News about neighbourhood resistance to rezoning has revealed strong feelings about change in the city, so I walked along Keewatin Avenue to form an impression.
The north side of the street is lined with nice, single family homes as expected, but there are also a number of lowrise multiple dwelling buildings along that side. That surprised me (A) because those are the kinds of buildings being objected to and (B) because they seemed to fit the street quite well and unobtrusively, tucked in behind the trees.
The northsiders look across the street at highrise apartment buildings that are quite nicely landscaped and fenced, so density isn’t unusual along here. Height restrictions are different on the south side. I wasn’t understanding why a zoning change for the north side would be so bad.
Paved front yard parking was one of the least attractive sights on the north side, and it fronted single family homes. Sensitivities are unpredictable.
Anyway, zoning rules are the issue and a new proposed townhouse development would require zoning changes. They would look something like this.
I left the street feeling some sympathy for those who will have to put up with construction, but also feeling that their protests would be in vain. The whole city is changing and many call increases in local population “urban intensification”, not “density creep”. Isn’t it better to keep people living close to work rather than pushing them away, creating more sprawl and more commuter congestion? Don’t we want a variety of accommodation types for people at different stages of life? Young families, empty-nesters and middling income earners?
It’s true that something is being lost on Keewatin … some of the peace and quiet of the good old days … but there are offsetting gains. Businesses and services along the local Yonge main street look much healthier, more varied and interesting. Greater density will support more of this. Property values will climb, too. That’s some compensation, even if not wanted.
I think Keewatin is a very pleasant street that will continue to be a very pleasant street for a long time to come. When the zoning-change resisters lose their struggle, I hope they will be relieved to find it so. And they will have met some of their neighbours at rallies for civic action. That’s not a bad thing.