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We need our ratepayer associations

When communities such as ours have been faced with the threat of redevelopment or with local but nevertheless important neighbourhood problems, the residents have frequently banded together to establish a ratepayer association. These organizations have provided an effective method of expressing community concerns.

Over the years Leaside has been well served by its ratepayer organizations. But usually they are established because of a particular local issue. Once the issue disappears the association often disappears also.

One such association was organized in the early 1940s by homeowners living north of Eglinton to oppose the building of a multi-family apartment at the northeast corner of Donlea and Sutherland. The battle was won but a year later the association was dissolved.

Another example of a ratepayers group formed to fight a specific issue is the Leaside-Bennington Heights Association. lt was organized in 1966 by residents of Bennington Heights and South Leaside to oppose the building of a high rise apartment complex on Mallory Cres.

Starting as a small committee but growing quickly to a membership of several hundred, it successfully defeated the proposal at the Ontario Municipal Board. But the Leaside-Bennington Heights Association has been inactive since the Mallory Cres. battle was won.

On the other hand the Leaside Property Owners’ Association (LPOA) has been very active for years, providing a vehicle for residents to express community concerns about many different neighbourhood problems.

lt was established in 1948 by residents of North Leaside to fight a bus route along the residential streets of Sutherland and Broadway planned to link the homes north of Eglinton with the Bayview business district.

Opposition to the line sparked the organization of a provisional committee followed by a packed meeting at Northlea School, which led to the formation of a North Leaside property owners association. The bus line is not operating but the association is still going strong.

ln 1954 the North Leaside property association expanded its activities to cover the entire former Town of Leaside, changing its name to the LPOA.

Today the directors of the LPOA meet at 7:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month from September to June in the Centennial Building at Trace Manes Park.

Since it was formed the LPOA has been involved in virtually every local issue. ln the past it has supported resident concerns on such matters as the establishment of Serena Gundy Park, opposing the Craig Cres. apartment, the Mallory Cres. development, the hotel suggested for the corner of Southvale and Millwood, and residential and commercial development proposals in the Leaside industrial area.

More recently it led the successful opposition to the Talbot apartment redevelopment proposal.  In addition the LPOA has undertaken a number of major traffic studies and supported individual residents’ specific concerns at the Committee of Adjustment and Community Council.

We live in a fine community. The men and women of our ratepayer organizations have helped to make it and keep it that way. They deserve our support because some day soon we may need their help.