Toronto councillor raises concerns over Vaughan’s subway development

Plans to pack high-density development along the north side of Steeles Avenue around one of the new stations for the Spadina subway extension to York Region have attracted the attention of Toronto city officials and local Ward 8 Councillor Anthony Perruzza, wrote the North York Mirror Feb. 22. "Look at the density they’re contemplating," Perruzza said of the parcel of land along Steeles between Jane Street and Keele Street, across from York University’s Keele campus.

In recognition of the proposed subway line extending from Downsview station to north of Steeles, the lands would become designated mixed use, permitting 5,500 residential units for a potential population of 11,000, and another 4,000 employees, said the Mirror.

The amendment is at the Ontario Municipal Board already, under appeal by three landowners in the area. At last week’s planning and transportation committee meeting, councillors voted to seek party status at the hearing, a move that would allow city lawyers to cross-examine witnesses and call its own witnesses.

The Mirror said city planners are concerned because the change north of Steeles will impact the amount of density that Toronto can approve south of Steeles, in particular on York University’s lands, which are right across the street.

City planners have been working on the redevelopment with York Region, including on issues of community services. And the city and York Region have agreed to strike a committee to deal with issues that Vaughan’s development will create for York University’s redevelopment potential. But Perruzza is uneasy at the prospect of that level of development, when funding for the subway extension remains in limbo, said the Mirror. "If the subway’s scrapped then Vaughan has let the densities out the door," Perruzza said. "If you get no subway station, how do you move those people around out there?"

‘Rogers hasn’t been nice,’ says judge in phone dispute

Hung by the fine print in its own contract, Rogers Wireless was ordered by a small claims court judge Feb. 22 to pay $2,000 in punitive damages to Susan Drummond, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, for turning off her young son’s phone because she refused to pay more than $14,000 for long distance calls she never made, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 23.

Drummond was elated by yesterday’s decision. "It sends out the message that this kind of behaviour is egregious and immoral," she said. Although she has no courtroom experience, Drummond represented herself in court. In August 2005, Drummond returned from a research trip to Israel to learn that more than $12,000 in calls had been made to Pakistan, Russia, the UK, India and Libya while she was out of the country. It was only then Drummond realized her phone had been stolen from her home while she was away.

Alumna Paula Todd joins CTV News

Acclaimed television journalist and host Paula Todd (BA ’82, LLB ‘88) has signed on to join CTV News effective March 1, wrote Broadcaster magazine in its online edition of Feb. 22. Robert Hurst, CTV News president, said the veteran journalist/lawyer will take a leading role in the development of a new and innovative project for CTV News.

With more than 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, Todd has held a variety of high-profile positions where she has covered legal and social issues, politics and current affairs. Most recently Todd was at TVO where she hosted and co-produced “Person 2 Person with Paula Todd”, and was co-host for the popular live current affairs program “Studio 2”. Broadcaster noted Todd studied literature and political science at York’s Faculty of Arts and law at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School.

York joins new media consortium

York University aims to create new opportunities for its students and faculty through its leading role in the Consortium on New Media, Creative and Entertainment R&D in the Toronto Region (CONCERT), which received $300,000 in Ontario Media Development Corporation funds, reported Decima’s Canadian New Media Feb. 21. The consortium will “connect the academic world with the best in innovation,” says Stan Shapson, York vice-president, research and innovation.

The consortium plans to pilot several industry/academic joint research & development projects and build R&D capacity to enhance the region’s access to funding, with the goal of developing a coordinated strategy for new media. It already has more than 20 partners, including Apple Canada, Industry Canada, Motorola Canada, New Media Business Alliance (NMBA), Ryerson University, and Xenophile Media Inc.

York professor’s report on harassment prompts survey at MUN

Memorial University of Newfoundland is launching an employee opinion survey Feb. 26 as a result of a report on the sexual harassment of an MUN professor, wrote The Telegram (St. John’s) Feb. 23. The Katz Report, named for its author, Shirley Katz, a humanities professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, is an examination of the employment experience of the late Deepa Kholsa, a political scientist who joined MUN as an assistant professor in August 2005, three months before she died of a brain aneurysm.

Schulich professor says time off to have kids is a collective issue  

After five years away from the workplace to have two children, my job search began late last year and I thought I would be working by now, wrote freelance columnist Tanya Gallus in The Globe and Mail Feb. 23. I believed that my absence to have and raise children wouldn’t be questioned. Instead, I feel stuck in a June Cleaver time warp. Rekha Karambayya, a professor of organizational behaviour at York’s Schulich School of Business, said perceptions on taking time off to have kids hasn’t changed all that much over the past few decades. "Really, it’s a collective issue that everyone should be concerned about, but it somehow ends up being a women’s issue when it isn’t," says Karambayya. 

Uncovering the cost of red carpet glamour

Every Hollywood starlet wants to look like a million bucks at the Oscars, wrote The Globe and Mail Feb. 23. Now some are demanding red-carpet paycheques to match. An increasing number of fashion designers are reportedly paying actors to wear their dresses to big events like this Sunday’s Academy Awards. "Does the average consumer pay attention? The answer is yes," says Alan Middleton, marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business.

Community plays role in raising good kids

There are many places to find fault for the increased number of problem children, says the author of a study from the Vanier Institute of the Family, wrote the Sudbury Star Feb. 23. Parents, schools, neighbourhoods and the media are all included, said Anne-Marie Ambert, a professor of sociology who recently retired from York’s Faculty of Arts. "In the past, parents used to receive the support of their neighbours," she said. But now, she observed, people are often afraid to intervene if they see children or teens misbehaving in the neighbourhood or at the mall.

It’s important to remember and celebrate the many good teenagers out there. Those who excel at school, in community service, the arts or sports should be held up as role models. "There are still a lot of positives that society offers so that the majority of children don’t fall into this (problem) category," said Ambert.

  • It should come as no surprise that, according to a study released Feb. 20 by the Vanier Institute for the Family, there are more problem children now than 50 years ago, wrote a columnist for the Woodstock Sentinel-Review Feb. 22. The author of the study, Anne-Marie Ambert, says everyone – from parents, schools, neighbourhoods and the media – are to blame.

Theatre graduate to teach at acting workshops

Three acting workshops run by Port Hope’s 4th Line Theatre will be taught by a group of theatre professionals that includes York graduate Megan Murphy (BA ‘02), wrote the Port Hope Evening Guide Feb. 23. Murphy is a Peterborough native and graduate of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, who has performed in everything from Anne of Green Gables at Showplace Theatre to the one-woman show I, Claudia at Market Hall Theatre, both in Peterborough, Ont.