Letter: New urbanism must embrace nature, not oppose it

Our cities are the sum of thousands of decisions absent foresight – each made with insufficient consideration of the next, much less the long term, the future. And most of us, I believe, live with some degree of regret about what’s been lost to build the kinds of cities we live in.

And yet, left well behind, oblivious to our regret and our sense of the possibilities if we did things differently – and, indeed, oblivious to all but the application before it – is our city and its planning process.

And so I found myself audience to a presentation proposing, absurdly, a seven-storey condominium – at 847 to 853 Kingston Rd. – to be built on and into our Glen Stewart Ravine.

Here in our community, we live over ravines that were years ago ploughed under. Much of what’s left of our ravines is fenced off, too fragile to serve as playgrounds for our kids or even as a place for the gentlest of walks. Below our feet flow rivers and streams, nearly all long ago buried and some simply lost.

But in this community there is an obvious awakening – an increasingly broad recognition of mistakes made and a desire to do differently. Our ravines have “Friends.” Our parks have farmers’ markets. We plant canoes above ground as markers of and memorials to the rivers and streams below. All of it reflects a desire for something more natural and local.

It’s not difficult to imagine how much healthier our lives would be had we preserved the ravines and cared for the rivers that flow(ed) through what are now our neighbourhoods.

We are searching for a new kind of urbanism – one that is not opposed to nature but embraces it. We need a city – and those who govern it – to not interrupt that search to consider condos in our ravines. We need them not to delay doing things differently.

Matthew Kellway


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13 comments

How do you know it isn’t the provincial or federal election? Just as long as there are no more Bussin/McMahon rematches!

Because Kellway is going to run for city council. He wants to be a career politician like his left wing pals Paula Fletcher and Pam McConnell and his idol, Jack Layton. He has yet to meet a public trough that he wouldn’t like to feed at.

Matthew Kellway speaks for many, many residents seriously concerned about the influx of so many large-for-this-area buildings, all of which exceed every municipal and provincial growth guideline and city bylaws, all of which require Committee of Adjustment acceptance from city politicians, sometimes based on city planning reports.

No city staff or politician truly listens to resident concerns, voiced at public meetings every time, for a full and comprhensive review of the demands these new way-over-density-‘allowed’ buildings will put on our overtaxed infrastructure…traffic, parking, water, etc. We ask and ask and are told each proposed building is individually assessed. That is incredibly shortsighted and dangerous to our community growth reeling out of control.

Our elected Councillor should be speaking up for the residents, not against them or simply relying on city planner reports. This latest proposed building so far exceeds everything stated, and worse, wants to build on fragile ravine land. So wrong.

So let me understand. If the councillor parrots your views, she is “speaking for residents”? What colour is the sky in your world?

Live in a small building with trees etc in 3 sides. A small building. We each know one another. However our building was built withconsideration and thought about 50 years ago. Human beings need nature and human sized surroundings. Matt understands how cities work best. I agree with his concerns. We need balance.

JM do you have anything at all to say about condos being built on top of ravines? Do you think this is a good idea? Or did you post here in an attempt to derail discussion of the issue at hand. On the internet we have a name for that.

Someone posted that this McNulty is not his real name and he is using the name of someone who used to be in the community and was well respected… I think it mean nasty if you tarnish someone else’s reputation if you steal their good name.

Can we please have Toronto withdraw from the Ontario Municipal Board already? We don’t need any more thoughtless rubber-stamping of condominium proposals.

Agree with some of the comments above, we don’t need any more career leftie politicians talking about how much they want to protect our neighbourhood and then allowing one of their cronies to build a massive Tim Hortons on public property right on the most prime real estate in the beach. David Miller and Sandra Bussin’s gift to the beach, along with a legacy of massive debt.

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