News

2016 membership drive!

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Please renew your 2016 SERRA membership or join us today for the first time. Our neighbourhood organization is run by volunteers. Your contributions help pay for information sessions, Board of Directors insurance, occasional legal and urban planning fees, and some administrative expenses. It’s the best $25 you will spend on membership fees this year! Click here.

Full house at 2016 SERRA Annual General Meeting in April

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Almost 150 Davisville residents and friends attended our AGM at Manor Road United Church. (Above) SERRA President Andy Gort welcomes the record crowd and introduces speaker Josh Matlow, our Toronto City Councillor for Ward 2.
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Many thanks to our volunteers! The AGM offered lots of excellent discussion around our information booths, a productive Q&A with Councillor Josh Matlow, and, last but not least, carrot cake and coffee.

 

SERRA AGM April 20th at Manor Rd. United Church!

Plan to attend this important neighbourhood meeting!

Annual General Meeting
April 20, 2016
6:30 p.m. at Manor Road United Church

During the pre-meeting, chat with Toronto City Councillor Matlow and SERRA board members. Learn about condo development, Y-E city plan reviews, super-sized new homes, and safety concerns. Also learn about the proposed bold pilot project to issue tickets at bad construction sites in Toronto, just like parking tickets. Finally, get an updateon the Local Appeals Board slated to replace the OMB for many Toronto projects.

We enjoyed a stellar year in 2015!

  • Membership up by 50%.
  • 25 times at Committee of Adjustment to help concerned neighbours!
  • Ongoing negotiations with condo and mid-rise building developers
  • 7 times at the Ontario Municipal Board to help concerned neighbours
  • Over 60 attended our construction seminar in March 2016
  • Many early interventions to improve projects and mitigate effects

Mark your calendar and plan to attend! Email president@southeglinton.ca to let SERRA know your issues in advance.

Join SERRA today even if you can’t attend. Membership renewals or new memberships

Full house at SERRA construction seminar

Urban planner Terry Mills and construction lawyer Paul Hancock addressed concerns raised by almost 60 people attending a construction seminar on March 9th at Greenwood College School in North Toronto.

Both Mr. Han1407197801861cock and Mr. Mills agreed that residents should try to negotiate with builders and neighbours well before a project reaches Toronto’s Committee of Adjustment.

SERRA thanks both gentlemen for their participation in this free event. Mr. Hancock is an associate with the construction law group at Goldman Sloan Nash & Haber LLP. Mr. Mills can be reached at Arris Strategy Studio.

Residents can contact SERRA with follow-up questions they may have regarding construction issues in our neighbourhood.

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SERRA watching Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Planning process

The City of Toronto is conducting a comprehensive review of its urban planning priorities for the neighbourhoods surrounding Yonge and Eglinton streets.

This review of the Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan is expected to have a major impact on commercial and residential development, park space, heritage preservation, cycling paths, sidewalks, and transit issues. The Y-E plan will become a policy blueprint for the future of our neighbourhoods, including streets within SERRA’s territory.

This process is running concurrently with a review of residential zoning provisions for Davisville Village.

“The Y-E plan is under equal development pressure inside our neighbourhoods as well as along the main avenues and intersections,” says SERRA Acting President Andy Gort. “We are actively working with city planners, city councillors, and other neighbourhood associations to ensure adequate public input.”

Free Seminar: Construction issues in Davisville

• Worried about new residential construction next door?
• Concerned about development proposals in the area?
• Planning to build yourself & want to avoid conflicts with neighbours?
• Attend this free seminar to learn about your rights

March 9, 2016
6:45 to 9:00 p.m.

Greenwood College School
443 Mt Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S 2L8.
An urban planner, a construction lawyer, and SERRA board members will answer your questions about city planning, the Committee of Adjustment, the OMB and other issues!

December 2015 Newsletter

Y-E plan• Art Shoppe demolition is ongoing, asbestos safely removed, construction plan proposed.
• Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan update is in full swing.
• Two tall rental towers are proposed for north side of Soudan between Redpath and Brownlow.
• Positive development changes have been made for 1 Eglinton E.
• Discussions with developer for 1674-1684 Bayview are leading to significant project changes.
• Residents’ protest stops massive homes at 15 and 111 Belsize Dr.
• SERRA board welcomes Andy Gort as interim president.
• Get ready to renew your SERRA membership online or by cheque!

