an external advisory committee including community representatives, technical and environmental experts. It’s likely a member of the Clean Train Coalition would be invited to join the committee, a source told the Star.

That group, composed of residents, community associations and businesses living along the Georgetown line – in the path of a huge expansion of GO service – has been pushing the province to go to cleaner electric trains rather than diesel. …the rest of the article [link]

Social media and city employees

Recently a comment was posted on a blog post regarding city employees access to social networking sites, by Keith McDonald a Communications Coordinator at the City of Toronto which details and answers many of the emailed questions  the blog received on subject. Below is the comment as posted .

City employees are able to access social media if they present a business case on how they need to use such sites. In the above example, members would outline how the interaction applies to their work. To date, staff making such cases have been granted access.

I suspect the staff in question are not aware of this. Communications around social media has started but not all staff are tuning into vehicles such as a Monday Morning News blast or the intranet. The City is actually well underway in preparing a policy on use of social media. On first brush, it may seem like a no brainer “turn it on” issue but when you begin to address legal obligations such as required data retrieval (even from sites that our not the City’s property e.g. Facebook, YouTube, etc), it is by no means straight forward. There are actually hundreds of issues at play.

Further to communications, City of Toronto staff are encouraged to partake in the internal social media blog: webbook – to discover more on how social media is entering the government and what is being done.

This is accessible through the City intranet site. Some of the webbook blogs, in particular those by the CIO, Dave Wallace and Deputy City Manager, Sue Corke are by no means taking an anti-social media view.

As for City employees being “disallowed from commenting regarding city issues in a public forum …”, this is not precise. The issue here is citing a personal opinion that may be construed as an official “City” opinion.

Again, the social media policy is addressing the particulars. I speak here as a member of the toronto.ca re:Brand team and not as an individual personally engaged in social media.

Should I want to comment personally I would need to clearly say this is my personal opinion and not that of the City of Toronto. It’s a clear distinction.

We are also looking to engage residents directly and hear their comments about the web and our relationships with you. I am not sure I can make active links in responses so I will err on this not being allowed. But, we encourage anyone who has something to say about toronto.ca and web interactions to participate with us. Go to:wx.toronto.ca/inter/city/tosurvey.nsf/Survey?OpenForm
for an anonymous survey or go to:
wx.toronto.ca/inter/city/tosurvey.nsf/Participation?OpenForm
to become a tester with us around toronto.ca pages.

Among the many things we are examining is how we can engage Toronto through social media – ours, yours and theirs.

Information about the city web site plans is well covered in an article over at www.refresh-events.ca [link]

200 Annette Street – Czechoslovak Church SOLD

The Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec (“the Convention”)  has sold the  200 Annette Street Church which they acquired at the closure of Annette St. Baptist Church at nominal value.  The property was loaned to the Czechoslovak Church since 1980.

Initial report form people who have spoken to the new owners report there intend to rent the church out to many different users, such as church groups, the blog has emailed the new owners to confirm this.

The problem with the sale of 67 Vine Ave

The sale of 67 Vine and the two houses next door to it to the east which are all owned by Niazi Holdings Inc and have been for ever so long, solves many problems for the east end of  Vine Ave, among them these pointed out commenter J.U. on April 4th of this year…

The people that own 67 Vine also own the other 4 derelict houses on Vine. 2 of the houses are attached and leaning/falling over badly, the third has a tenant but is in extremely poor repair and the 4th has been boarded up since the 60’s. How is it that a house can remain vacant for 48 years?

The sale of 83 feet on frontage may attract the attention of small infill developer with the interest of building 4 to 5 and may six – if they squeeze –  new townhouses on the site.  The new homes would be a welcome addition, but with one caveat …the saving of 67 Vine ave itself, a house virtually untouched by Home depot renovation  materials at least on it’s exterior. The house has a wonderful slate roof and most of what must be original creative exterior woodwork, all of which should be respected and restorted.

So maybe an enlightened infill developer can built his  new houses and leave the great one that alreday there?

…the listing description

Attention Builders/Investors! Prime Developing Junction Location! Over 84Ft Frontage! 3 Parcels Being Sold Together. 61, 63, 67 Vine Ave. Total Asking Price $800,000. Zone R2Z0.6/90M. Possibility Of Five Row Townhouses With Ample Parking Off Lane. Comparable Townhouses On Vine & Pacific Have Sold Between $430,000-$450,000.**** EXTRAS **** All 3 Parcels Are Being Sold In ‘As Is’ Condition (Including Raccoons!) Seller And Agent/Brokerage Do Not Warrant Status OrConditions Of Existing Dwellings. Walking Distance To The ‘Junction’. Minutes To Keele Or Dundas Subway.

