You may have noticed that the byline for this column now says “Leaside Residents Association.”
New membership rules for the Leaside Property Owners’ Association, approved at our Annual General Meeting at the end of last year, made Leaside residents and renters alike eligible to be full participating members – or directors. Although the LPOA’s name has legally become the Leaside Residents Association (LRA) to reflect this change, you can continue to contact us as before, using either name, as both will reach us.
Positive news on the traffic front
The City has named the Manager of the Transportation Planning Unit assigned to the North York area, who has reached out to the LRA. We are meeting with him in late February to discuss Leaside’s traffic issues and determine next steps. We will review the details of the LPOA’s Traffic Calming Plan with him, providing background information on current and continuing issues such as speeding, traffic volume, and lack of signage enforcement. Look for a report on our meeting in my Leaside Life column next month.
Still on traffic: the 53 Division Community Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) meets regularly with community representatives, one of whom is the LRA’s vice president, Robin Rix. Given the size of the division (Bloor to Lawrence; Don River to Bathurst), 53 Division’s many different neighbourhoods have differing concerns and needs, so Leaside’s traffic enforcement issues do not necessarily get more (or special) attention.
Robin reports that the CPLC is looking at traffic data to identify hot spots, looking to increase enforcement in those selected locations. None of them is in Leaside. The police believe that a traffic ticket given to a driver in one area changes that driver’s behaviour in general, not just in the area where the ticket was issued. I don’t know how valid this assumption is (or, if valid, how long-lasting the chastening effect of being caught may be), but it does reinforce the need for our locally-designed proposals to be implemented, to generate positive local results.
Property tax inequity
As a new year begins, Ontario’s municipal tax bills arrive. Newspaper headlines once again detail the threat our property tax system poses to small businesses along main streets, as market or current value assessment (MVA or CVA) is based purely on the “best or highest” value that a property could potentially be developed into, and taxed accordingly. So, towering condos replace shops, modest businesses, and employment areas. Private homes on spacious lots are also appraised for their maximum development potential. Increasingly, our cities and neighbourhoods are being shaped by the property tax system, as mega-condo applications proliferate, and local scale and character are lost. We certainly see it around Leaside.
The last time there was a call to devise a more equitable property tax system was about 20 years ago. The LPOA was actively involved, in association with ratepayer groups across Ontario. As development pressures mount, expect the LRA to play a role again.
The Leaside Residents Association’s monthly meetings, which are always open to the public, take place on the first Wednesday of each month. Our next meeting is on Wed., March 4th, at 7:30 p.m. in the Trace Manes building on Rumsey Road.