Where are the good builders in Leaside?
Recently, I received a long email from a Leaside resident complaining about the seemingly non-existent tree protection rules the city has in place for homes under construction in the area.
The author of the email was specifically upset about the treatment of an old tree on Rutherglen Rd. The exact address is immaterial to my article but if you live on the street I’m sure you can figure out which house I’m talking about.
The more salient point is that the builder’s treatment of this tree in the author’s opinion is a travesty.
In my editorial role with the paper, I’m made aware of countless situations in the area just like the one on Rutherglen where builders run roughshod over nearby residents.
Profit, profit, profit. Time is money. Following rules means delays which translate into higher costs and a lower return on investment. Builders are under extreme pressure to slap the homes up as fast as possible, get the inventory off the books, book the profits, and move on to the next project.
Unfortunately, many builders seem to be cutting corners to meet their investment objectives and in the process alienating the very people they should be bending over backward for to maintain the peace. At least, that’s if they want to continue to benefit from Leaside redevelopment.
It’s frustrating for someone like me who’s made a career writing about great businesses to hear nothing but horror stories at build sites from one end of Leaside to the other. There’s a house on Donegall Dr. that should be razed to the ground it’s such an ungodly mess. I feel for those neighbours.
So, once more, I want to know, where are all the good builders?
The LPOA seeks $30,000 from Leaside residents to fight the good fight at Sunnybrook Plaza. Meanwhile, residents are unprotected from home builders in the area who are putting up one or two houses at a time; projects, that in my opinion, do more to harm the character of Leaside (when done badly) than any major redevelopment currently on the drawing board, including 939 Eglinton Ave.
Fear not, I have a solution.
The LPOA, in conjunction with the city’s planning department as well as Leaside Matters, should create a Leaside Builders’ Seal of Approval (LBSA) where builders operating in the area are rated on their ability to get projects done in a responsible manner. Those ratings would be available online for all to see.
Think two lists: one naughty, one nice. Those getting top marks could pay to use the LBSA in their marketing materials.
With all the horror stories out there, the ability to cherry pick the good ones would be a huge time and money saver for those looking to transform a Leaside property in need of a more contemporary look.
And for the bad ones, it might just shame them into doing right by the community where they make money. After all, good businesses are also good corporate citizens. The two go hand in hand.