Let’s set the record straight – we’re on your side!

Occasionally the LPOA hears from Leasiders who either disagree with a position the board has taken or who have been led to believe that we are about to take a position which could harm the community. At November’s monthly LPOA board meeting, a number of residents deputed in support of the amended design for 939 Eglinton Avenue East, agreed to by developer Steve Diamond and the working group initiated by Councillor Jon Burnside.

Their fear was that the LPOA, unless it voted to approve the recently amended development proposal, would cause the developer to drop all of the improvements the working group had worked toward and ‘force’ him to go to the Ontario Municipal Board with his original, much more massive, proposal. And it would all be the LPOA’s fault.

We replied that the LPOA had not yet taken a position on the new development design; that negotiations with the developer were still ongoing between the Councillor and Mr. Diamond; and that the city planners had yet to finish their reports and analyses. In short, it made more sense to see if there were more concessions before the LPOA took a position. We also tried to make it clear that we were not criticizing the efforts or the motives of individuals on the working group, and, moreover, that the LPOA had no desire to take the matter to the OMB.

In fact, we look forward to discussing the final version of the 939 Eglinton East proposals, and to taking a board vote, once all of the information has been presented.

However, more than one or two of the attendees clearly suggested that the LPOA, by not immediately supporting the new proposal, was not on their side and that we always vote ‘against’. Such misleading remarks about the LPOA’s approach in general were aired – and possibly believed – without verification of the facts. As a result, the meeting became an unpleasant experience for all attendees.

I’d like to reassure readers of this column that when the LPOA board votes on any matter, it does so with careful scrutiny of all of the facts; it considers the positive and negative implications of every matter: major or minor developments, bylaw changes, Committee of Adjustment applications, traffic measures, or issues like OMB reform. The board takes your comments and suggestions seriously. There will always be some differences of opinion, but it does nobody any good to divide the community against itself.

We all live in Leaside. There’s a lot going on around us. We stand a better chance of maintaining and protecting Leaside if we work together.

You will have heard that last month City Council approved adding three new Council seats, for a total of 47. This is good news for Leaside. Council had also been considering a new 44-ward boundary design, which would have split Leaside into two separate wards, with two different councillors. Any changes to ward boundaries are located elsewhere in the city, so whether the new design is formally in effect in time for the 2018 municipal election or not, Leaside will remain together. An awful lot of lobbying, letters, and arm-twisting by ratepayer groups (including the LPOA) led to this decision, and the LPOA thanks Councillor Burnside for his active support.

In my next column I hope to report on the province’s review of the Ontario Municipal Board. Both Geoff Kettel and I are participating and submitting position papers (Geoff for the Federation of North Toronto Ratepayer Associations [FONTRA], and I for the LPOA).

We will be proposing measures which would lead to greater local democracy rather than top-down decision making. Fighting a development at the OMB is an expensive and time-consuming process. It need not be so difficult for citizens to participate and have their views heard and respected.

Our next two meetings are at 7:30 p.m. on December 7th and January 4th at the Trace Manes building.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very enjoyable holiday season, and a happy and healthy 2017!

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.