Preserved Stories Blog

Death and Life of Long Branch – David Godley

The following May 16, 2016 article is by David Godley:

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The Death and Life of Long Branch

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Past

It is over a year since the May 4, 2015 Community meeting where strong concerns were expressed about the desecration of Long Branch. Certainly there have been some good initiatives (including the Urban Design Guideline Study) but the court-like COA and OMB processes are not conducive to sound planning.

Long Branch is the poster child for planning failure. The excellent Official Plan of 2006 has been routinely undermined or ignored. The development industry has had far too much sway and the neighbourhood is suffering.

Historically agricultural land has been sacrificed to lower density residential. New urbanism is twice the density and produces attractive walking neighbourhoods and was touted 30 years ago. But developers were allowed free rein. We are now paying for the lack of commitment to planning.

Present

Currently the undue influence of the building industry is destroying the enjoyment of neighbourhoods into which residents bought. It is also creating an intolerable burden on the Long Branch community. Citizens are continuously trying to fend off inappropriate development. Recently Long Branch has had by far the most severances according to Planning Department figures and stats. in Ward 6.

The main problem is the OMB, an arms’ length creation of the Province which has become more development oriented and more rigid in its operation than previously. This partially appears to be because the development industry funds over 50% of party coffers for both Liberals and Conservatives. 70% of the time the OMB overrule the COA, the City, City staff and the public in our community according to stats. at the May 4th meeting. This is despite a Planning Act requirement that requires the OMB to take account of local decisions.

Ken Greenberg is a well respected and leading planner in Canada and was formerly head of the City of Toronto’s Urban Design group. He says the OMB is the worst possible way to achieve orderly planning.

Issues

Citizens are routinely dismissed by the OMB as irrelevant. COAs, City planners and the public view are overruled based on conflicted development planners whose evidence is used to follow the development industry’s wishes. Beautiful neighbourhoods are being sacrificed to the greed of developers both in terms of alien development and loss of tree canopy.

There is unlikely to be a fair hearing at the appeal level. This influences lower level decision makers and advisers negatively. To participate in the planning process fully at the OMB, citizens have to raise $20,000 to $30,000 to hire legal and planning expertise and also expose themselves to costs as well as loss of appeal.

The effect of the all this is that the rich and powerful become richer and more powerful. This reflects the inequality of our times.

The appeal system favours those with resources, discourages exchange of information, dialogue and consensus. The system is highly adversarial encouraging underhand strategies and frustration and anger in the community. It hurts the fabric of society when there are an abundance of applications encouraged by the Board especially in such places as Long Branch. Objectivity and circumspection is replaced by emotion.

The situation at the application review level is also adversarial especially at the COA. However the COA is more open to pleas to save neighbourhoods than the more remote and elitist OMB. Without community presence at meetings the COA are inclined to approve anything as happened with 2 27th Street the most disastrous decision for the destruction of character so far.

The community did not realise they had to repeat their objections at a second COA hearing. The tree issue was not considered at either level other than applying a condition. The OMB perversely removed the condition.

9 mature and healthy trees destroyed in one go partly. Two of the trees were lost because the COA allowed large increases in density leaving Urban Forestry no chance of saving them. The others were illegally removed on an adjacent property so that the developer could build close to the side lot line.

The legalistic nature of both bodies is another impediment to well thought out decisions.

The majority of the COA members do not seem to observe the Official Plan never mind Divisional Court rulings such as De Gasperis. There is a tendency to apply their own values rather than those of the City’s. This is illustrated by the 80 23rd decision which cannot be further from the intent of the plan and zoning without being risible. Two members voted for approval.

Members seem to take little notice of advice from Staff on deferrals especially Urban Forestry. Flexibility is diminished. This risks the valued tree canopy which the City is trying to expand. The large number of trees lost to inappropriate development in Long Branch is community vandalism.

32 27th Street

In another case the 32 27th Street application exposes difficulties with the Etobicoke York COA system. First residents had little basis on which to judge the application. They have to work hard to get any meaningful material. They have to go to the COA offices, (where they are always co-operative and cheerful), to get details of the proposal.

Elevations (showing the sides of the house to scale) are not sent out so the material that is circulated means little to the lay person. The notices and variance list is gibberish to most people and discarded. Others have no time to deal with such stressful matters. There are no plans to give perspective. I have produced plans as attached to fill this gap.

There are no plans to show the front elevation in relation to the nearby houses or potential outline under the zoning bylaw. There are no bird’s eye views that were so useful for the 11 Lake Promenade application to show impacts on adjacent homes. All these are essential to interpret the Official Plan. And the development industry is awash with money gained from unfair approvals.

With the lightening rod application of 32 27th people were made to wait 4 hours before proceedings started. These included people with mobility issues and children. Two other major applications were 4 hours behind schedule. People were testy and fed up and filled with emotion. This is not the right atmosphere to make any planning decision. Such delays should be avoided. People also could only exit by the back door of the Civic Centre and had to make their way in the dark to the front parking lot.

Since the applicant had told both the planner and the COA that they would seek deferral this should have been dealt with much earlier. Using ruses to allow the application to be heard should be dealt with firmly. For some reason the COA seem duty-bound to follow whatever the applicant wants. This represents another inequity within a system biased towards development when it is the applicant that has the burden of proof.

The Planning Department is the bright light on the scene flowing down from the Chief Planner to her planning staff. They have seen the process is not working and their Official Plan is not achieving the desired effect. They have embarked on a process to try to create a made-in Long Branch solution. This involves deferring to have a round table discussion called by the Councillor with owner, agent, planning staff and those impacted. All should have access to helpful information. Wants and needs can be freely discussed and issues identified. Lots of options can be generated to reflect these. With dialogue there is a greater chance of consensus. Both community meetings I have attended were able to resolve issues.

