It’s the beginning of a new year! Time for the Leaside Residents Association to start compiling our wish list for 2022.
We start with a wish for increased public involvement in local issues (yes, that means you). 2022 features two (two!) elections. Provincial in June, and municipal in October. Two opportunities to leave your mark, express your opinions, push for policies you support, and oppose those you don’t. Have your say! And while you’re at it, join the LRA if you are not already a member.
We also wish for greater public influence over both provincial and municipal governance, especially when it comes to permitting where developments can be located and how tall and dense buildings are permitted to be. Leaside is not the only community targeted by developers of towers, especially condominiums. All too often they end up being many storeys higher than the city’s official plan permits. We need Committees of Adjustment and planning tribunals which respect both the letter and the spirit of the law, and regulate growth within our community accordingly, rather than just regarding zoning rules as a jumping-off point.
We’ve all heard the expression that “the city is the creature of the province.” This really hit home when the number of City councillors was halved in 2018. Whatever your opinion of that provincial decision, there were at least two important consequences: first, every ward is now at least double in size, increasing the workload of every councillor and limiting opportunities for public input; second, to deal with this overload, more work has had to be directed to the discretion of City staff, who are unelected and thus not answerable to residents.
The LRA is very concerned about the potential impact on Leaside of Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs), which are designed to override both local and city-wide zoning. Avoiding or reducing public consultation does not protect local democracy or encourage good planning, and we can only hope that Leaside will not be directly affected. The LRA and many other residents’ associations are keen to raise this topic during the provincial election campaign to come.
Another wish: for progress in creating greater traffic safety throughout both North and South Leaside, and the development of an effective Leaside Traffic Management Plan. We look forward to Councillor Jaye Robinson’s Town Hall meeting, now scheduled for Tues., Jan. 18. LRA’s final wish to you: that all Leasiders enjoy a happy, healthy and safe New Year in 2022.
Our next board meeting is on Wed., Jan. 5th, via Zoom. You are always welcome to attend any of the LRA’s meetings, which take place on the first Wednesday of each month. If you’d like to watch, or participate, please let us know by Jan. 5th so we can send you the Zoom access details. Find us also at www.leasideresidents.ca.