Residents sound off at council regarding Clarkson Village

2015-10-28 McCuaig on Clarkson Village study

(Lorne Park resident Cameron McCuaig was at City Hall Wednesday, asking to see a reversal of council’s previous vote regarding density in Clarkson Village. Photo: Kelly Roche/QEW South Post)

A handful of Clarkson residents are vowing to fight for as long as they have to in order to maintain the integrity of their beloved historic neighbourhood.
“We won’t back off,” said Wendy Davies, past president of the Meadow Wood Rattray Rate Payers’ Association.
She was one of several deputants who showed up at City Hall Wednesday morning to address council regarding the Clarkson Village study.
Davies, who has lived in the area for more than 50 years, asked council to show “respect” for residents with properties abutting the proposed development sites along Lakeshore Rd.

The intensification debate is focusing on two sites: RioCan’s HomeSense plaza, and the south side of Lakeshore, west of Meadow Wood Rd.
City planning staff recommended six storey buildings in the 2010 study, however, council voted last year to cap it at four storeys.
Property owners are appealing, and a hearing is scheduled before the Ontario Municipal Board Nov. 23.
The OMB will either rule in favour of city planners or council.
Ward 2 Coun. Karen Ras said she is hoping to work out agreements with property owners and avoid the OMB.
Davies said she expects and welcomes change in the neighbourhood, however, “we don’t want the village looking like a modern metropolis,”noting its history is “well worth preserving.”
The original plan extended from Southdown Rd. to Johnson’s Lane.
Now, the width of the proposal is halved, and “planners aren’t interested in retaining any character,” Davies said.
Lorne Park resident Cameron McCuaig voiced the unpopular opinion among those attending, expressing desire to see council’s decision reversed to accommodate six storeys.
“Clarkson does not inspire the world,” said McCuaig, adding he’s lived in the area for 50 years.
By developing the village, it can become a hub of activity for years to come, McCuaig said, adding he believes the majority of residents are “not so concerned” about height.
“They just want to see the vibrancy – that we already see in Port Credit and Streetsville – in Clarkson Village,” said McCuaig.
He said he’s sympathetic “to the people that are going to be most impacted.”
Nonetheless, for those choosing to buy a home backing onto the rail line or “a major arterial road like Lakeshore, you’ve got to expect those commercial properties are going to develop,” said McCuaig.
But Sue Shanly said residents have been accepting of intensification, specifying the Van Dyk development at 1575 Lakeshore.
Just west of Johnson’s Lane, 299 units are being built over a trio of four-storey buildings.
“We’re trying to blend the old with the new,” Shanly said.
Since legal matters are discussed in closed sessions, residents weren’t sure which way council would direct city staff to proceed.
Elected officials spoke frankly, with Ward 1 Coun. Jim Tovey saying, “I think we’ve made some mistakes … as far as fighting recommendations of staff.”
Ward 11 Coun. George Carlson told residents to “pick your poison,” noting “builders are vindictive” and could add three more storeys to their proposals.
Birch Glen resident Beverley Bleackley said she supports a walkable, pedestrian- friendly village but felt “kind of dejected’ after leaving council chambers. “They’re all going to vote for the higher density,” said Bleackley.

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