August 2020 newsletter

City of Toronto, Committee of Adjustment map.
City of Toronto, Committee of Adjustment map

1. Concerns with the Committee of Adjustment

The LRA has noted two concerns about the Committee of Adjustment after it resumed operations in a virtual format.

First, we have attended multiple online meetings where the Committee has failed to connect deputants - i.e. Leasiders who have registered to speak about a variance application - in order to hear their oral statements. Although some technical problems are understandable, their frequency and the lack of a backup plan (such as a phone line) are unacceptable.

Second, multiple residents have told us that they are not getting notices of variance requests. The rule is that a notice should be mailed to any owner of land within 60 metres of a subject property at least 10 days prior to the scheduled hearing date.

Please contact us if you have experienced either of these problems (or any other) with the Committee of Adjustment. We log these complaints and cite them in our dealings with the City.

photo of group at the Mount Pleasant cemetery, Toronto
Jason Paris (2009), “Mount Pleasant Cemetery Walk

2. Mount Pleasant cemetery petition

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, located on the border of Leaside, is a large green space where people have an opportunity for quiet contemplation, exercise, and enjoyment. The province set up the cemetery as a statutory trust in the 1800s.

It is the view of many local residents, including Friends of Toronto Public Cemeteries (FTPC), that the cemetery, together with the nine other GTA cemeteries that make up the statutory trust, have more recently been operated like a private corporation by the Mount Pleasant Group.

A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision confirmed the existence of the statutory trust, but overturned a lower-court decision that the cemetery is a charitable trust and should therefore be subject to various public oversight provisions. The Court of Appeal, however, also noted that the province has the power to change this arrangement.

The LRA supports the long-time advocacy of FTPC to ask the province to update the legislation governing the trust. The cemetery should be treated as a substantial public asset, not be governed privately, and be subject to public oversight and transparency. Please consider signing their petition.

Cycle Toronto adaptation of map showing no planned cycle routes in midtown Toronto.
Cycle Toronto (2020) - adaptation of City of Toronto ActiveTO map

3. Cycling

An effect of COVID-19 is lower public transit usage worldwide. If all - or even many - of these trips are instead taken by car, Toronto would be gridlocked.

To try to avoid this, the City is expanding the cycle network to help people get around more safely, as part of the Active TO program. But as local advocacy group Cycle Toronto points out, not a single bike lane has been built in midtown Toronto.

The LRA has sent letters of support for bike lanes on Yonge St and Overlea Blvd, both of which would benefit Leasiders by providing safer routes around the city.

Also relevant is an initiative of the Women's Cycling Network for donations of bikes to residents of Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park. If you have a bike to donate, please check out their program (with donation form).

Interested in local cycling issues? Contact Cycle Toronto's Don Valley Midtown chapter.

Holland Bloorview (2020), rendering of proposed northern expansion.
Holland Bloorview (2020), rendering of proposed northern expansion

4. Other planning issues

The LRA actively monitors planning issues in and near Leaside. Some recent updates:

  • 1466-1500 Bayview Ave (Valumart site): mid-rise rental with at-grade retail. Initial details and reaction from LRA Co-President Geoff Kettel are in this TRNTO article. More information is expected in September.
  • Holland Bloorview expansion: two storeys plus mechanical on columns at levels 4 and 5 (see above image). The LRA has been consulted and is supportive in principle, but wants clarity about any public realm impacts, such as the public footpath by the ravine. The issue goes to the Committee of Adjustment on September 17, 2020. More information is expected about 10 days in advance.
  • 660 Eglinton Ave E (Sunnybrook Plaza): mixed-use residential and commercial, including 16- and 12-storey towers. More information is available in the recently released revised settlement proposal. A working group has been established consisting of adjacent residents and the LRA.

5. Temporary housing programs

As widely reported, the City has established temporary housing programs at 55/65 Broadway Ave and the Roehampton Hotel at 808 Mt Pleasant Rd.

The City is hosting an online and phone-in community engagement session on Wednesday, August 19, 2020, from 6 to 8pm. Please read the City's community bulletin about this matter for additional information.

6. Membership matters

Virtual Annual Meeting

Due to COVID-19, the LRA's 2020 Annual Meeting will most likely be virtual. Details will be shared shortly.

Annual memberships

Thank you to everyone who renewed or purchased an annual membership for 2020! If you haven't, please support your residents' association: go to our website and click "Join the LRA" on the right-hand side. Or complete a paper form and mail it with a cheque. Annual membership is $30 (+$1 for online payment). If you're unsure about your membership status, please respond to this email and we'll let you know.

Email subscription

If you've been forwarded this email, you can join our mailing list. It's free. We usually send one email per month or two.

LRA website
Copyright © 2020 Leaside Residents Association, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp