Laird area vi­sion still mud­dled

Village Post - - News - 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.

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