February 21 Update

February 21, 2013

SmartCentre North Staff Report goes to North York Community Council Meeting, February 26, 2013

The City Staff’s Report published on February 14, 2013, is in favor of the proposed SmartCentre North development at Laird and Wicksteed. The Report has been placed on the Agenda for the February 26th North York Community Council meeting.

After consulting our legal counsel, we wrote to Councillor Parker on February 19th to ask him to support our request for a deferral of North York Community Council’s (NYCC) consideration of this issue until their meeting of April 9. We also asked him to discuss this with other NYCC members, to ensure that the deferral is granted. A copy of our letter is copied below.

We represent a significant number of voters in Councillor Parker’s constituency and we are asking for a short deferral. The deferral is needed so that we have sufficient time to consider the Staff Report, consult with the community, speak to the experts we have hired, and potentially meet with the Developer to determine if an amicable resolution may be possible.

We requested a prompt reply from Councillor Parker, given the closeness of the upcoming meeting. His reply is here. As you will see, it is non-committal:

“Thank you for the letter below. Am tied up pretty much all of today and into the evening. Followed by Council for the next two days. Will get back to you when possible.

I welcome the comment about a wish to meet with the applicant. This is a promising turn from the pattern to date. It makes perhaps the strongest case for a deferral, particularly if the purpose of the meeting can be made clear. Have told the applicant and planning staff of your request for a deferral. Some members of NYCC also. Will try to discuss with the others this week.”

There are significant community concerns about this development. It is important to take the time to get this right, and we are disturbed that Councillor Parker has refused to make a firm commitment to support a short deferral. We are also concerned that the decision to grant Section 37 funds ($500,000 to the arena) is being announced in the Staff Report without prior discussion with Leaside Unite or LPOA, the community’s voice on the proposed development, and before Council’s vote on the application. This proposal needs to be assessed realistically and not in isolation — as part of the cumulative retail and traffic impact on the north and south Leaside neighbourhood.

At this point, we urge each and every member of Leaside Unite and LPOA to do two things. First, contact Councillor Parker and voice your displeasure. His office telephone number is (416) 392-0215 and his email address is councillor_parker@toronto.ca.

Second, attend the NYCC meeting on February 26. The address is the North York Civic Centre, at 5100 Yonge Street (just north of Sheppard). The more Leasiders who attend the meeting, the better our chances of obtaining a deferral which our own Councillor – so far – seems unwilling to support!

If you are unable to attend the meeting, and you wish to submit written comments, please forward them to the City Clerk, attention: Francine Adamo, Administrator, North York Community Council by fax: 416-395-7337 or by email to nycc@toronto.ca.

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