QUEEN ST. EAST VISIONING STUDY

September 10, 2012

BLIND, DEAF AND DUMB?

You bet! BLIND to the geological and hydrological dangers associated with more development in the Beaches. DEAF to the voices of educated citizens that cared enough to research and report on their findings that will affect future generations. DUMB enough to believe that developers could care less about the charm, character and historical preservation of our Beaches neighborhood.

 According to the largest bi-weekly Beach Community Newspaper “Queen Street East being identified as one of the stretches to be intensified under the City’s latest Official Plan for Development……….” WTF!?!?!?!!! ONE OF THE STRETCHES? INTENSIFIED? OFFICIAL PLAN? Roll those not-so-cryptic code words around your  mind a few times. You’ll get the picture.

 Present at the first of a series of  Queen East Visioning Study meetings was James Parakh, Senior Urban Designer at the City of Toronto. His opinion is that the current guidelines are antiquated, too vague and need further definition. He was very concerned that the current guideline document was only seven pages long, while St. Lawrence’s guideline document is eighty pages long. Is that the problem, fellow Beachers? Not enough paper? Maybe a ten-thousand page document will clear things up for Beachers.

 Ward 32’s councilor later commented that the ‘LIKE-DISLIKE’ exercise, which had Beachers place red or green dots on blown-up photos of properties and buildings, was a “great opportunity for community input.” The details would be laughable if the consequences weren’t so ultimately devastating. Maybe the next Visioning Study meeting will feature pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. You don’t want to miss that, kids!

 There was much discussion of “Beachy” culture and small-town “feeliness”. They also debated life-changing issues like flower planters and bicycles.

 Ray David, Director of Community Planning for Toronto and East York, says he hopes to deliver a report based on the results of the Visioning Study back to City Council in the early Fall. So what will the final conclusion of this Visioning Study be? Red dots or green dots? It doesn’t really matter when you are blind, deaf and dumb.

 

 PART 2- Well, we just experienced another Visioning Study meeting that was conducted at the Toronto fire Academy on Eastern Ave. Pretty good turn-out, too! Two very competent women, who have their own facilitation company, continued the process of gaining input from Beachers regarding further development in the Beaches.

 The main thrust of the exercise at this meeting was to determine if the Beaches should be comprised of several or more precincts according to the present build-type and character (example-Coxwell to Woodbine? Woodbine to Glen Manor?….and so on.) But Beachers weren’t in the mood to play a ‘mug’s game’. While some Beachers viewed this as a divvide-and-conquer tactic, Ward 32 News has characterized it as a Hobson’s Choice (Hobson was a horse-trader who charged the same price for all his horses but you had to buy the horse that was closest to the barn door at the time. Something like that). One of our crusty reporters just suggested that ‘red-herring’ may be the best description. Whatever you call it, the ploy by James Parakh, Senior Urban Designer for Toronto only worked on several Beachers or ‘plants’.

 After a pleasant introduction by our Ward 32 councilor, attendees were broken into groups of four or five to share their opinions. On each table was a long map of Queen St. East from Coxwell to Neville Park. Every table had an opportunity to voice their group’s collective opinion. Some had an opinion about the different characteristics that would divide Queen Street into ‘precincts’, but most were just frustrated at the thought of what developers plan on doing to our beloved Beaches area. When the facilitators came to the table that Ward 32 News cub reporter J.J. sat, he spoke into the microphone like a full grown bear. The crux of what he said was, “WITHOUT AN EXTENSIVE HYDROLOGICAL STUDY ANY DEVELOPMENT AT ALL MAY BE DANGEROUS!” This fact was met with applause from the Beaches crowd. Recognizing that Ward 32 News may have a way to cease ALL development in the Beaches (even those who have put-down our publication in the past) we have received many supportive communiqués, some anonymous and some by people we never thought would join us.

 Ward 32 News has a vision and the future is much brighter in our vision. Not only are we determined to stop development in the Beaches, but we will be making recommendations that should result in cease and desist orders against several condo projects in progress. We also feel that some completed projects should be razed without further ado, as some of them already compromise the ecological balance as it relates to hydrology and human safety. PART 3 of the Queen St. East Visioning Study will take place on September 19th from 6:00-9:00. Your Ward 32 News is organizing a massive turn-out so that the collective voices of concerned Beachers will NOT be ignored! The several ‘astro-turf’ organizations (fake grass-roots orgs) that have been formed have purposefully been ineffectual. We will be putting an end to development in the Beaches on September 19th, so you don’t want to miss this. Keep checking Your Ward News for details. Commander Leroy needs you! The Beaches needs you! This war ends on September 19th!!!

