It's clear that residents of the Republic and surrounding neighbourhood are very concerned about the runaway development that's happening in our community. It was a full house this week with local residents attending our annual meeting to hear from councillors, MPPs and city staff about what actions we can take to manage the impact of construction and to influence reckless decisions being made by the provincial government. Guest speakers included: Stuart McGhie, the recently appointed Construction Hub Coordinator, Josh Matlow (Councillor, Toronto-St. Paul's), Tracy Luong (representing Councillor Jaye Robinson, Don Valley West), Jill Andrew (MPP, Toronto-St. Paul's) and Premier Kathleen Wynne (MPP, Don Valley West).
The RRA also presented a summary of the activities it has undertaken over the past year to keep our community livable. Here is that summary:
The RRA organized a write-in and call-in campaign to urge Minister Clark, Premier Ford, and MPP Robin Martin to approve Midtown in Focus as approved by Toronto City Council.
Lobbied against Bill 108 which brought back the OMB.
Worked with all local Councillors – Matlow, Robinson and Colle (we're also giving a big shout-out to all their staff who were invaluable in these efforts).
Liaised with other local associations and umbrella groups including, but not restricted to, SERRA – South Eglinton Ratepayers’ & Residents’ Association and FoNTRA – Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Associations.
Since Midtown in Focus was rejected by the provincial government we focused on: working with our City Councillors to manage the impact of construction in our neighbourhood including: staging on building sites, not on the streets or sidewalks; proper maintenance of sidewalks; replacing/updating parking signage, adding parking restrictions and parking enforcement; controlling concrete truck idling; restricting street-side flushing of concrete waste; restricting use of bright crane lights after working hours.
Met with numerous individual developers and insisted that they follow the Midtown in Focus principles as approved by City Council.
Continued to support our City Councillors in ensuring that developers follow all city building and zoning requirements.
Continued to raise the issue on social media and with the media in general.
Participated in a media conference and in the efforts to make our neighbourhood safer after the tragic death of Evangeline Lauroza at Yonge & Erskine (Construction Hub Coordinator position was one outcome of this tragedy).
Joined 10 other Yonge-Eglinton area residents’ associations at Queen’s Park in October 2019 at the invitation of Hon. Kathleen Wynne to pressure the provincial government to reconsider its rejection of Midtown in Focus. Premier Wynne hand-delivered a letter to Minister Clark on our behalf, urging him to meet with us and tour the neighbourhood. He promised to do so but never did; when we reminded him a few times he said he had toured with a local MPP and that all was well. Since we know he didn’t meet with Jill Andrew (our MPP) we presume he meant Robin Martin (MPP west of Yonge) who definitely does not represent us. So we’ve asked Jill Andrew to invite us to the Members’ Gallery at Queen’s Park again where we will re-state our case. We will be guests of Jill on February 20.
Participated in the Midtown Town Hall in November hosted by Josh, Jaye and Mike Colle to discuss issues faced by the Yonge-Eglinton community as it deals with overdevelopment.
Actively involved in St. Monica’s proposed development (new church and a 44-storey condo proposed for 40-44 Broadway); met with developers several times; expressed our dismay at the height and density and even contacted Cardinal Collins, Archdiocese of Toronto, who said that the developer is “listening carefully to community partners”. As a result of our rabble-rousing a Block Study is being undertaken thanks to Jaye Robinson’s efforts. This study will take into consideration 14 Broadway (Toronto Housing) and St. Monica's School.
Meanwhile the RRA got lots of publicity on this issue including a major piece in The Star by Tess Kalinowski and a morning radio interview with John Moore on CFRB.
Met with developers for 89-101 and 39-41 Roehampton and 55-65 Broadway on construction management and staging and urged them to take into consideration safety, parking, pedestrian accessibility, noise, dust, etc.; they were receptive to our concerns but we will continue to monitor with Construction Hub Coordinator.
Met with Stuart McGhie to outline our concerns and establish a working relationship.
The RRA also set up a new website and continues to update residents through email newsletters.