This evening I stumbled upon a webpage addressed to candidates for City Council and Mayor to comment on a detailed post by Mr. Knapik, who lives in Long Branch, South Etobicoke, ending with the question: “Who is willing to advocate for this community?”
What follows is my rather long answer:
October 23, 2014
Dear Mr. Knapik:
I came across your webpage addressed to candidates for City Council by accident this evening, and am taking the time now to respond as to my efforts for the residents of Long Branch in past months:
1. On March 13, 2014, I personally wrote to the Committee of Adjustment opposing proposed re-development which was not minor in nature for the following properties: 6 Shamrock Ave, 82 27th Street, 67 30th Street and 206 Aldercrest Rd. Several of these were turned down by the Committee of Adjustment and are now under appeal at the OMB. I believe David Godley, whom you likely know well, has been working very hard to assist his neighbours in order to get “good re-development” in Long Branch and Alderwood; not just “maximum intensification” which is not in character with these neighbourhoods. A copy of my letter is attached. Letter to Committee of Adjustment – Mar 13, 2014
2. I drafted letters to the Committee of Adjustment for signature by the Chair of the Lakeshore Planning Council (LPCC), Timothy Dobson, opposing re-development which was not minor in nature for the following properties. Copies of the letters are attached for your review.
– On July 17, 2014, opposing re-development which was not minor in nature for 86 23rd Street LPCC Letter to Com. of Adj. 86 23rd St, July 17, 2014
– On July 24, 2014, opposing re-development which was not minor in nature for 25 24th Street LPCC Letter to Com. of Adj. 25 24th St, July 24, 2014
– On August 28, 2014, opposing re-development which was not minor in nature for 20 James Street LPCC Letter to Com. of Adj. 20 James St – Aug 28, 2014
– On September 18, 2014, opposing re-development which was not minor in nature for 13 Villa Rd LPCC Letter to Com. of Adj. 13 Villa Rd – Sep 18, 2014
– On October 14, 2014, opposing re-development which was not minor in nature for 25 24th Street LPCC Letter to Com. of Adj. 25 24th St, Oct 16, 2014
3. In September 2014, I added a webpage on Tree Protection to the LPCC website for reference by residents: http://lakeshoreplanningcouncil.com/tree-protection/ including the City of Toronto Policy on the protection of trees, the positive economic value of trees, heritage trees, and an OMB decision on tree protection.
4. In August 2014, at my request, Long Branch neighbour, Diane Cusimano, gave a very detailed presentation at the LPCC meeting, particularly for residents in Long Branch and Alderwood, on how and what materials they could provide to the Committee of Adjustment if they opposed excessive re-development of a property in their neighbourhood. David Godley also attended and provided additional helpful information for residents on hearings at the OMB on these matters.
5. In October 2013, at my request, a City staff member attended a LPCC meeting to advise residents on creating Heritage Conservation Districts. This may particularly apply to some streets in Long Branch. There are a number of communities throughout Toronto who are taking this route to protect their neighbourhoods from major, inappropriate re-development.
6. In September 2014, I wrote to a solicitor asking what steps for protection of long-established neighbourhoods such as Long Branch could be taken under the Official Plan, and he advised that perhaps Chapter 7 of the Official Plan for Site and Area Specific Policies could be utilized. I haven’t had time to study this idea yet.
7. In April 2014, I drafted legislation for community districts and community boards for Toronto, which will put the force of law behind public consultation practices, which, as you know, at the present time usually result in the views of residents being ignored. Establishing Community Districts and Community Boards under the Toronto Municipal Code will require the City by law to provide information on a timely basis, work with residents in their communities, permit residents to provide input to the city budget, and receive written reports from residents in their communities. This legislation will save money, generally provide oversight by residents of city department activities, and create open, transparent and accountable government, which we currently do not have.
8. One reason why I haven’t visited your neighbourhood is I have appealed the Mimico Secondary Plan proposed by the City, which, once again, is a “give-away” of the Mimico waterfront to developers with no benefits to the community, including selling off parkland to developers, in an area that is historically deficient in parkland. My solicitor has suggested I could save money if I gather information and do some of the research myself. I have spent months doing research and putting together thick binders of data and information. There is much more to be done. I don’t know if I can, or even should, continue to pay out of my own pocket to protect the public interest in this matter.
I hope you can see that I have done far more for Long Branch than any other candidate who is canvassing for the position of City Councillor for Ward 6.
The position of City Councillor is a very powerful position. If I am elected, I can try and do a great deal more for Long Branch. If I am not elected, I will continue to be treated in the same fashion as you are being treated by the City. Unless we have major change in City government, there is no doubt that the situation for Long Branch and all other communities throughout the City will get worse, not better.
I have spent many thousands of dollars mailing my flyer to residents in Ward 6. Unfortunately, the majority of these will be treated as “junk mail” and not delivered, or will end up in the re-cycling bin without being glanced at.
Tomorrow I will knock on your door to personally deliver my flyer. I hope that in light of the above, you will consider voting for me as the next City Councillor for Ward 6.
My campaign slogan is “Putting Communities First!”