Early in November the Leaside Property Owners’ Association held our 2019 Annual General Meeting. It was well-attended.
We reported about many of the usual subjects of interest and/or concern to Leasiders, such as development pressures (too many of them), traffic safety (not enough of it), and the LPOA’s continuing actions to protect and improve our community.
But the big news from the AGM was the proposal by our board to change the criteria for full membership in the LPOA. For almost 75 years, our bylaws have stated that only owners of property are eligible for membership, or to be elected to the board.
While most Leasiders are indeed property owners, there are numerous Leasiders who are not owners of the properties in which they live, who are currently excluded. Our bylaws have prevented people who live in a Leaside property as tenants, even very long-term rentals, to be more involved in a more official sense.
They may include adult children living with parents whose names are on the title, people who live in a property which is in a spouse’s name for tax or liability reasons, or seniors’ home residents. There are enthusiastic non-owner residents in our community with expertise whom we do not want to exclude from becoming LPOA directors.
Increasingly escalating Toronto property values bring with them a rise in the numbers of renters as well.
Most ratepayer organizations in Toronto include both owners and tenants as members. They say they are stronger for it: they can honestly say they represent a larger number of people (always useful when one is at a tribunal or lobbying at City Council).
We heard concerns that the character of the neighbourhood, demographics and politics could change as a result of the developments taking shape on our periphery. This has indeed been considered and debated by the LPOA board. However, the experience of other areas facing similar pressures (such as Yonge/Eglinton) has shown that tenants’ interests have been in line with those of traditional property owners (e.g. densification and infrastructure concerns).
The proposal to change membership criteria was approved by a vote of members. It was also agreed that the LPOA’s official name would have to change to reflect this. There’s still work ahead, but we are confident that removing the division between Leaside residents who own real property and Leaside residents who do not own real property will prove to have been the right way to go forward.
The next regular monthly LPOA board meeting is on WED., DEC. 4, at 7:30 p.m., in the Trace Manes building on Rumsey Road. We invite you to attend and learn what is happening in our community. Our board meetings are always open to the public.