Redway ‘out of touch’ about business park

I am tired of reading Alan Redway’s monthly fret about the future of the Leaside industrial area.  I find his description of the history of the area to be interesting but his worries indicate that he is out of touch with the modern society and the modern economy.

First, let me point out that the area is a business park, not an industrial park.  The signs at the main entrances to the area are evidence of that.

That means that it is no longer the exclusive preserve of locomotive workshops and varnish companies and wire and cable companies. (Note that none of these exist today in the area.) 

For example, a trampoline activity area and a physiotherapy studio and a brewery are recent arrivals. These are legitimate services and retail businesses that we should be welcoming into the area.

Manufacturing is not the economic engine in Canada. RETAIL is. Economists inform us that retail represents 70 percent of the economic activity in Canada (and, indeed, in North America).

Retail businesses provide goods and services that consumers want and/or need and a declining manufacturing area is a reasonable place for these businesses to relocate.

I have heard Councillor Parker on many occasions emphasize that he has tried to lure new industry into the area but companies are not interested. That could be true for a number of reasons (the decline of manufacturing in Ontario, high city taxes, no financial incentives, and cheap land outside the city) so we should not be surprised that the area is evolving into what the economy demands.

Of course, we should be supportive of the traditional, heavy industries that have been in the area for a long time (like Tremco, House of Metals, and St. Mary’s Cement) but they will have to learn to co-exist in a changing environment.

Mr. Redway also seems to be concerned with the development that is occurring along the fringes of the area.

Who can deny that the Laird Dr. of 2013 is more appealing that the Laird Dr. of 30 years ago? Isn’t a car dealership better than a burned out business and derelict residences? Isn’t a thriving plaza better than an empty printing company?

Laird is becoming an active shopping area and that is certainly more appealing and more economically viable than a declining manufacturing area.

With an LRT being built along Eglinton Ave. some kind of higher density residential development is not only inevitable, it is necessary for a city of over 2 ½ million people with the expectation of hundreds of thousands more in the next decades.

All of these changes present problems. Traffic is one, parking and the degree of density are others. But the changes will happen whether we accept their inevitability or not.

Our challenge is to find workable solutions and unless Mr. Redway can accept the societal change and then perhaps offer solutions, he should just stop writing about it.

Barry Schneider,
Randolph Rd.

Just wondering why the senior vice-president of real estate of Bell Media is answering to the question raised by Councillor John Parker respecting the bus shelters? (September issue.) Isn’t this a city matter?

I think we would all like to hear from the city on this matter.

BTW – what is the relationship between the city and Bell Media respecting the provision of bus shelters? Is there one?

Barb Gosse,
Airdrie Rd.

Fair question.

The obligation to supply all sidewalk benches, bus shelters, garbage bins, and other street furniture was bundled up and contracted out to Astral Media under a long term arrangement entered into during Mayor Miller’s term.

It is an unusual contract in that the supplier pays the city; the revenue to the supplier is earned via the advertising space that the supplier is permitted to sell on the bus shelters and on the “wayfinding” pylons.

Astral was recently acquired by the Bell telephone company, so the corporate name of the supplier changed accordingly.

The contract sets up a strong ongoing relationship between the supplier (Astral/Bell) and the city’s Transportation Services staff, which supervises the supplier’s obligations to the city.

For that reason I have gotten into the habit of consulting my contacts within both organizations when matters relating to street furniture arise for consideration.

Councillor John Parker

I liked Karen Fraser’s article on bringing back the good old days of Halloween.

It occurred to me that you might be interested in how my neighbours and I celebrate.

We are 10 houses at the dead-end north section of Cameron Cres. About three years ago we all got tired of being neglected by trick-or-treaters who passed our little section by.

Our 10 houses spent that Halloween night lonely, depressed and eating our own Halloween candies. Not a good situation.

The next year we decided to take our candies, pumpkins and ourselves to where the action was.

Since then we set up long tables at the entrance to our street. We each bring a carved pumpkin, candies and many of us dress up as well. The kids loved it and so did the parents.

We are doing it again this year.

Viva Halloween.

Joyce Curry,
Cameron Cres.