Open letter to the Yorkdale Glen Long Community

di Joe Volpe del May 18, 2017
TORONTO - We cannot become complacent.  Nothing is a done deal.  That is not how we were raised.  That is not what our heritage allows.  This is not what others come to this community to copy.
I was at the community meeting on May 11, 2017.  There were over 500 of us.  A good turnout but, could be better. There are so many things wrong with the redevelopment proposal that it is difficult to pick a starting point.
One of the Architects from CS&F – the go to company for the City of Toronto regarding their redevelopment studies for the Lawrence Ave. West /Allen Rd area – supported the presentation of the ugly design of the new Columbus Centre/Dante Alighieri Academy, which, they claim is ”based on the design traditions already in place in this unique location of the city representing Italian heritage and tradition”.
The new design unveiled to the members looks exactly like the Beth Torah across the street with a mix of the Wilson Station Condos.  The Beth Torah is a rectangular prism. According to their website, a modernist building.
There are a plethora of builders Italian and-non Italian background who promote construction of Tuscan style homes - popular and trendy in upscale Toronto. They even seek out and employ architects, designers and drafts men from Italy. But, for some reason, the developers of the new site and the City of Toronto don’t want that at Dufferin and Lawrence. 
 1960’s North American modernistic design is not European at all.   Black brick on grey window panelling is only found in run down Italian factories built prior to 1960.  Perhaps that is the design the developers and the City of Toronto are hiding behind. An indication what this corner will become a factory.
The students using the high school (really just a pretext) will be the under aged, under valued work horses moving in and out on a daily basis. There to create an illusion of vibrant industrial profitable enterprise. 
Then there are the elderly, for whom these developers have complete disregard. These are our community members the developers intend to trick into purchasing living quarters in the factory. This is where they will be crammed into tiny non-livable spaces. The same spaces which will be deemed undesirable public housing in 20 years.  Guess who intends to purchase our elders’ homes to turn into luxury Italian style homes for themselves? I wouldn’t put it past them.
A member of the community spoke up and said, “Where are the options?  This is not the only option for the community to chose from”.  She was right.  
When and why weren’t any design options put on the community table for us to choose from?  We need to put pressure on our local rate payer’s association to give us answers. David DeLuca. We need more answers from the City too. Josh Colle.
This is a location inhabited by many of the same families for the last 40+ years.  Their children and grand children come back to enjoy th
e landscape and community features.  Educational staff in the 4 neighbouring schools have chosen to remain and live or continue to work regardless of their commute. Members from outside the community come to relax in this environment. Some, are even purchasing and over bidding for the expensive properties in this neighbourhood because of the accessible, enjoyable tranquil layout and amenities offered at the corner.
We want options and we want better.  The Corriere wrote an article about Greenpark homes last month. Their motto is “we build better”.  Greenpark also builds in Italy.  Hello Greenpark; we want what Italy wants. We want better.
Cam Dritto

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