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East York people, places, events & insights

SEEING GREEN 033: We all need to be proactive to reduce flooding

Posted by on Sep 4, 2017

With images of the Houston disaster in our minds we come face to face with how deadly and costly intense storms can be, particularly when little thought had been given beforehand to reducing the impact or updating failing infrastructure.  Paying for the after affects is much more costly in lives, clean up and restoration than if action had been taken ahead of the storm. Here in East York, our stormwater costs are included under the city’s water budget rather than the environment and energy budget.  This means that stormwater projects are given less priority that our drinking water and not addressed with the Environment and Energy division; they are frequently deferred and delayed with little attention. Because the city’s staff and councillors retroactively received thousands of complaints about basement flooding in 2013 the city has introduced a backwater valve...

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EAST YORK ADVOCATE 033: Woodbine Bridge is also a link to East York’s past and history

Posted by on Sep 4, 2017

There has been a drug store on the south east corner of Coxwell and Sammon Avenues since 1924. The day the store opened, its owner, the druggist Percy Bustin, was working in the back when he heard the front door open and slam shut.  Delighted to meet his first customer, Percy rushed to the front of the store only to find his visitor was not a paying customer but a stray horse, likely from Billy Mc Kay’s farm. Percy, later a township councillor, was a keen observer of everything that went on in East York from that day on.  He wrote down many of his observations, including about the opening of the Woodbine Bridge and O’Connor Drive. Here is what he had to say on that subject: “Until the year 1932, the most northerly crosstown street running from Pape...

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COMMENT: Guaranteed Annual Income —a good idea or not?

Posted by on Sep 2, 2017

\ By Pip Wild \ The idea of an annual guaranteed income (GIA) is not new.  Napoleon was an early supporter. Milton Friedman, a well known right wing American economist, proposed it in the 60s. More recently Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame supports the idea.  And Finland recently rolled out a GIA, the first European Country to do so. The Ontario Government plans to test the GIA over three years in three pilot communities: Hamilton and area, Thunder Bay and area, and Lindsay, Here’s what people are asking about the program and some explanatory replies. Q How is the GIA different from the money government gives people now, like welfare?   The income support programs we have now are based on certain conditions being met. The Ontario Disabilities Support Program (ODSP) provides payments to severely disabled people. Ontario Works...

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EAST YORK ADVOCATE 031: How do rent controls and house speculation impact on East York?

Posted by on Jul 6, 2017

As a former federal Minister of Housing, I have been watching with great interest government efforts to help make housing affordable in East York and elsewhere in the Golden Horseshoe. Although our municipal government has expressed concern, its legal ability to impact the situation is extremely limited.  Any federal government action, such as increasing interest rates, would have to be applied nationwide rather than regionally.  While this might help in Toronto and Vancouver, it would be devastating to other cities, towns, businesses and farmers in Canada.  That means that any government action can only be applied at the provincial level.  In the early 1970s the Ontario government imposed both a foreign buyers’ tax and a land speculation tax.  They were very effective in cooling off housing prices at that time. Recently, the present Ontario provincial government has reacted to...

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EY ADVOCATE 029: It’s 20 years since The Borough of East York was killed by Province

Posted by on May 4, 2017

The slippery road to total amalgamation began when the provincial government initiated direct election of Metro councillors.

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SEEING GREEN 029: Loving our ravines —to death

Posted by on May 2, 2017

While many East Yorkers are sensitive to our natural environment and want to protect it, all too often I see the opposite. I hear people say “I love the ravines, I want to bring in more people so they will love the ravines also;” or “I want to use the ravines to promote my business (tourism, photography, art work, refreshment, souvenir sales)” or “More people loving the ravines will be more people protecting them” or “We need more access points, more trails, more washrooms, for what is the use of nature if we can’t get into every part of it?” But the ravines, and our environmentally significant areas within them, are dying —species are being lost; slopes are eroding; invasive species of fauna and flora are spreading; nesting is being disturbed; ground is being compacted; branches and logs are...

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