Saturday, September 10, 2011

Toronto Waterfront open sewer as playground. WTF?

Sherbourne Common storm sewer water treatment
Recent articles in Toronto's star newspapers extol the accomplishments of Waterfront Toronto. Highlighted are a $14 million fake beach with "No Swimming Allowed" signs, and then the oft praised Sherbourne Common.
Sherbourne Common brown crud
Brown crud swirling

The sign says " A city within a park" What is really there. An open, unfenced, storm sewer water treatment facility next to a kids' playground. And in Toronto, as we have often been told, when it rains, the crud we that flush down our toilets often flows into the storm sewers. Next to the kids' playground. Sounds like New Deli. And not in a good way.
Sherbourne Common green crud
Green Crud Floating

One hopes at least that the splash pad down stream in the section below Queens Quay uses drinking water rather than the effluent from that storm sewer. But hard to tell.

Sherbourne Common waste water foam
Foam on the water

Now, on a warm Saturday there were no children in sight, even though this is touted as a community place. Not surprising since the nearest residential area id a mile away belong a set of railway tracks and the hated (!) Gardiner Expressway. But, in contrast to the government run waterfront development agency's public pronouncements about this being the antithesis of the rest of the waterfront's wall to wall condo edge, huge signs next to the open sewer proclaim "condos coming soon". Who wouldn't want to live next to that? And have their kids play in that?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Stelco acheives a Zero Carbon Footprint in Hamilton

Empty the parking lot. Shut her down. And avoid increases in the price of electricity as a bonus.

No, wait, all that steel is still being made, just in China.

Thanks environmentalists.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Solar energy drives new LED sign

There is a new sign on the QE at the 427. A sign of the times. Powered by the sun.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Internet for Retired People or Not

Moses Z. needs to get in there to explain the new fangled thing called they call the internet ASAP, otherwise there may be a lot of confusuion at a new retirement home in Toronto. A full page ad in the Toronto Star last weekend featured the amenities available at this new facility. Note the wonderful "Internet Cafe" photo showing a nice lady ( one assumes a resident) taking advantage of all the internet has to offer. The photo shows her reading a hard cover book - no internet capable technology in sight. Unless this is a stealth test of Apple's new iBook. Or the new hard copy version of Google Book Search. LOL

Friday, July 24, 2009

Does Buckinghamshire Know That Their Toronto Studio Stinks?

Across the road from the shiny new film production studio and sound stage in Toronto's Port Lands that Pinewood has taken an interest in, is a growing pile of smelly, oozing, rat attracting garbage. On a hot day, the smell brings back not so fond memories of the old rendering plant in the area, which had an odour that could cause retching on the Gardiner Expressway.

Plus ca change....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

RIP Toronto Industrial Jobs - Cascades Commissioners St. Plant

It has been a about a year since the Cascades cardboard plant on Commissioners Street was closed. Gone are 150 or so jobs, and a huge local user of recycled cardboard and paper. It does not appear that Cascades is getting out of this business, since they are expanding in Quebec. It is highly unlikely that those 150 workers are moving to Quebec any time soon. The Toronto Star articles talk about union resistance to cost cutting but the city's constant talk about repurposing the whole area for things more genteel than a noisy paper plant probably didn't help. Nor likely did dwindling support for the local railway, and the near impossibility of getting trucks up and down the DVP in 24/7 rush hour. Talk about shutting down the Gardiner will likely scare off anybody else wanting to do any form of manufacturing or production in that area.

Funny how the plans for massive redevelopment for an Expo did not work out. And the parking lots at the film studio seem pretty empty most days.

RIP 150 jobs.
With research from Toronto Star web archives and manufacturing news website archives.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bike Racks on the TTC Bus - Your tax dollar not working that hard

It seems that many TTC busses are sporting a bunch of metal strapped to their prows. Cow catchers? Jay-walker catchers perhaps? On closer inspection, and some research, it appears that these things are bicycle racks. To hold 2 bikes. Most busses seem to hold 30 - 50 passengers. Where do the other 48 put their bikes? Or do they wait for the next bus? How long does it hold up the bus to mount your bike? What if yours is the first bike I? do you take down the other person's bike? and do what with it while fiddling with yours? What id you get off with the crowd and the bus drives off before you can get though to unhook your bike? What were they thinking?

