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CHATTER: Adam Vaughan headlines HVRA AGM

November 22nd, 2022 · No Comments

The Harbord Village Residents’ Association (HVRA) held their 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Oct. 18. Guest speaker Adam Vaughan spoke after members of the HVRA discussed administrative, financial, and area reports.

The AGM began with the approval of the agenda and minutes of previous meetings, followed by a brief chair’s report. Treasurer Lena Mortensen delivered the 2021-2022 financial statements and said that the residents’ association is in a “good financial state.” The meeting  broke into groups based on each resident’s address within Harbord Village. Residents discussed problems with their area representatives. Solutions presented for these issues included removing a parking spot that infringed on road safety and fixing a faulty storm drain that had caused a side street to flood. Area representatives were then elected, and other commentators shared their concerns with the HVRA.

Former Trinity-Spadina MP and Councillor Adam Vaughan opened his segment by saying that “residents’ associations in the city are under attack in a way I have never seen before.” This stems from journalists dismissing any actions that residents’ associations take as “nimbyism,” even when residents are just exercising their democratic rights to have their voices heard, said Vaughan. This opposition to residents’ associations harms citizens’ abilities to act on important issues, such as the housing crisis.

Vaughan zeroed in on affordable housing by poking holes in the idea that building more housing in the Annex is an efficient way to create affordable housing. Vaughan shared the University of Toronto’s School of Cities’ conclusion that knocking down existing homes in the Annex to build duplexes and triplexes will only raise housing prices due to the cost of land, houses, and labour; however, “residents’ associations…have been sidelined (and) citizens have been disempowered,” said Vaughan. This makes it difficult for the city and developers to plan neighbourhoods effectively due to the community’s suppressed input. Vaughan encouraged people to vote, to lean into residents’ associations, and to grow community councils to re-empower citizens’ voices in the future.

—Fox Oliver/Gleaner News

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