Beach Green candidate adds voice to mix

Ontario election candidate Debra Scott hopes she has the winning recipe for Green Party votes here in Beaches-East York: clean water and local food.

Scott, 44, is a former teacher who taught English in France, Japan, and the UK. The mother of two moved to the Beach from Davisville five years ago, in part to bring her young family close to the lake and ravine parks where they were already spending their weekends.

“I like the Beach because I can be a small-town girl,” she said, adding that she grew up in Yellowknife when the city had just 16,000 people.

“I can say hi to people I don’t know, and they say hi back.”

Debra Scott, Green Party of Ontario candidate for Beaches-East York
Debra Scott, Green Party of Ontario candidate for Beaches-East York

Asked about the key issue in the riding, Scott said too often, Ontario governments fail to factor in long-term environmental costs when they make development decisions.

“Why do clean drinking water and places to grow food keep taking a backseat to development?” she said. “Yes, we absolutely want to have a good economic plan for the city, for the province. But not at the expense of the environment.”

Scott also said Ontario loses an average 365 acres of farmland a day because the Ontario Municipal Board is too willing to allow development on what should be protected agricultural land.

“It’s time to close those loopholes,” she said, adding that she would like to see the OMB dissolved.

Here in the Beach, Scott said recent OMB battles over new condos on Queen Street are not about residents’ knee-jerk opposition to development so much as opposition to “buildings that are greedy.”

Regarding the Greens’ plan to unite Ontario’s public and Catholic school boards into one system with English and French schools, Scott said she supports it for two reasons: funding and human rights.

“I have friends whose kids are over at the Catholic school, and they talk about fundraisers just as much,” she said. “Everyone is tapped out.”

Scott said her party estimates the move would save $1.2 to $1.6 billion a year.

She also said a system that privileges one religion over others is at odds with multicultural Canada.

If the school boards were united, she said, Catholic parents could still organize private religious schools, as parents of other faiths do now.

“I know it’s grandfathered in, I know people just accept it,” she said. “But if you stood back for a minute and looked at it, is it okay?”

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Yes those very greedy six story mid-rise boutique luxury condos. A rose by any other name is still a rose – NIMBY

Rather than being greedy, these buildings support the very green principle of intensification and will reduce the suburbanization of farmland which you appear to oppose. How hard is it to suck and blow at the same time – people in this province need to live somewhere. many of these buildings also have green features lacking in the beach’s exisiting housing stock, including green roofs etc.

The OMB made a very controversial decision in Waterloo where they expanded the area of the city – into farmland that was supposed to be protected.

There are lots of places to intensify – there are lots of strip-malls and vacant land and parking lots in Scarborough, and the 905 has not being carrying its weight but are still preferring low density detached homes, particularly in Durham.

Yes, it is greed in all its glory! Intensification does not imply space suffocation. There are limits to what an infrastrurcture can accommodate. Can you cram 10 families in one bedroom apartment and expect them to be able to live comfortably?

Absolutely ludicrous comparsion.

As for Graff, he’s an anti-developmnet NIMBY of the first order.

Joe, I think her point is that many developers prioritize profits over development guidelines, happy in the knowledge that the OMB gives out variances constantly.

Regarding density, you’re kidding right? In a city where you can’t throw a stone without hitting a condo construction site, there must be a way to continue development while maintaining neighbourhood character. The concerns of residents are regularly discarded. That must change or we’ll end up with a soulless city.

On the contrary, the new boutique developments are what will give the renew the soul of the Beach. These buildings are completely in character with the Beach community, unless you consider run-down, rat infested premises stuck on the front of old homes, like the Lick’s building, to represent the character of the Beach. Remarkable how it’s always the Johnny come latelys who think that they have a lock on what defines the “character” of the beach.

