Tag Archives: York Region

The house that garbage built in York Region – rental mayhem 101


Garbage on the curb for more than a week in York RegionWhat comment can I offer on the lack of care for rental homes in York Region? What’s sad is home owners who buy rental properties, in fairly nice neighbourhoods, are turning them into rental ghettos. It’s said to see how individuals can come into a area and treat it with no care. Now there are some basic considerations to home ownership, but one that seems to allude G.T.A residents is the basic decency to keep their neighbourhood clean. Why do you put out garbage and leave it on the curb for a week; knowing it won’t be picked up until next week? Now I know what you are thinking. Maybe they are on vacation right? Wrong! I have seen this time and time again. Homes that are rented out and garbage left on the street; including glass, paint cans, and other items. Unfortunately with an interest rate hovering at the lowest in many years this problem can only get worse; with investors trying to make a quick buck. What’s interesting is this type of issue rarely happens in an area like Leaside, Unionville, Whitby, Oakville, Woodbridge or other portions of the city. Why? Maybe it’s because residents care and want to ensure that their investment remains intact. There is little tolerance for individuals who buy a home and don’t maintain it. It’s sad because I am not sure if this problem will ever be fixed. We take the taxes, but forget the neighbourhood. In some areas people don’t care and I am not even sure why. Maybe they just like it that way?

Viva / YRT Strike over — Free transit for 2 months


With the over 3 month old strike finally over commuters in York region will receive almost 2 months of free transit. The move comes in response to York Region residents, who have endured a long protracted strike and no transit service. I don’t think Torontonian’s would have accepted such a long strike in the past. The strike showed that transit was not as much of an issue in York Region. The car is definitely still king throughout the region. However this is not to say that it did not adversely affect residents; who had to find alternative modes of transportation. YRT hopes to bring users back to public transit in York Region. It will be interesting to see if York Region councillors attempt to enact the same legislation, which finally made the TTC an essential service.

For more information please go to the York Region Transit website.

http://www.yrt.ca/en/

Strike! Lots of confusion in York Region (YRT and VIVA)


There seems to be a lot of confusion over what is running and what is not in York Region. Details from the YRT/VIVA site are listed below, however there is much confusion over exactly which routes are not in operation. Some TTC routes, that go into Markham are still in operation.

Southeast Division (Miller Transit)

  • 51 YRT routes in the Towns of Markham, Richmond Hill and Whitchurch-Stouffville, with some routes in the City of Vaughan

North Division (First Canada)

  • 29 YRT routes in the Towns of Newmarket and Aurora with some routes in the Towns of Richmond Hill, East Gwillimbury and Georgina

Viva Division (York BRT Services)

  • Five Viva routes operating in the Towns of Markham, Richmond Hill, Aurora, Newmarket and the City of Vaughan
For more details click here or here. For details on the services unaffected by the strike, please review the information below.
  • Traveling on other YRT routes – The strike does not affect service along more than 30 YRT routes in the Southwest Divisionthat Veolia Southwest provides. These routes mostly serve the City of Vaughan, but also parts of the Towns of Aurora, Markham, Newmarket and Richmond Hill and the Township of King. You can find out whether buses operate along your route here.
  • Traveling on north / south TTC buses in York Region.
  • Traveling on GO Transit buses and trains and Brampton Transit Züm buses. (Brampton Transit may add extra service on the 501 Züm Queen route to help passengers that usually use the Viva orange service between Martin Grove Road and York University’s Keele Campus.)
Note: Seems it maybe best to catch a Go Bus, Go Train or at least try the 99 bus.

VIVA Bus Drivers in York Region and the ATU


 

VIVA

VIVA

I am not sure if the union members of the ATU for VIVA are living in a cavern somewhere but there is a global economic crisis. This strike has gone on for long enough. It is time to GET BACK TO WORK and figure this out now! Viva is York Region’s express bus rapid transit service, supplementing YRT’s local services. York has contracted Veolia to operate its 90 Viva buses for about $20 million annually. I think we’ve had enough of this strike! It is time for transit to become a priority for our politicians. Make transit an essential service!

Time to make York Region Transit an essential service

Update: Hooray! The strike is over! A two-week strike by 170 Viva bus drivers in York Region is over. Drivers voted Friday to accept Veolia Transportation’s contract.

URGENT NEWS! Viva Strike is back on for York Region…


 

YRT - VIVA BRT Strike

YRT - VIVA BRT Strike

I am listening to the news and it seems that the VIVA strike is back on for tomorrow morning @ 4AM. There has definately been a break down somewhere down the line. The news is on CFRB and 680News at the moment. The information below is from 680news. Make alternative plans now!

