Rise Of The Party Poopers: Why NIMBYism needs to stop

Well, here’s the rare blog post that I didn’t want to write. Left Field Brewery, a welcome addition to our neighbourhood if there ever was one, seems to have been the subject of complaints recently. On their site, they’ve detailed some of the proactive efforts they’ve made to make sure everyone is happy, and despite that, it seems a few neighbourhood residents have taken to city council to complain about the noise emanating from the industrial alley that Left Field resides in to complain about people being loud during daytime hours. Funny that those same residents don’t seem to have an issue with the train tracks where the Lakeshore East GO line runs about once an hour (and more at rush hours!). Cue the strings.

This seems to be a growing trend in Toronto. As demographic shifts occur within the city’s boundaries, and as real estate becomes ever more expensive, there will surely be growing pains. After all, there’s only so much space to go around, and we all have to play nice in the sandbox. But increasingly, I’m reading about families and neighbourhoods who feel entitled to have it all their way. To wit:

A group of families near Mount Pleasant and Eglinton recently banded together to form an alliance against a proposed townhouse development in the area. “I’m really concerned about my property value going down,” one of the residents was quoted as saying. “Right now all the houses are $1.1 to, say, $2.2 (million) but they’re looking at putting in places that are only $500,000.”

A couple recently went to CityNews to complain about a hydro pole in the front yard of their $1-million plus home. They said they never would have bought the home if the pole had been there.

– Controversy broke out over an umbrella over a splash pad in Cabbagetown. “It’s a bright blue, which isn’t even a heritage colour,” said a past chair of the local preservation society.

Cabbagetown Cirque Du Soleil

Pictured: the future splash pad that Cabbagetown residents have described as both a “miniature Cirque du Soleil” and a “hyperactive Disneyland of waterworks.”

These are the first few examples I could find, but I could easily fall down a rabbit hole of articles pitting the haves against the have-nots (or, more accurately, the have-lesses). For now, though, let’s focus on what makes Toronto such a great place to live:

1)   We live in a world-class city with incredible museums, art galleries, and nightlife.

2)   Our schools, hospitals, and city services are constantly improving, with 7 Toronto schools achieving a perfect score in province-wide rankings.

3)   Our property tax rate is lower than nearly all of the rest of the GTA.

4)   And while I’m sure this is bound to raise a few eyebrows, Walkscore ranked Toronto’s transit system the best in Canada.

5)   We’re recognized as one of, if not THE, most multicultural cities in the world.

I could go on, but in the interest of brevity, I’ll simply say that you can see why 6 million people would want to make their home here. The side effect of all of this is that, yes, we will have to share space and make some concessions.

The one factor that people keep returning to, in fact, when they’re on their NIMBY crusades (“not in my back yard,” for the acronym-unfriendly), is property values. So, how much does a hydro pole or an umbrella affect a home’s value? While that may be hard to pin down, I’d venture a guess that even if it were a lime green umbrella, there would still be buyers itching to fork over well over a million dollars for the chance to live in Bloor West Village or Cabbagetown. I mean, these neighbourhoods have a lot of great amenities like parks, splash pads, and…you know, hydro service. And while you may think that the noise coming from a brewery on a Saturday afternoon is a drag, chances are many others would be attracted to the vibrancy of the neighbourhood. So yes, while it’s a drag that one’s baby may not get a full 3 hours sleep during the middle of the day, I’d urge that person to think of what may benefit the community they live in the most.

And hey, if after all of this, they still decide that it’s too much, I’d be happy to assist with their move.

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