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Jon Burnside’s winter roundup

The dog run of Sandy Bruce Park. Photo By Stan Flemming

The dog run of Sandy Bruce Park. Photo By Stan Flemming

I thought I would use this opportunity to update you on a number of issues in Leaside – a winter roundup!

The apparently dormant Smart Centre site near Wicksteed and Laird is stirring. Although this site has not been confirmed as the future home of Walmart, they are a partner in the joint venture, so it would seem to be the worst kept secret. The developer recently confirmed that much of the two-year delay was caused by a 100 sq. ft. section of land being conveyed to the City to extend Vaughan St. This contaminated soil had to be remediated and the Ministry of the Environment only recently issued approval. The developer is currently working on the final layout of the buildings and expects to submit a building permit request at the end of the year so that construction could begin in early 2018.

Four Seasons Auto, located next to the “Walmart” site, was recently sold to Otis Corp. with the auto repair company relocating to Canvarco Road. While the developer has yet to submit a formal proposal, they are actively looking for future commercial tenants. They have requested a demolition permit as most speculate that soil remediation will be necessary before developing the site. Expect the demolition to occur in the next month or so.

The Redway Road extension is something I have been working on since I was elected. Although the estimated construction cost of over $20 million and the fact that the road would be located in Ward 27 make this a challenge, the biggest issue is that the City doesn’t own the necessary land. There are two possible routes, but both are problematic. The first would be to build the extension adjacent to the existing CP rail line, but this land is owned by the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority, which, as a result of my inquiry, sent me a two-page letter of concerns. It is highly unlikely that approval to sell TRCA land for a roadway would ever be given.

The more promising possibility is an unused railway spur line which is owned by Metrolinx. I have requested a meeting with senior officials as it is unclear if they have any intentions to use this line and if they would be willing to sell it to the City.

As part of the original agreement to build a second ice pad at Leaside Memorial Gardens between the local arena board and the City, any deficits incurred by the arena were to be added to long-term debt while surpluses could be applied towards it. (The normal procedure with the other seven arena boards is that the City assumes both.) Because of construction issues, full operations were delayed and the arena ran a deficit of almost $84,000 in 2014. In 2015, they had a surplus of $39,000. We were able to make the case that the delays were largely the fault of the City itself, so the finance department reluctantly agreed to apply the surplus to the previous year’s deficit and forgive the difference of almost $45,000.

Lastly, improvements to the dog park at Sandy Bruce Park are largely complete. This heavily used area had become a mud pit owing to the slope of the land and the consequent flow of wood chips down the hill during heavy rains. Although there is no formal budget for maintenance, the Parks department agreed to strategically place large armour stones to disrupt the downward flow. Let’s hope better dog-walking weather is just around the corner!