By Dennis Hanagan –
Protecting the character of the Leslieville neighbourhood will be on the minds of residents invited to Morse St. Public School at 180 Carlaw St. on Oct. 3 for an open house about the future of Queen St. E.
“How can we make sure (Queen) is going to be built up a bit, densified, and protect the character of our neighbourhood?” Toronto-Danforth councillor Paula Flectcher posited in an interview.
Earlier this year she asked Toronto and East York community council to approve a planning study for the street between the railway near Jimmie Simpson Park and Leslie St. Lura Consulting—which also does consultation work for Waterfront Toronto—was hired to initiate the public discussions.
“Queen St. E. in Leslieville is experiencing some interest from landowners to redevelop properties for mid-rise buildings,” Fletcher wrote to community council. “It is desirable to have guidelines in place to support vibrant, high quality mixed-use development.”
The study is to focus on achieving “appropriate built form,” building height, massing, architectural treatment, and streetscape. According to Fletcher, residents want “an inclusive, diverse, mixed-income community with affordable homes, shops and local jobs.”
Andrew Sherbin, chair of the newly-formed Leslieville BIA that runs between Vancouver and Empire avenues on Queen, welcomes the study. One of the first things his BIA did was establish a development committee to work with developers and property owners regarding Queen East’s future.
“We encourage development. We just want it to be the right kind—something that is fitting with the overall character of Queen St.,” Sherbin said in an interview.
Would mid-rise buildings fit Queen’s character? “That’s where this process will help inform us,” said Sherbin.
Riverside’s bid to become a Heritage Conservation District, the Port Lands, public realm and streetscaping for Carlaw-Dundas, and future employment lands designation for Eastern Ave. are also to be discussed at the open house.
According to Fletcher, about 2,000 people have moved into the Carlaw-Dundas area after it was rezoned for live/work uses, while the Eastern Ave. employment area had grown thanks to the film industry. Many Queen St. businesses support their Eastern Ave. neighbours with props, costumes and technology.