The applicant had agreed to revise the drawings with less density, less impact and in a traditional manner. With the undertakings from the applicant this looked like a suitable candidate especially as the drawings were uncommonly poor and needed to be upgraded. The COA followed the applicant’s retraction of wanting to proceed and we now have the opportunity for full discussion. However there are many problems which need to be solved along the way for the future. The community meeting for Long Branch should have revised plans to complete the application.

Need

First: Provide readable plans where the details have not been lost due to reductions and ensure that all elevations are circulated with the notice package. The latter is a basic requirement used by all other Toronto panels.

Second: double the time residents have notice of new builds and major additions. Residents may be away for the full time of notice. Often citizens have not been involved with such processes and need time to absorb the information, understand issues and formulate opinions as well as contacting neighbours outside the circulation area that are also impacted. The discordant nature of most proposed new builds affects the whole street and because precedent is the main reason used by the OMB, the whole neighbourhood is impacted. The nature of minor variances no longer reflects the City’s definition “Small changes or exceptions to existing land use or development restrictions contained in the zoning bylaw”. A different approach is needed for these neighbourhood changing proposals, something more like the Zoning Process.

Third: ensure that the street elevations of at least one house either side of the proposal are shown together with the zoning envelope outline as well as a bird’s eye view.

Fourth: have explanatory material. The Long Branch Neighbourhood Association are working on a package which could be used as guidance. It is never explained that the Councillor’s Office has to be contacted to ensure City provides legal and planning representation or to launch an appeal. Citizen’s views against a qualified planner do not count for anything under current OMB practices. Currently as a pro bono planner I do many requests for appeals or City staff myself or advise people it should be done.

Fifth: Ensure that it is the building drawings which conform to the Official Plan. If the severance and variance allow a building which does not conform, then approval does not meet the Planning Act requirements. There are strong Urban Design OP policies which are never cited.

Sixth: Treatment of all members of the public as customers. This includes by the COA and the OMB. The City is supposed to serve the electorate not the whims of developers. Propaganda from the building industry has created the delusion that refusals are bad form rather than good planning.

Future

These reforms have been discussed actively for over a year. They could be implemented immediately. It is not enough to follow the letter of the law. The spirit needs to be followed too. The system is out of step with reality.

Planning Staff are to be congratulated on their outside-the-box thinking. I believe the community will be supportive in their efforts. I also hope that they together with our helpful councillor will see the way to have community meetings prior to COA consideration. This would put the various interests on an even keel at the start of the planning process.

David Godley
May 16, 2016

 

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Conserving Long Branch – May 2016 David Godley Update Addendum

Following update is from David Godley (I’ll mark in the text in brown when time permits):

Hello all – Please find below a summary of Committee of Adjustment applications in Long Branch. (my updates in brown)

Attachments [see map on this page and PDF link below] relate to May 12 COA meeting and potential reform under the heading “Death and Life of Long Branch”:

The Death and Life of Long Branch (David Godley)

[The text of the attachment has also been posted as a separate blog post.]

Map source: David Godley

Map source: David Godley

Remember this evening’s community meeting on “Urban Design Guidelines” 6.30pm Assembly Hall.

May 12, 2016 Committee of Adjustment Hearing

1. B9/16EYK, A76/16EYK and A77/16EYK – 4 Shamrock Avenue - This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Staff are recommending refusal. Refused

2. B16/16EYK, A167/16EYK and A168/16EYK – 80 Twenty Third Street – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Staff are recommending refusal. Refused

3. A280/16EYK – 32 Twenty Seventh Street – This is an application for Minor Variance. The variances relate to FSI, front yard setback, building height, height of the first floor above established grade and platform size. Staff are concerned with the variance related to height. Staff are recommending the application be deferred in order for Planning staff to schedule a community consultation meeting, together with the Ward Councillor, to provide the applicant an opportunity to develop a revised proposal that is more in keeping with the existing physical character of the neighbourhood.

Should the Committee choose not to defer the application and proceed in hearing the deputations, Planning staff recommend that the minor variance application be refused. Deferred for consultation with Staff, Councillor and the Public (note the COA would not accept community meeting as part of the deferral). 34 27th purchased by developer.

Results April 14, 2016 Committee of Adjustment Hearing

1. A102/16EYK – 66 Ash Crescent – This is a Minor Variance application to permit an increase to the permitted floor space index. A new detached dwelling with an attached garage is proposed. Staff have reviewed the application and are of the opinion the four tests outlined in the Planning Act are met. Approved.

2. A125/16EYK – 87 Ash Crescent – This is a Minor Variance Application to permit an increase in gross floor area and a reduced front yard setback. A new two-storey east side addition and a second storey addition above the existing dwelling is proposed. Staff have reviewed the application and are of the opinion the four tests outlined in the Planning Act are met. Approved on condition as amended.

3. A187/16EYK – 29 Thirty Eighth Street – This is a Minor Variance Application seeking variances relating to lot coverage and floor space index. A new detached dwelling with an attached garage is proposed. Staff have reviewed the application and are of the opinion the four tests outlined in the Planning Act are met. Approved on condition.

4. A203/16EYK – 57 Twenty Fifth Street – This is a Minor Variance Application seeking variances relating to floor space index, side yard setback, front yard setback and eaves setback. A second storey addition is proposed. Staff have reviewed the application and are of the opinion the four tests outlined in the Planning Act are met. Approved

5. B75/15EYK, A667/15EYK & A668/15EYK – 2 Ash Crescent – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending a deferral to provide the applicant an opportunity to have further discussion with Planning staff and the community to develop a revised proposal that is more in keeping with the established physical character of the neighbourhood and more in accordance with the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and the Zoning By-laws. Approved on condition. Approval of severance in process of appeal with support from City Staff through Councillor’s office. Minor variance refused by COA.

6. B2/16EYK, A13/16EYK & A14/16EYK – 30 Thirty Sixth Street – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending a deferral to provide the applicant an opportunity to have further discussion with Planning staff and the community to develop a revised proposal that is more in keeping with the established physical character of the neighbourhood and more in accordance with the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and the Zoning By-laws. Refused. Appeal lodged. City staff being assigned through Councillor’s office.

Reviewed Applications in Long Branch

1. B77/15EYK, A692/15EYK & A693/15EYK – 42 Exmoor Drive (on the edge of Long Branch) – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Planning staff are recommending that the applications be deferred in order for the applicant to submit revised plans that would be more in keeping with the purpose and intent of the Official Plan and Zoning By-law. Hearing date June 9

2. B8/16EYK, A73/16EYK and A74/16EYK – 2 Shamrock Avenue – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending refusal. Hearing date – TBD

3. B11/16EYK, A95/16EYK and A96/16EYK – 9 Thirty Eighth Street – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending a deferral to provide the applicant an opportunity to have further discussion with Planning staff and the community to develop a revised proposal that is more in keeping with the established physical character of the neighbourhood and more in accordance with the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and the Zoning By-laws. Hearing date TBD. Suggest going to Community meeting prior to COA

4. B12/16EYK, A121/16EYK and A122/16EYK – 50 Thirty Sixth Street – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Planning Staff recommend that the consent and related minor variance applications be deferred in order for Planning staff to schedule a community consultation meeting, together with the Ward Councillor, to provide the applicant an opportunity to consult with local area residents. Hearing date9 June nmilros@toronto .ca

5. B17/16EYK, A174/16EYK and A175/16EYK – 20 Elton Crescent – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending a deferral to provide the applicant an opportunity to have further discussion with Planning staff and the community to develop a revised proposal that is more in keeping with the established physical character of the neighbourhood and more in accordance with the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and the Zoning By-laws. Hearing date TBD. Suggest going to Community meeting prior to COA

6. B22/16EYK, A257/16EYK and A258/16EYK – 28 Twenty First Street. This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending deferral. This is a unique case where the proposed lots meet the frontage and area requirements of the zoning by-laws. Staff are of the view that the proposed houses on each of the newly created lots represent over development and are seeking a deferral to provide the applicant an opportunity to have further discussion with Planning staff and the community to develop a revised proposal that is more in keeping with the established physical character of the neighbourhood and more in accordance with the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and the Zoning By-laws. Hearing date June 9

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Many thanks,

Jill

Jill Hogan, Manager, Community Plannin, City Planning – Etobicoke York District

City of Toronto, 2 Civic Centre Court, 3rd Floor,Toronto, ON M9C 5A3

416-394-8219

New Severance and Variances Application, 9 Meaford mkehler@toronto.ca

New Severance Application 10 Garden Place; 78 29th, 14 41st
Appealed; 56 Ash, No OMB hearing date

In process of appeal, City staff authorisation in process: 20 Garden Place. No OMB hearing date

Community meeting held. 24 33rd not scheduled, 88 Laburnham, COA June 9.

Deferred for Conservation Authority comments, No COA hearing date. 33 42nd St. Just resold for $850,000.

P.S. Please keep me informed of any omissions or new data. David

 

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Toronto councillor pushes for planning changes that benefit developer despite ties to company: Ethics expert says Di Ciano should have disclosed relationship – CBC May 17, 2016

The photo is from the May 17, 2016 CBC article highlighted at the post you are now reading. Caption for the article reads: "Dunpar Developments has submitted a rezoning application so it can build 72 townhomes and a commercial building on this outlined section of land. (Google)."

The photo is from the May 17, 2016 CBC article highlighted at the post you are now reading. Caption for the article reads: “Dunpar Developments has submitted a rezoning application so it can build 72 townhomes and a commercial building on this outlined section of land. (Google).”

A May 17, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “Toronto councillor pushes for planning changes that benefit developer despite ties to company:Ethics expert says Di Ciano should have disclosed relationship.”

To read the article, click on the link in the previous sentence.

The opening paragraphs read:

Toronto Coun. Justin Di Ciano requested a key change to a planning report last Wednesday that is to the benefit of Etobicoke-based home builder Dunpar Developments Inc. — a developer with which Di Ciano has had personal and professional ties.

Dunpar wants to build 72 townhomes and a three- to four-storey commercial building in an area of Mimico that is currently used predominantly for industrial and commercial purposes. Numbered companies controlled by Dunpar own three properties in the Judson lands, the city’s name for the space south of Judson Street, which runs between Royal York Road and Islington Avenue.

Concrete facility in Mimico subject of neighbourhood complaints
In a report, city planners recommended against allowing any new residential development on the site because it sits right beside one of Canada’s busiest rail corridors and an expanding Metrolinx train maintenance facility.

[End of excerpt]

The article also provides a link to a related story, outlined in a July 1, 2015 CBC article entitled:

ML Ready Mix concrete facility in Mimico subject of neighbourhood complaints: Company’s lawyer says facility is legal, despite what residents say

 

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Archeologists dig in south Mississauga before QEW Credit River Bridge twinning – May 13, 2016 Mississauga News article

The photo is from the May 13, 2016 Mississauga News article for which a link is posted at the page you are now reading. The caption, from the news story reads: "Dig - Photo by Bryon Johnson - An archeological assessment is taking place at a former residential property on Stavebank Road."

The photo is from the May 13, 2016 Mississauga News article for which a link is posted at the page you are now reading. The caption, from the news story reads: “Dig – Photo by Bryon Johnson – An archeological assessment is taking place at a former residential property on Stavebank Road.”

A May 13, 2016 Mississauga News article (it may take a while to open the link) is entitled: “Archeologists dig in south Mississauga before QEW Credit River Bridge twinning.”

 

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Elton Crescent in Long Branch is named after J.O. Elton, reeve of Long Branch and brother of architect Gresely Elton

A May 12, 2016 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Fewer listings in Toronto’s housing market make for a bitter spring.”

During a May 5, 2013 Jane’s Walk in Long Branch in southern Etobicoke in Toronto led by Mike James and Jaan Pill, we learned that Gresley Elton was the architect who designed Parkview School at 85 Forty First Street. The school was built in the late 1950s to accommodate large numbers of baby boomers who were starting school in those years. At the above-noted Jane’s Walk we also learned about key architectural details – as illustrated in the photo from the front of Parkview School – that are characteristic of Elton’s work. Jaan Pill photo

The article includes a photo with the following caption: “This house at 5 Elton Cres., with an asking price of $1,559,800, has been transformed from a bungalow into two stories built around a central atrium.”

J.O. Elton and Gresley Elton

Sid (Suit) Olvet has noted that Elton Crescent is named in honour of J.O. (“Jack”) Elton, who was reeve of Long Branch before the legendary Marie Curtis.

J.O. Elton was the brother of Gresley Elton, an architect who designed many buildings – including schools, churches,  and a public library – in Long Branch, years ago.

Jane and Sid (Suit) Olvet learned of our May 5, 2013 Jane’s Walk through the Jane’s Walk website. Jane’s father was Gresley Elton, who designed many buildings in Long Branch including the building in the background of this photo at Marie Curtis Park near the mouth of Etobicoke Creek. Jane Olvet’s parents originally met each other in the early 1900s at the tennis court that used to exist at the Long Branch Park resort that dates from the late 1800s. Jaan Pill photo

A current project, that I am working on from time to time – a draft of 10,000-plus words is in progress – involves the writing of A History of Long Branch (Toronto) – Draft 4 featuring brief, evidence-based glimpses of the history of Long Branch.

With regard to Jane’s Walk, an upcoming Jane’s Walk next door to Long Branch will take place on Saturday, May 28, 2016:

On Saturday, May 28, 2016, the Small Arms Jane’s Walk will visit the Long Branch Rifle Ranges in Mississauga

The Jane’s Walk website provides the following quick overview of the above-noted May 28, 2016 walk:

Small Arms Building – Then and Now

Additional photos of Gresely Elton’s architectural details

Additional photos of Gresely Elton’s work are available at a post entitled:

Architectural drawing represents ideas in form. Building information modelling (BIM) simulates experience.

 

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The Complete Guide to Strength Training (2015): An A-1 resource for evidence-based practice in strength training

I am very highly impressed with The Complete Guide to Strength Training (2015) by Anita Bean, the fifth edition of the book. It makes good sense for a book of this kind to go through successive editions, thereby keeping up to date with research and development in the field of strength training.

Except on days when I work out at home, I work out at the Gus Ryder Health Club in Toronto. I never leave any valuables in my locker, as lockers can be broken into as I’ve observed over many years of strength training at fitness centres in Toronto. I carry my keys and wallet with me, when I’m working out.

Assisted Pull-Up machine. The Assisted Pull-Up is an exercise that I recently got around to learning, as it was included in one of the routines in Anita Bean's book that I've recently been following. Jaan Pill photo

Assisted Pull-Up/Chin-Up machine. The Assisted Pull-Up is an exercise that I recently got around to learning, as it was included in one of the routines in Anita Bean’s book that I’ve recently been following. Jaan In this photo, the platform where you rest your knees has been moved out of position, for the performance of Unassisted Pull-Ups. Jaan Pill photo

For a long time, I’ve been interested in learning about how long a rest period (such as between sets) is the best, in particular circumstances. I often read news reports about research related to strength training and related topics such as high-intensity interval training. I like to make sure that my fitness efforts are evidence-based. I like to read widely about fitness-related topics, while keeping attuned to what the evidence actually indicates.

Anita Bean’s training programs present a clear account regarding all key aspects of strength training, including how much time to rest between sets, and how much time to rest between exercises, at particular stages in a year-long schedule of workouts.

Periodization

Such a schedule includes periods of less-intense workouts, and a stage of anatomical adaptation in preparation for periods of highly intensive work. The overall approach is known as periodization, which according to research yields greater gains than an approach where you do the same thing week after week, all through the year. I find it easy to start with Bean’s routines, and to adapt them to my particular circumstances.

The book also provides a good overview of high-intensity interval training, a topic that has been addressed in many research reports in recent years. It also highlights a wide range of strength training exercises that do not require weights or machines (that is, body weight exercises).

To figure out details regarding specified exercises, such as the Assisted Pull-Up, by way of example, I like to refer to Anita Bean’s book and also other books such as Basic Pumping Iron (2004) by Grant Breese and Dean White.

Basic Pumping Iron (2004) has the best approach to photography and layout, as it relates to the visual depiction of exercise sequences (you are dealing with a variation of Data Visualization), that I have encountered to date. Like many books, it contains the occasional copy editing error. For example, on page 81 of a two-page spread for the Assisted Pull-Up, there’s a variation hint that refers to the use of an inclining or declining bench, and to pressing one arm at a time or alternatively. Clearly, that little bit of text was meant to go with another exercise, not the Assisted Pull-Up.

