Dundas alley sale approved by public works committee

News Jun 19, 2017 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

City council's public works committee has recommended the closure and sale of the public unassumed alley connecting Victoria and Alma streets in Dundas to an abutting landowner, in spite of more than 30 people speaking out against the move at Monday's meeting.

Opponents spoke of maintaining public space for the good of the greater community rather than selling it to benefit one private landowner. They also argued the alley is part of the community's character, heritage and walkability.

Despite that support, it was the concerns of abutting landowners and the conclusions of the staff report that won the day, as committee unanimously supported the staff recommendation to close and sell the alley. The committee decision must still be ratified by full city council on Wednesday, June 28.

"Those who will be most impacted by the decision today are of one mind," committee chair and Dundas Coun. Arlene VanderBeek said, adding those who abut the affected section of alley, want to "restore the eroding quality of life in their own neighbourhood."

She noted the city does minimal maintenance of its public unassumed alleys and abutting landowners are left with the responsibility to maintain them, and therefore have the option of buying them from the city.

"There is no special privilege involved here," she said.

VanderBeek said she has been working with the Sydenham neighbourhood to improve pedestrian safety on the street. She said in addition to protecting the interests of the directly affected neighbours, her decision came down to safety.

"I'd suggest the safe route to (St. Augustine) school is along the sidewalk to the crossing guard," VanderBeek said.

The staff report noted concerns relating to "students using the alleyway and emerging to cross Alma Street midblock during school start and finish times where there is no pedestrian infrastructure, no sidewalks and many school buses or other increased traffic in the area."

St. Augustine school has asked parents and children not to use the alley, and public works staff placed signs at both ends of the alley directing pedestrians to use an alternate route.

The staff report says applicant Len Medeiros and three other abutting property owners use the section of alley to access private parking, and the three other abutting property owners informed staff they either support or are indifferent to the sale.

However, the majority of speakers Monday argued the staff report did not reflect the true community opposition to closing the alley and the majority of voices. 

"I am mystified by the city report," said Old Ancaster Road resident Meg Young. "Why would the city recommend that the (applicant) and his two neighbours take precedence over 600 people? The public good should outweigh private desires and perhaps selfishness."

Park Street resident Chris French, who said he walks through the lane at least twice a week, said he recognizes the city has a process to follow regarding the sale of alleys. He called it a reasonable process.

"It's about managing liabilities, but this alley is a public asset, not a liability," French said.

Harry Shannon said it was astonishing that external voices - that of the public, were  completely ignored.

"The public consultation may as well not have happened," Shannon said.

Dundas alley sale approved by public works committee

Committee decision goes to full city council next week

News Jun 19, 2017 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

City council's public works committee has recommended the closure and sale of the public unassumed alley connecting Victoria and Alma streets in Dundas to an abutting landowner, in spite of more than 30 people speaking out against the move at Monday's meeting.

Opponents spoke of maintaining public space for the good of the greater community rather than selling it to benefit one private landowner. They also argued the alley is part of the community's character, heritage and walkability.

Despite that support, it was the concerns of abutting landowners and the conclusions of the staff report that won the day, as committee unanimously supported the staff recommendation to close and sell the alley. The committee decision must still be ratified by full city council on Wednesday, June 28.

"Those who will be most impacted by the decision today are of one mind," committee chair and Dundas Coun. Arlene VanderBeek said, adding those who abut the affected section of alley, want to "restore the eroding quality of life in their own neighbourhood."

She noted the city does minimal maintenance of its public unassumed alleys and abutting landowners are left with the responsibility to maintain them, and therefore have the option of buying them from the city.

"There is no special privilege involved here," she said.

VanderBeek said she has been working with the Sydenham neighbourhood to improve pedestrian safety on the street. She said in addition to protecting the interests of the directly affected neighbours, her decision came down to safety.

"I'd suggest the safe route to (St. Augustine) school is along the sidewalk to the crossing guard," VanderBeek said.

The staff report noted concerns relating to "students using the alleyway and emerging to cross Alma Street midblock during school start and finish times where there is no pedestrian infrastructure, no sidewalks and many school buses or other increased traffic in the area."

St. Augustine school has asked parents and children not to use the alley, and public works staff placed signs at both ends of the alley directing pedestrians to use an alternate route.

The staff report says applicant Len Medeiros and three other abutting property owners use the section of alley to access private parking, and the three other abutting property owners informed staff they either support or are indifferent to the sale.

However, the majority of speakers Monday argued the staff report did not reflect the true community opposition to closing the alley and the majority of voices. 

"I am mystified by the city report," said Old Ancaster Road resident Meg Young. "Why would the city recommend that the (applicant) and his two neighbours take precedence over 600 people? The public good should outweigh private desires and perhaps selfishness."

Park Street resident Chris French, who said he walks through the lane at least twice a week, said he recognizes the city has a process to follow regarding the sale of alleys. He called it a reasonable process.

"It's about managing liabilities, but this alley is a public asset, not a liability," French said.

Harry Shannon said it was astonishing that external voices - that of the public, were  completely ignored.

"The public consultation may as well not have happened," Shannon said.

Dundas alley sale approved by public works committee

Committee decision goes to full city council next week

News Jun 19, 2017 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

City council's public works committee has recommended the closure and sale of the public unassumed alley connecting Victoria and Alma streets in Dundas to an abutting landowner, in spite of more than 30 people speaking out against the move at Monday's meeting.

Opponents spoke of maintaining public space for the good of the greater community rather than selling it to benefit one private landowner. They also argued the alley is part of the community's character, heritage and walkability.

Despite that support, it was the concerns of abutting landowners and the conclusions of the staff report that won the day, as committee unanimously supported the staff recommendation to close and sell the alley. The committee decision must still be ratified by full city council on Wednesday, June 28.

"Those who will be most impacted by the decision today are of one mind," committee chair and Dundas Coun. Arlene VanderBeek said, adding those who abut the affected section of alley, want to "restore the eroding quality of life in their own neighbourhood."

She noted the city does minimal maintenance of its public unassumed alleys and abutting landowners are left with the responsibility to maintain them, and therefore have the option of buying them from the city.

"There is no special privilege involved here," she said.

VanderBeek said she has been working with the Sydenham neighbourhood to improve pedestrian safety on the street. She said in addition to protecting the interests of the directly affected neighbours, her decision came down to safety.

"I'd suggest the safe route to (St. Augustine) school is along the sidewalk to the crossing guard," VanderBeek said.

The staff report noted concerns relating to "students using the alleyway and emerging to cross Alma Street midblock during school start and finish times where there is no pedestrian infrastructure, no sidewalks and many school buses or other increased traffic in the area."

St. Augustine school has asked parents and children not to use the alley, and public works staff placed signs at both ends of the alley directing pedestrians to use an alternate route.

The staff report says applicant Len Medeiros and three other abutting property owners use the section of alley to access private parking, and the three other abutting property owners informed staff they either support or are indifferent to the sale.

However, the majority of speakers Monday argued the staff report did not reflect the true community opposition to closing the alley and the majority of voices. 

"I am mystified by the city report," said Old Ancaster Road resident Meg Young. "Why would the city recommend that the (applicant) and his two neighbours take precedence over 600 people? The public good should outweigh private desires and perhaps selfishness."

Park Street resident Chris French, who said he walks through the lane at least twice a week, said he recognizes the city has a process to follow regarding the sale of alleys. He called it a reasonable process.

"It's about managing liabilities, but this alley is a public asset, not a liability," French said.

Harry Shannon said it was astonishing that external voices - that of the public, were  completely ignored.

"The public consultation may as well not have happened," Shannon said.