Residents attending the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association were asked to show restraint when complaining to city hall about waterfront developments as this might trigger the transfer of funds from the city to the suburbs.
Councillor Adam Vaughan delivered his warning at the BQNA town hall meeting held at the Harbourfront Community Centre on June 1. He cautioned chronic, insistent complainers of waterfront developments to tone down their approach since this might provide enough fuel to divert funding to other projects outside the area.
“If we are not careful, our criticisms will be used against the waterfront to cancel the projects and the money will be sent elsewhere and we’ll lose all opportunity along the waterfront,” cautioned Vaughan to approximately 40 residents. “We are in a very tricky political position right now.”
“What we need to do is to make sure that the criticisms are not dispensed with, but the way in which you forward those to city council, will have an amazing impact on whether or not we get this infrastructure funding delivered to us as we’ve been long promised.”
“We need to sustain momentum on these projects.”
A major issue for area residents voiced at the meeting was not the development of the waterfront but the lack of police intervention with regards to traffic violations such as cars making illegal turns and cyclists riding on sidewalks and not stopping at red lights. One gentleman witnessed this and stated, “A police car was just sitting there staring.”
The BQNA asked residents attending the meeting to be part of a traffic committee that will examine the area and make recommendations that may include more speed bumps, no turns and one way streets and submit their ideas to Vaughan’s office who will then seek approval for the changes.
Neighbours’ complaints also focused on airport noise and planes landing after hours. Suzanna Birchwood, director of communications and public affairs from the Toronto Port Authority, told residents that they now have a method to address issues from the community more efficiently and encouraged residents to try their new system.
“We have this really fancy new system,” Birchwood told the audience, adding the airport is currently in the process of building barriers that will absorb sound limiting the noise from the airport. “We are going to be tracking all the flights and when you complain we’ll know exactly what it is.”
“That gives us better information for us to say yes we can do something about it, or it’s a flight from Pearson, or it’s something else flying through our airspace.”
Current developments in the Bathurst, Queens Quay neighbourhood include the upgrade of the promenade along Ireland Park and the Canadian Malting silos. The completion date maybe extended due to heavy rainfall but once completed it will be a new site for a tree lined, much larger walkway.
The land surrounding the silos is under development with some of the structures already demolished. The land is going to be used for community amenities like a pool, plus limited retail and residential space. As plans are being finalized, in the interim, the Port Authority has asked to use the land to marshal taxis off Eireann Quay. The proposal has not been approved and will be presented to the neighbourhood prior to it being sent to council.
A needed upgrade to a small, narrow and uneven portion of the Martin Goodman Trail curving between Tip Top Tailors and land owned by National Defense was brought to the BQNA’s attention as a danger to pedestrians.
Captain Bob Kennedy, brigade public affairs officer from National Defense, was in attendance and stated that upgrading the path is, “A workable thing to pursue.” He offered his services to help fix the problem. Kennedy will be working with Vaughan’s office to explore options.
There is good news for neighbours as a new Loblaws store at the corner of Bathurst and Front Streets and a public library at the corner of Bathurst and For York Boulevard will be opening in 2014. In addition, construction for the pedestrian bridge from Dan Leckie Way to Portland will begin in June of this year.
A public meeting and community process to discuss improvements to the storm water management system will be announced by the city’s public works department. Subway-sized basins are to be buried underneath parkland along Queens Quay, which will require a fenced off area. One catch basin is planned for Little Norway Park.
Information about the BQNA can be found at www.bqna.org. Noise complaints to the Toronto Port Authority can be directed through their webpage at www.torontoport.com.