Kitchissippi Councillor Jeff Leiper responds to the previous post on his performance in the ward.
To read the post that prompted this letter, click here.
On 1960 Scott St. (Trailhead), the press who were at committee meeting where it was discussed took note of my characterization of planning in Westboro as being the “wild west”. While I was pleased that six other councillors joined me in that vote, I’m obviously disappointed that council continues to approve these. Working with the community, we’ll persist in trying to bring some balance to development in Westboro.
On the LRT, I had a very clear campaign position: to try to get it buried in its current configuration. I don’t remember that you were at the debate at which this became a key point, and you may not have read my campaign position. The Citizen coverage of that final debate made it very clear that one candidate was in favour of putting it along Carling, one was happy with the status quo, and that I’d seek to bury it along the Macdonald Parkway if that’s where it was clear it was going to go. I also blogged that position. With that position on the table, voters made their choice. Even at the beginning of this term, re-visiting the clear council decision would have been an exercise in futility. My transparent campaign position was a reflection of that.
On the buses on Scott, when you and I spoke about it, you put it to me that residents were surprised to hear that the 95 would continue to run on Scott. I cautioned you that I didn’t think that was necessarily a surprise. Remember that this was an issue on which I worked for several years before this term of Council. I confirmed subsequent to our conversation with my colleagues in that fight that, yes, the city had told us that the 95 would continue to run, and that residents welcome having that service. Remember that the LRT won’t run 24/7 – residents still want to have that around-the-clock service to their neighbourhood. It is just the 95, and not all Transitway buses.
I won’t get too deep into it, but the Convent is an active discussion. Stay tuned. City heritage staff are in relatively frequent touch with Ashcroft.
There are a number of systemic issues that I’ve worked hard to try to address that could help councillors in urban wards. I’d invite you to review the work that Councillor Tobi Nussbaum and I did to try to get council to endorse a new provincial policy against taking corporate and union donations (we did not succeed, but the province instituted the change nonetheless), and the work I did working with Councillors Nussbaum and Catherine McKenney and others to try to get council to endorse some useful OMB policy reforms – again unsuccessful. We hope the province will again do the right thing in its reform package that is apparently almost set to be made public. While it would be useful to have council support to reject proposals such as 1960 Scott St., there is also a reality out of council’s hands that we are not the final arbiters of planning decisions. OMB reform is critical. I’d invite you to join your neighbours in Kitchissippi and I in advocating for that.
On Spencer, this may or may not move ahead. Your comments on just sucking it up might not fly with the dozens of people who have written me to support the idea, usually parents with young kids who feel navigating the parked cars and not having a dedicated space on the road is a barrier. If you imagine yourself at Garland/Armstrong with young kids on bikes, and want to go to the Metro, you can start to see why this is attractive to some residents. I continue to get feedback on it.
Ken, LRT issues, traffic and development (infill and condos) continue to be the bulk of what I and the team work on. We put in long hours on it, and we’ll persist in that effort. Every day brings small wins, but we are absolutely challenged, to your point, in getting some of the big ones.
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