Leaside residents urge drivers to slow down in wake of young girl’s death
TORONTO – With six-year-old Georgia Walsh laid to rest at her Monday afternoon funeral, concerned Leaside residents are urging drivers to ease up on the gas pedal; vowing to make sure some good comes from the tragedy.
Walsh was struck and killed by a minivan at the corner of Millwood Road and McRae Drive Wednesday afternoon.
A united group of neighbours will launch a grassroots effort Tuesday to target an influx of traffic in Leaside that they blame on Eglinton Crosstown LRT construction and local big box stores.
Volunteers will be posting a series of lawn signs throughout the neighbourhood, branded with messages like “Please slow down” and “kids at play.”
The effect the young girl’s death has had on the community is already evident across several blocks. From pink ribbons tied to trees and traffic signs, to the large sidewalk corner memorial full of pictures and flowers and the red spray painted graffiti urging drivers to “slow down.”
With no immediate help coming from city hall, residents like Roger Cattell say neighbours are doing what they can to make changes where the city can’t.
“Let’s not wait for others to make those changes,” Cattell said. “They’re small, incremental things that we can be doing as a community to help.”
Cattell showed Global News two early versions of the signs on Friday afternoon.
“We got about 250 requests now for signs and many of those are people requesting those signs for their street so behind those requests there could be 20-30 more people.”
He says he’s received several requests for similar signs outside of Leaside, and even in other cities around the GTA.
It’s a welcome addition to local parents like Barbara Ha, who takes her child to a local bike camp at Millwood and McRae through the summer.
“Things have been pretty hairy,” she says, carrying her young daughter. “I think people are just rushing around, going nowhere fast.”
Ward 26 City Councillor John Parker has no problem with the community initiative. He realizes everyone is just trying to help but urges constituents to “take a deep breath.”
“The police are carrying out their investigation. They will produce a report. When that report comes, let’s take it in hand and see what it has to say,” says Parker.
Police haven’t made many details about the incident that took Georgia Walsh’s life public; and have not yet laid any charges against the driver.