 

 LATE-BREAKING NEWS!!!-The political shenanigans and subterfuge experienced while former Ward 32 Councilor Sandra Bussin was in office still persists under the present councilor. In the recent Beach Metro Community News, a letter from H. Bruce Crofts sings the praises of our Ward 32 Councilor and her involvement in the Queen East Visioning Study. He forgot to mention that at the time of her election he was her Constituency Assistant. This is disturbingly reminiscent of Sandra’s phony call to talk-radio when she kept her identity a secret. They’re not even very good at these masquerades. Another letter in the same issue was from the Greater Beaches Neighborhood Association (GBNA). They claim to be related to the Local Residents Associations (That’s right…plural). They, in turn, claim to be related to the Heritage Conservation Designation Committee (HDC). Needless to say, this letter is so convoluted that you have to stop reading it half-way through to try to make sense of the gibberish. We will be conducting an in-depth investigation into the conduct of these “grass-roots” organizations. As far as we can tell they represent enough “astro-turf” to fill a stadium. Stay tuned for the results of our investigation.

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CONQUEST by CONDO

September 10, 2012

Real BEACHERS do not want The Beach to become the size of Regent Park or St. Jamestown. But, developers don’t care about what we want. They want what they want, which is as much profit as possible, from as much and many developments as possible, anywhere possible, as soon as possible.  They seem to have enough money, time, and assistants to get all the influence they need for approval of their intentions.  They are remarkably cunning in advancing their projects.

     You don’t yet see it that way?  Consider the townhouse development between Edgewood and Hemlock Avenues.   It, and the proposed condominium at the present site of Lick’s on Queen Street, would be architectural anomalies, entirely out-of-place in The Beaches. If they are built, they will be degradations of the visual ambience of the neighborhoods they would invade. Their presence would reduce the values of households whose attractiveness has been largely based on peaceful-enjoyment of about a hundred years of traditional hominess. By what cunning have developers advanced so far toward final approval, and actual construction of their golden dreams?

     They have exploited the rules that were said to protect the interests of neighborhoods after possible suppression of them by amalgamation to create Metro Toronto.   Each municipality in Metro would be represented by its own Community Council within Metro.  Residents in each Community could present their opinions about proposals of Metro that they might want, or not want. In practice, Beachers  cannot  exert  much influence, if any. Why not ???  Community Council hearings are held at City Hall (100 Queen Street West), which is a long and slow streetcar trip from the Beach.   The hearings are held from 9 a.m.    to  4 p.m., only on weekdays. This regimen prevents job-holders and personal caregivers from attending. The meetings are not interactive, because deponents attending in person are allowed only five minutes, only once in any meeting, to express opinion. No cross-questioning, or cross-statements are allowed. Only three such meetings seem to have been held concerning the Lick’s site. Nevertheless, that seems to be a done-deal.  How so?

     A local meeting also was held, and was attended by Michael Prue. He praised the attendees for their heartfelt  expressions of opposition to a condominium at the Lick’s site.  He also indicated that their efforts had become doomed to failure.  What does he know, and does not say, if anything?

     Prue’s comments might cause some Beachers to give way.  There is precedent, however, to encourage us. Approval has not yet been granted by vote of Council.  Council might respond as the Provincial  Government responded to thousands of petitioners who demanded cancellation of the windmill  farm off the shoreline of The Beaches.

     The time to organize massive opposition to an architectural holocaust is now, before vote by Council. Prue might be right, because vote by Council might be overthrown only by the Ontario Municipal Board. They seem to be entirely on the side of developers.

    The greatest threat to The Beaches might be desperation built out of frustration.  There then may be panic to accept what we don’t want, so we will not have even worse thrust upon us.

     A condo at the Lick’s site would be only the next in a series of invasions that might be called  “Conquest-by-Condos”.

