People have been talking about the eventual gentrification of Long Branch for ages. Sure, housing prices have been going up and there are some new condos appearing, but the long Lakeshore strip still has some rough spots.
I guess the deal is done now though. A Five-bucks has opened up on the ground floor of the new condo building across from the Beer Store. This is significant. I think back to the old Queen West and how fast that area changed once the Sanctuary, a Goth bar, became a Starbucks.
We’ve already been seeing developers buying up properties in South Long Branch, and dividing the lots up for the sake of a greasy buck. Neither the Committee of Adjustment nor the Ontario Municipal Board seem to care a lick about it. Our community fought in vain to stop a severance on our street, appealing the Committee of Adjustment Decision to the OMB. I sought help from our local Councillor but did not receive even an acknowledgement of my emails on this issue. I included the Mayor (yep, him) in one of my emails, and received an auto-reply, but nothing beyond that.
I’m not against development in Long Branch. I think more density along Lakeshore is good for the community and for local businesses, but I not so happy about the residential neighbourhoods south of Lakeshore being sliced and diced. In the end, I don’t see that our current system with the Committee of Adjustment at one level and the OMB at another is going to be very successful at managing growth in our area.
I do know that when the next municipal election comes along that I will be asking candidates about the kind of future South Long Branch they want to see and I want to hear their ideas about achieving it. I’ll be casting my vote accordingly.