PDF – 2015-DEC-newsletter-FINAL1

SERRA protecting neighbourhood’s charm

SERRA worked with neighbours on Belsize drive and once again helped to stop the development of an over-sized building planned at 15 Belsize Drive.

The decision to reject the building proposal was made unanimously by a five-member committee at City Hall. This is a newly assembled panel and it was good to see this decision from them.

There are two other flat-roof applications in play for very large buildings: one at 585 Hillsdale (OMB) and another new one at 111 Belsize (CoA). The 15 Belsize Drive decision should be helpful for both cases.

 

Neighbourhood construction issues: your input needed!

1A_housesThe City of Toronto is planning to conduct a survey to “improve (its) response to nuisance type issues at residential infill construction sites.”
SERRA will provide input into the way the City conducts this survey.
SERRA plans to formally survey all its members for issues that relate to construction so that we can aggregate and submit the data we gather to city hall. These data will be extremely valuable for the following reasons:
  1. Councillor Josh Matlow has expressed an interest in advocating for residents within his ward who have concerns related to construction matters
  2. The data SERRA collects will act as a means of identifying which specific construction issues are of greatest concern to residents so that they can be addressed in order of importance
  3. SERRA will have a stronger voice when working with the City since we can substantiate the concerns of residents in the neighbourhood
  4. Our research and data collection can be used as a model for other neighbourhood associations in the city, many of which have already expressed interest in contributing to our initiative
Please contact us now with your thoughts about construction matters in the neighbourhood. We would also be interested in receiving your thoughts about what you believe can be done about mitigating the issues you raise.

Our October 2015 newsletter

SERRA_logoEnjoy our first update for the new season! Learn more about our activities to reduce air traffic noise. Also learn more about a new approach to working wit developers! Download PDF 2015-Oct-SERRA-newsletter -final2

585 Hillsdale Ave. project stopped for now

SERRA supported 50 residents on Hillsdale Ave. who went to the Committee of Adjustment to stop a completely inappropriate tall homes development on the street. The committee agreed with the neighbours. But the fight isn’t over yet!

Town Crier article

Autumn Harvest Festival on Mount Pleasant Rd – Sept. 13

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“The Autumn Shift Festival is an annual Mount Pleasant BIA initiative presented with the assistance and support of a number of community and arts organizations in the neighbourhood. Each September, a few Mount Pleasant streets and lanes close to traffic and open to artists, performers, musicians and thousand of visitors. Join us this year on Sunday, September 13, 2015 for free family fun.” – Learn more

City of Toronto reviewing Ward boundaries

The City of Toronto has issued a lengthy report on city ward boundaries. boundariesA review is being undertaken to ensure that each person in Toronto is fairly represented at City Council.  Learn more.

SERRA is carefully reviewing the report to assess how any change in boundaries may impact our role as a neighbourhood association. For example, a change may impact our ability to work on various city planning and development proposals we have studied, in some cases, for years.

The SERRA Board will keep you informed as this process unfolds.

 

 

Meet new Chief of Police Mark Saunders on Sept 9th!

On Wednpolice logoesday, Sept. 9th starting at 7pm, 53 Division will be hosting a Town Hall for residents of our Division at  North Toronto Collegiate in the auditorium (17 Broadway Ave).

Meet the new Chief of Police Mark Saunders and learn more about Human Trafficking from detectives working with the Sex Crimes Unit.

See you there!

 

Mount Pleasant Village Streetscape Study

 

The Mount Pleasant Business BIA has hired consultants to review how to revitalise Mount Pleasant Road.

A member of the SERRA Board of Directors, Jane Auster, sits on a BIA committee working with the consulting firm “Public Work”. Their streetscape study may end up recommending significant changes which would affect both the shopping area and the traffic flow. The SERRA Board will keep you posted.

 

 

Learn more about the Art Shoppe Development

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SERRA is doing very important work to address neighbourhood concerns about this development project. Learn more at Art Shoppe Development

Sleepless in Wychwood – SERRA working with GTAA

airplane noiseTom Hanks and rainy Seattle have nothing on Midtown Toronto when it comes to missing sleep. Since 2012, Pearson airport has diverted air traffic to fly over Davisville. Visit the website of T.A.N.G. (Toronto Aviation Noise Group) at https://northtoronto.wordpress.com/about/ to hear the story of our neighbour, “Sleepless in Wychwood” (near St Clair).

