Tension builds at Ward 13 debate

Louis Gris is frustrated about improper development in his neighbourhood. He’s specifically upset about what he says in an illegally built house on Morningside Avenue.

“I find it absolutely unacceptable… when if I don’t pay my $30 parking ticket, I don’t get to drive next year,” Gris said. “(But) this builder has broken the law to an incredible extent and yet the city doesn’t even wrap his knuckles.”

Gris voiced his displeasure Tuesday night by shouting out at the Ward 13/ Parkdale-High Park all-candidates meeting at Swansea Town Hall. Candidates Sarah Doucette, Nick Pavlov, Redmond Weissenberger and incumbent Bill Saundercook attended the meeting.

Doucette echoed Gris’s dissatisfaction about the 71 Morningside Ave. property.

“That building should have been stopped. It should have been stopped by the city; I don’t run negative, but it should have been stopped by our councillor as well,” she said.

One particular condominium development being built at 2500 Bloor St. W. has also become a focal point for residents. A case has been launched at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to reduce the planned number of stories in the building.

Coun. Saundercook expressed his support for the community’s appeal.

“I was happy to hear that the community did launch an appeal to the OMB and certainly, if I’m elected on Oct. 25, I’ll be there to support you as I did throughout the entire process,” he said.

Pavlov stressed conciliation when discussing new developments.

“I think we have to recognize the fact that we don’t want to say no to every single development,” he said. “We want to scrutinize it and we want to see what the overall long-term benefits would be.”

Weissenberger pledged to solve development problems before they get out of hand.

“I think the main thing that’s being missed here is that there’s all this energy that’s being expended after decisions have been made,” he said. “We need to think about what we want this neighbourhood to look like in 20 years … and be proactive now about making decisions and protecting our heritage.”