 

PROFITS in PANIC

September 10, 2012

The other side stands on the edge of several means of profit, some of them potentially immense. One of their sources of profits is the “Climatic-Greening Complex” (CGC).  Another is the anti-pollutionists. By political means, they have imposed upon us several  egregious costs to decommission fuel-fired electrical generators, and to install windmills, and solar power. The producers, installers, and operators of wind and solar energy sources well know that the energy they may generate is only marginally effective, when they operate, and very expensive to create and to maintain. They should be shelved for now, or possibly forever.

     That won’t happen.  The least cost for Samsung to fulfill their contract for wind power in Ontario has been reported to be seven billion dollars. Delays and “after-work” could raise that cost to fifteen billion, or more. One result, of which we have had a foretaste, is collapse of much of our manufacturing. Power will be so expensive that products will become affordable only at great sacrifice of our choices of Canadian products to buy.  External markets will buy elsewhere. That prospect should foment anxiety, before panic eventually besets us.

     The alternate energy promoters do not want us to see that far into the future. They want us to think that they will help Canadians to save planet Earth. Which we cannot and will not do.

     If they can convince us thoroughly of our guilt, than we might accept any proposal that will lead, we will be told, to termination of the evils of fossil fuels. We Canadians, especially we noble Ontarians will deserve universal renown.  We won’t have much else. Politicians who support this ruinous fiction can expect to be rewarded with votes from people who hope for continuous betterment of their lives, and of the lives of their descendants. They also might get recorded or unrecorded contributions for their righteous  political careers,  and their personal lives, not only by financial means.

     Groups of citizens who protest against continuance of usage of fossil fuels also might get financial support, and other considerations for helping the sellers of programs to thrust solar-  and wind-power on us.

     The more anxiety we can be induced to experience, for more of our hours, the more desperate we may become, approaching a state of near-panic.  We might accept paying immensely for programs that will not save our planet, but that will degrade our prospects for the future.

     Meanwhile, the trough of our eventual debts becomes fuller.  The Samsung contract is so lucrative that Samsung, and Samsung’s supporters, political and otherwise, will fight to the last man to sustain it, and to preserve their places to get benefit from the trough.

    How much in the trough?  Information from the Province is that Samsung will get $7 billion to make and install windmill farms in Ontario. Experience indicates that the final cost could be $15 billion. Profits of 10% are common; costs of 10% of profits are not excessive to pay for public relations.  That would be 1% of the total contract cost, or more that $70 million. How much cooperation can be bought with so munificent a ‘slush fund” ?  How much already has been granted to whom, if any?                                                           

Hardly a word of protest is uttered about these deleterious and unrewarding costs. What form of anxiety renders us so silent?  Why the mad rush to a jobless population?.

 

 

We first wish you well with any summer vacation each of you is able to have this year.  We know you work hard, with long hours and many demands on your time.  That said, we remind of the truth that there is no vacation from poverty and that millions of people in Canada – many of them children and youth who more than anyone benefit from “time at the lake” – weather the summer without benefit of being able to take a holiday. 

On July 21st, Globe and Mail columnist Doug Saunders wrote that “Canadian companies have piled up more than $525 billion in cash reserves – almost a third the size of the entire economy – up from little more than $150-billion a decade earlier…at least 45 per cent of Canada’s biggest companies are hoarding cash rather than investing in employment or capital.  None of it is going into research and development, expansion of market share, new offices and factories or, crucially, on employing people. Nor is it going into tax revenues, since cash reserves – and some of the earnings that contribute to them – escape the taxman, giving companies an incentive to not invest.”

Two days later, the Globe reported that around the world, up to $32 trillion is being stored by super rich individuals and their families in offshore tax havens, representing up to $280 billion in lost income tax revenues.  The CBC reported that “the amount of tax income lost ‘is large enough to make a significant difference to the finances of many countries’”.  The figure has been generated by the Tax Justice Network (TJN), “an independent organisation launched in the British Houses of Parliament in March 2003…to map, analyse and explain the role of taxation and the harmful impacts of tax evasion, tax avoidance, tax competition and tax havens.”  (The TJN says that “tax havens cause poverty.”) 

 See also Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente’s recent article on Canada’s growing “opportunity gap”, relating to our nation’s ever-growing gap in income and wealth inequality.

 1) Why are Canadian companies being allowed to build up “mountains of cash” (as Doug Saunders describes them) while so many Canadians (unemployed and otherwise) and their governments are wallowing in “canyons of debt”?                    

