Letters – January 2013

Airplane reactions

Congratulations on putting together the most carefully read newssheet that comes to our home.

We totally agree with Will Ashworth’s letter in the December issue re: the ridiculous waste of time and taxpayer dollars caused by attention being given to the aircraft noise kerfuffle.

Leaside life and character is being threatened to a huge extent by the savage development of formerly industrial land. Rather than build on the presence of Telus on Laird to encourage high tech industries, we are confronted by the prospect of more low-end merchandising and employment that will come with the likes of Walmart.

The proposed location would likely be the most accessible to central and east Toronto — a magnet!

One can just imagine the resulting greatly increased traffic volumes that will run right through Leaside.

So called traffic studies don’t seem to have any bearing on decision making. Developers seem to rule the municipal world and interests of local citizenry all but ignored.

Would our local politicians please address these more fundamental issues than this “fly-by-night” nonsense.

E. J. Ward,
Broadway Ave.

I wish that you had emphasized the serious and damaging effects that (airplane) noise has for people, and indeed, for all beings.

This damage is well documented in websites I cited in my previous email – clear evidence to prove its link to permanent hearing loss, increased aggression, cardiovascular damage, hypertension, reduced empathy, and cognitive deficits for young and old alike.

It can probably be argued that rigid denial, and deliberate misunderstanding of the climate crisis, is partly rooted in these effects. Finally, if I may be permitted to suggest it, your first letter writer (last month) seems to show evidence of at least three of the aforementioned effects.

Thank you for your attention, once more, to this serious health issue.

Barbara Falby,
Heathbridge Park

Selfish behaviour

I am a relative newcomer to Leaside, and would like to make a couple of observations around the current debate over retail development.

First, I see an awful lot of selfish, NIMBY, hypocritical behaviour.

For example, everywhere I turn there are traffic restrictions of some sort. These protect some streets, but result in traffic overflowing onto others. Why are some residents thus protected and not others? I look at the houses on the protected streets and see one, two, even three cars per house. They can drive on my street, and I can’t drive on theirs? How is that fair?

Make no mistake, there are traffic issues in Leaside, and these are going to get worse. They should be addressed. But not in an unfair and unbalanced way.

Second, I heartily agree that the retail development on the east side of Laird is ugly and undesirable. In a city that does, and should, encourage public transit and walking, these developments, by definition, require car transport. Does the left hand ever talk to the right?

However, when I go there I see lots of Leaside friends and neighbours flocking to the new stores and restaurants. How can we oppose the development, if we all stream to the new stores?

The best way to oppose the developments is not to shop there. Boycott the new stores, even if it is a bit inconvenient at times. If there is not enough trade, the stores will go away.

Sure the city can help. But at the end of the day, we should all look into a mirror and ask ourselves if we are being honest in our behaviour.

Michael Beswick,
Millwood Rd.

Bad traffic lights

In response to the question asked by Carol Burtin Fripp in the Leaside Life November issue concerning the new traffic lights at McRae/Wicksteed and Laird, we feel they are a hazard.

We have witnessed many people disregarding the red light for the left turn and turning when there is no oncoming traffic.

We saw it happen again recently when a driver wanted to turn left off Wicksteed to go south on Laird and the left turn light was red but the car slowly went into the intersection and turned when there was a space, even though other cars were honking at her.

We have been frustrated when wanting to turn left from McRae to go north on Laird and the line of cars going straight ahead was so long we could not get into the left turn lane. This meant we would have to wait for the cars to go through the intersection in order to get into the left turn lane, then again wait for the cars to travel with their lights north and south on Laird before we could turn left (with our light).

Instead, once, as there was no oncoming traffic, we went into the oncoming traffic lane (westbound McRae) around the line of cars so we could make the light.

We would like to see the lights go back to the way they were before.

We would also ask that the “no right turn on red light” be removed from south-bound Laird west onto McRae.

This sign was put in place some years ago to accommodate the visually impaired employees at the Voice- Print building located on Laird south of McRae. The VoicePrint office was moved about two years ago to Don Mills and Lawrence, therefore the sign is no longer serving its original purpose.

Earl and Elizabeth Barnsley,
213 Donlea Dr.

Walmart changing

Thought I’d send a quick note of congratulations on your publication, I’ve enjoyed reading it over the past year as it is neighbourhood news I’m not getting currently in other form.

On one topic of interest though, the SmartCentre development, I did see a recent article in the Globe which seemed to belie the opinion given last summer by Councillor Parker that the new retail space of 80,000 square feet is too small for Walmart.

It turns out that the 39 Zellers locations acquired by Walmart from Target are quite small, some less than 80,000 square feet, and this deal was done quite deliberately. Small is in fact precisely Walmart Canada’s forward-looking strategy as of 2012.

Cheers and keep up the great work!

Jonathan Bishop,
Sutherland Dr.

Causing conflict

For over 25 years children from South Leaside have gone to Northlea elementary school if they wanted to pursue French immersion.

Now the school board has decided that these children should be bused to Yonge and Davisville for French immersion. This starts with children as young as 5.

The Toronto school board trustee for this area is Gerri Gershon. This situation is already causing conflict between people in North and South Leaside. It will devalue homes in South Leaside.

This is a time-sensitive issue as any changes to the school board’s current plans would have to be negotiated by next February.

This issue is destroying our hope of maintaining a unique small town community within the big city and hopes of being a truly bilingual country.

Dr. Dan Buckley,
Roxville Ave.

Useful news

Anniversary greetings Lorna. Your December issue is a dandy. Lots of interesting news. Keep up your good work during 2013. The publication’s first year has been useful in keeping our community informed.

Norma and Al Crawford,
Millwood Rd.

Felt unattached

First, congratulations Lorna on the first anniversary of Leaside Life. Even a monthly paper is a lot of work and you have taken on that task with gusto.

As a relatively new resident (eight years) of Leaside, I was thrilled to see your inaugural issue and have counted on the arrival of each subsequent edition. I believe in supporting the neighbourhood in which I live, in business and politics.

Until Leaside Life began publishing, I felt unattached to any issues that might have been swirling around me. Not enough local news coverage was or is offered by The Toronto Star, and if you are not directly connected to area groups (my daughter and I are tenants, not landowners), it is difficult to learn what is going on.

By example:  finding out about all-candidates meetings only after they have occurred. I look to Leaside Life to help fill this void.

My walking beat is the South Bayview village cluster of stores which I readily support. I love the diversity of products but am less fond of the diversity in store operating hours.

I see no evidence of a Business Improvement Area designation and wonder if creating one might benefit the area with collective clout, in marketing and political presence, particularly in a slower economy with Mt. Pleasant shops just blocks away and an ever-expanding amount of new retail outlets popping up along Laird.

And no, I do not support even the suggestion of a Walmart in our midst.

One question I would like answered:  Where are the trees and street furniture promised with the new sidewalk along Bayview from Millwood to Parkhurst? Those rectangles of black asphalt are neither useful nor appealing.

Virginia Kelly,
Bayview Ave.