SERRA met with the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) in August, 2015. Federal Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt recently directed the GTAA to engage community organizations regarding the new and increased flight noise that has affected SERRA area residents since February 2012.

SERRA’s Federal Members of Parliament, John Carmichael and Carolyn Bennett, have been supportive and our City Councillor Josh Matlow has had many meetings with T.A.N.G.

If you are interested in the issue, contact the Toronto Aviation Noise Group directly at www.northtoronto.wordpress.com or email gr392.planes@gmail.com.

Come visit SERRA at Davisville Market on August 4

farmers marketSERRA booth for “Cause Day”

Come visit us at the Davisville Farmers Market in June Rowlands Park (corner of Davisville and Mount Pleasant) on August 4, 2015. SERRA reps will staff a booth from 3 to 7 p.m. to talk about development issues such as new condo projects and overly tall replacement houses on traditional residential streets. Traffic and pedestrian safety are also big issues for many of us. What are your issues?

SERR-OPOLY

Go to this link at our local South Eglinton Bulldog e-newspaper to see a photo of the exciting new SERRA game, SERR-OPOLY – http://www.bayview-news.com/2015/07/serr-opoly-is-more-than-a-game.html/ . It looks a lot like traditional MONOPOLY, but all the issues are local. The creators will be on hand to roll the dice with you.

Cause Day at the Davisville Farmers Market

This is the blurb from the market website: “Concerned about the environment? Green space? Community Development? Toronto Watershed? …. This event is for you! Come and learn about a number of very important Causes that surround us every day!” SERRA will  be there for you, but you can also meet other exhibitors. People who care about our community are always interesting.

Yes, you can also buy carrots and cucumbers

Tuesday is a regular market day for this Farmers Market. So you can also do your healthy grocery shopping while visiting us in the separate Cause Day section.

SERRA Welcomes New Head of Communications

Ms. Nandy Heule, President of Davisville-based Heule Communications, joined SERRA in July, 2015 to be our new Head of Communications.  She will develop and implement strategies by which the SERRA communicates with members and with the broader community. In the future, we look forward to communicating with you more effectively, by newsletters, e-newsletters, a more interesting website, and social media. The Head of Communications, as a committee chair, can also invite other SERRA members to support SERRA’s communications work.  Interested volunteers can contact Nandy at nandy.heule@southeglinton.ca.  Please contact Nandy with your ideas for a better SERRA.

 

SERRA Working Groups in August, 2015

volunteersContact president@southeglinton.ca if you are interested in joining a Working Group.

SERRA now has three working groups related to development and also safety for residents in Davisville. We are looking for volunteers who care. You would work with knowledgeable SERRA directors who have negotiated with the City of Toronto and appeared at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) on behalf of members. You would attend sessions of the Committee of Adjustment and the OMB, sometimes as an observer, sometimes to speak for SERRA. Our City Councillor, Josh Matlow, also helps SERRA working groups to contact the right City staff managers to deal with public safety issues.  You will learn how the system works and how to protect your own interests.

SERRA Tall Replacement Homes Working Group

Contact president@southeglinton.ca if you are interested in joining this Working Group.

Our working group handling what many people call “monster” homes has been a great success. Neighbours have been able to get designs changed, heights reduced, or financial compensation. One project was stopped cold. It is not just the streetscape. A tall new home beside you can affect drainage or dump snow on your roof, causing ice damming and water damage costing thousands. Your chimney or furnace may have to be replaced – people call this the “$10,000 Surprise”. Learn how to protect your own interests and the character of our neighbourhood.

The current priority is a City of Toronto planning study to change bylaws. Lots to do, lots to learn. More of these homes are coming and we need people who care about this issue.

Highrise and Midrise Projects Working Group

Contact president@southeglinton.ca if you are interested in joining this Working Group.

The proposed 9-story midrise condo on Bayview between Soudan and Hillsdale is a wake-up call. It could change the character of the whole street. SERRA wants to work with the neighbouring Leaside Property Owners Association to modify the project so it benefits our area instead of harming it. (The project is in our area, but Leaside is across the street.) This is likely the first of many potential midrise projects on Bayview, Mount Pleasant and Yonge.

