Rally held op­pos­ing streetscape plan

New group named Wil­low­dale Peo­ple is against Yonge pro­ject

Bayview Post - - News - — Jes­sica Wei

Wil­low­dale Peo­ple, a new res­i­dents’ group, have been caus­ing a stir in North York. The group is against REimag­in­ing Yonge, a streetscap­ing plan in­tro­duced by Ward 23 coun­cil­lor John Fil­ion, that would see new streetscap­ing, bike lanes and a re­duc­tion of traf­fic lanes along Yonge in North York.

Among the con­cerns of the group are traf­fic im­pacts, the elim­i­na­tion of street park­ing in favour of bike lanes and what they see as a lack of trans­parency in the con­sul­ta­tion process.

Wil­low­dale Peo­ple held a rally in Mel Last­man Square on July 9, which was at­tended by over 50 peo­ple. The group was founded by Wil­low­dale res­i­dent Sta­cie Kor­jenevitch. She said she sees the group as an op­por­tu­nity to keep the pub­lic more in­formed.

“[REimag­in­ing Yonge] was some­thing that was bug­ging me for quite some time be­cause it was done in a way that res­i­dents were not even aware it was hap­pen­ing,” said Kor­jenevitch. She first read about it on Face­book in late March 2017 and at­tended a com­mu­nity meet­ing led by Coun. Fil­ion. There, she met Norm Gard­ner, for­mer North York city coun­cil­lor and another or­ga­niz­ing mem­ber of Wil­low­dale Peo­ple.

“It seems like the more peo­ple are in­formed about the fact that a lot of busi­nesses may go out of busi­ness here, there will be more mo­men­tum in op­po­si­tion to the elim­i­na­tion of the two lanes and the park­ing,” said Gard­ner.

Ac­cord­ing to Fil­ion, the city has mailed out 66,000 no­tices for three sep­a­rate com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tions, and his news­let­ter has been sent to 44,000 house­holds.

“The vast ma­jor­ity of res­i­dents that have taken part of any of the con­sul­ta­tions thus far are in favour of it,” said Fil­ion. “So why would I give le­git­i­macy to this group of peo­ple who I’ve never heard of, who don’t take part [in the con­sul­ta­tions] over the many hun­dreds of peo­ple who I have spo­ken to who like it?”

Kor­jenevitch is con­fi­dent the group will grow and is con­sid­er­ing form­ing an of­fi­cial as­so­ci­a­tion.

“If we’re not vo­cal, we will not be heard,” she said. “Then Mr. Fil­ion will go to city hall and say, ‘Ev­ery­body agrees with me. Ev­ery­body’s happy about this pro­ject’ be­cause this is what he’s been telling peo­ple so far.”

Wil­low­dale Peo­ple or­ga­niz­ing mem­ber Sta­cie Kor­jenevitch at Mel Last­man Square

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