Letters to the Editor
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From our June 11, 2013 issue
Another summer of construction nightmares begins
This will be the fourth time since 2006 that parts of Kingston Rd as well as our sidewalk, driveway and property have been dug up. Only the contractors working on behalf of Bell Canada in 2006 returned what they worked on to the condition they found it in.
Even though this will be a huge inconvenience I am glad the new streetcars have resulted in the work on Kingston Road as it seems as if the attitude of the city is don't maintain anything unless it breaks. There are parts of the TTC track bed on Kingston Road where you can feel and hear the road shift when you drive over them.
This is coupled with an approach to utility cuts where the city won't monitor the work unless a complaint is received. As a result you end up with streets like Southwood and Williamson Road that are like driving on a roller coaster.
I called 311 about another street last year. It took months to get action and the resulting repair work was so badly done it was a deterrent to any further calls about streets in need of repair.
While this work is necessary, if the water main work done on behalf of the city last year is any indication of what to expect, I am not looking forward to this year’s construction. Our water was shut off before the time we were told it would happen. It was 14 hours before it was turned back on. Since the work extended after 5 p.m. there was not anyone we could contact except 311 and they had no idea what was going on.
What a nightmare.
Fighting for a Beach paradise
The air is fragrant with sand and sunshine here, and you can walk a few steps down the street to find yourself admiring a perfect, aqueous vista. The waves hit the shore so rhythmically in this place they would be soothing to even the most restless spirit. The stars smile down on us here, casting delicate light onto the water and setting the liquid crests aglow. The people are friendlier here, stopping to chat and mingle throughout the sunlit days. There’s a plethora of dogs in this place, dotting the landscape with fur and paw. The buildings are slung low across the neighbourhood, most old and brimming with bygone character.
The Beach is an idyllic small town wedged between Scarborough and downtown and it’s populated by fierce fighters.
Paradise doesn’t come easy and the big city mentality is constantly encroaching. Glass condo towers loom in the distance. Developers threaten at every turn to crush the enduring spirit of this neighbourhood.
So we fight. We take to community centres and church basements, we lobby local officials and plant signs in our lawns protesting the destruction of the place I was born and raised. We rise and speak together, to stand before the waves of menacing modern architecture that crash upon our shores.
I’ve always been a fighter, it’s in my blood and as I write this I wonder if I absorbed some of it from all those days spent roaming the neighbourhood under sun and moon, rain and snow.
It hasn’t changed here since I was a child. Stores come and go of course, and Starbucks has found its way into our hearts, but most buildings still don’t rise beyond three stories and the community is drenched in independence.
It’s as prolific as the sand in our socks, the waves on our shore. The feeling is in the air. Our paradise has teeth that will bite and maim if they need to.
The neighbourhood doesn’t fight out of stubbornness or a lack of will to change. It doesn’t fight for blind anger or pointless politics.
It fights to keep the feeling of the place alive. It fights for moonlight on water and dogs digging in the sand.
It fights for the laughter of children in the sunshine and the ghosts that wander the halls of century old buildings. It fights for paradise in a progressively dystopian landscape where glass and metal win out over brick and wood.
Paradise doesn’t come easy and in this place the fight runs right through our blood and out onto our idyllic streets.
Dogs not the only animal in the Beach
As we are all aware, there has been in this newspaper a long and ongoing discussion concerning dogs, their owners, their leashes (or lack thereof) etc. What I would like to know is, why is there not an equal discussion about cats? Emotions can run high when people are discussing the dog issue, but everyone seems to accept as normal that cats, unlike dogs, can roam at will totally unsupervised, let alone leashed.
When we first moved into our home several years ago, we soon discovered that we had a problem with a neighbourhood cat using our garden to do his/her business. But there was no way to tell whose cat was doing it because, as mentioned earlier, there were several cats roaming at will. That problem abated at some point for unknown reasons, and all was well until new neighbours behind us decided to let their cats outside. At least one of them became fond of coming into our yard and we soon started finding dead birds. Even though we've pointed out to them that this is happening, they continue to let the cats out. The previous owner of their house let the cats out on a harness and there was never a problem.
We have for many years been fond of watching the birds come to our birdbath but now I'm afraid that the only thing we can do to save them from the cat(s) is to take it down.
So I ask again, why do many hold such strong opinions about dogs roaming free and yet overlook cats doing the same?