RICHVIEW SQUARE + 4620 EGLINTON AVE W
LETTER TO MAYOR JOHN TORY
Attention: Mayor John Tory
CC: Luke Robertson, Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor, City of Toronto
Councillor Stephen Holyday, Ward 2
June 17, 2021
Office of the Mayor
City Hall, 2nd Floor
100 Queen St. W.
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Dear Mayor Tory,
Friends of Silver Creek are concerned about the lack of community consultation and communication to residents from Councillor Stephen Holyday. Since the Councillor does not respond to emails or calls regarding community concerns, we feel it necessary to escalate this issue to the Mayor’s office.
Councillor Holyday was required to hold a community meeting regarding the Re-development of Richview Square (250 Wincott Dr.) by Trinity Dev/ Create T.O. and again, he deferred the hosting and outreach to the Richmond Gardens Ratepayers and Residents Association (RGRRA).
What should have been an informative and fulsome discussion surrounding the Trinity/ Create T.O. development on Tuesday, June 15 at 7:00 pm, instead ended up being a disorganized and contentious exchange with attendees not being able to access the meeting, which was discovered to have been capped at 100.
At the start of the meeting attendees posted messages trying to alert Councillor Holyday or the RGRRA President who was acting as moderator that residents could not gain access but there was no acknowledgement by anyone.
As a result, a resident spoke up and asked if the people waiting to get access could be admitted and if there was a cap to the number of residents allowed. She was then removed from the meeting by the host.
Despite calls from attendees that the meeting should be rescheduled so that all attendees could attend, Councillor Holyday stated that regardless of the issue, the meeting would proceed. This angered several residents.
As the chat began to fill with comments and questions – many opposing the new proposed plan and frustrated with the meeting - another participant was removed by the host. It is unknown how many people’s opinions were muted and ignored and how many people were removed by the organizers.
The community has questions and Councillor Holyday has not responded to calls or emails, so we are forwarding these questions to you.
Why didn’t Councillor Holyday organize the meeting through city staff, register participants, and use an impartial individual as moderator?
Why were RGRRA volunteers responsible for hand delivering meeting notices for Stephen Holyday? There are budgets allotted to City Councillors for civic engagement, yet Councillor Holyday has not hosted one meeting during his term and volunteers did not reach all residents.
Why didn’t the Councillor use his database and social media platforms to amplify and broadly notify constituents? Areas of the Willowridge-Martingrove-Richview community did not receive notification. However, they will be affected by the outcome.
This has not been a respectful community consultation process and having select individuals removed with opposing views while others were allowed to stay, is unethical.
In addition, Councillor Holyday continues to defend his decision to communicate only through the RGRRA, whom he considers the voice of the community.
Residents at the meeting reminded the Councillor that there are many voices, views and advocates and one organization does not represent them all, no matter how convenient that would be for the Councillor.
Our community deserves a responsive Councillor who is respectful of the democratic process. To date, many are still waiting for responses to their emails and calls.
In conclusion, despite questions asking Councillor Holyday what position he will be taking at the Etobicoke York Community Council June 22, 2021, the moderator (President of the RGRRA) did not bring these questions forward and the community still does not have a clear position what Councillor Holyday will be supporting. He also did not indicate how he will be updating the community.
This has been a very disorganized and inadequate consultation process and now it seems everyone is rushing to get a decision made. Had meetings and outreach been conducted by the Councillor’s office on an ongoing basis with community, this current situation could have been avoided.
As Deputy Mayor of Toronto and Councillor of Ward 2, Stephen Holyday should be aware of the responsibility of his elected position and should be guided by the principles of public service.
Last night’s meeting is a clear example that Councillor Holyday needs to be reminded of his duties as a public servant and not to download these duties to select individuals or one community group. Our community needs inclusive and responsible representation, and it is Councillor Holyday’s job to represent and respond to all constituents’ concerns.
We look forward to your response in a timely manner as we will be updating the community.
Friends of Silver Creek