Can Sec. 37 streetscape improvements be maintained?

Siobhan Geary —

St. Lawrence residents worked towards preserving local heritage while making the most of incoming developments at the September 28th St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association (SLNA) meeting.

SLNA Pres. Suzanne Kavanagh urged members to attend upcoming Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearings, particularly the  October 11th prehearing for one of the 14 appeals made in response to the proposed St. Lawrence Heritage Conservation District (HCD).

“We want the OMB chair to know that this is a big issue for our community,” said Kavanagh “There’s going to be a lot of divisiveness because this area is going to set a standard.”

An informative presentation by Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell was also on the agenda. McConnell demystified the procurement and application of Section 37 funds, the city benefits provided by developers in exchange for bylaw amendments, and outlined some past and upcoming public developments.

“There’s a lot of pressure on this neighbourhood. We have to be able to look at not just approving development because we get stuff, but taking our fair share when it does get approved,” said McConnell, “Section 37 is really about public benefits.”

Some applauded the proposed public realm work, but questioned whether the park and streetscape developments obtained through Section 37 could be adequately maintained.

“If all we do is build a beautiful park that looks like garbage five years later, what’s the point?” said McConnell, “We are really trying to protect the assets we have.”

Others asked about streetscape work and park development north of King, concerned that the area wasn’t being given adequate consideration. McConnell empathized with the concern and assured attendees that the City is in the process of pursuing a number of projects north of King, notably  enhancements in Moss Park and parkland around Queen and Sherbourne.

“You bring up a correct question: ‘Will I ever see the money that came as a result of us choking up [past developments]?’” said McConnell, “You will, but it will take a bit of time.”