Letters to the Editor for Feb. 9, 2016

Beachers should be thankful for Kew Gardens project

The city is spending more than $1 million on Kew Gardens, and people are still complaining!? The Beach has a reputation, I’m sure you know what I mean.

This stuff is actually hard to do. It’s a big city with lots of needs. To get dollars allocated to this project is an accomplishment.

To create a design, any design, and invite people to comment can be an exercise in futility. No one will ever agree on this path, that bench, or where the garbage can should go. At some point you have to stand back, take a breath and build something. We all see what happens with transit and endlessly changing the plan.

The existing entrance to the park is nice, but tired. In the new design I would like to see movable tables and chairs (the classic kind you see in other cities including Detroit, no less) so people can eat, work or play games. Is there WiFi? That would be nice.

But I’m so appreciative things are moving forward. Let’s try and enjoy the Beach as if there’s a lake, sand and a boardwalk here.

Michael Fox


A thank you to a kind stranger

Coming out of the Main Street Library on Jan. 22, I tripped and fell face-first on the sidewalk.

A driver going north on Main stopped, came over to me, helped me get up from my knees, and took me into his car. In the back seat was a large black dog who was very well mannered.

I got several cuts and bruises on my face and a lump the size of a large egg appeared on my forehead. Kyle said he would drive me home, just two blocks south, and he would not let me go into the building alone.

He came right to my door and saw me into the apartment. Several times he asked if I was okay, making sure I was not dizzy and didn’t have a headache. I was just a little shaken up, but no other problems.

He gave me his name and telephone number, and later in the afternoon he called to see if I was all right. I really appreciated the attention and assistance he gave me.

Pat on Main Street


Not all are fans of Winter Stations

Last winter I was dismayed to see five odd-looking structures being set up along the short stretch of beach just west of the Balmy Beach Club.

Mary-Margaret McMahon explained that she never went to the beach in winter and she hoped the so-called warming huts would draw people down to the lake.

As someone who enjoys the unspoiled beauty of the beach in all seasons, I did not see any beauty or value in these structures, particularly as they sat empty whenever I passed by.

This year the plan is to erect up to 13 huts at a cost of $18,000 per hut. It strikes me as a frivolous and wasteful use of valuable design talent and materials in a city where Habitat For Humanity struggles to provide for our homeless.

Given councillor McMahon’s plan to “fix” Kew Gardens, she seems to enjoy using our dollars to “fix what ain’t broken” in the Beach.

Jan Conway

Swanwick Avenue

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Re; Winter Stations.
Firstly to get some facts straight. All the money for the installations comes from Private sponsorship. There will be 8 pieces at a cost of $15,000 per unit. This years designs include work from students at Ryerson, Ocad and Laurentian Universities. What better way for students to cut their design teeth, before entering the commercial job market, on something that is seen by the thousands of people that came down to view them, as they did last year.
The extra footfall in The Beaches is much needed to keep afloat our local businesses . There is a high number of empty and failing shops, and having such an inspiring idea to attract people is more than welcomed by the local BIA.
Our Councillor , Mary-Margaret McMahon ,volunteers her time to make projects like this ,and many others , happen all across the ward.
As for Kew Gardens, it looks tired, old and outdated and personally I welcome the re-design.

McMahon “volunteers her time”? – she is paid over $100,000 a year and has staff to help.

Now, many other politicians I know do work longer than 9 to 5 and do a lot of things related to the community in the evening. For example, Michael Prue came out to a number of meetings relating to urban planning/condos even though it was not an MPP’s responsibility but municipal… in one example, both McMahon and Prue were at a BIA meeting but Prue left to come to ours while McMahon didn’t (with 300 people hoping she would come).

McMahon picks and chooses what she spends her time on and decides what her priorities are – things like Winterstations might not be the priority of another councillor, while things McMahon avoids helping with might be a priority.

The War Memorial continues to be the forgotten casualty in this. Having been involved in the planning only at the beginning, my concern was updating the Memorial to reflect post War Korea and to remember those who were in the Service of Canada in Peace Keeping as well as Combat Missions-Rwanda, Croatia, Kosovo, Haiti, Herzegovina,and Afghanistan to name a few. The City of Toronto owns the War Memorial (they fought the ownership and initially insisted it was owned and the responsibility of the Legion and then the Lions Club etc.), and we asked that it be contemporized for the 100th Anniversary of World War 1 and it wasn’t. We hoped it would have been updated for the last Remembrance Day and it wasn’t. The men and women of the ages, who sacrificed themselves, for us, on the alter of freedom, would expect their comrades to be Remembered and not forgotten. I visited the War Memorial today and it lays bear to the memory of many of those who served and wore the cloth of this great nation.

Note to Mr. Graff .- I have 40 years experience with Ward 32/Ward Nine politicians and your comment is disingenuous. I can tell you, that to be a politician representing Ward 32 at the Municipal level, requires herculean stamina. It is one of the most organized, mobilized and busy communities in the City and they keep the politicians moving continuously.

Bob – I do give credit to politicians because I recognise that the job isn’t as easy as people think, because I have been active volunteering in (party) politics off and on for 30 years myself. But on planning, I have seen Mike Layton, Shelley Carroll, Adam Vaughan and others deal far better with local planning issues than McMahon, who is very uncomfortable wit this file. In the article in the Feb 23 edition she says ““I don’t want anyone to get in the hole because of this … I’m realistic that we live in a city and we can’t stand at the corner and stop development,” which is basically to tell citizens to give up on change or appealing. She is very much in favour of condos being proposed yet is not open about this – she thinks saving an acre of farmland is more important than what her constituents think, and in the end, at best approving a condo merely delays the loss of farmland and it is the greenbelt that ultimately limits the loss.

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