Midtown resident, planner runs for council seat
Eglinton-Lawrence candidate wants more consultation on planning issues
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier May 7)
Ward 16 council candidate Terry Mills isn’t shy about his disappointment that Riocan’s redeveloping the open space at Yonge and Eglinton.
But that is not the only reason he’s running against incumbent Karen Stinz who supported the plan to build over the space.
Mills said he’d like to see better city planning that includes community input on a local vision for neighbourhoods far in advance of any development applications.
Mills, a professional planner with architectural training, has been involved in local residents associations and city planning for decades.
“I worked on the guidelines in 2003 for the TTC lands across the street,” he said referring to the southwest corner of Yonge and Eglinton. “That (plan) got passed this spring,”
At the same time, he also suggested the city develop a local plan for the northwest corner of Yonge and Eglinton where the open space is now being redeveloped. That never happened.
“We had from 2003 ‘til now to establish a strategy for the square that met everyone’s interests,” he said. “It’s a lost opportunity.”
The Yonge and Eglinton area is one of five areas in Toronto designated as a Centre under the city’s official plan. And it’s the only Centre without a town hall located within it.
“I’d like to see a town hall introduced to midtown,” he said. “All the planning and policy decisions are made outside the area. And decided between two community councils downtown and in North York.”
There used to be a midtown community council, for example, but it was axed after amalgamation. Now councillors Karen Stintz and Cliff Jenkins who govern opposite sides of Yonge Street sit on North York Community Council. And councillor Michael Walker, who represents the south side of Yonge and Eglinton, is part of the downtown community council.
He’d like to see a vision for the community of how it should look 25 years from now including the types of facilities needed as it grows.
The environment is also a focus including maintaining some open space and places for people to meet and congregate.
Tied into that is the need for communities to accommodate changes in demographics whether its having places for people to age or send their kids to school within the same neighbourhood. He also stresses the need for services from coffee shops to dentist offices to be located along underground and surface transit routes.
His 5-point strategy on his website forms his main platform at this stage in the race.