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We need to step back on Laird

In the days after the election I met with residents and began addressing their concerns. However, I officially started my role as your councillor on Dec. 1 and my office team is now in place.

My first priority downtown was to build relationships with city staff. I have already had numerous meetings but probably the most important one, as it relates to Leaside residents, was with the chief planner, Jennifer Keesmaat.

I was heartened by our discussion about the seemingly piecemeal approach to development in Leaside and the need to “step back” and look at the Laird corridor with a broader lens. Members of the planning staff appear to share my concerns about the proposed development at 146-150 Laird (near Commercial Rd.) and the terrible precedent it would set for future development on the west side of Laird.

I raised my concern that development in the city is clustered in specific areas to the point of overdevelopment in some and none in others. In a strategic effort to have a more balanced approach, I will be pursuing a change in city-wide development fees so that in areas of saturation, fees will be extremely high but in areas of underdevelopment they will be correspondingly low.

Although I see my role as being the voice of the community, I would like you to know my general view on development.

For most of us our house is our single largest investment and, of course, it’s where our whole life is centred.

People make decisions based on assumptions of which of our laws play an important role. These rules need to be respected.

I understand development in our city needs to happen but my starting point of discussion will always be the respect for the rules in place.

I met with Mayor Tory and discussed the need for the Redway Rd. extension as part of the traffic reduction strategy and plan to meet with Councillor Fragedakis (in whose ward the road would be built). This is definitely a long term project but my action has begun.

We still have spots available for both the North & South Leaside Traffic working groups as well as the Development working group, so I encourage you to call or email me. Your involvement will help us get results for our community.

Very importantly, I was left with empty filing cabinets, so if you have any unresolved matters, please contact my office so that we can get working on it right away: 416-392-0215. councillor_ burnside @toronto.ca.