Save Queen Street

May 15, 2013

Hi LeRoy: Regarding the article by J.J. in the recent issue under the subtitled “Purpose: To protect the views of the Fire Hal and pretend that it matters. I am a little disappointed that your publication does not seem to think that views of the Fire Hall matter – it is one of the most beautiful buildings in the Beach. I also hope that you do not consider me to be one of the “helpful citizens” that are sarcastically mentioned. Unfortunately, the matter before Council was only the “guidelines” dealing with the shape and appearance of future buildings, and putting some of those guidelines into the zoning bylaw. So, issues about flooding, or even traffic and parking, have been left out. This is because the whole “Visioning Study” process that the Councillor launched didn’t include a full study of ALL the issues that relate to development on Queen Street . We could have had proper study of geology, hydrology and everything else, if McMahon had done the right thing: pass an Interim Control Bylaw and have the City pay independent consultants to do either a full Avenue Study or Secondary Plan Study with full input from the community. Judging from the submissions made last fall to the study facilitator and Council, most people feel that the guidelines go too far. Yet, the GBNA says that these guidelines are the result of a “community consensus” which was clearly not true. Even worse, the guidelines do not offer the full protection of a “Secondary Plan” or an “Area Specific Policy” (both of which go right into the Official Plan itself). The latter is what Mike Layton is getting for Ossington. I fought for improvements to be made to the guidelines – to ensure that it is harder for Council or the Committee of adjustment to ignore the partly changes that we are getting. Council did not even stop to ask one question about the specific changes or problems shown in my presentation. You are not the only “lone voice” out there – but what is an issue is that some of the so-called “neighbourhood” groups out there that pretend to speak for the community but unwilling to challenge McMahon and other members of Council to do far better than what the sloppy work that the Planning Department feeds them. Brian Graff Hi Brian, I understand you ran in to my ace investigative reporter J.J. at Tuesday evening’s meeting regarding the Carmelina Condominiums. He reported that he met you before at City Hall and says you are quite amiable. Of course you are… You’re a Beacher! I guess some residents aren’t thrilled at having a huge crane swinging over their properties and occasionally dropping concrete. That crane is mammoth! About your letter: We also love the view of the fire hall tower as it is part of the backdrop that VISUALLY greets visitors to the Beach. I do believe that it “over-shadowed” some issues regarding the safety of Beach denizens and your e-mail strongly indicates that you also have concerns about the lack of geological/hydrological information. We at Ward 32 News have concentrated on the issues that can’t be seen by the human eye. No one else seemed to care at all. That is why J.J. referred to us as the “lone voice” when it comes to the safety of our fellow Beachers. I think we can both agree that our local councilor has been less than adequate on all issues regarding construction in our beloved Beach. We certainly appreciate your involvement in the Queen Street issue as you fought for improvements to the guidelines. As you stated in your e-mail, Council didn’t stop to ask you one question about your presentation. Upon returning to the office after the City Hall meeting, J.J. said he was stunned at the lack of interest shown by the councilors. I can assure you that we appreciate your involvement because apathy in general has seemed to taken hold of the public. As far as publishing some of your articles, we thought your opinions were worthy of exposure to the public. After all, I have taken a more radical position and kept attacking like a pit bull. Your ‘take’ on the subject helped ‘tone down’ our publication. As far as I am concerned, the fight to save Queen Street is far from over as it is not in my personality to give in when I know I’m right. We are now trying to think of a way to FORCE a complete hydrological study. If you have any ideas that will help us do that, please share them with us as your input will be taken more seriously by us than it was by our local politicians. LeRoy

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