SERRA has already been involved in highrise projects in the Yonge Eglinton area, but on a case-by-case basis. Now we are looking for about six local residents to work with two SERRA Board members in a Working Group. We plan to meet with Councillor Josh Matlow and developers to improve projects at an early stage, before designs are fixed.  If necessary, and if there is community support, SERRA can also go to bat for local residents at planning tribunals. There is lots of scope for volunteers to help. They will also provide the passion that only neighbours feel.

Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Working Group

Contact president@southeglinton.ca if you are interested in these issues.

SERRA has supported Councillor Matlow in his effort to reduce speed limits on purely residential streets in our neighbourhood, based on statistics that show this can reduce traffic deaths.  This working group has also met with the Toronto Police Service regarding specific intersections where our members saw dangerous situations, even when accidents were averted.  Sometimes traffic rules and signage can be improved, sometimes it is a question of enforcement.

At the SERRA Annual General Meeting on April 23, 2015, the following motion was passed: “That SERRA investigate ways of requiring contractors to ensure the safety of pedestrians and neighbours during construction and to limit noise.”  This working group can also, in the future, be helpful for other community issues not directly related to construction.  For instance, it handles liaison with T.A.N.G., the Toronto Airport Noise Group.  Have you noticed how much airline traffic has been re-routed over Davisville.  Some days it is like living next door to Pearson.  If you are a horizontal thinker, this may be the working group for you.

Board of Directors Opportunities in May, 2015

Contact president@southeglinton if you are interested in joining the SERRA Board.

SERRA’s bylaws allow up to 17 directors. We want to enlarge the Board from its current 8 directors. Work packages can reflect personal interests. Board members include:

– people with a specific issue who join the Board directly;

– people with past experience or enthusiasm who join the Board directly;

– volunteers who learn by mentoring before deciding to join the Board.

 

Volunteering with SERRA

Contact president@southeglinton if you are interested in volunteering.

SERRA generally lets volunteers choose what they want to do. That way, volunteers are happy and energetic. Here is a list of some interesting positions available.

 -Social Events Coordinator (pub nights, etc.)

-Contributors of photos to go on website

-Contributors of stories/opinions to go on website

-Website content coordinator (We already have an excellent techie.)

-Fundraising coordinator

-Social media coordinator

-(Retired) lawyer – We think every board should have one.

-(Retired) urban planner/architect, etc.

-Goodlife Gym discount program coordinator (if enough members interested)

-Liaison person for area Business Improvement Areas (BIAs)

-Liaison persons for area churches

-Liaison persons for school-parent associations

-Journalists (Ryerson journalism students or perhaps local journalists)

-Green initiatives including tree protection, treeplanting, and parks

-Local history

-Anyone who wants to learn how City Hall works.

Donations to SERRA much appreciated

SERRA wishes to thank two local residents who recently sent us $100 donations to thank SERRA for the assistance we gave to them at the Toronto and East York Committee of Adjustment and the Ontario Municipal Board respectively. Not only is this money that SERRA will use for future legal expenses. It is also nice for us to know that people appreciate the work we do.

Though these two donations were unsolicited, they prompt us to remind members and other local residents that SERRA does need funds to do a good job protecting our neighbourhood. If you have too much money jingling in your pocket, or if you simply want to have a better neighbourhood to live in, do keep SERRA in mind. The PayPal button on our Membership tab functions equally well for donations, or you can send a traditional cheque to our PO Box address.

Some recent SERRA activities

SERRA has actually been doing well over the last year in general terms. Our membership numbers have almost doubled since last spring. We have been very active helping individual owners of homes in the Davisville area to go to the Committee of Adjustment and the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) if overly tall homes are planned next to them. SERRA is incorporated as Ontario Corporation 481978, which allows us to be a party at OMB proceedings and influence the result. Recently, an OMB appeal which we opposed was dropped by the applicant. We think this was because SERRA had produced very thoughtful and complete documentation about the project.

Sometimes, though, we need a planning opinion from a professional to bolster our case, and that costs money.

SERRA also recently registered as an interested party with the OMB regarding two new condo projects, because nearby residents are worried about negative effects on them. As an organisation, we are very busy, though unfortunately sometimes too busy to have the time to tell you about what we do.

Volunteers welcome

Even more than donations, some more volunteers to help out would be wonderful. Another North Toronto residents association has both a retired lawyer and a retired planning consultant as volunteers – and a gifted social media coordinator. We are jealous. Tell your neighbours to join SERRA and work with us. Davisville/South Eglinton faces challenges as Toronto grows and changes. Dealing with this is both interesting and, we think, very satisfying work.

