LU, LPOA start talks with SmartCentre

The Leaside Property Owners’ Association and Leaside Unite have started discussions with SmartCentre.

It is the first time both sides have come together despite requests for meetings from SmartCentre.

The plan to present city staff’s approval of the SmartCentre plans on Wicksteed to North York community council last month created an urgency.

Councillor John Parker requested a postponement, which was granted to April 9.

In a letter to the council he wrote:

“About a week ago the leadership of Leaside Unite provided me with the basis on which a settlement might be pursued. I am particularly encouraged by their…  declared wish to meet directly with the applicant.

“Given the tight time frame, I do not expect that we will be able to work out the terms of an agreement by Tuesday’s Community Council meeting. Accordingly, Leaside Unite has asked me specifically to request a deferral of Tuesday’s proceedings…

“The purpose of the deferral would be to enable both Leaside Unite and the LPOA to absorb the content of the staff report and seek out common ground with the applicant…

“I have discussed the above with the applicant. At this time I understand that it may argue against the deferral.”

It did.

In a letter, the SmartCentre legal firm wrote:

“It is also very disappointing that LU and the LPOA have refused all of our clients’ offers to meet with them and their full consulting team to walk through the entire application and to address any questions or concerns.

“The first of these offers was made on January 6, 2012 and was followed up in March, April, and June 2012 and again earlier this month.

“ln March 2012, a representative of the LPOA advised that he didn’t see any benefit to a meeting, noting that the LPOA had ‘a good understanding of the scope of the application’ and that they had read the preliminary staff report and had made copies of the site plan, floor plans and elevations.

“ln June 2012, another representative of the LPOA advised that she would be happy to meet later in the process and would be in contact at that time but there has been no further contact from her apart from an email on February 5, 2013 advising she had noted the applicant’s contact information and looked forward to a meeting “in due course”.

In a proposed column for Leaside Life, Leaside Unite wrote:

“City staff’s recommendation of the proposal, in full favour of the developer’s original submission with no request to modify any aspect, would allow for development that substantially exceeds densification levels of adjoining malls, brings unmanageable traffic levels into the neighbouring community, and potentially sets a precedent for development in the future.

“Significantly, this is the first time in many years that no notable change was counter-proposed by the city.

“A council meeting vote scheduled for Feb. 26 to approve the developer’s application has been deferred to April 9, thanks to the combined efforts of the LPOA/LU and Councillor Parker.

“This provides the necessary time for increased negotiations with SmartCentre, and was in great part made possible by the strong collective voice of 1,200 signatures on a petition opposing this development.

“The discussions with SmartCentre are to determine if an amicable conclusion can be achieved.

“We continue to encourage our councillor to impress upon the developer that their original submission be amended to better complement our community. Additionally, a strong message for appropriate development must be sent to the city and North York community council.”