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Torontonians fight for neighbourhoods

Toronto has recently been a witness to an interesting battle by the residents of Queen St. East against the development of a mid rise condominium in the area.

The residents of Queen St. East area, the Beach, are opposing the mid-rise development for several reasons. NIMBY forces are opposed to the concrete jungle that would arise because of an increase in the number of high-rise as well as mid-rise buildings within the area. There is also the worry of a pollution-choked future with increases in the number of people within the neighbourhood and no green spaces to speak of. Many residents are also opposed to the razing of the local burger joint called Lick’s to pave the way for construction

The residents of Ossington Ave. have also been waging a similar battle in what seems to be a form of resistance against the spread of the city into low rise neighborhoods. They feel any construction is a threat to their neighbouhood, where they want to maintain a sense of community.

The other side of the argument is that Toronto needs more housing.  The population of the city is expected to ‘rise from 2.74 million in 2011 to 3.42 million in 2036, an increase of 24.5 percent’ according to the Ontario Ministry of Finance. The rate of rental building constructions has gone down while that of condominiums has gone up. For the supporters of the development however, the building of the six story condominiums can only be good news. According to Christopher Hume, the urban issues writer at the star.com, it’s hard to understand what’s not to like about a condo that would bring new investment, money, and people into a neighborhood. He believes that ‘NIMBY forces have gone too far in opposing what is inevitable’.

It seems he might have a point. For one thing, the mid rise condominiums are to be built corner of Queen and Kenilworth Ave thus not impeding anyone’s view. Another point he brings to the fore is the inevitability of the increase in Toronto’s population as well as the need for new housing when that happens. It is important to note that such buildings are only encouraged along main streets (and Queen is as main as you get), and Lick’s owners have already announced that they are moving.

With opinions divided on the issue, the question however remains, is the battle of the residents against a mid-rise condominium justified in the first place, or is it just the Beach’s way of resisting inevitable change?  The residents might be well advised to accept a six story building instead of waiting until the next proposal which could be for a 16 or even 60 story building. 


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