Letters to the Editor for March 18

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From our March 18, 2014 issue


Now is the perfect time to consider a monumental addition

Currently, Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon is encouraging discussion about refreshing and revitalizing a small and important portion of Kew Gardens.

There is a war monument located in the area of concern and most people will recognize it as the staging area for annual Remembrance Day services. This structure is a focal point of the park and its fountain dispenses a cool drink of water for people and beasts on hot summer days.

This monument, also referred to as a cenotaph, is missing something of importance, and although it is an inanimate object, I tend to rhapsodize it to the point at which I feel it stands there in embarrassment, waiting for someone to notice – and many people have now noticed and commented on its deficiency.

The monument recognizes the dates of the First and Second World War and the Korean War, but it ends there. It’s restless in its own solitude knowing that it omits those Canadians who served in other conflicts and peacekeeping missions such as, and not limited to, Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda and Afghanistan.

It seems to me that this is the perfect opportunity to include a discussion on upgrading this monument in the context of the opportunities presented in the revitalizing of the small area in Kew Gardens.

My suggestion is to add “and to all of the veterans in the service of Canada” to the blank panel on the bottom right side of the monument.

Remembering all our veterans would honour the courageous men and women of the ages who sacrificed themselves, for us, on the altar of freedom.

Bob Murdoch


More to the story of Queen Street condo

Re: Deal struck for Queen/Woodbine condo [Beach Metro News, March 4, 2014]

The article on the settlement for 1880 Queen St. E. is disappointing.

First, because the settlement is a huge victory for the developer, and secondly, because it only included the views of people who supported the settlement, making the deal sound far better than it is.

Where was the voice of anyone independent of this backroom deal?

In effect, the developer got nearly everything in his application.

The deal essentially moves the building (inside and out), by about 1.2 m north – very little internal floor space is lost. The parking garage now extends under the laneway. The building is now more imposing on the north side, where the impact is greater on residential areas.

Had the developer lost, or not gained the specific concessions he won, he would have had to totally redesign the floor plans and re-sell all the condos he already sold. He took a big gamble in pre-selling condos without the zoning approved, and he won big-time!

The Greater Beach Neighbourhood Association and Councillor McMahon want to paint a big happy face on this settlement, but the article didn’t look at their past positions.

McMahon saying it now “almost meets all the guidelines” is absurd – the building is still six storeys straight up on the main corner, without any setbacks. The 0.9 m setback is only 5 m long and applies on the fifth floor, on just the south side.

The building now violates the rear angular planes of the Beach Urban Design Guidelines even more than the original proposal.

She botched things on Queen Street from the beginning, starting with Lick’s [1960-1962 Queen St. E., formerly a Lick’s restaurant, now the planned site of Lakehouse Beach Residences – ed.] and her failure to pass an Interim Control Bylaw, which would have stopped both condos at Woodbine. The “hold” on development she trumpeted was useless. It was the Lick’s OMB approval that undermined the appeal on the Shell site, and thus on 1880 Queen St. E. too.

She says proposed Official Plan Amendment will still give us protection that is “pretty darn strong” – what ever happened to the guidelines alone being the “Beach Bible?”

Brian Graff



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I love The Beaches! But lately I find myself enjoying King west, and Queen West. With Condo’s bring young people that support new business and start new restaurants….Queen St East can’t stay in time capsule for ever.
I agree that condos should be pleasing to the eye and more detail should be put on the ground floor.
I also agree that Mary M M is little wish washy when it comes most issues. The City as a whole is booming. Don’t miss the boat before the boat moves to Leslievile. Let’s be honest it already has.

But Leslieville is not booming because of condos or development – quite the opposite, it is booming because there are lots of old buildings that can be rented cheaply, because parking and traffic are not as bad, and because it is not so “out of the way” as here… we Beachers drive or TTC through Leslieville – not that many come here except in the summer.

Queen in The Beach was one of the first areas in the east end to gentrify and have interesting stores and restaurants.

Condos won’t revive the retail here – rents are high and the people in condos work during the day – we need more jobs in the area to bring in people who work and wil shop during the day.

And the small landlords need to fix up their buildings and invest.

Let’s get rid of the hydro poles and above ground tree planters, and do a few other things. New buildings are not necessary – look at Queen street around Bathurst, or Little Italy or other hot retail areas which kept their old buildings. The idea that you need to demolish and build new is out of the 1950s and we need only look at the condos on the racetrack to see how easy it is to get things wrong and to not have a vibrant retail strip of stores.

And Brian Graff would have you believe that there is no condo development in Leslieville, when in fact the pace of development there far outstrips that in the Beach. Condos built or under development in Leslieville include The Carlaw, The Printing Factory, The Showcase, The Flatiron Lofts, the Leslieville Town Manors and the Work Lofts. And several of these are far beyond six stories and are not terraced – imagine! It is precisely becasue of this forward looking re-development that Leslieville is thriving. Good thing that developers in the Beach are not being scared off by the prevalent NIMBY attitiude personified by Brian Graff.

Only a couple of condos are on Queen – the main area for condos is on Carlaw.

The point is that what makes Leslieville successful has nothing to do with any influx of new development – it is merely part of the inevitable process in this city, new york and others where one by one run down neighbhourhoods get gentrified as previous ones become too pricey.

More anti-development misinformation from Brian Graff – there is, in fact, quite vibrant retail strip on Queen west of Woodbine across from the condos anchored by Zane’s, Starbucks, Meat on the Beach, the vacuum cleaner shop and the new art stores. I expect this to only get better as the retail in One Rainsford is occupied. The retail on the ground floor of the condos on the south side of Queen faces the same issue that exists east of Woodbine – they are on the south (wrong) side of the street. I don’t have any hard facts, but I would suggest that vacancy rates on the south side west of Woodbine are lower than east of Woodbine.

Yes, the retail works in the old buildings, and the 2 ones that were renovated work but this is mainly a major bank and a starbucks and not much else…

meanwhile the retail units on the south side in the rest of the beach don’t have this same contrast in vacancy – walk east from Lee to Wineva and there is hardly any vacancy on the south side.

Starbucks, thriving pastry shop, long standing vacuum store, learning centre, new art supply shop, boutique butcher/grocer – much more thriving than any block east of Woodbine. South side, major stores including Living Lighting, Rogers and Structube, and some smaller ventures inlcuding hair salons and vet cntres. A very thriving commercial strip although there have bneen some recent turnover as there has east of Woodbine (see game stop, the consignment cltohing store at Balsam and others). The facts aren’t your friend.

When will Joe McNulty finally admit that he is employed by developers/developers lobby? It is pay-per-post or a salaried position? Also, do they pay you extra to use the word “NIMBY”?

By the way, Brian is right – a vibrant community is one in which people live and work. The flood of condo cash (mostly from off-shore) is only interested in residential. Oh well, the commute from the beaches to Mississauga isn’t that bad it is? But seriously, isn’t there a historic norm for a balance of business and residential units in a working city? Why does McNulty never build office space?

As usual, when she fails to muster an argument on the merits, Kippendavie resorts to ad hominem attacks and baseless accusations. Show me evidence of offshore money invseting in the Beach condo market. You can’t because the more likely reality is that these units are being bought by downsizing long-time beach residents.You’re not really even worth responding to. Your namesake street was a collection of derelict cottages and 60s apartment buildings until some recent new development started a makeover which will hopefully continue and sweep fossils like you out of the neighbourhood.

There is no office space being built in the Beach becasue there is no demand. If you think there is put your money up.

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