I have been following with interest the recent Toronto narratives related to Garden Suites

I lived in Toronto from 1975 to 2018. During the last 21 of those 43 years, from 1997 to 2018, I lived with my family in Long Branch. As a former Toronto resident, I follow news updates from that city with much interest.

I was involved a decade ago with a successful effort to keep Parkview School in Long Branch in public hands. That’s what got me interested in the local history of Toronto neighbourhoods. I was also involved with the early meetings and discussions, bringing together a large number of residents, which led to the launch of the Long Branch Neighbourhood Association.

I’ve been involved as a volunteer in community self-organizing for 33 years. In those years, I’ve been involved in the founding of a local nonprofit organization, two similar national organizations, and an international nonprofit organization. I got involved in such pursuits by happenstance.

I have an interest in land use issues in Toronto and worldwide. I’m also interested in the related concept of space use.

When we deal with land and space use, we deal with local and world history including both settler colonial and Indigenous history.

A study of land use includes the study of how land use is thought about, within the context of the tight little world (as indicated by its mindset, worldview, set of early formative experiences, and preferred historiography) of any particular individual or group.

With regard to Toronto, a previous post (one among many; this one is from a year ago) is entitled:

Michael Mizzi, a senior planning manager at the City of Toronto, was guest speaker at Long Branch Neighbourhood Association AGM, Nov. 18, 2020 – TRANSCRIPT

I have also been intrigued with an attempt, which still stays in mind even three years later, by City of Toronto staff who claimed, at a 2o18 public meeting in Long Branch, that their public statements, regarding topics such as neighbourhood guidelines, were not to be recorded, even by way of direct hand-written quotations, unless prior permission were granted by the City.

I checked subsequently with media relations staff at the City of Toronto, and found there was no basis for such a claim.

The following post from April 2018 refers to this topic; buried within the post (exactly where, I do not know) are nuggets of information that may, for whatever reason, be of significance. The post I refer to is entitled:

Opposition to lot-splitting/overbuilding: April 4, 2018 Long Branch Neighbourhood Association meeting featured Q & A with Toronto City staff regarding Character Guidelines

Garden Suites Survey – Final Community Consultation

The Long Branch Neighbourhood Association, whose work I strongly support, because it makes a point of seeking out the views of Long Branch residents – and seeks to ensure those views are given voice – has shared information regarding the City’s current communications about Garden Suites.

An excerpt from a recent LBNA message notes:

Although it is unlikely that most people would oppose small, true Garden Suites where they are appropriate and that do not impact neighbours’ privacy, take down trees and negatively impact water situations on neighbouring properties, let’s be clear that is not what is being proposed.

The City is talking about large houses in backyards behind other houses, complete with full basements, air conditioning units, etc. and no space to even plant new trees between them. These are proposed to be “as-of-right” which means you would not know one is coming in beside or behind you until the bulldozers come in. And they would be exempt from current Floor Space Index requirements on the lot.

Note and Consider:

The amount of green space in the City’s illustrations are misleading.

Main houses can have a depth of up to 17.5 metres (57.4’)

The illustration shows a length of about half that (8.2m / 27’).

The green space remaining based on standard house depths and allowable building area will be much, much less than depicted.

Think of what our area and blocks look like now and what they would look like if this is approved. It would have a devastating impact on our Tree Canopy. Public consultation Survey is open only until November 30th.

I am an affiliated member of the LBNA

I’m now (as a resident of Stratford) an affiliated member of the LBNA. That means I can follow ongoing messages from the association and keep up to date through online meetings. I also make a donation each year to support its important work.

Click here for previous posts about the LBNA >

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