2) How much income tax payable in Canada is being lost to tax havens?                         

3) What is the public interest justification for tax havens?                                                      

4) If tax revenue lost to tax havens was instead collected and devoted to poverty prevention and alleviation, and to reducing income inequality, how could it be specifically allocated   to have the greatest impact on these ends?

Such questions are germane to the Standing Committee on Finance’s current study on income inequality in Canada and what can be done about it.  We look forward to the findings of the committee’s report, by its deadline of June 2013, and to contributing input to the study.                                                                                                                          

Street, 2nd Floor, Ottawa, ON K2P 1X3;    (613) 789-0096 (1-800-810-1076)                     Rob Rainer Executive Director / Directeur executif

CANADA WITHOUT POVERTY / CANADA SANS PAUVRETÉ

Working in alliance with the CWP Advocacy Network / Travaillant en alliance avec le Réseau de revendication CSP

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 Today, poverty prevails as the gravest human rights challenge in the world.  Combating poverty, deprivation and exclusion is not a matter of charity, and it does not depend on how rich a country is.  By tackling poverty as a matter of human rights obligation, the world will have a better chance of abolishing this scourge in our lifetime.  Poverty eradication is an achievable goal.

Hon. Louise Arbour, Honorary Director and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the occasion of International Human Rights Day 2006

 Human rights only become meaningful when they gain political content…they are rights that require active participation from those who hold them.

Lynn Hunt, human rights historian

For decades, from Ashbridge’s Bay to Balmy Beach and the Waterworks,  Victoria Day has been marked by aerial fireworks, bigger and better each year after year, until A.D. 2012..

     This year, 2012, could have been, should have been, might have been, a stand-out event, because of the scheduled arrival of Prince Charles and Camilla  (Duchess of Cornwall).  Better than typical arrangements should have been made for safety and comfort of the very large crowds that must have been expected.  Unfortunately,  Porta-Potties were not present, possibly because the newly re-certified Boardwalk Café could be expected to abide by its commitment to be an  integral part of The Beaches, as their heart-bound community for the life of their Proprietor, George Foulidis.  Not so.

     After arrival of The Royal Couple, and before the Royal Fireworks were launched, many of the immense throng felt urges for hygienic relief, but with no obvious port-of-relief.   Some saw a line-up of about thirty, waiting to be seated at tables in the

Boardwalk Café.  Another twenty, or so, were in line to use restrooms in the Café, but apart from the dining area.  Good-buddy, George, seemed to be doing the neighborly thing, as expected.  Not so.

     Users of the restrooms were quick about it. When vacancies occurred, uniformed security admitted people in prompt and orderly succession. Security seemed to have been called to speak with someone inside.  When he returned, he shut the access-door. Pleas from the line-up prompted him to go inside twice again. When he returned the third time, he locked the door, excluding the last ten, or so, people. What became of them? The security guard seemed to care enough to present their needs again to a man inside, who strikingly seemed to resemble George Foulidis. The lockout was final.  A pox on us!

     Some years ago,  there was a movie entitled “Good Neighbor Sam”  Might we expect Beachers soon to sponsor “Good Neighbor George” ?

     It might be accepted by a neighborhood that values peaceful enjoyment above all else.Is that what Beachers have become? Has our civic lassitude become so deeply and extensively endemic among us that hardly any opposing voices might be raised.  Sheep we are becoming, to be shorn, and often..

t wasn’t for “Girlie” Greenham or possibly 24,000 patients that die every year from medical errors in Canada, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Would you jump on a plane if you knew that 462 people a week were dying from aviation employee errors? Let’s not forget the patients that simply get sicker or actually are stricken with iatrogenic (doctor-caused) conditions and diseases.

 Although Canadians visualize our health care system as being ‘national’, that is not at all true. There are thirteen provincial systems and there is virtually no incentive for them to co-operate with each other. Ontarians carry an O.H.I.P. card, not a C.H.I.P. card.

 The number of medical errors in Canada is one of the best kept secrets in our society. For obvious reasons, we can’t interview the 24,000 yearly victims of Canada’s health care system. But these people were more than statistics and Canadians are not numbers. Ward 32 News wants to put a face on this issue by tracing the last weeks of our friend Girlie Greenham’s all too short time among us with the very few documents available to us and the little ‘web’ activity we discovered:

FEBRUARY 19th-FACEBOOK/GIRLIE-“Happy Birthday Jim, wishing you all the happiness in the world…good health…success in life…I love you.”

