Rally opposes Lawrence Heights project

Organizer urges residents to attend North York Community Council meeting June 22 to show opposition to a plan calling for intensification

About 300 people gathered at a rally in the Lawrence Heights neighbourhood on June 20 to protest the city’s plan to intensify the area over the next 20 years.

“What we have to do here today is to unite,” bellowed rally co-organizer Jack Goldhar through a bullhorn, calling on residents to attend a meeting June 22 at North York City Council.

At 2:15 p.m. council will discuss Phase One of the Lawrence-Allen Revitalization Project. The plan, which had its origins with a Toronto Community Housing Corporation initiative to improve on public housing in the area, calls for more and better mixed-use housing that could see an additional 20,000–25,000 residents move into the area over the coming decades.

It’s a notion that didn’t sit well with those at the rally.

The crowd erupted with a resounding no when Goldhar asked: “Do we get any benefit from it? Does anybody here get any benefit from it?”

Several municipal candidates took the opportunity to address the gathering including Ron Singer and Rob Davis, who are vying for Howard Moscoe’s seat as well as mayoral hopeful Rob Ford.

“When I’m elected mayor on October 25, this project is done,” Ford promised. “When the community doesn’t want something that’s it, it should be over and done with.”

Ford received a pat on the back from area MP Joe Volpe, who echoed Ford’s comments and urged the crowd to address members of higher levels of government on the issue through petitioning. Volpe presented a petition in the House of Commons on June 10 calling for the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which once owned the land here, to investigate whether the plans are in keeping with the conditions under which the land was transferred to the city.

“(Under this plan) you will have a minimum of 500 additional cars on the street you moved into because you want to enjoy the privacy for your family and children,” boomed Volpe.

Grabbing the bullhorn, the Goldhar urged the crowd once again to attend the community council meeting the following Tuesday to show support to those making deputations demanding that council delay the approval of what he called a flawed plan.

“We have lots of question and we have been asking them for a while. We need them answered before the plan is approved,” said
Goldhar, highlighting concerns about sewage and water, traffic and the potential loss of parkland.

Visit mytowncrier.ca again or read our upcoming North Toronto print edition of the Town Crier for the results of Tuesday’s North York Community Council meeting.

About this article:

By: Christopher Reynolds
Posted: Jun 21 2010 5:33 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto