| | Reimagining Yonge and Eglinton's Canada Square / TTC Bus Barns Public Meeting
For too many years, the TTC Bus Barns property at the southwest corner of Yonge and Eglinton was left as a derelict eyesore in the heart of our community. More recently, this site has been actively used as a construction staging area for Metrolinx's Eglinton Crosstown LRT.
I believe it's time to ensure that there is a plan in place so that these lands, along with rest of the Canada Square property, can be thoughtfully redeveloped when the LRT is completed. Leaders of our local residents' associations and I have had initial meetings with Oxford Properties, the developer of the site, and I have already informed them of four expectations I have on behalf of our community:
1. That any new development be based on good urban planning principles and be respectful of the City of Toronto's Official Plan
2. That any new development demonstrate an appropriate transition in scale to the adjacent neighbourhood
3. That plans be devised with the community and be respectful of local residents' feedback and not be appealed to either the OMB or the proposed Local Planning Appeals Tribunal
4. Any plan for the site must include a truly remarkable public space that would provide necessary public realm for both local residents and visitors alike. My vision is for a public space that one would find in cities like Rome, New York, London and Paris, rather than the concrete mediocrity we're accustomed to in Toronto.
Please join me and City Staff in a discussion about how you would like to see the TTC Bus Barns and Canada Square properties be redeveloped. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 7 at 7pm at the North Toronto Collegiate Institute Commons (17 Broadway Avenue).
To view the community notice for this meeting, please click here.
Improving the Deer Park Streetscape at Yonge & St. Clair: The New Planter Boxes Have Arrived!
As local residents know all too well, the public realm in the Yonge and St. Clair area is in great need of improvement, including the out-of-date, crumbling concrete planters in the area.
To help improve the neighbourhood, I directed developers' fees toward Section 37 streetscape improvements in the Yonge and St. Clair area. The motion allocated $200,000 for planting trees in new planters and other street enhancements. This is part of my plan for the renewal of the area including the restoration of Lawton Parkette and other public art features including the new iconic mural.
Despite some timeline setbacks experienced by City staff during the tender and manufacturing stages, our beautiful new planter boxes are finally here! You may have noticed the striking metal and wood boxes being installed over the past few days. Some will be solely planter boxes and others will provide seating to contribute to an age-friendly neighbourhood.
The new planters will replace the existing ones in the same locations. Urban Forestry has assessed the condition of all existing trees: for existing trees that are in good condition, the old concrete surrounds will be removed and replaced with the new planter boxes. Trees and associated planters in poor condition will be removed and replaced with new planters and new trees in the same location. Urban Forestry will be maintaining the new trees.
(Old vs. New, street tree planter boxes at Yonge & St. Clair)
REMINDER: Councillor Josh Matlow's Community Environment Day
On Thursday, June 1 from 4-8pm, I will be hosting my annual Community Environment Day. The event will take place in the parking lot of North Toronto Memorial Arena (174 Orchard View Blvd).
Please drop off any unwanted art supplies, books, toys, and used sports equipment. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste.
For full event details and more information on acceptable drop-off items, please click here.
Provincial Legislation Establishing New Tribunal Replacing OMB Introduced Yesterday
In my last newsletter, I informed you that the Province had announced the elimination of the Ontario Municipal Board, to be replaced by the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal. This will give cities and residents more control over development decisions and community planning.
The government tabled the bill, titled the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, yesterday at Queen's Park. From the provincial press release, the proposed law will include the following reforms aimed at giving communities a stronger voice in local land use planning decisions:
- For complex land use planning appeals, the tribunal would only be able to overturn a municipal decision if it does not follow provincial policies or municipal plans. This would depart from the current "standard of review" for land use planning appeals, where the Ontario Municipal Board is permitted to overturn a municipal decision whenever it finds that the municipality did not reach the "best" planning decision.
- In these cases, the tribunal would be required to return the matter to the municipality with written reasons when it overturns a decision, instead of replacing the municipality's decision with its own. The municipality would be provided with 90 days to make a new decision on an application under the proposed new law.
- The tribunal would retain the authority to make a final decision on these matters only when, on a second appeal, the municipality's subsequent decision still fails to follow provincial policies or municipal plans.
Under this new model, the tribunal would be required to give greater weight to the decisions of local communities, while ensuring that development occurs in a way that is good for Ontario and its future.
For more information, the City's Planning Department prepared a detailed briefing note. The Planning department can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions.
Ontario to Overhaul Land Use Planning Appeals System to Give Local Communities a Stronger Voice in Land Use Planning Decisions
Issue / Background:
On May 16, 2017 the Ontario Government announced it was taking action to overhaul the Province's land use planning appeals system to give communities a stronger voice in land use planning decisions and ensure people have access to faster, fairer and more affordable hearings. As part of this process legislation will be introduced to create the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, which if passed, will replace the Ontario Municipal Board.
The proposed legislation will include various measures to transform Ontario's land use planning appeals system, including:
- Mandating the new tribunal to give greater weight to the decisions of local communities, while ensuring that development and growth occurs in a way that is good for Ontario and its future.
- Eliminating lengthy and costly "de novo" hearings for the majority of planning appeals.
- Exempting a broader range of major land use planning decisions from appeal, including new Official Plans, major Official Plan updates and detailed plans to support growth in major transit areas.
- Establishing a mandatory case conference for complex hearings to encourage early settlements, which would help reduce the time and cost of appeals and create a less adversarial system.
It will include reforms aimed at giving communities a stronger voice in local land use planning decisions including:
- For complex land use planning appeals, the tribunal will only be able to overturn a municipal decision if it does not follow provincial policies or municipal plans. This is a departure from the current "standard of review" for land use planning appeals, where the Ontario Municipal Board is permitted to overturn a municipal decision whenever it finds that the municipality did not reach the "best" planning decision.
- In these cases, the tribunal will be required to return the matter to the municipality with written reasons when it overturns a decision, instead of replacing the municipality's decision with its own. The municipality will be provided with 90 days to make a new decision on an application under the proposed new law.
- The tribunal will retain the authority to make a final decision on these matters only when, on a second appeal, the municipality's subsequent decision still fails to follow provincial policies or municipal plans.
The Ontario government has identified the following Proposed Hearing Process:
The proposed legislation will also:
- Restrict applications to amend new secondary (i.e. neighbourhood) plans for two years, unless permitted by a municipal council, and limit the ability to appeal an interim control by-law when first passed for a period of up to one year.
- Give Local Appeal Bodies (LABS) more authority. If passed the legislation will allow LABS to be able to hear appeals on site plans, in addition to their current scope of minor variances and consents.
The following matters will no longer be appeal-able under the proposed law:
- Provincial approvals of official plans and official plan updates, including approvals of conformity exercises to provincial plans
- Minister's Zoning Orders
The proposed new legislation will introduce major changes to the way land use planning appeals are conducted in order to reduce the length and cost of hearings and create a more level playing field for all participants as follows:
- Requiring the tribunal to conduct mandatory case management for the majority of cases in order to narrow the issues and encourage case settlement. The tribunal will also be provided with modern case management powers to ensure meaningful case conferences.
- Creating statutory rules regarding the conduct of hearings, including setting strict presumptive timelines for oral hearings and limiting evidence to written materials in the majority of cases.
- Providing the tribunal with modern hearing powers to promote active adjudication, provide for alternative hearing formats and permit assignment of multi-member panels.
- Giving elected officials greater control over local planning, resulting in fewer decisions being appealed, thereby making the decision-making process more efficient.
Inappropriate Development Proposal at 90 Eglinton West Deferred to Next Council Meeting
While not in Ward 22, local residents' associations and I share serious concerns about a development proposal at 90 Eglinton Ave W, near Yonge St. The Ward 16 proposal contravenes the intent of the Eglinton Connects by-law and Toronto's Employment Lands strategy, which mandates 100% office replacement in every new development.
Unfortunately, this application was supported by City Planning in a Final Report. The item was scheduled for debate at last week's Council meeting but was deferred until the next Council meeting as the agenda was not finished. I will continue working with local Councillor Christin Carmichael Greb to oppose this inappropriate development.
For more information, please see this Toronto Star article.
Relief Subway Line Planning Moves Forward, Project Still Unfunded
The Relief Line subway is Toronto's top transit priority. The new subway is desperately needed to reduce overcrowding on the Yonge line, which already sees many of you waiting 3 or 4 trains just to get on at Midtown stations including Eglinton, Davisville and St. Clair.
I am pleased that Council took an important step forward by voting to move forward with theplanning study for the Relief Line. Unfortunately, because of wasteful political decisions to move forward with the Gardiner Expressway and the Scarborough subway, the City does not have any capital funds to commit to this important infrastructure project. I also respectfully disagree with Mayor Tory that the future of the Relief Line should be tied to the extension of the Yonge line into York Region.
I will continue advocating for Council and Queen's Park to move forward on building this urgent and necessary evidence-based transit priority.
For more information, please see this article.
SERRA's Say NO to 18 Brownlow! Town Hall
SERRA (South Eglinton Ratepayers' & Residents' Association) invites you to a Town Hall meeting to bring the community an update on the ongoing opposition to the current development proposal for 18 Brownlow on Tuesday, June 6 at 6:30pm at the Church of Transfiguration (111 Manor Road East). SERRA has also kindly invited me to participate as a guest speaker.
As many of you are aware, the current proposal not only demonstrates complete over-development of the site, but does not respect the principles of the Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan. Some of the key issues are:
- The north side of Soudan and part of Redpath Avenue have been purchased by a developer who plans to put up two 24-storey rental towers on a four-story podium that will stretch along the north side of Soudan Avenue from Redpath to Brownlow Avenues – and abutting the townhouses on Redpath
- The development represents more than 360 rental units, but with insufficient provision of parking and little regard for traffic flow and shadow impact
- The City has designated part of the site for parkland dedication, which the development has not adequately addressed
- This development offers no appropriate transition to the low rise houses on the south side of Soudan and the townhomes on Redpath. On the Soudan side there will be a massive four-storey podium – almost a wall - across the street from modest two-storey homes. On Redpath, one of the towers will be directly abutting the townhomes. And, on Brownlow, one of the towers will directly block the existing rental building at 18 Brownlow, owned by the same developer.
Midtown in Focus Open House
The Yonge and Eglinton area has experienced significant growth and change in the last decade. We need your input to ensure that the community continues to be an attractive place to live, work, learn, play and invest.
That's why I've been actively working with the City and the Midtown Working Group to develop a plan for the Yonge and Eglinton area, Midtown in Focus, that ensures the ingredients of a livable community are in place, including parks and public spaces, great old and new buildings, community services and facilities, transportation and servicing infrastructure.
Join the conversation! This Saturday (June 3), the City is hosting a public open house and workshop regarding the Midtown in Focus study to share work to date and gather your comments and ideas for the future of Midtown. I encourage you to drop by the Commons at North Toronto Collegiate Institute between 9:30am-2pm this Saturday.
REMINDER: Deer Park Residents Group Annual General Meeting
Please join me for the Deer Park Residents Group (DPRG) Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, June 6 at Calvin Presbyterian Church (26 Delisle Avenue). The membership desk will open at 6:30pm and the meeting will commence at 7pm.
The annual meeting of the DPRG is an opportunity for residents of our neighbourhood to learn about activities during the past year. The agenda will include a summary of actions taken by the DPRG, events in our district and an election of members of the Board for the coming year. I will be speaking to attendees about developments in Ward 22 and beyond that have an impact on all of us. Any persons attending who are not already members of the DPRG will be encouraged to join.
The DPRG welcomes members who have an interest in participating in its activities and serving on the Board. Please feel welcome to email [email protected] for more information.
Brentwood Towers Tenants' Association AGM
I look forward to participating in the upcoming Brentwood Towers Tenants' Association (BTTA) Annual General Meeting at 7:30pm on Tuesday, June 13 at Calvin Presbyterian Church (26 Delilse Avenue) to update members on local and city-wide issues and developments.
Sherwood Park Residents’ Association AGM
I also look forward to participating in the upcoming SPRA Annual General Meeting at 7pm on Wednesday, June 14 at The Sherwood (2567 Yonge Street) to update members on local and city-wide issues and developments.
REMINDER: Chaplin Estates Garage Sale
Please join me on Saturday, June 3rd for the Chaplin Estates Garage Sale! The event will take place in the area bounded by Yonge Street, Chaplin Crescent, and Eglinton Ave W and will run from 8am to 2pm. I hope to see you there!
Blessing of the Animals and Community BBQ at Glebe Road United Church
My friends at Glebe Road United Church and the Midtown Yonge BIA will be hosting a Special Service for you and your pet on Sunday, June 4. All are welcome! Bring your pets, bring your family, bring your friends. The Service will be followed by a community BBQ and plenty of activities for the kids!
For full event details, please click here.
New Green Bins Roll Out Across Ward 22
The City continues to phase in delivery of the new Green Bins and the neighbourhoods in the southern part of District 2, west of Yonge Street and south of Eglinton Avenue. It will take about three months to complete this distribution. Solid Waste crews deliver to one collection route per day, which represents approximately 1,500 households. Don't be alarmed if you see residents in your area with new bins and you have not received one -- yours is coming. On the same day that residents get their new Green Bin, the old one will be taken away and recycled. If crews miss removing your old bin that day, set it out empty on your next collection cycle and it will be picked up then (those who miss this second opportunity may contact 311 to arrange removal).
As Solid waste staff move through our neighbourhoods, you can check the bin delivery progress in your area at www.toronto.ca/greenbin. These maps are updated weekly and are a useful tool to refer to regarding inquiries on the delivery status of the new Green Bins.
Here are the City of Toronto's messages about some of the New Green Bin's key features (with my comments in italics):
- It is animal-resistant so it can be stored outside or placed at the curb the night before collection with the lid in the locked position. (we'll see about that- the mayor called them "raccoon-proof" but I'll want to see if they actually are)
- It is larger (much larger, perhaps too large) and can hold more organics. Plus, it meets automated collection requirements.
- Set out is important. Place the bin with the dial in the locked position with the arrows on the top of the lid facing the street to receive collection. Please remember to leave 0.5 metres between bins for automated collection.
More tips on using your new bin will be delivered with the bin. It is important to start using your new bin on your next collection day because we will no longer be able to collect from the old one. If you are currently an approved garbage and recycling bag-only customer, City staff will contact you to determine if the new Green Bin is suitable for your property.
Over the years, your strong participation in the Green Bin Program makes it the most successful and beneficial program of its type in North America. Congratulations and keep up the good work!
Health & Beauty Day At Central Eglinton Community Centre
The wonderful folks at Central Eglinton Community Centre (160 Eglinton Avenue East), including Executive Director John Carey, are hosting their 2017 Heath and Beauty Day at 10am-3pm on Friday, June 9. They will have free seminars, Pilates and Yoga classes and much more to explore for your health and well-being.
Full event details are available here.
Green and Cool Roof Grants
Time for a new roof? The City offers incentives for the installation of green and cool roofs on Toronto's residential, commercial, industrial and institutional buildings. Green roofs are eligible for $100 per square metre, cool roofs from $2 to $5 per square metre. You can also get a grant to assess the capacity of your building to support a green roof. Learn more and apply at Eco-Roof Incentive Program.
Bike Month 2017
The City of Toronto, through its Live Green Toronto and Smart Commute Programs, has partnered with Cycle Toronto to host dozens of rides, races, tours and festivals across the City to celebrate Bike Month! You can view the full calendar of events here.
145 - 149 Chaplin Crescent Public Meeting
The City has received an application to amend the Zoning By-law to permit five 3-storey townhouses each containing a 1-car integral garage a proposed height of 12.5 metres. The site is adjacent to the Kay Gardiner Beltline Trail.
Please join me at 7pm on Wednesday, May 31 (tonight) in the Cameron Room at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church (1585 Yonge Street), for a meeting to discuss the proposed development. City Planning staff will be in attendance to answer any questions you may have.