Cardiovascular work

I spend about an hour a day walking around my neighbourhood including along the Lake Ontario shoreline and along open green spaces. Three days a week I also engage in short bursts (currently two minutes in length, with same-length intervals of less-intensive cycling) of high intensity cycling on a seated bicycle machine, on the days when I do strength training.

Correctness of form

Moving a weight rapidly to gain momentum, to enable you to work with a heavier weight than you could otherwise handle, is not the best work one’s way through an exercise. In a sense, it’s a misapplication of the laws of physics. Poor form tends to be the product of understandable motivations, that a given person may bring to weight training, but leads to less than optimal long-term results, so far as I have been able to determine.

For a resource that has schedules and routines that are really easy to follow, and is based upon the most recent research, Anita Bean’s book, now in its fifth edition, is the one I would recommend.

I very much like Anita Bean’s emphasis on correctness of form, and how to go about achieving it – both as a general principle and with regard to specific exercises.

Although it has the occasional editing error, such as when a Start and End photo for an exercise happens to be identical (Leg Press, p. 111), The Complete Guide to Strength Training (2015) is an A-1 book; I recommend it highly.

Metaphors derived from strength training

The concept of moving a weight rapidly to gain momentum, and other instances of neglect of attention to, or lack of knowledge about, correct form reminds me of an analogous situation in community self-organizing, an area that I’ve been involved with as a volunteer for thirty-plus years. The person who make a big show of using a heavier weight, than the exercise in question calls for, if the aim of to maintain good form, is analogous to the person who weeks to dominate by doing a great deal of talking at a meeting, without taking into account the fact that other people at the meeting have much to contribute as well.

By way of example, with regard to the metaphor, consider a useful online document entitled Succession Planning for the Non-profit Board Chair from Social Venture Partners, Boulder County. In the above-noted document, which is exemplary in its discussion of key concepts associated with succession planning, “some methods and a process of systematically trying to develop new leaders is suggest,” as the document notes.

The document adds:

  • Be careful of selecting the loudest or most dominant person for the Board Chair, as you ultimately need someone to facilitate the involvement of all of the members. Often these characteristics can demand respect (or alternatively just be intimidating) but more skills are necessary than that, as discussed earlier.

[End of excerpt]

The person who is the loudest or most dominant is, to return to the metaphor, the equivalent of the practice of working with more weight than makes sense, in the circumstances of a given strength training exercise. You want a situation, in both contexts (strength training and community groups) where the larger picture is taken into account, and not just what appears on the surface.

In the case of strength training, you want to lift weights in such a way that you get the best possible outcome from the process. In the case of community self-organizing, you want leaders who have the capacity to bring people together, and who have the capacity to listen along with the capacity to excel at communications.

Bench Press exercise

With regard to metaphors, I was impressed as well with a discussion, in another book that I have read in the past year, regarding the use of the Bench Press as a means to determine the maximum weight that a given athlete can press, as a preliminary step in the development of a strength training program.

The author notes that, when you’re dealing with the Bench Press, it’s not uncommon for a person to be susceptible to injuries, given the physics involved with the exercise. The author recommends not using the Bench Press as a way the establish a person’s maximum lifting capacity.

And why not? Because the application of maximum force, when doing this exercise, may give rise to an injury that keeps an athlete out of action for the entire playing season. That concept, of taking care with regard to such matters, has applications in so many areas of life. That is, to my mind, a most powerful metaphor – something to think about, in any aspect of life.

Overtraining

Beware of overtraining. At one point many years ago, I followed advice to do upper body work one day, lower body work the next. That might work for some people, in some circumstances, but for me it led to classic symptoms of overtraining, which I learned about by doing a web search for my symptoms, at the time. The symptoms included a high morning heart rate and a spike in blood pressure readings. It turned out to be pretty scary – overtraining can destroy your health. I followed the online advise and took a seven-week break from strength training. I was fine after that. I now work out three days a week, and that’s it.

Three sets of eight reps

Before I learned what’s what in strength training, I was destined to go with three sets of eight reps, for about twelve exercise altogether. I would have been doing that year in and year out.

That’s not a bad way to start; that can take you a long way – but there is so much further that we can go, by way of strength training, as I have learned though reading books such as The Complete Guide to Strength Training (2015).

Blue Zones Solution (2015)

An August 1, 2015 New York Times article is entitled: “My Dinner With Longevity Expert Dan Buettner (No Kale Required).” The article notes: Not a lot of dairy products.

The above-noted article prompted me to read The Blue Zones Solution: Easting and Living  Like the World’s Healthiest People (2015). This is another book that I have found useful, as a reference based upon evidence-based research about topics that are useful to know about, although at least one of the ‘experts’ referred to in the book gives me pause.

 

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The Greenbelt is smart, sustainable living: Lou Rinaldi, MPP for Northumberland-Quinte West

For a previous post regarding Greenbelt proposals, discussed in the following message, please click here.

The following message is from Lou Rinaldi, MPP for Northumberland-Quinte West

The Greater Golden Horseshoe is Canada’s fastest-growing urban region and the country’s economic engine. It is also home to the biggest Greenbelt in the world.

Ontario Liberals created the Greenbelt when we permanently protected from development an area of land 400,000 acres larger than Prince Edward Island. You can even see it from space – sitting over the region like a giant green roof – hydrating, oxygenating and feeding the millions of people who live nearby.

The region is expected to grow by about four million people over the next 25 years. By 2041, the GTHA will be home to 13.5 million people working in 6.3 million jobs.

That’s why, last spring, our government asked former Toronto Mayor David Crombie to head a diverse panel of experts to advise on changes to the four provincial plans that shape how land is used in the Greenbelt and surrounding communities of the Golden Horseshoe.

