Letter to Councillor Parker – May 4, 2012

May 4, 2012

Dear Councillor Parker,

It has come to the attention of the Leaside Unite group that Design Review Panel consideration of the proposal is scheduled for May 14, and representatives of our group and the LPOA met last night to consider the implications of this.  Given that the scope of the project, in particular the fundamental elements of its compliance with the Official Plan criteria, density, traffic and business impact, etc. are yet to be determined, a Design Review Panel consideration is extremely premature, and we call upon you to act immediately to have this process delayed until the fall, after the various staff reports and peer reviews have been completed and community input has been considered appropriately.

In making this call upon you, we note that, substantively, there really is no design proposal to consider until the proposal’s basic configuration has been approved, IF it is in fact approved.  Further, a consideration of the design at this point will, if favourable, lend a false sense of “approval” to the project, even though the basic proposal itself has not been considered.

We also note that the overwhelming sentiment in the community is that the proposal, which was reportedly the subject of discussions between the developer and both city staff and yourself for several months before any meaningful information was presented to the community, has the support of city staff and your office and is being pushed through the process with the intention of providing the community with no opportunity to make meaningful comment (save and except for minor cosmetic changes which are of little or no value to the community affected by this proposal).  In other words, the community believes that this proposal is being presented to us as a fait accompli that we have to live with.  The potential meeting of a Design Review Panel at this preliminary stage strongly reinforces this view.

We are disappointed that, although our knowledge of the Design Review Panel came through a report provided to the LPOA this past Wednesday, no mention was made of it during our recent meeting.  Despite appearances and concerns in the community that you are biased in favour of this project (including those previously expressed in an e-mail to you of April 2, attached), we are genuinely hopeful that we can work together in a productive manner to stop this inappropriate proposal, and we look to you for leadership in addressing this issue.  The postponement of the Design Review Panel is an essential step in demonstrating that this joint effort is a worthwhile avenue.

Leaside Unite is currently providing its comments on the various reports discussed with Mr. Forrester, and will be meeting soon to consider various communications and endeavours necessary to address the proposal.  Before any such meeting, we must understand the status of the Design Review Panel, and therefore we request that you advise us whether or not there has been a postponement by no later than Wednesday, May 9, at 4:00 p.m.  We would also appreciate it if you could clarify by that time your position on the moratorium we have requested, and provide us with a response to our requests (of the April 30 meeting) to meet with City traffic staff and the City market/retail impact consultant.

Sincerely,

David Mimms                       Graham Shirley                   Brian Athey
Leaside Unite                        Leaside Unite                        LPOA

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