MARCH 9TH-Girlie Greenham checks into Toronto East General Hospital. Serious trouble breathing/coughing up blood. Hospital takes blood sample. Prescribes narcotic cough remedy Hycodan. Appointment set for Wednesday, April 12/2012 at three o’clock to take CRC stress test.

MARCH 30TH-FACEBOOK/GIRLIE-“Four years of love…Happy Anniversary, hun…Jim…as you have told me it’s about time…and I agree! Love you.”

Breathing getting worse so Girlie finds a family doctor.

Six doctors over two months said that “SHE WAS FINE.”

                                                                                                                                                 APRIL 19TH-Girlie is admitted to Scarborough General Hospital. Diagnosed with stage four, incurable lung cancer. She is told that she has three months to live.

MAY 2ND-Girlie is admitted to Lakeridge Health Hospital. Surgeon there says that an obvious mistake was made at Scarborough General Hospital and goes on to say that the tube that they had used to drain Girlie’s lungs was too small. (Editor’s note-It is extremely rare for a doctor to even comment about another doctor’s previous treatments. This doctor is likely to be subpoenaed when an ‘action’ is launched.)

The talc that was used to fuse the hole in her lung began to fail and the talc started to attack Girlie’s lungs. There were many delays in getting treatment when she should have received top priority after mistakes were CONFIRMED by a doctor.

FRIDAY, MAY 11TH-Surgery that was scheduled for to-day is cancelled.

SATURDAY, MAY 12TH-Put on life support.

SUNDAY, MAY 13TH-MOTHER’S DAY-Girlie Greenham passes on.

MAY 25TH-FACEBOOK/JIM GREENHAM-“She was everything to me…And she will always be…the love of my life…4ever.”

To see and hear a tribute dedicated to Girlie Greenham, please go to you tube and enter: GIRLIE-Starlight dreamer. Jim Greenham and his partner in rhyme, Tim, perform the song ‘EVERYTHING.’ Amen.

 If you buy a condominium in Toronto you are definitely a chump. If you buy one in the Beaches, you are dumber than a chimp. The slick sales pitches and glossy brochures may be forgetting to include a few minor details: Exploding windows. Crumbling balconies. Ceiling cracks. Dangerous elevators. Sickening mould. Poor plumbing. Ineffective sound-proofing. These are a small sample of the lesser concerns, as shoddy construction and sub-standard materials have become standard in the industry.

 Why would developers care when seventy to eighty per cent of the units are pre-sold? What would discourage them from skimping on the cement coating over steel rebar or putting less insulation behind the dry-wall? But here’s the ‘kicker’, chump: If you complain publicly that your unit is anything less than perfect, you will be sued by the developer for defamation.

 For the ‘big shooters’ of T.O. condo construction, the party has just begun. That’s because politicians also have their party-hats on. Provincial Conservatives received 4.7 million dollars from developers and the provincial Liberals were given 4.2 million from 2004 to 2011. The N.D.P. only netted a paltry seven-thousand three-hundred and one dollars in that same time period, as they are not quite as ‘cushy’ with barracuda business barons. Toronto City Hall also sees a nice chunk of change from planning fees, building permits, development charges and Parks and Recreation levies.

 Ward 32 News is well aware that the Beaches is targeted for destruction in the name of development. Churches, boutiques, and specialty shops will be torn asunder unless the amoral profiteers are stopped somehow. Gordon Gecko said, “Greed is Good”, but Beachers know that there is more to life than sheer materialism and crass capital. In our last two issues we published our findings pertaining to the dangers of further development in the Beaches. The greatest dangers are faced by future Beaches condo buyers who are fooled by slick developers and realtors.

 It is our duty as caring Beachers to spread the word that a new condo in the Beaches equals a life of misery. Besides, if buyers stop buying, then builders will stop building. Ward 32 News is dedicated to stopping the condo assault that developers have planned for the Beaches. To volunteer your skills, talents or services to help in our counter-offensive against reckless development in the Beaches, please contact us at (416) 693-6325. Let’s save our Beaches!!!!!!!