This time of year, one tends to look back and take stock. Thanks to the continuing pandemic, we may be doing more things virtually, but life does indeed go on. Local issues continue to keep the Leaside Residents Association busy.
Instead of in-person official meetings with City officials and staff to discuss development applications, we’ve adjusted to using online video connections, although Committee of Adjustment issues and the appeals process are more cumbersome when all parties feel more separated than connected by technology.
We had hoped that the City’s Leaside Traffic Management study, still underway, would be closer to finalizing a Leaside-wide traffic calming plan by now, but its pace has slowed. The plan’s success depends on the kind of public buy-in that only large-scale public consultation can produce.
But on the related subject of public transit, the TTC’s 2021 stakeholder consultations have been ongoing, shaping priorities and initiatives for the coming year. I have been attending these sessions for the LRA. My focus is on retaining or even (dare I say it) improving Leaside’s access to TTC service levels, and protecting local bus routes such as the 88A and 88B from being reduced once the Eglinton Crosstown is up and running.
Leaside continues to be much sought after by developers. Currently, we are examining applications for residential buildings, mainly mid-rise (up to eight or nine storeys) along the west side of Laird Drive south of Eglinton Avenue. We are concerned that they threaten the abutting back yards and homes along Randolph Road by creating deep shade and loss of privacy.
The west side of Bayview is also attracting attention from developers, with applications for mid-rise projects. Although this side of Bayview is not Leaside per se, whatever happens there will have a direct impact on our community. The LRA is working closely with neighbouring residents’ associations to present a common strategy.
Leaside has a long history of promoting and practising local democracy and citizen involvement. Looking ahead to 2021, we’ll be watchful for any potential impacts on our community from new provincial legislation and Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs), which increase Queen’s Park’s powers over local land use and development, and can override Toronto’s Official Plan.
In last month’s column I announced that our 2020-21 Annual General Meeting will be held virtually in January since in-person meetings are currently impossible. We’ll be notifying you once we have worked out the details of speakers and a definite date. A number of other ratepayer groups have successfully held well-attended virtual AGMs, and we are looking forward to welcoming you to ours.
In the meanwhile, the LRA wishes you and your family a peaceful, healthy, and merry Christmas and a happy new year. We are all fortunate to be living in such a friendly and supportive community.
Our next monthly board of directors meeting is on Wed., Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. If you’d like to join us to depute, or just to listen in, please contact us by that date at lpoa.ca and we will give you the information to link to it.