After 19,000 submissions, 17 town hall meetings and many hours of careful study, the experts made 87 recommendations on how best to build communities for today and tomorrow in this fast-growing region.

Now it’s your turn to comment.

The proposed changes to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment plan would ensure smart, sustainable growth by:

  • Investing in transit and infrastructure
  • Supporting agriculture investments and viability
  • Growing the Greenbelt
  • Protecting the environment and natural heritage
  • Creating jobs
  • Responding to climate change

Our number-one priority is a growing economy that is creating good jobs. And our four-part economic plan is delivering on it by building people’s talents and skills, building infrastructure, building an innovative, low-carbon economy and building retirement security for workers.

Smart growth that protects and expands the Greenbelt and builds complete communities is going to make a huge contribution to our top priority.

It’s going to make a huge difference in people’s everyday lives.

People want to live in communities where land use, transit and infrastructure planning is coordinated to meet their needs, boost the economy and protect our environment.

That’s what our proposed changes to land-use planning in the Greater Golden Horseshoe will do.

That’s what we’re building together.

Thank you for your support, and please share your thoughts. We look forward to your feedback.

Lou Rinaldi, MPP
Northumberland – Quinte West

[End of text]

 

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Conserving Long Branch – May 2016 Update from David Godley

The following message is from David Godley; when time permits, I will adjust the line spacing and will add headings and attached files:

Spring Greetings From Long Branch

Michael Laffrade

Mike passed away at age 57 leaving a wife and 2 adult children. He died in hospital 2 weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Mike was a key player in Long Branch’s push for conservation of character. He attended OMB hearings to protect the neighbourhood and worked with the citizens to try to achieve fair decisions.

He was a fighter. He was about to embark on a front yard sign blitz, similar to the yellow ones asking drivers to slow down, including the wording Builders And Developers. He was going to self finance this.

He also advocated having a community sit-in on Shamrock Avenue to draw attention to the plight of the residents.

In any move for change those with more passionately expressed ideas are complementary to those who speak calmly.

Mike should have had at least 20 more years of fight in him just as Zaha Hadid, one of the world’s best architects and queen of curve, should have had 20 more years of designing buildings.
MAY 9 MONDAY, LONG BRANCH NEIGHBOURHOOD ASSOCIATION 7pm HUMBER

On May 9th, there will be a working meeting open to all that wish to join a sub-committee (or 3) in the interim. Come and join the conversation that excites (or frustrates) you the most.

When: May 9, 7:00 to 9:00pm
Where: Humber College (Lakeshore Campus) – Building A, Room A170 next to the large cafeteria (see link below for campus map).

Brian Liberty
Interim Chairperson, Long Branch Neighbourhood Asssociation
ph. 647-400-2047

MAY 12 THURSDAY, COMMITTEE OF ADJUSTMENT 3pm Etobicoke Civic Centre

Anyone from the neighbourhood please attend if you can and allow a couple of hours. Reports and maps attached for 4 Shamrock and 32 27th.

Two controversial severance applications are before the OMB, 4 Shamrock and 80 23rd. They have important implications for the development of the neighbourhood.

4 Shamrock is a proposal for 2 soldier homes. At 6 Shamrock twin soldiers are being built. There is also a proposal for 2 more soldier houses at 2 Shamrock. This is by the same applicant as # 4 but the application is being held back.
To prevent the first row of 6 out of character the COA needs to refuse outright this proposal.

80 23rd is where a severance is sought immediately south of the single soldier home. The second soldier home was firmly quashed by the OMB at 86. The proposal is for 2 more soldier houses.
This also needs an outright refusal.

As well 32 27th Street is a proposal for 2 stories to be added to an existing single storey house, plus additions to more than double the density.
Apparently the applicant is open to modifications so this could be deferred. That would mean presentations may not be heard. If this is the case it is important to have a community meeting to let impacted residents air their concerns.
This is supposed to heard at 5pm but with a heavy agenda is likely to be later. Everyone involved should be ready with their presentation.

Any support at the COA for the community is welcome even if no speaking is involved. You get to see political theatre into the bargain.


MAY 17 Community Meeting FOR LONG BRANCH URBAN DEIGN GUIDELINES, ASSEMBLY HALL 6.30pm

All Long Branch residents are invited.

Attending the Willowdale Community meeting this week (on a parallel study) leads to the conclusion this is going to be a useful exercise, especially so for the Committee of Adjustment. This will produce a guide for them and all concerned on more detailed appearance. Hopefully the OMB or other appeal body will give the guidelines weight. An advisory group to meet over the summer is also proposed as well as further community meetings.

Long Branch was the first neighbourhood to be chosen for an urban guideline study in Toronto. You will find the Sinclair, van Nostrand, urban design staff, the City’s Urban design group and local planners enlightened and plentiful. Public participation is central to this exercise. Contact Sabrina Salitano ssalati@toronto.ca Local Planner or Shawna Bowen sbowen1@toronto.ca Urban Designer for additional details. Some areas of Long Branch did not receive their mailed notification so please spread the news to Long Branch residents and owners.
LOCAL APPEAL BOARDS
It now seems certain that Local Appeal Boards will replace the OMB for Committee of Adjustment appeals probably before the end of the year. All applications submitted before the LAB’s establishment will still go to the OMB.

OMB, NEW CHIEF
My letter dated 3 May 2016

Dear Dr Krushelnicki

Congratulations on your appointment as Executive Chair of ELTO with responsibilities for the Ontario Municipal Board. I do not think that a better person could have been picked based on our working together when you were in Niagara and I was with the City of Hamilton.

