As a business association, the LBPA’s bottom line is not about profit. Yet, like most businesses, we must stay attuned to a complex combination of community, economic, and political factors impacting diverse and often disparate stakeholder groups.
Many issues facing the park such as safety, traffic, and infrastructure are shared amongst all stakeholders and are generally unifying topics; others including land use, development, and densification are more nuanced and can often be polarizing.
The goal of the Leaside Business Park Association is to represent the perspectives, opportunities, and challenges for businesses throughout Leaside, Thorncliffe Park, and the surrounding areas.
Several of our strategic goals will only be achieved by working together and forming and strengthening public and private partnerships. Encroachment on employment lands, speculative development, transportation bottlenecks, and incompatible mixed uses neighboring one another are all critical issues that threaten to bring about an industrial mass extinction event.
It is not only industrial businesses that are being threatened; retail and commercial businesses are experiencing unprecedented increases in the cost of purchasing or leasing property, all while construction impacts storefronts, parking, and customers’ willingness to visit and shop at these local businesses.
I am pleased to say that the first steps in addressing these issues have been taken. The LBPA and the LRA now have frequent and ongoing conversations – even attending one another’s meetings. All levels of government attended the 2021 LBPA AGM and spoke about these issues impacting business and the community.
We still have much work to do. Not surprisingly, many of these topics are contentious and do not have easy solutions. Difficult conversations are sometimes easier to avoid than to embrace. Too often these conversations are either not being had or being had in isolation where the information available to one group is not available to all. Businesses, residents, and government stakeholders must share information proactively and have an open and honest dialogue about the challenges and compromises that are going on in the community, and work towards pragmatic solutions that are not obstructionary.
Our future is full of possibilities. Let us work together, be united in the issues we agree on, and be constructive and open-minded for the topics that are more difficult. Only by working together will we be able to build a community for everyone that we can be proud of.
On behalf of the 2022 Board of Directors, we are honoured and privileged to serve all our members.
I would love to hear from you, so please connect with me via email: Leslie.firstname.lastname@example.org
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Leslie Kellen, MBA
President- Leaside Business Park Association.