Coun. Doug Ford opposed a major redevelopment plan for Etobicoke's Humbertown Shopping Centre on Monday, backing many residents who say the plan does not fit with their neighbourhood.
Ford said a plan to expand retail and build several condos and townhouses at the plaza located at 270 The Kingsway, would "destroy the area" that he visits every day.
His comments drew applause from dozens of residents who also oppose the development plan.
Jill Tyndall, who has lived and worked in that area of Etobicoke for more than a decade, agrees that the plaza could use a facelift.
"It could use a refurbish, I don't think people deny that," Tyndall said.
However, Tyndall doesn't approve of the proposed massive overhaul.
The developer's current application proposes a mixed-use development that would result in a commercial base as well as condominiums and townhouses.
But residents say there is too much traffic already, with some expressing concern that adding five condos to the area will only add to the congestion.
"Is the infrastructure here? Can the roads handle it?" Jim Kourniotis said.
The redevelopment will also feature a new and expanded retail component on the vacant parking lot off Royal York Road, north of Dundas Street.
This means businesses, like Humbertown Jewellers, would have to move across the street.
"Will it affect us? Sure. But hopefully once we're in, it will be a positive, " Douglas Youngson of Humbertown Jewellers said.
Coun. Gloria Lindsay Luby has said that the developer's plans do not mesh with the neighbourhood, but acknowledged that they would have to work toward some sort of compromise.
"We have to come to grips with it and we don't want them to go to the Ontario Municipal Board and get everything they want," Luby said.
The willingness to work with the developer is welcome news to Niels Christensen, president of the Humber Valley Village Residents Association.
"We want to work with the developer so they're able to build something that we like, and they're able to build something that we can live with," he said.
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