The initial lot of 110 busses were outfitted for a cost of $202,000 in 2006 after an initial estimate of $155,000 . That is almost ONE QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS. Now Metrolinx wants to spend another $ 1.183.000 on more racks on TTC buses, about $1,200 per rack. ONE POINT TWO MILLION DOLLARS

I have yet to see a bike on any bus in any part of the city, sun or shine or snow, at any time of the day. If I ever do see someone actually putting a bike on there, I will videotape them to see how long it takes ;-)

Figures from TTC and Toronto websites, Metrolinx press release. Correct me if wrong.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What's blue and empty in York Region?

Running on emptyThe Sunday Toronto Star bemoaned the fact (their fact) that suburbs like York Region attracted more new residents than the City of Toronto, and in the same breath, that areas like York Region were un-sustainable (their words) because there was not enough transit. And quoted the local governments as saying they will start investing in transit. But why do people move to the suburbs in the first place? Surely to escape the high costs of things like transit. To escape the rat-warren like population density of Toronto's waterfront condos. Markham and Stouffville have sustained themselves for years without mass transit. Without high-rises. Without city-style rental housing. What person in their right mind would even think of living there without a car, or two? The folly of running empty busses across a 700 square mile area of farms and small towns is highlighted by two empty VIVA busses on Highway 7 in the morning.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Escape from Toronto (in a storm)

NASA photoWhile watching CNN describe the hurricane hitting Jamaica, and the comparisons to hurricane Rita and Katrina, problems getting people out of the way of the storm was brought up several times. Now in Jamaica, and previously during Katrina, the people who could not get out of the way of the storm, the people hit hardest, were those who did not have their own means of transportation. Those who relied on public transit. Those too poor to afford a car. In Katrina and Rita, many of those people perished waiting in vain for someone, anyone to get them out. But nobody came for them.

As Toronto tries to push a vision of a car-less city, it becomes scarier and scarier to visualize what will happen if disaster is imminent here. The streetcars will of course be of little value in getting people out of the city. They will in fact block streets where they are abandoned. The entire fleet of 1,500 TTC busses carrying 50 people each will barely be able to evacuate TTC and city employees, never mind the other 2 million of us. And during Katrina, we saw busses heading out of the city, but heard that drivers, understandably, refused to return.

Wonder what our Plan B is?

The windmill re-turns.

Never let it be said that only bad news reaches this blog. I spend an enjoyable day sailing west of the Island on Friday, and witnessed a miraculous sight. The windmill was turning. And turning. One almost wants to break out in song. Instead, we have a movie.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

TTC Streetcar Named King Running (on) Empty

Empty King Street Car An almost full page in the National Post today tries one more time to make sense of Toronto's budget woes. CFRB talk show voice John Moore, makes excuses for the 3,200 new jobs at the city, and their cost, by saying "Streetcars don't drive themselves". The Post's photo editor helped drive that point home better than he probably expected. The accompanying photo shows a lonely streetcar on King, one driver and only three passengers. Assuming the accompanying article's claim of an average TTC wage of $60,000 applies to drivers, and that the ride was 20 minutes, it cost $15.00 plus electricity plus infrastructure costs to take these three passengers for their leisurely ride down King.

The answer to Toronto's budget crisis is illustrated with photographic clarity.

The online Post article may be gone by the time you read this and does not show the photo.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What the H E Double Hockeysticks

It seems from recent reports that Al Gore's famous climate doom forecasting hockey stick interpretation of Michael Mann's graph was based on incorrect data, or was just plain wrong, when it predicts a future that was hotter than Hell. The mid 1900's seem now to be shown as the hottest period in NASA recorded time, and that the apparent higher temperatures after 1999 were simply due to satellite data misreading. This was first reported by blogger Stephen McIntyre whose seems to have been incapacitated. A conspiracy perhaps?

Maybe the next time Mr Gore comes to Canada we can show him what a hockey stick is really used for.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

CNE Windmill stops traffic

While driving across the bottom of the city this morning, I ran into more traffic than usual. No, not another truck rollover. The CNE windmill was actually turning, a sight so incredulous that people just had to slow down to look. Of course, with a temperature of only 23 degrees Celsius, its wind power was no longer useful to offset imports of power from the US to keep all of those enemies of the kilowatt, the air-conditioner, humming. Its highly subsidized output ( according to the Windshare website, they are getting $0.11 per kilowatt, while Toronto Hydro is selling it to consumers at about $0.05 ) will just keep a few more empty streetcars on the road, or the billboards along the Gardiner lit up. And generate some cash flow for the investors.

