‘Oblivious to hypocrisy’
Save our Leaside? What Leaside? Let’s have a look.
A traditional Leaside home comes up for sale. It is scooped up by a developer, torn down, and a large, $1 million+ house built in its place, which looks nothing like a traditional Leaside home.
The house is bought by a wealthy young couple, likely with two cars, one being a largish SUV. Already there is more traffic. The couple shops at the malls on Laird, and do not walk up to Bayview to patronize the traditional Leaside merchants.
This same couple go to local meetings and decry development and traffic, and shout to “Save our Leaside”, all the while oblivious to the hypocrisy of their situation.
Now, I am certainly not in favour of untrammelled development. But some is coming and we have to manage it. Just spare me the self-righteous proclamations about preserving the old Leaside. It is largely gone because of the actions of people like the couple in my illustration. So, rather than the constant NIMBYism, let’s find a reasonable way through the web of city development challenges.
I came across an old Star clipping where their columnist Christopher Hume and then-Toronto Mayor David Miller were foaming at the mouth that the OMB agreed to hear the SmartCentre application for big box on Eastern Ave.
Big box was not approved there, but it was approved in Leaside. The difference: a planning report that said there would be no traffic problems because most of the big box shoppers would use the LRT.
Blaming the OMB for big box on Laird makes as much sense as Bush blaming Saddam Hussein for 9/11.
The OMB was given a planning report that said there would be minimal impact on Leaside. That was the evidence that stood uncontradicted because planners are considered to be ‘experts’.
(Harry Truman said, “An expert is a fella who’s afraid to learn something new because then he wouldn’t be an expert any more.”)
The thrust of planning doctrine today is that we have to build up, not out. The planners believe they are the good guys trying to save the planet and Leasiders are just NIMBYs.
It was an assistant deputy minister of municipal affairs who told me our problem is that our zoning by-law hasn’t kept up to date with our Official Plan. Leasiders may be “up in arms” but we need to defeat the “experts” to save our neighbourhoods and environs.
We are up against ideologues obsessed with the Gardiner or the Island Airport and to hell with Leaside.
I totally agree with you (Will Ashworth, ‘I see it as positive change’, June issue). Well planned change for the Eglinton/Bayview area would be most welcome. Let’s get something nice and elegant going on. This is the time for it and Leaside deserves it!