Change is breathing down our neck

Leaside is a stable community. But in a fast-growing city like Toronto every community feels the pressures of change breathing down its neck. For a city councillor, the task of managing those pressures never lets up.

Scenic condos: The two new Scenic condominium towers on Eglinton east of Brentcliffe were approved at the OMB many years ago and have a history that goes back long before that.

A third building was also approved years ago but has yet to undergo construction.

The developer recently surprised us all with notice of its intention to bring a committee of adjustment application to revise the approved plan by increasing the total number of units while leaving the building’s dimensions unchanged (that is to say, to make the units smaller and increase the total number of them).

I responded by requiring the applicant to sponsor a public meeting this past summer at which neighbouring residents and business operators were able to hear first hand about this proposal and express their questions and concerns.

The matter has yet to come to the committee for a hearing. When it does I intend to ask that the applicant be required to conform to the terms of the original OMB settlement agreement.

Garden Court: The Garden Court apartments on Bayview are known far and wide for their innovative design and beautiful garden setting. They are a Leaside treasure.

The tranquility of their design has been disturbed recently, however, by the owner’s application to convert the ownership regime from rental apartment to condominium.

To be successful, the owner must overcome a number of hurdles established by City of Toronto policy directed at protecting the availability of affordable rental accommodation. I convened a public meeting at the beginning of the summer at which the owner, residents, and members of the general public were made aware of the issues and procedures related to this process.

A separate meeting for residents only was held later the same evening.

My intention is to hold this application to the strict application of the city’s policy constraints.

Kelvingrove (Talbot) apartments: I regret that the city lacked jurisdiction to prevent the extraordinarily insensitive evacuation of residents from the red brick Kelvingrove apartments on Bayview this summer as the owner of that property prepares to make massive renovations.

I convened a public meeting at which city staff and tenant advisors provided as much help and advice as possible.

I also met with building management to encourage them to soften the impact of their plans, particularly in regard to vulnerable tenants.

Nobody did more to help in this cause than Kelvingrove resident Jade Jenkins.

In spite of all our efforts to encourage a less aggressive approach, however, the landlord moved ahead with its plans and its timeline.

2 Laird: The new owner of the former post office site at 2 Laird Dr. is pushing forward with a proposal to redevelop the property with a terraced multi-residential building peaking at eight storeys at the east end.

For several months I have convened meetings with city planning staff, local residents, and representatives of the LPOA to coordinate the response to this application.

Clearly anticipating a defeat at North York Community Council, the applicant appealed to the OMB at the first opportunity.

At September’s Community Council meeting I introduced a motion – which passed unanimously – committing the city to oppose the applicant’s OMB appeal and to apply the necessary resources towards that end.

Article written by John Parker, Councillor, Toronto Ward 26.