Development Watch > Urban Planning Issues
Year after year, the most commonly held concern in our area is traffic. We don’t like arterial gridlock that makes getting in and out of our neighbourhood difficult. We don’t like the “cut through” commuter traffic racing through our neighbourhood trying to avoid Yonge & Sheppard congestion.   
The WLHA Traffic Committee is concerned with safety, property value and  property enjoyment related to “cut through” traffic.   It has done an admirable job trying to balance the need for turn restrictions and traffic calming measures to minimize “cut through” traffic hazards against the inconvenience these restrictions cause to ourselves as community residents. This important and thankless job could be considered treating traffic symptoms.   Urban planning on the other hand should be a tool for treating traffic causes. We'd like to see development executed according to plans and to see plans include the requisite infrastructure to support the intensification.
In Toronto, urban planning is the end result of a complex array of acts, plans, by-laws, and procedures administered by the province, the City and a few quasi judicial bodies.   It’s complicated, messy, inefficient, often ineffective and best viewed as a work in process.   As residents and tax payers, not always satisfied with the status quo, we have an obligation to participate in this evolving process and to push for changes when and where needed. 
WLHA lacks the time and technical expertise to understand and stay current on all the moving parts involved with urban planning. It also lacks the resources and political clout to impact much change by itself.   Given the reality of those limitations, it carefully collaborates and aligns itself with other like minded organizations as needed to stay informed and to advocate for change.  Strength in numbers. 
Policy, planning, and process issues under review by WLHA and it’s affiliates include:
  • Toronto’s Zoning By-Laws (ZBL)
  • Committee of Adjustment (C of A)
  • Sheppard Avenue West Secondary Plan
  • Toronto’s Official Plan (OP)
  • The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB)
  • Provincial Policy Statement (PPS)
  • Provincial Planning Act (PA)
  • Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan
What topics are hottest at any given time is driven by a variety of circumstances. The PPS and OP both require statutory requirements for 5 year reviews due in 2011.   Municipal and Provincial elections provide opportunity to influence change.   Ongoing legislative or policy proposal require attention as they arise, often with little warning and fan fare.  It’s seemingly endless but all important if we want to see change for the better.