January 7th 2014
As development pressure mounts in St. Paul’s, Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow is looking to ensure 2014 brings about renewed infrastructure and more green space.
The councillor pointed out the area all around Yonge and Eglinton is at a crossroads with the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and a number of developments proposed around the area.
“Midtown’s under a lot of pressure so I’m working with residents on everything from parks revitalization projects to making streets – especially in school zones – as safe as possible,” he said.
Matlow noted residents in virtually every pocket of his ward have their own concerns, many of which revolve around development and the upcoming LRT line.
“I’ve been working with BIAs to try to find ways to make sure people support their local merchants,” he said. “The BIAs near Eglinton stand to be especially impacted by the Eglinton Crosstown.”
The development picture shows dozens of submitted or approved applications in Ward 22, some of which have caused more consternation than others. Matlow cited a proposal for two towers on Yonge Street, just south of Eglinton Avenue, as a particular cause for concern.
The proposal, slated for the Art Shoppe site, calls for two towers of 29 and 38 storeys connected by a seven-storey podium, was rejected by council, but the developer is looking to circumvent the city’s powers.
“The Art Shoppe proposal is one we’re all watching because it’s at the (Ontario Municipal Board) now,” Matlow said. “It would set a dangerous precedent for a developer to be able to build such large towers outside of the urban growth centres.”
Another development proposal for 95 and 99 Broadway Avenue is also before the OMB.
Acknowledging that the OMB has been known to override council and approve buildings that did not fit in with the communities in which they were built, Matlow will continue the fight to free Toronto from the provincial body.
Beyond the obvious development concerns, Matlow plans to continue making the ward’s parks safer and better in 2014. Following last year’s addition of a farmers’ market in June Rowlands Park and the decision to name a playground after beloved children’s entertainers Sharon, Lois and Bram, the councillor said there is plenty for park-lovers to look forward to this coming year.
“We’re looking at installing new playgrounds in Charlotte Maher Park and Forest Hill Road Park and at revitalizing and beautifying the Belsize Avenue parkettes,” he said. “Things like the new playgrounds, for me, is the meat and potatoes of being a city councillor.”
Following ongoing complaints of hoarding from neighbours of one resident on Manor Road East, Matlow has rekindled a 2011 motion he brought forth asking the city to work with the province to reform the Mental Health Act.
“It’s important that neighbours aren’t trapped and that the right supports are in place,” he said.
The councillor will also host a town hall meeting early in the year to discuss the city’s budget. The date of the meeting was not available as of the Mirror’s press time.
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