Spring is always an uncertain season, and this year Toronto faces more uncertainties than usual. We are experiencing massive fallout from recent provincial legislation targeting municipal and local planning. We are in the midst of a mayoral election until the end of June. The city is in effect leaderless, at a time of great need.
The election does, however, also create opportunity. Residents can consider what kind of mayor to elect. As I write this column in mid-April, it’s not yet clear how many candidates’ debates will take place, how many candidates there will be, and how accessible they will be to answer voters’ questions. By the time Leasiders receive this magazine’s edition at the end of April or early May, such arrangements should be clearer.
The Leaside Residents Association hopes you will spend a few minutes considering how we should be measuring the candidates competing for the top job. What are their policies on protecting heritage and neighbourhood character? Do they support high-rise development? If so, with what limitations? Do they favour alternative ways of creating density? What policies do they have on homelessness, the drug crisis, and social services? Do they have ideas on how to boost TTC ridership and effectively manage TTC policies, practices, and security?
Where are they on the future of provincially owned properties such as Ontario Place? How, in fact, do they propose to deal with an Ontario government which is not only hands-on but also fingers-in when it comes to both city-wide and local community decisions? Do they have a workable plan? What is their position on the mayor’s powers?
Make no mistake, Leaside will be directly affected by the answers to those questions. Take traffic issues, for instance: how will large-scale development (“up-planning”) on or along Bayview and Eglinton avenues impact not just Leaside’s already very busy arterial streets but also our residential streets?
Fortunately, the city’s Leaside Neighbourhood Transportation Plan is underway. Having been delayed by the pandemic and by municipal organizational rearrangements, the LNTP team has not yet announced dates for new public consultations, or details of their recommendations. But timing is important. Leaside is experiencing ever more construction sites and new applications to increase density.
We need to have traffic control measures firmly in place if we want to protect our streets before they become overwhelmed – and the neighbourhood eroded– by increased traffic volume.
Throughout the pandemic, the LRA board’s monthly meetings have been held on Zoom, at 7:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. We had hoped to hold our upcoming May 3rd meeting as a hybrid (Zoom plus in person at Trace Manes), but have just been informed by the city that the scheduled installation of WiFi there has been delayed. As a result, we will proceed with an in-person meeting and aim for a hybrid version in the near future. Meanwhile, we hope you will want to join us in the spacious Seniors’ Room on May 3rd at 7:30 p.m.!
For more details and updates between now and then, you can find us at www.leasideresidents.ca.