Scarborough woman laments loss of beloved garden
"My garden is dying", beseeched Muriel Moore as I walked up the driveway of her tidy bungalow in Scarborough to meet her. She had reached out to The Urban Observer after repeated calls to her city councillor went unanswered. "Isn't there anything that can be done?"
"It's too late Mum" sighed her daughter joining us on the front porch. Introducing herself, Sylvia turned to me and said "Mum had the prettiest garden. After Dad died she poured her heart and soul into tending to her flowers. I think it's what's kept her going. "When this monstrosity went in" gesturing at the newly built home next door, "everything changed."
We proceeded around the back. It was almost eleven o'clock on a beautiful, sunny, early summer morning. Instantly we were cast in complete shadow. A massive wall of beige stucco seemingly inches from the
Muriel Moore's bungalow dwarfed by new build
property line loomed over Muriel's backyard. "Mum used to sit out here in the mornings with her tea and the Toronto Star", Sylvia said. "She'd putter away in the garden for hours. It was her favourite time of the day." Muriel looked at me and said "This house took away my sunlight. It took away my privacy. I can't bear to come out here anymore."
Muriel had fought the proposal for the new house obtaining letters from some of her longtime neighbours (at least the few who remained) who were also worried about how their neighbourhood was changing. She spoke impassionedly at the Committee of Adjustment hearing at the Scarborough Civic Centre. She lost there, but undeterred she appealed the decision at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). In the end though, all her arguments against the requested variances for lot line setbacks and height restrictions were refused. Soon after, construction began.
Back in the driveway Sylvia pulled me aside. "Look, I know there's nothing you can do, but thanks for coming out anyway. Mum just needed someone to see this from her perspective, someone to hear her out."
As I reached my car a white van pulled up and stopped behind me. A young man hopped out and proceeded to install a FOR SALE sign on the front lawn of the bungalow next door to Muriel's house.