So do send us an email at serra@southeglinton.ca if you’d like to talk to someone about volunteering or donations.

Over a billion dollars in Midtown development and counting

Massive new residential and retail projects in the construction pipeline will bring thousands of new residents to Yonge and Eglinton.

The north corners of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue are marked with dusty grey rubble, a sign of development. Two pillars are certain to rise from the ashes and join the glass jungle that surrounds them. Other lots are marked “For Sale,” prime real estate for future development just waiting for a buyer.

Read the full article here.

Midtown in Focus – Parks, Open Space and Streetscape Plan for the Yonge-Eglinton Area – March 23rd

Midtown in Focus, the Parks, Open Space and Streetscape Plan for the Yonge-Eglinton area, creates a framework for coordinated public realm improvements in the middle of the city. The Plan, adopted by City Council in August 2014, identifies how the existing network of parks, open spaces, streets and public buildings can be improved over the next 5 to 10 years to create an attractive, safe and comfortable network of public spaces that supports City life in Midtown.

For more information:

Midtown in Focus website

City Council consideration on August 25, 2014

Five Local Residents Win at the Committee of Adjustment

Yes, residents can be successful opposing developments near their homes. Five South Eglinton homeowners went to Toronto’s Committee of Adjustment with SERRA’s help. These South Eglinton residents didn’t want tall replacement homes beside them, with decks that overlook their backyards and blank walls that shade out the sun. Each time, the Committee agreed with the residents and turned down the supposedly minor variances that developers were requesting.

Four of these widely welcomed decisions have been appealed to the provincial Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) by the builders. Local councillor Josh Matlow therefore convinced his Toronto and East York Community Council colleagues to instruct City staff to defend the decisions of the Committee of Adjustment. This is a terrific support to South Eglinton residents. Fighting an appeal at the OMB requires lawyers and planners, which can cost over $10,000 if you hire them yourself. The City has lawyers and planners who know the issues. This action by Councillor Matlow shows the city government does work on behalf of the people.

Apathy and a feeling of helplessness have grown in the last decade. Many residents tell us they see no point to fighting for good planning. They say, “The developers have deep pockets and will always win, so why bother!” SERRA applauds the homeowners who would not lie down and who fought this battle. “The best part of it” one said after winning at the Committee of Adjustment, “was the happy surprise on my neighbours’ faces when they saw that we are not helpless.”

SERRA does not intervene in every dispute between neighbours. When it’s an issue of planning and good development, though, we feel the rights of existing residents have to be protected. SERRA lobbied City government, helped residents develop a winning strategy, and a SERRA Board member argued in front of the Committee of Adjustment to defend the neighbourhood.

Contact us at serra@southeglinton.ca if you need help on a planning issue. We know how the Committee of Adjustment works and the issues that they find important. This knowledge gives you the power to change things.

Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club To Be Sold

Sadly, the historic Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club ceased operations in 2013 and the property is up for sale. If you want to look at a graceful piece of Toronto history, drive along Manor Road. The small white clubhouse, with its trim green lawn, is on the north-east corner of Mount Pleasant Road, immediately behind the shops on Mount Pleasant.

SERRA opposes putting any high-rise building here, like the tall condos you see on Yonge Street and Eglinton. Councillor Matlow is holding a public meeting on Wednesday, June 18 at 7pm at Hodgson Senior Public School (282 Davisville Avenue) about putting a park here. Meanwhile, there is a proposal by a developer to put townhouses on this site. A Toronto Star article does a good job of describing the alternatives. The reader comments to the Star article echo when we have heard from local residents and are well worth reading. SERRA would like to hear your position on this important issue. Contact us at serra@southeglinton.ca.

To support the park proposal, a petition has been started, called “City of Toronto: Stop the Development of Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club” on Change.org. You can access this petition online here.

Join SERRA! Click on the Membership tab or here, for an easy and quick membership process using PayPal. Be active where you live – influence what happens here!

Aviation noise over our neighbourhood

The Toronto Aviation Noise Group (T.A.N.G.) is canvassing the neighbourhood on this important issue affecting residents. If you haven’t signed at the door, please sign the petition online asking NAV CANADA to engage in effective dialogue with our federally elected representatives to resolve noise issues in our neighbourhoods due to NAV CANADA airspace re-design (February 2012).