A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘politics

[URBAN NOTE] “People power fuelled rebuild of Lakeview power plant site”

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The Toronto Star‘s San Grewal tells an inspiring story.

Call it a victory for the little guy.

Saturday’s historic announcement to kickoff Mississauga’s monumental Inspiration Lakeview project, with 26 hectares of newly created conservation land connected to a 100-hectare mixed-use community to house 20,000 residents next to the city’s waterfront, should never have happened.

“It started before 2006,” Councillor Jim Tovey said during a boat tour Saturday around the site, just offshore and on the edge of the city’s border with Toronto. Elected officials from every level of government were on board.

The Lakeview project will feature a mix of commercial, residential and cultural buildings on the western side of the site, which will be connected to a man-made 26-hectare conservation area featuring meadows, a forest, wetlands and trails on what is currently still part of the lake.

Tovey spoke about how before becoming a councillor in 2010, he and a group of local citizens organized themselves, partnering with a University of Toronto expert, to unite residents against the powerful forces pushing for a new gas-fired power plant where the giant coal-fired Lakeview generating station had stood for almost 50 years.

At the time of the plant’s demolition in 2007, the province had a plan in place to simply replace coal with gas, with an ally in former mayor Hazel McCallion.

Even before the plant was torn down, “We wanted to create the Lakeview legacy project,” Tovey said. The push to get rid of the plant seemed incomprehensible in a province whose thirst for electricity could barely be quenched. But Tovey and others knew demand in the area was actually beginning to decline, with the loss of manufacturing and renewable energy sources coming online.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 26, 2016 at 7:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Why is it so hard for Toronto to think big?”

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I choose to read Edward Keenan’s Wednesday article in the Toronto Star, starting with the Rail Deck Park, as a challenge for us to do better.

I want to fall in love with this thing because I imagine in my mind’s eye what it could be, in a dead zone of the city right now, in the heart of a growing central area, and think: “What a kick-ass awesome thing that would be to have in the city.”

I want to live in the city that says it is worth it, because we are a wealthy and growing city, and because it would belong to all of us, and because it would be awesome.

And yet…

…and yet I know this is a city that already has a much larger downtown park — on the Toronto Islands, roughly the size of New York’s Central Park — and chokes off access to it on aging ferry boats, so that a family of four wanting to visit must pay more than $22 to access the park, and must line up for a long time, crowded into a pen in the hot sun, waiting to board.

…and yet I know this a city in which the man who is now deputy mayor launched a crusade to protest the cost of pink umbrella lighting installations in a new waterfront park just a few years ago, and ramped up the outrage over new washrooms at Cherry Beach.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 25, 2016 at 2:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • Anthropology.net deals with the use of technology to save endangered languages.
  • At the Broadside Blog, Caitlin Kelly starts off a discussion of high school by starting with The Breakfast Club.
  • Dangerous Minds shares video of a very early performance by the Police.
  • The Frailest Thing engages with the idea and importance of memory.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Rod Dreher’s anti-refugee stance.
  • The Map Room Blog looks at the new Atlas Obscura book.
  • The Planetary Society Weblog takes a rocket roadtrip.
  • Savage Minds considers the importance of decolonization.
  • Torontoist notes a Toronto Sun editorial in favour of Rail Deck Park.
  • Understanding Society considers the international measurement of happiness.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues that Gary Johnson is good for Hillary.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO notes that a half-million dollars does not buy one much of a house in Toronto.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly celebrates the fifth anniversary of her marriage on the Toronto Islands.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze considers exoplanet fatigue in the news, suggesting Proxima b is about as excited as the media will get.
  • Far Outliers looks at the foreign safety zone set up in Nanjing in 1937 as the Japanese approached.
  • Language Hat considers the globalization of Latin American writers.
  • Language Log examines the linguistics behind “hikikomori”.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the British political spectrum.
  • The Map Room Blog reports on some beautiful letterpress maps.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that in Africa, urbanization is not accompanied by economic growth.
  • The NYRB Daily shares vintage photographs of Syria’s Palmyra.
  • Spacing looks at the examples of the Netherlands.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at a call to create a unified Russian diaspora lobby in the United States and examines ethnic Russian migration from Tuva.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • A BCer in Toronto mourns the declining standards behind the Tim Horton’s apple fritter.
  • blogTO notes that the Toronto vs everybody T-shirt has been redone in the original Iroquoian.
  • Centauri Dreams considers Project Orion.
  • Dangerous Minds shares vintage North Korean anti-American art.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper suggesting that Mars’ climate may have been cold but for impacts and volcanism.
  • Far Outliers examines the booming Nanjing of the 1930s.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the Long Island Universiy strike.
  • The NYRB Daily examines Hillary Clinton’s troubles.
  • Personal Reflections uses a bus fire to examine the fragility of modern systems.
  • Towleroad shares news, and footage, of a Tom of Finland biopic.
  • Window on Eurasia links to a report sharing the costs of Russian aggression in Ukraine, including at least ten thousand people reported dead.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Centauri Dreams and The Map Room each report on the ESA’s Gaia satellite mapping project of the galaxy.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on the hunt for hot Jupiters.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests that the Mexican peso has weakened because of Trump.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes China’s successful launch of its Tiangong-2 space station.
  • Savage Minds considers deviance for women in Bangalore, after Margaret Mead.
  • Torontoist considers what Toronto college and universities are doing to address sexual violence.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that the Turkic peoples of the North Caucasus are moving towards the use of a shared language.

[URBAN NOTE] “How Toronto’s latest mega tower got the green light”

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Jennifer Pagliaro’s article in the Toronto Star explores the political mechanics behind the impending construction of a super-high condo tower at Yonge and Bloor. The City of Toronto lacks much control over the process, it seems.

An unprecedented development — an 80-storey Toronto condo tower that will be second in height only to the CN Tower — sets a new standard for density at a crucial downtown intersection. Those extremes have created schisms at city hall over more than a year, during a planning process that has left key questions lingering: How much is too much? And who decides?

What occurred with this tower, which Yorkville developer Sam Mizrahi has dubbed “The One,” does not reflect how all building applications are dealt with in this city. But it is an example of how, some councillors say, the city is being built higher and higher, under duress.

As real estate wars see developers buying smaller and smaller parcels of land at rising prices, they are increasingly building skyward to cover their costs.

That’s been noticed at city hall. City councillors and staff say developers are applying more frequently to build well above the prescribed height and density for a neighbourhood. Councillors say there is little recourse to accommodating exceptions, with a provincially legislated appeals body capable of overturning council’s planning choices.

With the province in the midst of a review of that powerful body, the Ontario Municipal Board, city advocates say it’s finally time to get serious about removing Toronto from its grasp.

In the absence of reform, this is how one very tall, very dense building got the green light at council.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 13, 2016 at 5:45 pm