Laird area vision still muddled
Jon Burnside Ward 26 Councillor
When the Laird in Focus Study began in 2016, it was met with optimism by the community. Finally, we were going to get an informed framework for development on the west side of Laird Drive, from Eglinton Avenue East to Millwood Road.
With the formation of a working group of 29 community members to examine built form, traffic, recreation and heritage, it seemed to be moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before there were indications the consultant wasn’t on the same page as the community. The first idea to encourage truck traffic on Laird instead of Brentcliffe Road seemed counterintuitive and was quickly abandoned. Models showing the potential of a 45-storey tower at 815 Eglinton Ave. E. were met with opposition. It too was shelved. Although the provincial Growth Plan 2017 calls for a density of 160 people or jobs per hectare within a 500-metre radius of a higher order transit station, the consultant advised many of the large lot sizes could accommodate more density. I made it clear that exceeding those targets was a non-starter.
A new north-south road connecting 815 Eglinton Ave. E. with Don Avon Drive has also been hotly contested. The consultant contends it would improve connectivity for cyclists and pedestrians while facilitating vehicular turning movements. This might work if the intersection could be constructed in such a way to prevent the straight through movements of cars. We all know simple sign prohibitions are sadly ineffective and enforcement can’t be relied upon.