Has city ignored Avenue north?

Since the city-initiated study of Avenue Road between Wilson Avenue and Lawrence Avenue West was completed and its recommendations for improving the area passed by city council in 2009, some residents of the area might be wondering why more of its suggestions, such as re-naturalizing the Douglas Greenbelt Ravine, haven’t been implemented.

To address the neighbourhood’s concerns and update everyone on the city’s progress, Ward 16 councillor Christin Carmichael Greb submitted a request for city staff to prepare an official update in May, and held a public meeting on Nov. 12 attended by about 75 people.

“We’re expecting the full report from planning in early 2016, but in the meantime I wanted a community meeting to give residents an update,” Carmichael Greb explained to the Town Crier.

So far only six of the report’s 21 recommendations — covering official plan, zoning, urban design and bylaw amendments, have been implemented. The others, encompassing not only the Douglas Greenbelt Ravine but recommended park space, public art, street furniture, and the area’s lack of parking — have, from a public perspective, remained stagnant.

For better or worse that doesn’t surprise Carmichael Greb, and none of the public meeting’s attendees were shocked either, she said.

“They want to make sure that development happens, but that it keeps the village feel of Avenue Road,” she said. “At the same time a lot of those recommendations require money, and that money usually comes from development.

“We’ve had some development on Avenue Road, but nothing recently that would have been able to pay for some of the outstanding recommendations.”