We support community-driven urban planning at the City of Toronto

We support community-driven urban planning at the City of Toronto.

We support urban planning that accords with the Official Plan for the City of Toronto.

We do not support the concept that developers are qualified to serve as de facto urban planners in neighbourhoods across the City of Toronto.

There is value in community self-organizing. I am pleased to work with fellow residents, to the limited extent that I can, to ensure that our interests are taken into account – to the extent that such a taking into account is possible in a civil society – when planning decisions are made that have a direct impact on our local neighbourhoods.

I’ve recently had the occasion to share information about what this website is about.

Here’s the information that I’ve shared.

I’m a resident of Long Branch, a retired elementary school teacher.

Sale by TDSB of Parkview School, 2011

I became involved with local issues when a local school was being sold by the TDSB. I organized a letter writing campaign and with thanks to the efforts of other residents and support from local politicians the story had a successful ending as viewed from a community perspective:

The 2011 Parkview School story remains a source of inspiration and celebration for local residents in south Etobicoke

Committee of Adjustment, 2014

More recently with help from David Godley and through getting together and planning a strategy with other residents on Villa Road, where I live, I was involved in another project. We prepared an objection to an application to sever a lot on Villa Road near Fortieth Street and Lake Shore Blvd. West, and build two large structures that would, in our view, have overwhelmed the streetscape and caused a range of clearly defined problems – obstruction of views, obstruction of sunlight, increased risk of flooding, among other specified issues – for local residents.

We planned and rehearsed a presentation featuring eight residents, including the neighbours at abutting properties and across the street from the proposed development. We ensured that each speaker would address a different aspect of our message, to ensure that we did not repeat the same points. A resident, who at the time lived across the street from the property in question, served as our lead speaker.

We compiled letters indicating that 95 percent of the residents on the street, as well as a a good number of residents on nearby streets, were opposed to the proposed severance.

At a Committee of Adjustment meeting in September 2014, the developer asked for a deferral. The deferral was granted. The owners of the property across the street from the proposed severance negotiated with the developer in the weeks that followed. The couple who owned the house across from the proposed development sold their house and bought the proposed severance property from the developer.

A key aspect of the story was that David Godley helped us prepare our case. Our case was simple; it can be paraphrased as follows: “We ask that the Committee of Adjustment work in accord with the Official Plan. Here are the ways in which the Official Plan is not being followed, with respect to the proposed severance.”

I have a website that deals with local issues. My approach emphasizes the value of evidence, evidence-based practice, and accuracy and balance in reporting.

Jane’s Walk, starting in 2012

I’m a Jane’s Walk Leader and a Jane’s Walk Connector (encouraging people to lead Jane’s Walks). Here’s an overview of a walk last year (in 2015 we’ll be in the fourth year of leading walks):

Anecdotes Shared by Fellow Walkers

Long Branch Residents Association

I support efforts by Brian Liberty of Long Branch to organize a Long Branch Residents Association, as does David Godley among other residents.

One of my current projects is the organizing of a 1960s high school reunion.

A long-term project is to publish and broadcast interviews that I’ve been conducting, with Long Branch residents who are now in their 80s and 90s. I’ve made a number of online videos related to local history:

Peter Milczyn, MPP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore; Jim Tovey, City of Mississauga Ward 1 Councillor

I support Peter Milczyn’s efforts to change legislation as it relates to OMB:

MPP Peter Milczyn Dec. 4, 2014 e-News Update. Planning reform bill. Jan. 3, 2015 New Year’s Levee

I support Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP Peter Milczyn’s planning reform bill, outlined at the link directly above this sentence.

I also support the work of City of Mississauga Ward 1 Councillor Jim Tovey with regard to citizen-driven urban planning in Lakeview along the shore of Lake Ontario. The Lakeview story is highlighted at the Jane’s Walk overview mentioned earlier in this message:

Anecdotes Shared by Fellow Walkers – May 5, 2014 post by Jaan Pill at Jane’s Walk website

A large number of clearly presented, well-researched Lakeview-area planning documents are available online. Among them is a Dec. 10, 2009 overview entitled:

Lakeview Corridor Heritage Park: Building a Heritage for Tomorrow

A search for Lakeview at the Preserved Stories website will provide further background regarding community-driven urban planning west of the Mississauga-Toronto border.

 

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