In April 2013, the LPOA reached a financial settlement with SmartCentres, regarding their then-proposed SmartCentre North shopping mall site at Laird and Wicksteed. When it became clear that they were not prepared to agree to any decrease in the size of the anchor tenant, nor to exclude any specific tenant, our focus shifted to seek a settlement that would provide funding measures to address at least some of Leasiders’ concerns, and which would help protect the community from the negative impact of the many large retail outlets on Laird.
The written settlement agreement between LPOA and SmartCentres, concluded on April 9, 2013, allows LPOA to embark on measures that will benefit both the areas closest to the proposed development and the community as a whole. In particular, it provides LPOA with $110,000 in funding, which should be sufficient to:
- hire our own experts to address flow-through traffic problems with a proper traffic study
- initiate heritage conservation efforts
- assist the Bayview shopping district through a new and much needed BIA., and
- pay some of the consultant fees incurred to date (approximately $10,000)
This funding is to be spent at LPOA’s discretion.
The settlement also notes the community’s safety concerns regarding underground parking, and everyone’s desire for good landscaping and increased bicycle use. SmartCentre has agreed to involve LPOA in the site design implementation.
I am glad to report that the settlement funds, only payable this week once the City had ruled on the specifics of their site plan, have just been delivered to the LPOA.
This means that our traffic consultant can actively work on the traffic issues that plague us now (and will present greater challenges once the Eglinton LRT construction is underway). He can also officially communicate with the City’s traffic staff and design measures to protect our residential streets and school areas. We have budgeted $50,000 for this traffic study.
It means that we are now in a position to work constructively with Bayview businesses, who are considering forming a Bayview Business Improvement Area (BIA), with a donation of $25,000 to support measures to help them compete with big box shopping nearby.
It means that we can undertake a heritage survey in Leaside to support heritage conservation efforts, to preserve the character of our community.
Although summer is a time when many are away, the LPOA will be staying active on these initiatives, we will be making further announcements, on this site and in local media such as Leaside Life, as we move forward. The traffic study especially will be of interest to residents, and we will be wanting to get you involved as well, so that we know your opinions and propose measures accordingly.
So —- stay tuned!
Carol Burtin Fripp