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Newsletter #8

What's next after the city-level approvals?
Hello Neighbours,
Hope everyone had a lovely weekend! Apologies for the long delay since our last newsletter. We blame it on the weather which has been just too nice to ignore :) 

Most of you know that the City’s Planning and Housing committee (PHC) met on May 20th  - Agenda Item PH23.3 focused on 175 Cummer. You may have also heard that the City committee passed the motion to move to the next step. Don’t worry, that was completely expected.  In fact it would have been completely surprising, if after so many months, the city suddenly started listening to their constituents.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PHC CITY MEETING (as requested)

The Willowdale community was very well represented at the PHC meeting with over 55 written submissions and 27 oral deputations! Everyone should be very proud and many have expressed how thankful they are to community members who took time to have this large number of opinions documented on public record. It is important to note that of the 27 oral deputations, the vast majority (22) were opposed to development. Included were deputations from Bayview Cummer Neighbourhood Association, Silverview Community Association, Voices of Willowdale, Willowdale Manor, and many members of the community. Only a handful were in favour of the development and these included a pastor from a church, a representative from a housing activist group, and a few of Filion’s buddies. The friends of Filion shamelessly attacked Voices of Willowdale while making completely false allegations in an attempt to discredit any voices of the community that are speaking up about this. Based on the historic malicious tactics (slashed and stolen signs, media attacks, accusing people of dehumanizing the homeless, etc), sadly none of this was surprising.  

At the end of the agenda item, Councillor Filion also made his own deputation. It’s one of those things that’s un-summarizable (you can watch at timepoint 3h:36min using youtube link above). He uses his privilege to sharply attack his own constituents by calling VOW a ‘small unrepresentative’ group of people spreading ‘misinformation’. His goal is to discourage and discredit but this is actually good news for our community. It means that VoW has been successful in raising awareness (during a pandemic!) and people are finally finding out about this proposed permanent development….and it’s indeed making our councillor nervous. Hundreds of community members are  speaking up, asking intelligent questions,  and raising concerns. Hence Filion’s attack on the VoW group because we’re making him work for his paycheque – yup that’s right, his job would be much easier, if we just went away and let the city pass this motion in SECRET and quickly before anyone has time to even realize what’s happening! If you notice, Filion hasn't mentioned modular housing in his newsletter for several months now. He's cherry picking who he listens to and shutting down all other voices, including the neighbourhood and residents associations.  The worst part, he accuses everyone of ‘misinformation’…which seems to be his favourite word these days. It’s sadly a complete abuse of power. Does it remind you of a particular ex-leader South of the border who constantly used to yell ‘Fake news’ anytime he heard something he didn’t like? It actually seems to be part of the broader City PR strategy that Lura's Bruce Davies appears to be coaching them on. Many city councillors are using the word 'misinformation' anytime they are asked intelligent questions that they don’t want to answer……lay down a bingo chip every time you hear the word “misinformation”…and we’re sure you’ll have a full card in no time! Sue-Ann Levy from the Toronto Sun writes about this in her latest article, which highlights more of the city nonsense going on – this one focused on the East York ward (the other Phase 2 modular housing proposed site). https://torontosun.com/news/local-news/levy-city-councillor-calls-residents-concerned-about-modular-housing-projects-misinformed  

Anyways, back to the PHC Meeting:  As expected, the city motion was rapidly adopted by the 6 PHC committee members (Fletcher, Bradford, Wong-Tam, Nunziata, Perks, Bailao) without a single pause for consideration. It didn’t seem like anyone was listening or paying attention. In fact no one asked a single question and they barely blinked before quickly rubber stamping the whole thing. Despite the sham of a process, residents' efforts were key because this step was a necessity to document on public record the community’s strong opposition to this development. We will soon be posting some of the excellent deputations on our website, highlighting the City’s hypocrisy and violation of their own policies and planning rules. All of these would most certainly hold weight if this were to go through the proper and usual land planning process, which includes the democratic right of appeal.
  • Note: If you made a written submission and would like to forward a copy to info@voicesofwillowdale.ca, please do and we’ll keep in our files

SO…..WHAT’S NEXT?

The full city council will consider the matter this week on June 8th. And again it will not be a surprise when they approve it - they are steamrolling without any meaningful community engagement. After that, the city will request a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) of the province. They’ll need a MZO to move expeditiously but most importantly to STRIP the community’s democratic right to APPEAL via the LPAT (Local Planning Appeal Tribunal – a non-political quasi-judicial body).  

The PROVINCIAL LEVEL is where our real case will be –  in STOPPING THE MZO. If you recall our MPP Stan Cho sent a letter to Minister Clark asking him to refrain from issuing the MZO if there has not been due diligence in community consultation (which there hasn’t been) or if the community is significantly opposed (which the vast majority are). So this next phase is really just continuing to express your concerns and opposition.

HOW CAN I HELP?
Please take time to CONTINUE SENDING LETTERS TO THE POLITICIANS.

Use the easy-write letter feature on our website (it takes 30 seconds, click here) or draft your own letter and address to the emails above; if you’re writing your own letter please cc:  info@voicesofwillowdale.ca so we can keep track of how many letters have been sent.

Other ways that you can help:
  • Request a  lawn sign
  • Sign the online petition
  • Share the newsletters
  • Share media articles including what’s happening at other modular housing sites
  • and most importantly speak to your neighbours and make sure they know what’s happening in their community so they too can do the above steps. 
MEDIA ARTICLES TO READ AND SHARE

We'll end this newsletter by sharing some recent media articles that have been written on the topic of modular housing. It’s important to pay attention to what’s happening at other modular housing sites around the city, especially since phase 1 buildings are already operational with occupancy steadily increasing in south Scarborough (11 Macey Ave) and Dovercourt (150 Harrison St). The other Phase 2 site which is at the same timeline as us is in East York (Trenton-Cedarvale). The first article is related to safety of women near the Dovercourt site, the second is related to our Willowdale site and the last article is in general about why we future modular housing neighbourhoods should be concerned. 
Article 1 - Women living near Dovercourt modular housing feel unsafe
Article 2: Modular Housing at 175 Cummer Ave in Toronto gets go ahead from committee
Article 3: Modular Housing neighbourhoods have reason to be worried
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WEBSITE: www.voicesofwillowdale.ca
EMAIL: info@voicesofwillowdale.ca


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Voices of Willowdale · willowdale · Toronto, ON L5B 4M1 · Canada

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