Josh Colle ready to get to work

New councillor for Ward 15 will work closely with dad, MPP Mike Colle
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Nov. 18)

Eglinton-Lawrence Councillor Josh Colle.

When he’s sworn in as the new councillor for Ward 15 Eglinton-Lawrence on Dec. 1, Josh Colle will be working closely with his provincial counterpart  — who just happens to be his father, MPP Mike Colle.
“We’ve already had some meetings that are constituency-driven,” Colle said in a recent interview following his election win.
“I don’t always agree with him. You probably don’t always agree with your parents. But it’s good to know there will be a collaborative relationship there.”
Part of the ward boundary includes sections of St. Paul’s provincially and federally so Colle’s also spoken or met with those political reps in the weeks since the election.
Colle the younger is also busy attending community meetings to get up to speed on ward issues.
But he’s looking forward to rolling up his sleeves and getting to work at city hall. And there’s no reason the 45-member council can’t work collaboratively, he said.
“I get that it’s politics with inherent drama and conflict that goes along with it,” he said. “But it’s the responsibility of the mayor and council to do that (work collaboratively).”

Colle won the Ward 15 council seat with 40 percent of the vote. Former councillor and school trustee Rob Davis got just under 33 percent.
Two big ward issues that were a focus during the campaign were the Lawrence Heights 20-year redevelopment and Transit City’s Eglinton light rapid transit streetcar line. Mayor-elect Ford has been vocal against both.
“All that’s been approved is a blueprint (for Lawrence Heights). It will come up many times over many years,” Colle said. “There were some concerns in the community, so I’ve committed to convene a meeting to address those concerns.”
Ford campaigned on a promise to extend the Sheppard subway rather than the approved Eglinton Avenue LRT line. Colle wholeheartedly supports the streetcar plan.
“The new mayor will look at everything with fresh eyes. That’s a good thing. When he looks at Eglinton, I think he’ll see this meets his requirements. In many respects it is a subway,” Colle said.
A large portion of the Eglinton LRT line will be underground, the tunnels will be large enough to accommodate a subway in the future and it is using new fast-moving, high capacity streetcars, Colle added.
Another theme during the campaign was constituents want more value for their tax dollars, said Colle, who supports repealing the vehicle registration tax.
Ward 15 has a mix of young and old, retirees and professionals, families and single people, some of whom are struggling to afford to stay in the city.
“There’s a plea to think of us when you make decisions,” Colle said residents told him.
Colle takes over from retiring councillor Howard Moscoe who recently told reporters he’s going to law school.
“My instinct is he’s not, but who knows,” said Colle about Moscoe’s plans.

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One response to “Josh Colle ready to get to work

  1. Save Our Neighbourhood

    Re Josh Colle’s statement: “There were some concerns in the community [about the Lawrence-Allen Redevelopment Plan – LARP], so I’ve committed to convene a meeting to address those concerns.”

    Mr. Colle made commitments to the community during the election that involve far more than merely “convening a meeting”.

    Mr. Colle made extensive written commitments to concerned local citizens. He wrote: “I agree that a six-fold increase in density is too much for Lawrence Heights. … I agree if elected to take steps to stop the redevelopment until the density can be reduced to a reasonable amount, and neighbours concerns can be fully addressed.” (The question he was responding to cited neighbourhood concerns that LARP would lead to major traffic problems and lower quality of life, overburden already overloaded local infrastructure, and result in huge unaccounted, unplanned costs.)

    Asked to address the City’s failure to notify and consult resident’s south of Lawrence, who will be greatly affected, Mr. Colle promised: “I will ensure that the residents south of Lawrence are formally notified and fully consulted, just like other surrounding neighbourhoods, before any redevelopment plans for the Lawrence Heights area are finalized.”

    Although Councillor Moscoe argued that the “density is stacked toward the Allen Expressway and is subway oriented”, LARP actually places tall 6-8 storey buildings and commercial uses close to existing low rise neighbourhoods (e.g. close to Rondale), which would create inevitable pressure to open new motor vehicle connections to surrounding neighbourhoods. Asked about this concern, Mr. Colle responded that “I agree to work so that high density (including 6-8 story buildings) and commercial development is not situated close to existing low rise neighbourhoods.” He also stated that he “ will also push for any development to have good subway access” which would require the higher densities to be resituated close to the subway.

    Under LARP, Lawrence Height’s park space would double, but surrounding neighbourhoods will lose park space, (e.g. south end of Baycrest Park and some other park areas around Yorkdale station). Furthermore under the approved plans the main park in Lawrence Heights straddles the highway rather than being positioned to serve multiple neighbourhoods. Mr. Colle promised that he “will advocate for all neighbourhoods so that they do not lose park space, and that new parks in Lawrence Heights are positioned closer to surrounding neighbourhoods to serve everyone.”

    Residents east of Lawrence Heights are concerned that LARP will lead to the opening of new road openings at Kirkland, Rondale and Ridgevale, destroying neighbourhood quiet and stability. Although LARP states that connections into Lawrence Manor will not be opened to cars, these openings are being broadened so that they could be opened to motor vehicles with the stroke of a pen at City Hall. In answer to this concern Mr. Colle promised that “I will ensure that the redesigned connections into Lawrence Manor are physically designed so that they will not be able to be opened later to motor vehicle traffic.”

    These commitments are very important and require that LARP be entirely re-worked. It will be much more than a meeting and a few tweaks.

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