Over the last dozen years the OMB seems to have changed from serving the overall community to serving the rich and powerful.

I have been sharply critical of the OMB over last few years. I have been a member of the Toronto Committee of Adjustment for about 6 years and latterly am helping people on a bone fide basis in the Long Branch neighbourhood. Consequently I have had numerous dealings with the OMB including giving evidence at 10 hearings.

The OMB has metamorphised from an impartial agency into one overriding local democracy to support the building industry.

Development planners, in my view in conflict of interest situations, mostly win against the City’s Planning Department in Long Branch.

The members seem to take little notice of the Official Plan and mostly ignore any evidence from the public which of course is non expert.

The City does not represent the neighbourhood at OMB hearing (as their Legal Department never tires of telling us and they are right.)

Consequently citizens have their rights under the Planning Act to be able to influence decisions extinguished unless they pay. That would mean $20,000 to $30,000 to hire a planner and legal representative as well as a large commitment of time.
With the variances often doubling the residential density and severances for small lots out of keeping with the neighbourhood little weight is given to the De Gasperis decision.
My belief is that members should be trained planners who can use their own judgement on the merits of a case. At the moment this does not happen even with the members who are planners.

Also I support the English system where most smaller applications are dealt with in written form including cross examination.

Another issue is the barely concealed contempt that some members have for the public who have often spent lots of time and money and are stressed out in an intimidating environment.

I have to mention Mary Anne Sills and Reid Rossi in this context.
Reinvention of processes internally and following the mission and mandate would go towards relieving unfairness of the current process which has led to huge unpopularity of the current OMB.

At a community meeting in North York this week the audience was groaning every time the OMB were mentioned and applauded when a Councillor said that the OMB could not do a worse job!
All the best with your current challenges. David
CURRENT APPLICATIONS WITH MY UPDATES IN RED
Reviewed Applications in Long Branch

1. B75/15EYK, A667/15EYK & A668/15EYK – 2 Ash Crescent – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending a deferral to provide the applicant an opportunity to have further discussion with Planning staff and the community to develop a revised proposal that is more in keeping with the established physical character of the neighbourhood and more in accordance with the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and the Zoning By-laws. On April 14 the Committee of Adjustment approved the severance but refused the variances. No appeal yet.

2. B77/15EYK, A692/15EYK & A693/15EYK – 42 Exmoor Drive (on the edge of Long Branch) – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Planning staff are recommending that the applications be deferred in order for the applicant to submit revised plans that would be more in keeping with the purpose and intent of the Official Plan and Zoning By-law. Hearing date TBD

3. B2/16EYK, A13/16EYK & A14/16EYK – 30 Thirty Sixth Street – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending a deferral to provide the applicant an opportunity to have further discussion with Planning staff and the community to develop a revised proposal that is more in keeping with the established physical character of the neighbourhood and more in accordance with the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and the Zoning By-laws. On April 14 the Committee of Adjustment refused the severance and variances. No appeal yet.

4. B8/16EYK, A73/16EYK and A74/16EYK – 2 Shamrock Avenue – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending refusal.

5. B9/16EYK, A76/16EYK and A77/16EYK – 4 Shamrock Avenue – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending refusal. May 12 meeting of COA see attached submission which is my personal submission. I will speak on behalf of the LBNA to refuse the application.

OUTSTANDING APPLICATIONS IN LONG BRANCH

1. B11/16EYK, A95/16EYK and A96/16EYK – 9 Thirty Eighth Street- This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Currently under review by staff.

2. B12/16EYK, A121/16EYK and A122/16EYK – 50 Thirty Sixth Street This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Currently under review by staff.

3. B16/16EYK, A167/16EYK and A168/16EYK – 80 Twenty Third Street – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. May 12 Meeting of COA.

4. B17/16EYK, A174/16EYK and A175/16EYK – 20 Elton Crescent – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Currently under review by staff.

5. A 280/16 – 32 27th Street, Application for 0.74 density from 0.35 for adding 2 storeys to single storey. May 12 meeting of COA, see attached submission. This is my personal submission. I will speak on behalf of the LBNA to have the matter deferred subject to a community meeting. All those interested should attend and be prepared to present, in case the matter is heard.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Many thanks, Jill

[The text from David Godley also provides following contact information.]

Jill Hogan

Manager, Community Planning

City Planning – Etobicoke York District

City of Toronto

2 Civic Centre Court, 3rd Floor

Toronto, ON M9C 5A3

416-394-8219

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Ontario proposes greenbelt expansion as urban growth intensifies – Jane Taber article, May 10, 2016 Globe & Mail

Proposed changes to plan are based on recommendations of advisory panel led by David Crombie. Jaan Pill photo

Proposed changes to plan are based on recommendations of advisory panel led by David Crombie. Jaan Pill photo

A May 10, 2016 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Ontario proposes greenbelt expansion as urban growth intensifies.”

The article notes that planners are said to view the proposals as “bold and necessary,” whereas builders are said to assert that “the restrictions will further drive up house prices and limit choice”

A May 10, 2016 Toronto Star article is entitled: “Ontario setting new rules to end era of suburban sprawl across GTA: The province is promising bold new moves to foster denser, more walkable communities with transit, while preserving green space.”

A May 11, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “Ontario’s Greenbelt lands could grow by 9,000 hectares: New plan also proposes to increase communities’ density targets.”

Proposed Changes to Provincial Land Use Plans introduced at May 10, 2016 Port Credit event . Jaan Pill photo

Proposed Changes to Provincial Land Use Plans introduced at May 10, 2016 Port Credit event. Jaan Pill photo

The photos at this post are from a news conference in Port Credit on May 10, 2016, announcing the proposed changes to provincial land use plans.