Note: This does not affect YRT buses, however there is no way that they can handle the load, so the contracted TTC buses and GO Transit may become good alternatives. I will try to post information about alternatives a bit later. 

Update: You can arrange a lift through Carpool Zone or to call the YRT/Viva Customer Service Centre, at 1-866-668-3978. Extra customer service agents would-be available on the phone and at the main service centres.

http://www.680news.com/more.jsp?content=20080924_194001_11804

Opinion: I am starting to wonder, is it is time for Metrolinx to take over ALL transit services in the G.T.A (the Greater Toronto Area) and make it an “essential service”? Or is this a rejection of ATU Local 113 and Bob Kinnear?

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2008/04/26/5395786-cp.html

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080418/transit_strike_080418/20080418?hub=TopStories

http://www.cfib.ca/legis/ontario/pdf/on0375.pdf

York Region Viva bus service ends Wednesday September 25 2008 at 4am – No service in York Region


 

VIVA on strike for Wednesday

VIVA on strike for Wednesday

680News staff | Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 7:42 pm

 

Thirty-five-thousand commuters in York Region will have to find another way to work or school come Thursday morning.

That’s because Viva bus drivers will go on strike starting at 4 a.m.

Union members turned down a tentative settlement by 61 per cent, Wednesday, and that group represents 165 bus operators.

In a press release, Bob Kinnear, President of ATU Local 113, which represents the bus drivers said “we are a democratic union and our members have spoken.”

He added “Veolia management [the company that runs Viva Transit] knew that the strike would being tomorrow (Thursday) if their offer was turned down and I have informed them of the results of the vote.”

The major issues in negotiations are wages and sick time.

At this point no further talks have been scheduled.

All York Region Transit (YRT) buses will continue to run as usual because they are not part of Viva Transit.

read more | digg story

China formula scare spreads to ice-cream, yoghurt


BEIJING (Reuters) – Hong Kong has ordered the recall of a Chinese company’s products after milk, ice cream and yogurt were found to be contaminated with melamine, the compound responsible for killing four children in a China health scandal.

Tainted milk powder produced in China has made thousands ill, and triggered sackings and detentions and rocked public trust already battered by a litany of food safety scares involving tainted eggs, pork and seafood in recent years.

Now the scandal has spread to milk, ice-cream and yoghurt ice-bars. Hong Kong ordered the recall of a Chinese company’s products on Thursday after tests found that eight of 30 of its products, including milk drinks, were tainted with melamine.

The company, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co Ltd, was a Beijing Olympic Games sponsor and is one of 22 Chinese firms implicated in the scandal.

A regional Chinese health authority said on Thursday a fourth child had died at a hospital in remote northwestern Xinjiang. The report on the authority’s website (www.xjwst.gov.cn) gave no further details.

Milk tainted with melamine, a compound banned in food, has killed three other babies, two in China’s northwestern Gansu province and one in eastern Zhejiang.

The health scare erupted after Sanlu Group last week revealed it had produced and sold melamine-laced milk, and a subsequent probe found a fifth of 109 Chinese dairy producers made adulterated products with the substance.

At the latest count, 6,244 children have become ill with kidney stones after drinking powdered milk laced with melamine, with three deaths and 158 suffering “acute kidney failure.”

“It’s just a terrible situation, it’s really scary,” said a 34-year-old father surnamed Zhou, cradling one of his eight-month twins outside a Beijing children’s hospital.

“You expect small brands to have quality issues, but these are big brands, name brands. The authorities need to improve their oversight,” said Zhou, queuing to have his children examined.

read more | digg story

Girl Refused Employment Because Of Dreadlocks


Jessica Devnani was excited about the prospect of starting her first summer job at Canada’s Wonderland, but in the end, she found no amusement in the park’s request that she cut her dreadlocks, or find work elsewhere.

“I went in for my interview and they hired me on the spot so a week later I went for my first day of training,” she explained.

When she showed up she was given the bad news — the hair had to go.

“I was angry they didn’t tell me at the interview when they saw my hair,” she adds.

As a private company Canada’s Wonderland is entitled to a hiring policy and they have a rule of no extreme hairstyles.

A spokesperson for the company declined an interview.

“They got my hopes up with the job and then telling me I had to resign,” Devnani complains.

