Developments worrisome

A Town Crier Community Column

Our area is being intensified at a tremendous rate.

Currently, there are numerous planning applications for buildings with greater densities than any already in midtown. An influx of new residents was anticipated under the official plan of 2006, but there are growing fears that the area has reached its limit. The midtown area has already absorbed a huge growth in condo-dwellers, yet there has been no increase in open space or improvements to the public realm. In fact, with the imminent loss of open space on the RioCan Square, at Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue our public spaces have shrunk.

ARECA does not support large-scale intensification without special attention to the needs of the existing community. We have joined with our fellow local community associations to press for an Eglinton midtown plan.

Many of the new condo building owners have paid Section 37 monies to the city to allow them to exceed what is allowed under existing bylaws. These Section 37 monies are intended to enhance the quality of the existing infrastructure, but unfortunately the funds have been transferred elsewhere in the city. While there may well be a need elsewhere, this does not comply with the intent of the Section 37 bylaw.

ARECA is involved with the Eglinton midtown plan group, which seeks to promote a community-based planning and design process for creating interesting and engaging parks and open spaces that are safe, comfortable and accommodate people of all ages and abilities year-round. The group is working toward the development of street parks through the provision of trees, benches, planters and other street furniture.

If it is not possible to create new parkland in midtown, the group is encouraging access between public parkland and open spaces in the area through the use of trails, bikeways, pedestrian-friendly streetscape environments, walkways and greenbelts. These are all intelligent, good planning ideas that need to be brought forward for discussion in our community.

Over $1 million has been earmarked from the parks and recreation budget for refurbishments in Eglinton Park. It’s a small sum when compared to the many, many millions of dollars already paid in Section 37 money by developers. However, Eglinton Park is suffering the effects of intensification and any rejuvenation is welcome.

Residents who wish to participate in how the $1 million is spent are encouraged to join the working group soon to be established. Contact the local councillor, Karen Stintz’s office where there have been some staff changes. Michele Sardy (416-392-4088) has assumed the role of executive assistant and Angela Drennan (416-392-4055) has been appointed constituency assistant.

ARECA continues to review all development applications in the area. Two significant applications are expected soon: one for properties on Roselawn Avenue at Duplex Avenue and another for a site on Helendale Avenue at Yonge Street.

ARECA is a volunteer community association representing the views of residents in matters that affect our community in North Toronto. ARECA represents the area bounded by Eglinton Avenue West, Yonge Street, Roselawn Avenue, Avenue Road, St Clements Avenue and Chaplin Road. To join send a cheque for $20 ($10 seniors) along with your name, address and phone number and email address to Avenue Road Eglinton Community Association, c/o Membership Secretary 23 Elwood Boulevard, Toronto M4R 1B8.

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Posted: Mar 7 2012 4:12 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto