Downtown core residents form association to be citizen voice on development
The core area is defined by Victoria Avenue at the north end to Lakeshore Road in the south and the west edge of Locust Street to the eastern Martha Street border.
According to the group’s website, the Core Residents “is a group of people that have come to believe that the issues of rapid intensification, massive building growth and its associated side effects are affecting the quality of our lives and the way we live and relate to our area….Many people are saddened by recent decisions by the city to allow massive buildings despite the input from residents and decisions of previous councils to limit growth and building heights. Many are feeling squeezed by builds that will shade their streets, obstruct their views, constrict flexible affordable business and cultural spaces and forever alter the patterns of life downtown….We believe the pattern of proposed overbuilding will create a permanent negative legacy.”
The group is also concerned that allowing development beyond existing Official Plan and Zoning provisions drives up land values, putting pressure on businesses and homeowners, and making it difficult to attract a diverse mix of housing and commerce to the downtown.
“The Core Residents Group have come together on common ground to work together, with the city and developers to arrive at building a sensible future amidst intensification fever,” states the website. One of the group’s goals is “to welcome and work with developers on projects that accord with the existing Official Plan and Zoning.”
I’m encouraged by residents joining together to provide a united voice on development proposals – and am aware that two other neighbourhoods in Ward 2 have or are forming their own citizens groups. Residents associations are also forming in other Wards. Overdevelopment is not unique to downtown or Ward 2. Residents across the city are asking City Council to follow our own Official Plan and Zoning. If residents can join together across neighbourhoods and Wards you will have more impact on persuading council, and will avoid the dismissive Not in my backyard label but instead speak to broad-based development principles.
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