Councillors Palacio, Nunziata table Member Motion about pile driving

the motion…

Member Motion
City Council
NOTICE OF MOTION
MM36.1 ACTION
Ward: 11, 13, 14,
17, 18
Support for West Toronto Residents – Excessive Noise from the Railto-
Rail Diamond Grade Separation Project – Councillor Palacio,
seconded by Councillor Nunziata
•Notice of this Motion has been given.
•This Motion is subject to referral to the Executive Committee. A two-thirds vote is required to waive referral.
Recommendations
Councillor Palacio, seconded by Councillor Nunziata, recommends:
1. That City Council express its support for the residents affected by the excessive
vibration and noise emanating from the Rail-to-Rail Diamond Grade Separation Project.
2. That the City Solicitor provide legal support to the residents in their complaint,
mediation, and other related matters before the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA).
Summary
Thousands of residents in Wards 17, 11, 14, 18 and 13 have been suffering a dramatic reduction in their comfort and quality of life as a result of excessive pile-driving taking place as part of GO Transit’s Rail-to-Rail Diamond Grade Separation Project, near Dupont Street and Dundas Street West.
Pile-driving on this scale completely undermines the livability of the neighbourhood and can be heard from many hundreds of metres away. The pile-driving is constant, all day, every day, and the project is not expected to be completed until December 2011. Other, quieter technologies exist to drive piles but are not being utilized.
A coalition of residents’ organizations has requested mediation and may initiate a formal complaint to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), the Federal agency that regulates railway noise and vibration in Canada, asking for quieter, more reasonable methods of pile driving to be used.
(Submitted to City Council on May 25, 2009 as MM36.1)

Link to pdf file of this text at city web site

An Annex house enlargement that blends

This  house in Annex has a nice historic vibe to it. There is a lot of work being done to it in a caring and great way. Looking at the images below you can see they are restoring the front of the house, adding a new front door and other items, while adding an addition on the back.  Their choice to renovate the house in this manner carefully retains the building street facade and historical character. Also it maintains the appearance of the street-scape.

firework-may-21-2009-annex-017

rear elevaton

New rear elevaton

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Osaka Sushi Japanese Restaurant under restoration after fire

firework-may-21-2009-annex-039This restaurant at 1620 Bloor Street West,  was involved in a 3rd alarm fire on March 6, 2009 – and is now undergoing restoration. Fire images link

firework-may-21-2009-annex-038

London Ave. double up

manning-ave-doubleup-may-21-2009-annex-034manning-ave-doubleup-may-21-2009-annex-036This small house on London Ave in Ward 20 will seemingly soon morph to two semi detached  houses. One of the interesting items about the new houses pictured above in rendering, is the front facade relationship to the side elevation. From the front – viewing the two homes – if built – people will see a facade that works within the community of built styles in the area, but in reality the there will be no peaked roof as evident on the side  elevation the peak form part of the second floor.

Roncesvalles Area Yard Sale coming this Saturday May 23, 2009

roncesvalles-area-yard-sale-may-23rd-2009

From their notice…

The 2nd annual Roncesvalles Area Yard Sale (RAYS) is coming!! Saturday May 23, 2009 from 9am-3pm (rain date: May 24, 2009). Brought to you by the Roncesvalles-Macdonell Residents’ Association in conjunction with the High Park Residents’ Association and the Sunnyside Community Association.

Sell your stuff from the comfort of your front yard (or garage)! Buy things from your neighbours! Bring your friends and let them explore one of the city’s best neighbourhoods!

Please register your yard sale by contacting Chris via email at ronces.yardsale AT gmail.com

We are again asking participants to donate 10% of their sales to the Wabash Community Centre/Sorauren Park Fieldhouse (c/o 101 Fermanagh Avenue, Toronto, ON M6R 1M1)
www.buildwabashnow.org/

67 Vine Ave for sale

71-vine-for-sale-sign-may-20th1

This house on Vine Ave which has sat fire damaged for over a year, is for up for sale, which surely will make the community happy as the house has been a low cost – landlord neglected house for over 20 years.