Keep local decisions local!

Remember how shortly after the last provincial election, Queen’s Park cut our municipal representation in half – by unilaterally reducing the number of Toronto’s wards – reminding us that our city is only a creature of the province? The province is the boss. We are not. We are hearing the same message today.

Those involved in protecting local neighbourhoods and local democracy face more of an uphill battle than ever. The provincial government has made it legal for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to fast-track developments on publicly owned lands by overriding local zoning rules, ignoring public consultation, and permitting developers to build even in areas considered sensitive or otherwise unsuitable. Queen’s Park has also changed the Planning Act to allow developments which have been approved by a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) to be exempt retroactively from previous provincial policy.

In his column last month, my LRA co-president, Geoff Kettel, raised the subject of Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) and asked if an MZO could affect Leaside. This is not a hypothetical question. From some examples of MZOs already disclosed by the media, like the Dominion Foundry buildings downtown, it takes a very strong public response from residents, and threat of legal action, to make any impact at all. We do not know how many other examples of MZOs are not currently publicly known.

I’m inclined to ask our provincial partners a direct question: are there any such deals being considered in or around Leaside? As these decisions are made without public transparency, we as citizens only learn of them after the deals have been made, by which time it’s generally too late to undo them. 

One thing is certain: as long as MZOs remain legal and enforceable, ratepayer groups like ours must remain both alert and ready to build financial reserves to pay for the action we may need to take to preserve the Leaside we cherish. If you’re not yet a member, or you haven’t renewed your membership, please confirm your support. Our annual membership costs only $30!

Update your info!

And now a heartfelt request from Robin Rix, the LRA’s membership chair. He reports that whenever we send out an e-blast or bulletin to members, a few bounce back, most likely because some have changed their email address or net providers. Perhaps they signed up with a work address and changed jobs, so that their original email address is now invalid. Is this you? Did you just forget to tell us? Please let us keep in touch with you by updating your contact information. Contact us either at , or go to our website (, click ‘Join’, and then click ‘Subscribe’. The annual membership fee is only $30!

Next meeting: The LRA board of directors’ next meeting is on Wed., April 7th, at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. If you’d like to attend, either as a deputant or an observer, contact us by the 7th so we can send you access details. You are welcome to attend any of our board meetings, on the first Wednesday of each month.

About Carol Burtin Fripp 138 Articles
Carol Burtin Fripp is Co-President of the Leaside Residents Association, and is Chair of the LRA's Traffic Committee. Over the years, she has served on numerous East York and City task forces. Now a retired television producer (TVO and CBC), she writes Leaside Life's monthly LRA column, and has created a daily international current affairs newsletter read from Newfoundland to New Zealand.