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Letters – July 2013

Traffic study is too late

I read in the weekly local paper that John Parker, our rep on Metro council, is trying to have a traffic study done in Leaside to see what can be done about the excessive traffic (and air pollution – but that somehow never gets mentioned). Didn’t anyone let him know the barn door is open and the horse is long gone?

I love your publication and look forward to receiving it every month! It’s written by our residents for our residents about our community.

Pat Norton,
Sutherland Dr.

John Parker’s email

I am on Councillor John Parker’s business distribution list which, like Leaside Life, keeps me in tune with what is happening in our community. I was shocked to receive this week’s email. (Ed. Note: The cartoon of an overweight Rob Ford falling down on Prime Minister Harper and Senator Duffy, with the PM saying, “…we need something really big to take the focus off you…”)

In a time when we are trying to convey to our children that making fun of people because of what they look like is bullying and wrong, Mr. Parker, a public person representing our community, sends out this email. Shame on him.

Kimberly Lexovsky,
Glenvale Blvd.

Dollarama and the economics of cheap goods

Leaside Life business columnist Will Ashworth should be commended for his ethical concerns as to where Dollarama sources its goods. However, his suggestion that Dollarama goods are not sourced from “low-wage countries” merits much more thought.

In doubting that Dollarama vendors source from “low-wage countries,” Mr. Ashworth effectively suggests that cheap goods can be profitably produced by workers who expect wages and benefits in line with those of Western workers. This presents a radical break from decades of mainstream economic thought, since globalization itself has been predicated on reducing labour expenses by outsourcing production to low-wage countries.

Challenging this principle certainly demands more evidence than “I didn’t get that impression,” particularly given Mr. Ashworth’s own observation how Dollarama profits by depressing the wages and benefits of people who work right here, in Leaside.

Leasiders should recognize that cheap goods always come at a price, though not always one paid at the cash register. Whether these goods come from Bangladesh or elsewhere, our communities and environment at home and abroad suffer for the big-box, small-wage model. We owe it to ourselves to consider whether this model is really a good match for our community’s values.

Owen Sheppard,
Heather Rd.

Harper at Leaside 100 Gala

In perusing the Letters department in the June 2013 issue of Leaside Life, I had the unpleasant experience of reading Tim McDonald’s venomous partisan rant regarding the fact that the Prime Minister of our nation – and a Leaside native – had attended the April 27 dinner-dance celebrating the 100th anniversary of Leaside.

His ludicrous assertion that Stephen Harper’s attendance was inappropriate and only motivated by political grandstanding reflects the typical bitterness of a Liberal/NDP loser who still just can’t get over the fact that the Conservatives won the May 2011 election.

Prime Minister Harper’s comments were low-key, non-political, very personal and reflective, and completely appropriate to this very enjoyable event. Mr. McDonald noted that he was glad he didn’t attend (choosing to stay home and drink wine and eat pizza).

Believe me, I’m sure I speak on behalf of a lot of the people who were there when I say that I’m (also) glad he didn’t attend!

(Maj.-ret.) Mike Minnich,
Airdrie Rd.

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First off, I want to thank you for the great service you are providing our community. Even though we live here, there is no other way we can learn about all the things that are going on in Leaside.

The better informed we are, the stronger our community becomes. For me, Leaside Life is a must read, and  should be read by everyone that resides in Leaside.

I didn’t think the letter from Tim McDonald was appropriate or fitting to a community publication like Leaside Life. It is nice that Mr. McDonald’s wife double dated with Margaret Atwood but his rants about Stephen Harper, a former resident of Leaside and our Prime Minister, had no place in your publication.

If Mr. McDonald wants to spout, there is a nice park on Cameron Cres. and lots of room for a soapbox.

Ken Inglis
Cameron Cres.

Parking on Laird

Can someone explain why we still have two blocks of street parking on Laird when we have gone through the trouble of upgrading the road to four lanes?

We have a lot of traffic on Laird and we need the use of all four lanes from Millwood to Eglinton. It just doesn’t seem to make any sense to cut it down to two lanes for two blocks and then open it up again.

It seems to me that the restaurants all have parking in back and so do most of the businesses. Any other parking should be on the side streets.

And the corner at Laird and Eglinton continues to be a pedestrian hazard. I walk to this corner every day and it seems that it’s becoming a “chicken race” to cross on the west side of Laird trying to go either north or south.

Can we get city traffic control to please look at the traffic flow on this corner and come up with a solution?  Someone is going to be hit by cars short cutting the corner in order to get onto Eglinton westbound or onto Laird southbound. There are many close calls every day.

It wouldn’t hurt police traffic patrol to sit on this corner for a long while to nab the offenders. Also the corner of Donlea and Laird is becoming a pedestrian no-walk zone from 4 to 5:30 when there is a lot of cut through traffic.

Patti Knight,
Donlea Dr.

(Ed. Note: The traffic on Laird was on the agenda of the North York Community Council meeting late in June, but past our deadline.)

Urban development in Leaside

My wife and I have been facilitators of change in “knowledge based industries” for more than 30 years. As such, we  wish to respond to Patti Knight’s letter in the June 2013 issue of Leaside Life.

The issues surrounding urban planning and development are far too complex, and the short term and long term consequences far too significant, to be trivialized with the phrases “get with the program” and “get over yourselves”.

There are numerous examples of sensitive urban development that accommodate population growth without high rises, and that respect both the historical and environmental character of established neighbourhoods. We should all be highly sceptical of advocates of “growth” and its benefits, especially when those alleged benefits  encompass very large physical and social transformations.

Growth per se is neither inherently good nor bad, nor should opponents of specific development projects be characterized as “resisting change” or “looking backward”. We have travelled in Europe where examples of urban development and renewal that do not involve tearing down existing structures are the norm rather than the exception.

Finally, it is simply not the case that urban development invariably leads to economic improvement (for individuals or neighbourhoods). If such development occurs in defiance of community input, and without due regard for the environment, the economic benefit is negative. Sadly, Leaside now has too many examples where this is the case.

Mick Kahan and Joanne Harack,
Rykert Cres. and  Broadway

LOL at the government

I noticed that you wrote Stephen Harper said in the speech he gave at the centennial Leaside gala that he lived in 324 Bessborough Dr. As I live there now I was very interested to see if that was true. I listened to his speech online, and he actually says he lived at 332 Bessborough Dr. I thought you would want to know!

Geeta Thomas 

(LL) Thanks. The copy of the speech was sent to us by his office and (we) never thought of checking the number to the audio. (We’ll) check and see what happened.

(GT) No worries!  I looked up the copy of his speech as well on the government site (http://pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?id=5454), and they had 324 Besmer Dr., so there was obviously some miscommunication! I just didn’t want you to publish anything inaccurately nor take away anything from 332 Bessborough Dr. 🙂

(LL) … guess the lesson is never trust the government!

We have his speech on our website too. www.leasidelifenews.com.

And we will defend to the last drop of blood 332 Bessborough (or Besmer if need be).

Thanks. We’ll get a correction into the next issue of the paper.

(GT) lol! I learned that lesson a while ago! 🙂