YQNA Meets in Cyberspace

Angelo Bertolas chairs the meeting from his home office.

YQNA answered an urgent need to meet with Waterfront residents in a Zoom meeting on May 12 (see the draft minutes here). Co-chairs Angelo Bertolas and Carolyn Johnson managed a packed agenda and large crowd in our first cyberspace adventure. No need to remind anybody how much our lives have changed with the pandemic. A number of speakers told us about the restraints we face this summer, with the Waterfront reduced to a nature retreat from the usual cultural centre with millions of visitors. This will last until we recover. Still City Councillor Joe Cressy was concerned about too many people flocking here too close together. Both he and MPP Chris Glover and MP Adam Vaughan worried about people who are affected by the weakened economy. They hope to move the homeless from tents along the Waterfront into permanent housing with government help. They pointed out other needs for government funding for food and income security, small businesses, childcare centres, affordable housing, TTC, the airline industry and so many more.

Harbourfront Centre has cancelled all events. Tour boats might resume sailing in July, reported Mariposa. Meanwhile, kayaks, canoes and private boats are plying the lake. Some uplifting news came from Bryan Bowen of the Waterfront Secretariat. He explained elaborate plans for the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood, now under construction. Lynn Robinson of the Toronto Island Community Association reported that water levels in Lake Ontario have peaked, so flooding is probably avoided this year, but efforts continue to find permanent safety for our vibrant waterfront communities. Also good news from Enbridge Gas, which needs to install pipelines here from east to west: it will not be on Queens Quay, but on Lake Shore Boulevard. We thank everybody who reacted to YQNA’s request to keep Queens Quay intact.

This meeting attracted a good crowd and a prominent line of speakers, so we are planning another Zoom event in the middle of July. Look for the invitation!

Welcome to MPP Chris Glover

The election in May brought significant changes to the Waterfront, among them Chris Glover as our new member of Provincial Parliament. He was among the candidates who presented their platform at the spring YQNA meeting, and was swept into office on an NDP wave that covered the entire downtown. Chris went from school trustee to MPP for the Spadina-Fort York riding. He lives in a Waterfront condo, and as a former teacher who just received his PhD, he is keenly aware of the need for more schools in our densely populated area, where children are a growing part of the demographics.

Chris sees his role in the opposition party to Doug Ford’s majority PC government as the conscience and watchdog of Parliament. He met with YQNA’s Planning Committee on a beautiful summer day to hear our concerns for the Central Waterfront and proved to be a good listener. His agenda is very similar to ours: more transit and expanded LRT on Queens Quay, affordable housing, more protective measures for condo owners and renters, better help for the disabled and finding employment for them. We look forward to working with Chris and hope to see him as our frequent guest in YQNA.

(Photos by Neal Colgrass)
(Photos by Neal Colgrass)