It will probably run until it gets cold enough for people to turn on their baseboard heaters and radiant floors. At which point it will again be a monument to the flakiness of relying on the wind in this part of the world. If it actually does turn tomorrow, I will get a few time lapse photos to document this event for posterity.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Lights Out - Anybody Home?

Went to lunch in the underground food court in The Yonge Eglinton Centre, and I thought that I had come across a disaster scene. The place was pitch dark, only one in 5 or so of the lights were working. Not sure whether to go in or not, but no smell of burning subway so it must be OK. But what a dingy, depressing place. Too dark to read. Hard to see which Chinese food item was which. I will have to remember to avoid this place from now on.

I assume that this is part of some misguided energy saving experiment by the building manager. The level of illumination was probably way less than Toronto building standards allow, and certainly less than required for a pleasant stay. But, I guess seeing your food is a frivolous waste of energy in Dwight Duncan's 2007. Little did they know in Calgary when they said "Freeze in the dark, Eastern bastards" in Trudeau's days.

Wonder what the tourists will say when they hear about this?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Another stack at PEC

Portlands Energy Centre Stack 4In better energy news (compared to windless windmills) for Toronto, the fourth stack arose Thursday at the Portlands Energy Centre. IT appears that these things are light enough to be raised by one, albeit huge, crane. If anyone from the Ontario Power is reading this, it would be great to get onto the grounds and take a 360 degree panorama of the site over a period of time.

Wind Powered Honda

From Honda Honda by the Hondelles and Beach BoysWhile the CNE windmill still refused to power any air conditioners in Wednesday's 30 degree heat, the privately owned, albeit much smaller, wind turbine at Maple Honda near Canada's Wonderland on Highway 400, was generating up a storm. At 50 Kilowatts, it is only 1/15 the potential power of the windmill at the CNE, but based on my limited sample of comparative uptimes, it appears to generate many times more useable power. The construction of the Maple Honda windmill is featured on YouTube.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Big stack attack in the Portlands

Portlands Energy Stack NOT MADE IN CANADAA third stack arose at the Portlands Energy Centre, bigger than the first two, and a base for the fourth has already been constructed. While the above ground structure is impressive, the amount of underground construction shown in photos on the Ontario Power Authority website is equally impressive.

Putting on my Made In Canada hat though, I wonder why the stacks had to be brought in from Thailand. Is our manufacturing technology that inefficient, or that incapable that we could not produce this in-house? Sad

Still not turning

No windpower out of this windmillDrove by the CNE windmill twice today. Still not turning out windpower. Oh, wait, it does look like one of the blades moved a bit.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take To Turn A Streetcar?

Streetcar -1 CFL bulbs-0Every day, nearly empty (1 - 3 passenger in all) streetcars rumble down Queen Street East, obviously wasting huge amounts of energy. Lets assume that these light loads make up 8 hours each and every day, not unreasonable at all considering there are only the two rush hours periods where the cars are full. 8 hours, at an average of a car every 12 minutes, is 40 runs. Huge cars with nobody in them. Each articulated streetcar weighs about 40 tons. It takes a lot of power to move those behemoths along, with starting and stopping every few hundred metres. These Articulated Light Rail Vehicles have 4 65 kilowatt motors in them, 250 kilowatts in all. Running for an hour, that is 250 kilowatt hours. Since it takes about 15 minutes to travel from the Victoria Park Loop to Kingston Road where the cars start getting fuller, that part of their trip uses up 60 kilowatt hour of electricity. 40 runs consume a whopping 2400 kilowatt hours a day. Times 365 days in a year, a total of 880 megawatts hours.

We are constantly being told that "Every Kilowatt Counts". The Ontario Power Authority claims that it's much ballyhooed Compact Fluorescent Lights program saved 250 megawatt hours per year throughout the whole province. Meanwhile, the TTC manages to piddle away more than that running empty streetcars on Queen East. Add in the rest of Queen, St Clair, Duffer in and the rest, it takes a staggering amount of coal generated electricity to move a handful of people a few kilometres. Yet our million dollar salaried state run electricity monopoly keeps on raving about compact fluorescents. What part of that makes sense.?

Fine print: These calculations are based on information from the TTC, transit related and OPA websites. More accurate information might change a few decimal places in these calculations. Someone correct me if I am calculator or fact checking challenged.