Canada’s Wonderland says it will look into better communicating its hiring policies and Jessica doesn’t plan to take any action against them, but she just hopes it doesn’t happen to somebody else.

read more | digg story

The Subway Now group of York Region and the VIVA BRT


In an effort to be entirely impartial, posting the opinions of others, I’ve decided to list a link to the “Subway Now” group. Although I understand what they are attempting to do I still wonder who is going to really end up paying for the extension of the subway to Richmond Hill at Hwy #7 and Yonge Street. I definitely like the picture of the subway train that they are using for their banner. I wonder if that’s what our new subway trains will look like (O-Train’s from Ottawa). But, I digress! Again, you can read a statement from the website below. Essentially they want to stop plans for a BRT, using VIVA buses, down the middle of Yonge Street in favour of a subway to the 407. Tax payers of Markham, Richmond Hill and Thornhill be prepared to “pay your share” and not expect Toronto to pay for the operation of it alone. Ironically, this extension probably makes more sense then the Sorbara Subway. However, I am worried about the amount of people that will travel on Yonge. Will it end up being a Scarborough RT situation, where the subway cannot handle the amount of people traveling on the line?

As a side note, if you are wondering, yes I’ve added them to the public transit links on the right panel; however let’s not confuse this with outright support. I still think Toronto has larger problems and added more people to an already congested Yonge line is not going to help Toronto’s woes. You will start to see links from various transit advocates in a new panel, as soon as I get to it.

From their website:
York Region should abandon its costly and controversial plans to construct dedicated bus lanes down the centre of Yonge Street, now that the provincial government has committed funding for the subway extension from Finch to HWY 407.

Since the Government is throwing around funds and gifts this season maybe a subway line along Don Mills Road, from Fairview Mall, or Finch, would at least help to alleviate some pressure on the Yonge line. But I guess I am dreaming in Technicolor!

By Andy MJ
a.k.a. “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

For more information about the “Subway Now” group, see the link below.

http://subwaynow.ca/

http://subwaynow.ca/blogus/

Tax Me I’m Torontonian


Toronto Council has finally passed the controversial new land-transfer tax and vehicle registration tax/fee. Although a compromise was needed, Toronto should now have the stable funding that they require to run the city. Barring that the housing market does not go bust or everyone in Toronto decides to sell their car. This would never happen? But, I needed to point out the absolute worse case scenario. The new taxes might only initially raise $180-million to $200-million for 2008, less than earlier annual estimates of $356-million. Even with the new taxes, city finance officials say they still need a property tax hike. This also does not stop Toronto Council from considering new entertainment taxes, fees and the possibility, however unlikely, of a toll on the DVP, going into downtown Toronto. A land transfer tax of up to 2 per cent and a $60 fee for motor vehicle registration, which only could have happened with the new powers from the “City of Toronto” act. What will be interesting is the fall-out in the Real Estate market. I doubt there will be much change in the downtown area. Toronto still does not serve the outer regions like Scarborough and Etobicoke with adequate public transit. It should be interesting to see if funding now starts on the “Transit City” plan. There is no excuse now since they have their money and what David Miller wanted. What is interesting is that the Liberals are in power, and based on their “promises, this should be boom time for public transit. The question is, were they all “telling the truth”? Or was this all a rouse to get more money and tax use again later? Only time will tell. I imagine those, with homes just north of Toronto’s Steeles Avenue must be extremely happy. There homes just became a little bit more valuable. There will be those who want to skirt the tax and move a bit north, still within walking distance of the TTC and Toronto. They will be sad to learn that prices in Markham, Thornhill, Vaughan and Woodbridge are already high. However, the major point is that it is now time for “Transit City” to move forward, with no delays! I do not necessarily agree with the new taxes, however David Miller seemed to have no choice. I am also not totally in favour of all of their public transit plans; however something is better than nothing in the “transit world”. Other than the audit of the city contracts and the panel looking into savings for the city, council has done there part. Dalton McGuinty will now have to show if he was telling the truth? The Liberal Ontario government must start with the Move2020 plan now, with no delays or lies or false promises. Let the people in the know, do their work and lets get Toronto moving! Torontonians will now expect “results”, otherwise David Miller and company may find an angry electorate in 2010. Torontonians will be watching!

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a. “The G.T.A Patriot”

Toronto, Ontario

Time to get more use out of the Sheppard Subway line and go west?


To be honest, I love subways and I have a bit of a bias towards the Sheppard Subway line. I have always believed that if the subway was completed, or at least ½ done, than it would have never been considered as an option to close or shut down, in the Toronto tax crunch. I still blame the Harris “conservatives” for their shortsighted plan to fill in the Eglinton West Subway dig, which was already well under way. Along with the plan to offer a no frills Sheppard subway line, stopping it at Don Mills, rather than the obvious Victoria Park, or even better yet Warden Avenue in Scarborough. Regardless, what was done is done and we have a subway that needs finishing. However, there maybe a better plan, that has not been considered. The fact is that the Sheppard line exists and it needs to be completed. One of the transportation issues, I have found, in the city is the lack of an east-west line across the top of the city. Now that the Liberal Government has decided that the subway will go to Vaughan; even though I feel that it should only go to York University for now, consideration should be given to the idea of completing the Sheppard Subway westwards and then curving the Sheppard line north-west to York University and beyond. It was pointed out to me by ‘Cal’, from the Toronto LRT information blog,

“that extending the Sheppard line west to Downsview then up to York U/Steeles may be a better use of the money in terms of providing a more useful connection and making the Sheppard line more useful.”