Joe McNulty, the problem is loss of agricultural land and failure to protect clean water sources. Urban redevelopment and intensification are great and the Greens support retrofit funding, transit funding, and bike lanes. She running to be a member of provincial parliament representing the Beach, not a member of the municipal gov’t that is only concerned about the city. MPPs must consider provincial and federal issues, not just their constituents area.

Huh? MPPs must consider federal issues? In fact, municipal governments are the creation of the Province and their oversight is an integral part of an MPPs mandate – hence the need for the OMB to take planning decisions out of the hands of vote hungry municipal politicians who will pander to the noisiest local MIMBY groups.

Joe, I appreciate that you have a different viewpoint, but could you possibly supply fact to support it rather than using the term NIMBY over and over again. I don’t think you know any of us personally, yet, we are “Johnny come latelys”? My family has lived in this area for four generations.

Perhaps you have a stake in these “boutique” buildings that you keep mentioning? Whatever the case, you clearly have a very strong attachment to them. Not all of us do. Discussing the issue based on merit, rather than insults and black/white views (such as new housing can only take place on farmland or in the form of high-intensity “boutique” developments) would help bring some sanity to the discussion.

Joan, the positions taken by the anti-condo crowd clearly indicate that they are NIMBYs. Essentially, they say that you can build anything you want as long as it is three stories tall and has a statue of Jack Layton in front. Even the Toronto Star recognizes that the Beach is the most NIMBY area in the city – with people up in arms about high-end, six story boutique buildings when other areas of the city are being forced to deal with much greater density development. To call these buildings “high intensity” as you do or “big box” as the anti-development crowd does just isn’t supported by the facts and is indicative of a NIMBY attitude. BTW, intensification is by definition increasing density from that of existing uses. Given that land for greenfield or even brownfield development in the city is extremely limited, the choice is either intensification or sprawl.

I have no financial stake in any of the condos, built I have a very personal stake in seeing this area continue to thrive and that won’t occur with the status quo.

The Toronto Star might be the most left wing of the major papers (they are Liberal, not NDPers BTW) but they are the most pro-development of the dailies – in large part because of their massive weekend Homes Section is what makes them profitable. They are gung-ho for development, population growth, tolls to pay for transit, etc. in the GTA as they need more readers in the only part of the country where they are the dominant newspaper, unlike the Post or the G&M.

Oddly enough, it is the Post that is least pro-development, while being the most right wing.

We can not see the forest for the trees….
We concentrate on individual projects like condo development to the Nth degree, and ignore Infrastructure. The very infrastructure that can not sustain the chaotic and rampant overdevelopment; all, because the City Council did not get its act together on By-Laws and information to the public.

Jane; I agree with you… very interesting candidate, and very refreshing…. look forward to hearing more.

Interesting, but what I don’t get about the Green party is:

– They seem to be against the condo development in the city to intensify the number of people living in the city, which will mean they can then take transit to work

– At the same time, they are against the development of farmland for new homes

– They are for immigration at the same levels they are today

If all of these things are true and our population continues to increase where do they expect people to live?

I guess anywhere but their own backyard..

Steve, you say you don’t “get what the Green party is” and then go on to state several things that are not a true representation of their views. I don’t know much about them either, but am fed up with the three other parties. I am prepared to listen to their views with an open mind, rather than twist their message.

We have condo developments popping up every few blocks in the Beach area. However, drive a little further east/north and there are huge areas in Scarborough that are undeveloped. My understanding is that the Green party is asking that the development be spread out rather than concentrated in certain areas like downtown and the Beaches.

It is a no brainer that we need to protect farmland, so I won’t even touch that one.

Immigration at it’s current level is not a problem, we have one of the lowest levels of population density in the world. Again, that density just needs to be better spread out.

Joan, why don’t you develop a condo out in Scarborough where many of our politicians think the residents don’t deserve a subway providing a convenient reliable connection to the downtown area? Me, I prefer to go with the old real estate adage, location, location, location. Love the new condos in the beach – they will be instrumental in revitalizing the neighbourhood.

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