The Toronto Parking Authority is proposing to develop a two-storey commercial structure on the Green P parking lot at Spadina Road and Thelma Avenue in Forest Hill Village. I know that many residents in our community feel very strongly about any potential changes to this site. In fact, as you may already be aware, my father lives very near to the site and has been a vocal opponent of developments on this corner for many years. For this reason, I am concerned that there could be a perception of bias about my ability to be objective and impartial while guiding this application through community meetings and the approvals process at City Hall.
Due to my concerns I asked the City of Toronto’s Integrity Commissioner, Janet Leiper, for advice. According to Ms. Leiper, this is not a legal conflict of interest, but to maintain everyone’s confidence in this process she advised that I recuse myself from speaking or voting at City Council on the issue. I hope you understand that I have decided to accept her advice to ask Councillor Joe Mihevc, who represents the ward directly adjacent to the parking lot across Spadina Road, to take carriage of this process. While I find it frustrating not to be able to be more actively involved in this issue, I know that I have a moral responsibility to protect the integrity of our democratic process.
However, I recognize how important this issue is to Forest Hill Village residents and therefore I asked Ms. Leiper if it would be appropriate for me to share my opinion about the future of Forest Hill Village with my constituents even if I should not participate in a vote on this specific matter at City Council. I am grateful that she advised me that his would not be a problem and that she has reviewed this letter in advance.
Forest Hill Village is very important to me because I grew up here and have personally experienced its changes over the years. One of the aspects of the Village that makes it so special is how the current retail area is separated from St. Clair Avenue West and Eglinton Avenue West by residential neighbourhoods. In other words, it’s one of Toronto’s last remaining true villages. I have always believed that there should be no expansion of retail space in Forest Hill Village along Spadina Road so that we can preserve the (village) character.
In addition, I believe recent developments have had an adverse effect on our village main street such as the new LCBO. They have been too modern and bulky and don’t fit with the Village’s character and design.
Like you, I care deeply about Forest Hill Village and I trust that you will make your opinion known, no matter what your position is, throughout the ongoing consultation process. I encourage you to contact Councillor Mihevc’s office at 416 392 0208 or firstname.lastname@example.org to share your feedback and to learn about future community consultation meetings.
Please also feel very welcome to contact me directly if you would like to discuss this or any other issue in our community. My phone number is 417 392 7906 and my email address is email@example.com.