In addition, the Sheppard Subway lines signaling system and design are based on newer technology, which would allow greater flexibility in the operation of trains (I.e. driver-less subway cars, the possibility of multiple lines, operations in different directions, etc…). It has already been stated that millions (maybe more) would have to be spent to upgrade the Yonge-University and Spadina lines. If this is the case, why not simply complete the Sheppard line westwards, along Sheppard Avenue and then northwards? Along Sheppard we would only need a stop at Bathurst, for now and since the trains are only 4 cars long, for now the platforms could be a bit smaller (in terms of the amount of people using the line). In addition, albeit maybe a bit of pie in the sky thinking, but we could also consider imploring some New York Subway style options in the northern part of Toronto. I remember at one point, before the EA (Environment Assessment) was completed for the Spadina line to York University one of the Toronto councilors wanted the line to go along Finch westwards towards Jane & Finch and beyond, due to the high-density in the area.We all know that the TTC will not send all trains north into Vaughan. I believe that it will be every third train; however I could be wrong (anyone can update me on that one to correct me on the intervals). This means that there will need to be a larger trail-track or interchange at either the Steeles or YorkUniversity stations. If this is the case, why not send one portion northwards into Vaughan and the other westwards along Finch or better yet , using a cheaper option, the Finch Hydro corridor into Etobicoke and beyond, using a Sheppard-Vaughan-Finch line instead? This is just an idea; however I would hope that Toronto officials and the provincial government would think outside the box a bit and complete the Sheppard line. It’s just an idea, but I hope that the Sheppard line put to better use.You will notice that I am not advocating going eastwards to Scarborough Town Centre. I just believe that if we can “kill two birds with one stone”, than lets use the Sheppard Line to complete Greg Sorbara’s dream of a subway to Vaughan and get a little more use out of the subway. I am a big believer in portions of the “Transit City” plan, offered by the City of Toronto. I just feel that we need to somehow finish or put Sheppard to better use. Of course I would have preferred an LRT, for Sheppard in the past, but that was said and done (no sense crying over split milk). If we have no choice, in getting a line to YorkUniversity than why not maximize what we can do for the city, now? Once the Sheppard-Vaughan-Finch line is completed, then we can end this argument and stain on Toronto’s past. We can then move onto using LRT, light-rail and other forms of technology to move people around the Greater Toronto Area. The unfortunate thing is politics, may again get in the way or progress. I can only hope that officials in charge will do the right thing.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

Invest in transit now, not later


In reading the history of Toronto and the TTC, high investments were made in public transit, which helped the TTC become one of the top transit systems in North America. However during an episode of the Agenda with Steve Paikin, which airs on TVO, one of the panelists mentioned that we need to make investments in transit now, not later. He pointed to the fact that Toronto’s population was at the size of the Mississauga’s, Brampton’s and York Region’s of today and they were digging subway infrastructure. Fast forward to today and places like Mississauga, Brampton, Durham and York Region are bursting at the seams and there is no talk of subways or light-rail. With the Move 2020 plan, the Liberals essentially promised to build pretty much everything that was, and is, on the books. I am not sure I believe that the 17+ billion dollars will be spent (this is Dalton McGuinty); however I do hope that this plan has been carefully thought out. How do these plans help to move large amounts of people quickly and defiantly? Should we not be talking about subways and LRT’s for places like Mississauga and Brampton? We have band-aid solutions now, like the Viva bus service and ideas for BRT right-of-ways, but what about heavy investment in transit. What purpose does bringing the TTC service to Vaughan serve? YRT/VIVA should concentrate on building service for York region, not only relying on Toronto. People do not necessarily head only to downtown now. Hurontario, in Mississauga, would be perfect for an underground subway. Where are the brave politicians, like the days of the old TTC guard, who will make the investment in public transit? If we continue to move down this ‘slow’ path, the Greater Toronto Area will eventually come to a stand-still. We do not need personal political projects that ensure politicians get elected. We need some brave individuals that we put their reputation on the line and do the right thing. Let the people in the know, use their knowhow and get the transit job done for GTA residents now, not later.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario