ASK A PLANNER: Big Box and Leslieville

Spacing introduces a new and sporadic column called Ask A Planner. We’ll ask some of our sources to translate policy and bureaucrat-speak and give us open and honest analysis on a current city-building topic. The first topic is the recent OMB decision to deny a big box retail complex to be built in Leslieville.

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The Ontario Municipal Board recently issued its decision in SmartCentres/Toronto Film Studios v. City of Toronto. As regular readers of Spacing will  know, this was a very hotly contested battle in the media and at the Board. In the end, the Board decided not to allow the appeals, and thus denied Smart Centre to build their planned big box complex. The 50+ pages decision is surprisingly entertaining in spots. The goal of today’s column is to try to explain the decision for non-planners.

Q: What were the main issues that the Board issued its decision upon?
For the Board, the case came down to two main issues: Did the City respond reasonably to the SmartCentres application? and Did the SmartCentres application represent good planning?

Q: What did the City do in response to the SmartCentres application?
The City tried to prevent the project by passing new Official Plan policy restrictions.

Q: How so?
Basically, the Official Plan at the time said that converting the lands from industrial/employment to non-industrial/employment could be done, but it had to be justified through a special study where certain tests were met. The “local Councillor” — Paula Fletcher — however, initiated a parallel, and separate, policy change process that “ignored the City’s professional staff.” It was this politically-driven policy process that lead to the planning policy changes that unambiguously “slammed the door” on any retail on the SmartCentres property.

Q: What is wrong with that?
The Board found that the justification for passing these restrictions were completely unsubstantiated and unworkable, and were merely a knee-jerk reactionary response by the “local councillor to an unwanted application.” Furthermore, the Board found that the City’s response “represent[ed] a panicked response to an unwanted development scheme and are neither a warranted nor rational response.” In doing so, it found that the City threw its own (2 year old) policies “under the bus.” What is unfortunate, is that this response was completely unnecessary (see below).

Q: But would the ends have even justified the means?
Nope. The City’s goal was stated at the Board to be the protection of the existing businesses in the South of Eastern Employment District. To do this, the City said it had a vision of a “modern business campus” for the property and the policies it adopted were to implement this vision. This vision was completely absent from the Final Report by staff and the resulting Official Plan Amendment. One of the problems of this concept, it was pointed out by SmartCentres market analyst (and not contradicted by the City’s expert), is that this concept would actually have the same impact as the SmartCentres application on the adjacent lands: Drive up the land value and drive out existing businesses.

Q: Which means?
If the City’s vision, enacted “as a political whim without one iota of substantiating planning analysis,” had prevailed it would have eventually screwed the district.

Q: OK… so the City acted in bad faith… why doesn’t that mean that the application is approved?
All OMB hearings are hearings de novo. This means that regardless of who appealed what, or what municipal body did or did not approve what, both sides at the hearing have to start from scratch and re-present the case from square one. Prior approval is basically interesting trivia. This is, in part, why OMB hearings are incredibly expensive undertakings for big projects. (speculation is that this hearing cost SmartCentres well over $1million).

Q: So, what did SmartCentres want permission to build anyway?
The SmartCentres proposal was for 65,000 square metres of primarily retail floor area (including, likely, a Wal-Mart). Unlike similar suburban counterparts, the design of the project was much more suited to an urban centre. While there were still a significant number of parking spaces, they were concentrated in the middle of the site, with buildings along the street frontages mostly shielding them from view. Additionally, the buildings would be clad in different colours of bricks and feature varying roof-lines. Very unlike a comparable development in Mississauga or Vaughan, if only in terms of urban design.

Q: So what happened when the application was submitted?
The application triggered the requirement for the City to study the effects of the proposed development. This study took the City 22 months to prepare. One of the components of the study is an evaluation of whether the conversion, if approved, would destabilize the remainder of the industrial district. Destabilization was described by the City’s market analyst as “retail contagion,” whereby isolated retail developments do not stay isolated for long. Approving this development would put increasing land value pressures on the adjacent properties (at least) to seek their own retail conversion permissions because retail land is more valuable than industrial land. Approving the development would predictably lead to other properties terminating leases, not renewing leases, and “displacing price sensitive businesses that rely on proximity to the Downtown Core.”

Q: What about the market analyst for SmartCentres? What did he have to say?
Unfortunately, for SmartCentres, the Board found that the SmartCentres market analyst failed to investigate the possible negative impacts this application could have had on neighbouring properties and the employment district as a whole. Instead, they provided evidence that only described the benefits of the proposal to the city and the area. This wasn’t the test that the applicant had to satisfy; a fact that was not lost on the Board. “The responsibility rests with SmartCentres to unambiguously demonstrate that all of the tests have been satisfied,” the Board wrote.

Q: Which means?
Ultimately, the Board agreed with the City’s position regarding the application, and noted that “genies, once out of the bottle, are near impossible to recapture,” and denied the application.

In its decision, and in summary, the Board made some important observations. Firstly, the often characterization of retail jobs as “not real jobs” seemed to almost personally offend the Board. It scolded the “stigmatization” of retail jobs and reminded all that the type of job is not a planning matter, and, like it or not, “retail is economic development.”

Secondly, and more importantly, the Board openly shamed the City’s baseless politicizing of land use planning, how it ignored its professional planning staff, and its reactionary approach to unwanted development. That the City ultimately won in the end was merely coincidental to its position going in. If anything, the City should send SmartCentres a thank you note for doing its job for them. In doing so, the Board concluded that, while the City “maintains the right to regulate land use policy,” in doing so, its motivations must be bona fide. In doing so, the Board made the broad observation that “legitimacy of purpose” is fundamental to a proper planning exercise. And as such, the Board must review the genesis of municipal planning decisions, lest “municipal planning decisions be impervious to review and critical examination.”

This decision reinforced that land use planning, though ultimately a political decision, should be above petty politics. If the City Political Class ever wants to take ultimate control of its own land use planning destiny, this decision should be a strong wake up call that it needs to be smarter, more prepared, more proactive, and, frankly, more grown up.

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In order to have urban planners go on the record with brutal and honest opinions on such hot topics, Spacing has to leave the author’s name anonymous. The reason is simple: in most cases, the planners Spacing talks to are not allowed to speak publicly because their employer does not want controversial employees. Spacing has made sure that the author does not have any involvement with either side so that they have minimal bias when answering our questions. Our editors also comb the piece and challenge the planner(s) on specific things in order to make it as objective as possible.

photo by Jay Morrison


  1. Bravo. I really liked the last paragraph.

    “This decision reinforced that land use planning, though ultimately a political decision, should be above petty politics. If the City Political Class ever wants to take ultimate control of its own land use planning destiny, this decision should be a strong wake up call that it needs to be smarter, more prepared, more proactive, and, frankly, more grown up.”

    Basically stating what everyone has known all along. So great to hear it worded like this.
    Amazing how stupid Smart Centres were though.

  2. Is the “Ask a Planner” planner intentionally anonymous?

    Explanations of these issues tend to be biased, intentionally or not, and knowing your source(s) and their affiliation(s) would help parse the bias.



  3. Thanks for the post–one could spend hours digging through application .pdf and hot air from newspaper columnists and still not put together a better summary than the above.

    I’m so, so glad this didn’t go through.

  4. A great synthesis on going through the planning process and ultimately how it is an unsatisfying compromise to most everyone typically. I like how the various political tactics and bureaucratic hassles were laid bare. Not to say that we need to discard the process – but, just to realize how truly large and complex things like this are and how the whole planning process is so much more than zoning, neighborhood character. and a few public meetings. It often includes demographics planning; future visions of job, lifestyle, and rec, in the area; how the city will become different because of its changing parts; city revenue; developer revenue; vision as cosmopolitan city versus collage of neighborhoods; etc.

    It makes me wish that there was more of a system of feedback from ALL of: neighborhood dweller, city dweller, professional planner/ critic (not directly associated with the city), politician, etc. Perhaps every development request could have its own blog of all events, paperwork, and decisions made so that people could intervene/discuss on a more casual/timely basis. It seems we still have a long way to go to make the ‘public/professional input’ aspect of the process a lot more inclusive, transparent, but still efficient while mitigating costs. Blog it all.

  5. Yes it’s anonymous. Simply, we could not get anyone to go on the record for brutal and honest opinions on such hot topics. And in most cases these planners are not allowed to speak publicly because their employer does not want controvertial employees. We’ve made sure that the planner does not have any involvement with either side so that they have little to no bias going into it. Our editors also comb the piece and challenge the planner on specific things in order to make it as objective as possible.

  6. @Blackett: Thanks, good to know. Might I suggest that you add something to that effect to the blurb at the top for posts of this nature?

  7. wow. That Barber column is incredible.

    And this analysis is great too. I think it’s the first solid straight explanation of what went on in that decision.

    (copyedit note: cut “The 50+ pages decision, ” from the beginning of the 4th sentence)

  8. John Barbers column was needlessly oblique but the posting here I thought was much clearer and focused. The “victory” seems a bit hollow in this reading.

  9. The local councillor comes off very badly in this. I’m supportive of Miller et al, but this kind of Chicago-Machine stuff needs to be reigned in, makes everybody look bad.

  10. A great, informative read. Thank you for this.

    Barber’s column is entertaining, but he’s so cynical as to lose credibility. Ditto to his previous article on Metrolinx.

    Perhaps a testament to the glacial pace of progress on many urban issues, I find that a number of our urban reporters are too jaded and have probably passed their shelf life.

  11. Josh E Y> Good point. Imagine if you had been writing about the waterfront or TTC for 30 years it would make one pretty jaded.

  12. I am confused. The city’s strategy seems to be protect these lands from appreciating. I really hope they can come up with something more constructive than that. If not Leslieville can look forward to being like Toronto’s other “employment districts”, full of used car dealerships and places of worship.

    Toronto has a woeful, even embarrassing record on “creating” jobs. To date it is over 300,000 jobs behind its plans. Toronto needs the lands and the environment (tax environment) to make it feasible.

  13. Today’s author of ASK A PLANNER sent this email to me to ease any fears of their anonymity:

    I want to be anonymous, because it permits me to be more open in my analysis and observations than I could be otherwise (I do work before the OMB somewhat frequently). I have been working as a planner for 10 years, in both the public and private sectors. Though my bias is generally towards encouraging development, my ultimate bias is towards good planning. I turn down jobs when I cannot say that it would represent good planning, and I plan on bringing the same critical standards to any columns I write for Spacing. I see my role as more of an explainer, with a little commentary thrown in for flavour.

  14. I don’t think these types of commentaries are ever unbiased but this is an excellent piece. If the subsequent “Ask A Planner” entries are half as good, this series will be a winner. I am glad that this development was rejected. But I was horrified regarding some of the tactics used by the local councillor and those opposing the development
    …especially the denigration of retail employment which smacks of elitism.

  15. I really loved this column, a hint of why I read Spacing despite the many problems I have with it. It also highlighted one of the biggest problems we have in Toronto’s development process – the tyranny of the local councillor.

    This tyranny tends to lead to horrible planning and insanely dysfunctional approaches to the challenges of our city. Karen Stintz’s election (much as I tend to agree with her views) is the most atrocious example of this – a councillor who made the right call by not challenging high density development on top of a subway station with existing high density development was removed by NIMBYs. So all councillors are on notice that if they even try to make intelligent decisions they are very likely to be dealt with. In this climate it’s far better politically to be unreasonable and then hope that you lose at OMB.

    Barber is almost invariably wrong and his recent columns are getting to be willfully obtuse. As plugged in as I am and as interested as I am about the issues it all barely made any sense to me, never mind actually trying to engage a wider public.

    I do like that other people have noticed the horrible snobbery that the denigration of retail jobs entails. Also funny that the same people who demeaned the Smart Centre jobs don’t demean similar jobs at boutiques and restaurants in neighbourhood shopping strips. Of course most of the people working those approved jobs look and sound like the people who dislike Smart Centre (or, in other words, they’re a bunch of racist, classist, snobs who only accept people from their tribe and aesthetic, regardless of their notional positions on racism, immigration, and equality).

  16. This is one of those posts that makes me wish Spacing ran NOW or Eye. While I know the mag/blog has a progressive POV, its refreshing to see that your writers remain critical, but not attack the subject (like NOW does). You could’ve thrown Fletcher under the bus but let the OMB decision speak for itself.

    Can NOW buy you guys and install you as editors? Their high horse and total-NDP hard-on (Does Olivia and Jack have editor-at-large titles?) needs to be knocked down.

  17. Maybe he/she could do a piece on the Kodak lands:

    “Residents voice disapproval at Kodak lands meeting

    Metrus Properties met stiff opposition from residents after a detailed presentation of their proposal for a mixed-use office and retail development on the former Kodak lands in Mount Dennis.

    Developers outlined their plans for the 52 acres near Black Creek Drive and Eglinton Avenue at a community meeting Monday hosted by York South-Weston councillors Frank Di Giorgio and Frances Nunziata.

    The proposal centres on a 600,000-square-foot retail complex that would feature enclosed pedestrian walkways such as those at outdoor markets in Europe. Two office buildings are also included, a four-storey building on Eglinton and another two-storey building on Ray Avenue, making up about 200,000 square feet.

    A rezoning order is still needed for the retail component since the land is currently designated as “employment lands.”

    “We believe this proposal will rejuvenate the community with its unique and exciting architectural format,” said Roslyn Houser, a lawyer representing Metrus. “It’s a lot more than just a shopping mall, it includes a variety of employment. I think you’ll see there’s a great deal of benefit.”

    Metrus’ economic consultant Jeannette Gillezeau presented a study that showed a steady decline in employment in the area from 1987 to 2007, which she said could be improved by the 630 office jobs and 1,550 retail jobs the proposal would create.

    “No major office buildings have been built in Toronto west of Dufferin Street in the last decade,” she said. “We believe this could be a catalyst for revitalization of the local community, it would demonstrate that the Weston-Mount Dennis area has the potential to attract private sector investment.”

    Residents did not seem pleased by the proposal. More than 20 took to the podium after the presentation to voice their disapproval. Among their concerns were a lack of well-paying, secure full-time jobs, increased traffic and pollution in the area and the effects of big box retail on smaller retail strips in Mount Dennis, Eglinton Hill and Weston Village.

    “Many real employment jobs have gone to become retail or housing because the city allowed the transfer of employment lands like this one,” said Mike Sullivan, of the Mount Dennis-Weston Network. “This is not what the community wants, it’s not what the community needs.”

    Many residents urged the developer and city staff who were present at the meeting to keep the lands open for industry or green-energy initiatives such as windmills.

    “This is one of the largest industrial sites left in Toronto,” said resident Rick Cicarelli. “It’s ready to go back into production, so why not consider it for industrial employment that would offer well-paid jobs?”

    Di Giorgio agreed bringing well-paid jobs to the community would be ideal, but stressed that option wasn’t on the table at this time.

    “This type of application isn’t a panacea or magic solution to all the problems facing this community,” he said. “There are a lot of benefits and a lot of costs. It is office and retail jobs, but there are all sorts of people needing jobs. We don’t have many people skilled enough to fill high tech jobs and nobody is coming forward to provide those kinds of jobs.”

    While no industry interest has come forward yet, the TTC is evaluating the site for a maintenance and storage facility for the light rail transit (LRT) line planned for Eglinton Avenue.

    TTC deputy program manager Warren Bartram said the Kodak site is the best they’ve viewed so far given its size and central location along the line.

    “There just aren’t many large sites like this available,” he said, stressing the service lot wouldn’t take up the whole site. “I heard people mentioning they wanted good, long-term jobs. Well, that’s what the TTC offers, jobs for life with pensions and benefits and everything.”

    Bertram said it could take up to a year for the TTC to decide on a final site.

    City planners attending the meeting stressed the Metrus application is in its very early stages and hasn’t been evaluated by all city departments yet. As the process proceeds, planner Doug Burn told residents, more community meetings will be held to gather further input.”

  18. Can we “Ask a (Chief) Planner” why developers are guaranteed an appeal to OMB simply on the grounds that the City is incapable of processing application in the statutory period allowed?

  19. I’m also a planner. The right to appeal comes from the Planning Act:

    Appeal to O.M.B.
    (11) Where an application to the council for an amendment to a by-law passed under this section or a predecessor of this section is refused or the council refuses or neglects to make a decision on it within 120 days after the receipt by the clerk of the application, any of the following may appeal to the Municipal Board by filing a notice of appeal with the clerk of the municipality:
    1. The applicant.
    2. The Minister. 2006, c. 23, s. 15 (5).

  20. The piece makes some good points, but I have to admit I’m surprised that the overall reaction has been so positive. A couple of points of dissent:

    First, I completely agree that Paula Fletcher shouldn’t have “ignored the city’s professional planners”; planners definitely have their role to play in ensuring that council decisions are well-informed. But I don’t think it’s inappropriate for her to take an active role in deciding what happens to the site. The fact that she takes into account the views of her constituents in this process isn’t “reactionary”, it’s just democratic. Urban planning is not a purely technical discipline; it inevitably involves political and cultural questions of what kind of community we want.

    Second, regarding the accusation of “elitism” for denigrating retail jobs. If you talk to people in the mid-sized cities in Ontario hard-hit by the loss of manufacturing jobs, what they’ll tell you is that the problem is not so much long-term unemployment as the fact that well-paying industrial jobs are being replaced by retail jobs with much lower wages, minimal benefits and no long-term stability. In Toronto, meanwhile, we have a different but related situation: whereas working-class people used to be able to afford a small but comfortable house in the downtown core (especially the east end!) on the salary of a long-term blue-collar worker, the loss of industry has resulted in increased bifurcation between a privileged university-educated professional class and an almost exclusively non-white marginalized group working in temporary jobs and relegated to long-term rental housing in poor areas of the inner suburbs. (Obviously this is something of a simplification, but this is the overall trend). In this context, I fail to see how it is “elitist” to object to the construction of a megamall on a site zoned for higher-quality employment.

    More generally, it’s one thing to agree that lawmakers at all levels should try to make policy decisions in the public interest based on the expertise of the civil service. It’s quite another to think that there should be an unelected body that can overrule our democratically elected representatives based on their own personal judgement of how rational our representatives are. The only other area I know of where our representatives can be overturned in this way involves violations of basic civil rights or legal procedures, when the courts overrule legislation for being unconstitutional. “Rational” planning isn’t so important that it justifies this removal of power from council.

  21. @Reality Check: since when was John Barber about “engaging with a wider public”. It’s the Globe and Mail, not the Star.

  22. RG – not sure you got my point, assuming you were replying to mine. The City of Toronto routinely fails to meet the 120 day deadline because it does not sufficiently staff Planning. It therefore offers even egregious applications a free hit – and because the City has rarely opposed such appeals with the vigour it did SmartCentres here, this is why the OMB has granted so many.

    The question is – when is the City going to realise that if Planning isn’t staffed and Legal doesn’t fight every case, all the rest isn’t worth a damn? Maybe we should do what Paul Bedford suggested and bring back the Toronto Planning Board.

  23. the omb is often criticised, but i think the right target for criticism is the committee of adjustment. that’s the body charged with granting variances from zoning by-laws, among other things. the committee of adjustment has a neighbourhood-level focus (i think this is a non-controversial point). in other words, if somebody who lives across the street from a proposed development is unhappy with it, then it possibly won’t happen.

    why is this a good idea? why shouldn’t somebody who lives in scarborough have a say about the density of downtown neighbourhoods? and the reverse: why shouldn’t somebody who lives downtown have no voice in the development of another smartcentre in scarborough?

    right now, the omb is the only place to judge the city’s decisions (including those of the committee of adjustment) against provincial law. this is very valuable. if you think the omb often gets it wrong, maybe you should call up your provincial mla for a chat. the solution is not to leave decision-making to the city, which only listens to neighbourhood-level concerns and may act in the ways cricitised by the omb in the leslieville decision.

  24. J.M., I agree with much of your analysis, especially your conclusion that staff’s function is to provide their best advice — but that their advice is with respect to specific “political” aims that are reached through political process. In other words, “rational” planning does not function independent of the political process.

    That said, regarding your comment about lands zoned for “higher-quality employment”, I am unaware of this being a zoning category either with respect to Leslieville or anywhere else.

    I also think it quite telling that with respect to Leslieville, the City strongly objected to the quality of the jobs that would be created by the proposed development — whereas with respect to a development that the City approved for the Rexdale area (which was also objected to by members of that community on the basis that the jobs created would be low-wage) the City seemed oblivious to that community’s concerns about low-wage jobs. I don’t have a problem with the City fighting for development that brings higher-quality employment — but I think it needs to aim for this in all areas, rather than pick and chose on the basis of what neighborhoods are being gentrified. Otherwise, the City risks intensifying the split between the innercity (highend) and the inner-suburban ghettoes (low-end housing and employment) that you mention.

    As I said, I am not against the City holding out for high-quality employment. What I found “elitist” were published comments by the Councillor and by many of the opponents of this development that retail jobs were not “real jobs”. It’s one thing to say many retail jobs are not good jobs. But I would say it is elitist (and insensitive to those who work in retail) to say that retail jobs are not “real jobs”.
    PS. I don’t work in retail — thank God!

  25. The thing that struck me most when I leafed through the full decision was that the rules the OMB was applying were the city’s own. At least in this case, the OMB came close to finding against the city because it hadn’t played by its own rules.

    Retail jobs are a good example. It was an issue because the city’s definition of an employment district doesn’t specify which kind of jobs it should contain. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing to stop the city from changing the definition to discourage retail jobs. The point is simply that they need to do this at the policy level — a full debate by council about the kinds of jobs the city wants to encourage, independent of any particular development — not by trying to toss out specific applications that are trying to play by the current rules as written.

    And absolutely, more planners would be good, and for more than just complying with the 120-day deadline. A bigger planning department could be more proactive, and work with neighbourhoods to create secondary plans that would establish the kind of development that would be welcomed. Developers don’t want the cost of failed applications and OMB appeals, so giving them a sort of pre-approved roadmap could encourage much better submissions.

  26. Great feature. Looking forward to the next edition. It’s nice to see actual planning analysis rather than anti-Walmart vitriol found on certain other sites. Like someone mentioned in the decision day thread, it would be interesting to see if the opposition would be the same for an IKEA rather than Smartcentres/Wal-Mart.

  27. Mark Dowling – I think the reasoning behind the 6 month deadline is that the politicians and/or staff could delay the decision on an application unreasonably in order to deter development (that may actually be permitted).

    The new complete application regulations give a bit more balance. Developers can’t just submit an application with limited info, appeal after 6 months and present full studies at the OMB (that planners haven’t had time to evaluate)

    Municipalities can also require pre-consulation meetings that will help prepare staff for an upcoming application.

  28. As a 4th yr urban studies student at York U. my final paper is about the big box proposal and Leslieville. I am interviewing Leslievillers (business owners/operators and residents). If you are a Leslieviller and have 20 minutes to talk about Leslieville and the big box proposal, I would appreciate meeting or emailing with you to get your “take” and experiences of Leslieville.…please reply to my email.
    Cheers, Christine

  29. samg – fair enough. I was assuming that the lower quality of retail jobs was at least part of the thinking behind excluding them from “employment” districts without a special application, even if this wasn’t made explicit in the name of the zoning category. Also I wasn’t aware of the difference between this case and the Rexdale one – that doesn’t sound too good.

    One thing that might be quite helpful would be if another installment of “ask a planner” compared the system in Ontario to that in other provinces. My layperson’s understanding is that, for example, nothing comparable exists in B.C., and yet Vancouver has been able to plan and densify quite successfully without its city council getting overruled all the time. But I’m no expert on B.C. planning law and I could easily be wrong about this.

  30. I assume you were referring to the Woodbine Live development, samg? Now that I read about this more I see where you’re coming from, and I wish I’d known more about it when it was ongoing (even though I was away from the city and not really following its media when the rally and vote happened in October 08). The NDP establishment doesn’t look good at all for not taking up CORD’s concerns more. Anyway, thanks; I’m glad you brought this up.

  31. @J.M. I BC, I believe, planning decisions are made at the planning department/director of planning level (they have an EXCELLENT director of planning there). This change was brought about slowly, after a hard fought 20 years or so. Appeals are heard by the Board of Variance. The BoV is a 5 member tribunal that is appointed by the City. In one instance, the City didn’t like a decision rendered by the BoV.. so they fired all 5 members.

  32. JM,
    I was talking about the Woodbine Live development in Rexdale(the exact name had escaped me). Again, I think the right decision was made to turn down the SmartCentres application in Leslieville. Too bad the same didn’t happen in the Woodbine Live scenario.

    Even if you had been in town back in the fall, you still might not have heard about the Rexdale project because the local media all but ignored those protesters. I heard about it because I was on the subway one day and happened to see ONE article about it in a freebie news rag lying on the seat next to me — and was surprised that the situation had not received more coverage. At the risk of coming across as jaded, I think our local media has become extremely selective (more so since amalgamation) in terms of what community-specific protests it choses to shine its light on… and those who aren’t trendy or affluent or sans any connections to media types typically don’t make the cut.

  33. FYI- further to the comment that the TTC was “considering” the site for a Light Rail Transit depot, they are no longer considering but have put it in for full review.

    Out of 6 locations (5 south of Lakeshore), the Eastern Avenue depot is the only one that is within 100 metres of residential housing. The options being considered have now (in the 4 days since I received the notice in the mail) been narrowed to 3. One of these options continues to be the Eastern Avenue location. The TTC is looking to rush this decision to the City Council meeting in July.

    Please go to the June 18 meeting (630pm) at the EMS training center 895 Eastern Ave (East of Leslie at Knox) to get educated and hopefully you’ll agree to oppose the Eastern Avenue location!

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