Category Archives: Neighbourhood

Fresh tastes in Long Branch

IMG_0859Thrive Organic Kitchen & Cafe has opened up at Lakeshore W and 31st, offering a vegetarian alternative¬† for lunch or dinner here in Long Branch. Their menu includes soups, served with sprouted bread, salads (with names like Longevity, Earth, Coconut Caesar and Alkaline), an assortment of sandwiches, sprouted burgers (made with grain & nut patties), sprouted pizzas, wraps, and more. 90% of their menu is organic and they don’t use artificial preservatives.

We stopped on the way back from an outing with the dogs for some take-out. We each had a sandwich and salad (we split both so we could each sample) and a smoothie (The Ant’oxi was made with acai berries, mixed berries, cherries, pineapple, lemon juice and water and the Beach was made with coconut water, mango and banana). Our sandwiches and salads were very very tasty and nicely put together.

I’d like to wish Pat and the gang at Thrive best success and encourage readers living in our Lakeshore communities to stop by and give it a try.

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House down

There’s a house coming down on Lake Promenade, just west of 27th Street. I wonder what’s going to go up in its place? Will it be a giant monster home – there are some – or perhaps they’ll try to cram a couple tall skinny houses there, dividing the property and squeezing every last greasy buck they can from the land.

Here in Long Branch we’re witnessing a lot of change right now. Lots of homeowners who have been here for 40, 50, 60 years are moving to condos or retirement homes, or for some it is the last stop. Land values have been rising quickly – we couldn’t afford to buy our house if we were looking for a place to live today, that’s for sure.

In quite a few cases, developers are grabbing up the properties, severing the lots, trashing the old and building two houses on a lot that previously held one. Ours is an eclectic neighbourhood with big and small homes. Some are original cottages from the days when Long Branch was cottage country to Torontonians.  There are other homes that are tremendously opulent.

No doubt plenty of older homes around here need to be refreshed somehow or another. No doubt also the neighbourhood is changing. How should it change? How should that be decided. What’s happening in many cases is developers are deciding. I see quite a number of examples now where they have bought the land and applied to the Committee of Adjustment to sever it. If they fail there, they go to the Ontario Municipal Board and try again there. I think our community should have more say in the future of our neighbourhood. The Committee of Adjustment/OMB process is simply no way to plan the future of a community.

I became involved in an argument in front of the OMB last year. We appealed a Committee of Adjustment decision to allow a severance on our street to the Board. I led the charge representing a loosely knit group of folks living in the immediate area. Our argument was that any change should respect the character of the neighbourhood – that’s in the official plan. So what does that mean? Around here it seems there is not one neighbourhood but a dozen or more micro-neighbourhoods. The character changes from street to street and different parts of the streets around here all have their own character. I think if you’re going to measure character, the benchmark should be everything within sight of the property in question. In this case, the developer’s experts argued that South Long Branch is the neighbourhood so all use within that broader definition is OK anywhere in the area. I think that’s just wrong, but the adjudicator with the Board ruled in favour of the developer.

I sought advice and help from my Councillor, who was unresponsive. I even emailed the mayor, expecting he would come down here like the cavalry to assist, but no. His office sent a form response and that was the last I heard. For sure in the upcoming municipal and provincial elections I will be supporting candidates who care about how our community is redeveloped and are willing to do something about it – if I can find some. The OMB liaison officer told me they encouraged lay people to get involved, but it soon became clear that it is the land of lawyers, and I was made to feel foolish and inadequate because I did not know the procedural ins and outs. I left feeling like I would never participate in that process again.

Meanwhile, I have no idea what is going to replace the house that just got ripped down. Time will tell.

Saturday morning, Long Branch

Long Branch is more or less chopped in two by Lakeshore Blvd. South of Lakeshore, Long Branch ends at Lake Ontario and north of Lakeshore it dead ends at the railway tracks. This morning we took the dogs for a walk as far north as we could go, then west along a pleasant parkland trail that runs north of the houses but south of the tracks. It looks like an industrial area north of the tracks. I don’t think I’ve every explored around up there. Here’s a couple photos from the south side of the tracks looking north. There is quite a bit of rail traffic up there by the way. We saw two GO trains whizz by during our walk.

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