Ontario Municipal Board

During the Q & A at the conclusion of the news conference, a Toronto Star reporter asked about plans regarding the OMB. The response from the Minister of Community Affairs and Housing was that changes are in the works, in that area. In particular, the legislation that is coming down the road, as I understand from the Q & A, will ensure that once a municipality sets out parameters for urban planning, developers will no longer have the option of immediately proceeding to the OMB seeking to overturn that wishes of the municipality.

When and if time permits, I will post a transcript of the Q & A.

Milton and Vaughn

Other questions that were asked concerned housing affordability as well as transit-cost challenges in new communities. Speakers from the audience noted that Milton and Vaughn have particular growth challenges. The point was highlighted in a question to Finance Minister Charles Sousa from a Toronto Star reporter.

Jaan Pill photo

Proposed Changes to Provincial Land Use Plans introduced at May 10, 2016 Port Credit event. Jaan Pill photo

Public input until Sept. 30, 2016

Members of public will have until Sept. 30, 2016 to offer input regarding the proposed changes to provincial land use plans.

The news conference referred to a proposal to ensure that future Official Plans will take climate change into account and noted that feedback from public will be important in further development of the proposals.

It was also noted that natural heritage features, watersheds, and agricultural lands will be protected under the proposed legislation. That includes protection of the Credit River watershed.

David Crombie headed the panel proposing changes to Provincial Land Use Plans. Over 19,000 submissions were made; 3000 people attended meetings at 17 town halls. There was a reference to “historic investments in transit superstructure.” A new set of town halls will follow. Heritage issues are among the topics to be addressed.

Links related to the proposed changes in Provincial Land Use Plans

Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review

Co-ordinated Review: Feedback on Proposed Revised Plans

 

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Great photo of Soryl (Shulman) Rosenberg meeting with fellow MCHS teacher Graeme Decarie in Montreal

FullSizeRender

Soryl Rosenberg and Graeme Decarie at a get-together in Montreal, May 2016. Both Soryl and Graeme taught at Malcolm Campbell High School in the 1960s. Photo source: Soryl Rosenberg. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Jaan Pill wrote (May 10, 2016  in response to the photo you see on this page):

That is awesome! – can I post it?

Can you tell me briefly the backstory behind the photo?

Best,

Jaan

[End of text]

Our most recent post featuring a message from Graeme Decarie is entitled:

“Jus’ thinkin’” post from Graeme Decarie, who taught at Malcolm Campbell High School in the early 1960s

Soryl Rosenberg wrote (may 10):

Hi Jaan,

Hope you are enjoying what some days we can call ‘spring’.

Graeme’s son Alex, who has a twin brother in Moncton, is at Concordia and Graeme’s sister also lives here. He came over with Alex. This is what prompted his trip here. He is 83 now and writes a blog in Moncton. While he was here we spoke to Lynda Spence (married to Barclay Allen) who is in Penticton B.C.

His visit in Mtl was short – 3 1/2 days,

And of course you can post it!

All the very best – until the next reunion!

Soryl

[End of text]

Graeme Decarie wrote (May 10):

I visited Soryl and Gibby just yesterday. So you must be talking of the photos her daughter took of us. I was some days in Ottawa and Montreal, visiting my daughters and grandchildren in Ottawa, then to see my sister and nephew and niece and my Concordia son in Montreal. So, of course, I also dropped in on Soryl and Gibby, It was, as always, a pleasant visit – with some very pleasant munchies.

Lots of changes in Montreal, though. The whole north west part of it has become a jungle of new roads, new business towers. I was constantly lost, and felt I was in an alien land. And for this small-town boy, everything was a hell of a long way.

Sure, go ahead and run the pictures.

[End of text]

Jaan wrote (May 10)

Most interesting to know about how Montreal has changed.

I was contacted recently by a researcher with an interest in 1970s cultural history, who sent me an old article that I had not read in about forty years; it provides an interesting overview of Canadian non-theatrical film production in that era:

Precarious Establishment [late 1970s Cinema Canada article by Jaan Pill]

[End of text]

Graeme wrote in turn (May 10):

I had some contact with the film world of the 1970s – and later. I did the voice-over for an NFB effort on the Notman photographs of the late 19th century. I also did one on the English of Montreal (can’t remember the name of the film), and was consultant for a film on the girls who performed in Black nightclubs in Montreal. And somewhere there must be a copy of a half hour show I did for Global TV on Montreal and the story of the Decarie Melon. I should have kept a note of these things – but I didn’t.

[End of text]

Additional comment from Jaan: So, when’s the next MCHS 1960s reunion?

A number of people, in messages that have circulated since the time of the MCHS 2015 reunion, have said (I paraphrase), “Let’s have another reunion, perhaps in Montreal or Vancouver.”

I want to say, by following up on Soryl’s comment of May 10, 2016 – “All the very best – until the next reunion!” – that I very much like the idea of a next reunion. I have some friends in the United States who had a sixtieth high school reunion on Oct. 17, 2015 – that is, on the same evening as the MCHS 2015 event in Toronto.

So, if any MCHS grad or teacher is interested in working with me to organize the Next MCHS 1960s Reunion, please let me know. We can form a committee and get to work. I would not be involved with the same level of intensity as was the case for the MCHS 2015 reunion, as I have many other volunteer and personal projects to attend to, which I put on the back burner to some extent during the planning for the Oct. 17, 2015 event. However, I know there are other people who can do a great job in organizing such an event, and I am keen to help them to make the event a huge success.

Please contact me at jpill@preservedstories.com if the concept of organizing the next Sixties reunion appeals to you; we can work together to take such a concept and make of it a reality.

 

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