May 28 update: Petition and response to Councillor Parker

May 28, 2012

There is a petition now being circulated around Leaside at various community meetings and schools. We are looking for volunteers to collect signatures from their neighbors. If you can help in this regard, and we will get copies.

Secondly, Councillor Parker did e-mail Brian Athey (LPOA) and Graham Shirley (Leaside Unite) on Friday. Our response is also copied below.

NO MORE BIG BOX STORES IN LEASIDE!

Leaside Unite // Leaside Property Owners’ Association

Dear Councillor Parker,

Thank you very much for your email of 24 May 2012.  Both the Leaside Property Owners’ Association and Leaside Unite appreciate your willingness to participate in the community meeting we have scheduled for June 11, 2012 to promote a full discussion of the serious concerns that the Leaside community has expressed regarding the proposed development at 70 Wicksteed (the “Proposal”). We also welcome involvement by the professionals of the city’s planning staff and look forward to their insight as to how the community’s clear wishes can be best incorporated into the city’s decision regarding this application.

We also appreciate your comments regarding the recent Design Review Panel (DRP) process, however we wish to make clear that we remain firmly disappointed that the DRP proceeded despite our clear and persistent objections. As we have repeatedly and clearly stated, the community’s objections to the Proposal have nothing whatsoever to do with any matters under the purview of the DRP. Our concerns remain the detrimental impact that the Proposal will have on Leaside and the surrounding community, primarily due to the following factors:

  •  First, the failure of the Proposal to meet the criteria of the Official Plan Policy 4.6.3 that are preconditions to considering this type of development in this location;
    – The material increase in traffic congestion that the Proposal will have in our community, on both local streets and the negative effects on  pedestrians and cyclists; and
    – The permanent and detrimental impact that a development of this scale will have on our valued main streets such as Bayview, Mt.Pleasant and Eglinton and the Leaside Business Park.
  • Second, the excessive density represented in the Proposal and the precedent it sets for any future development in the community, particularly the undesirable and unsafe nature of the proposed below-grade parking that in previous developments has face intense opposition leading to rejection;

As such, the DRP’s involvement at this point contributes nothing to addressing the above-noted concerns, which must be resolved before any issues as peripheral as design can be considered.  The DRP’s hearing was premature and has provided a false sense of approval in favour of the developer that is wholly inappropriate at this stage in the process.

Further, the DRP meeting of May 14 was not disclosed to our representatives at their meeting with you on April 30th to discuss this very Proposal. Once our organizations learned of the scheduled meeting, we submitted two written requests to have it cancelled in light of the community’s concerns and for the reasons noted above.  No response to our groups’ requests was received.  In light of such conduct, the Leaside community has scant reason to view the meeting as “a good thing”.  As a matter of basic accountability, we would have expected such a position to be communicated by your office to your constituents as a basis for proceeding with the process. This was not done.

Leaside Unite and the Leaside Property Owners Association continue to ask that you make a strong commitment to reflect and advocate our concerns as our elected representative.  We are committed to ensuring our concerns are appropriately recognized. At your suggestion, we are agreeable to meeting you prior to the community meeting. We also re-iterate our request for you to meet with the developer prior June 11th to address our concerns of density and underground parking noted above.

As a community, we are ready to assist you to ensure that the Proposal does not proceed further without being significantly modified to address community concerns. We hope that the community meeting next month furthers this goal and sincerely hope that you can provide leadership and advocacy in this regard.

Sincerely,

Graham Shirley                     Brian Athey
Leaside Unite                        LPOA

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