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City did not tell us of big proposal

As another summer comes to a close, LPOA anticipates a busy autumn and winter.

The issues we were working on before the summer began continue: development proposals (939 Eglinton at Brentcliffe; the former Leaside post office site on Malcolm; an application to add storeys to the Scenic condos on Eglinton), protecting affordable local rental housing (Garden Court and the Talbot buildings, all on Bayview between Sutherland and just south of Millwood), and, of course, traffic matters.

While there is nothing new to report at this time on the 939 Eglinton proposal, the developer of the former Leaside post office has gone to the Ontario Municipal Board, charging “failure of the City to make a decision within the Planning Act deadlines”. A city staff report is going to North York Community Council on Sept. 10, and city council on Oct. 8.

After numerous meetings with a working group of the site’s immediate neighbours and Brian Athey, LPOA president, no real changes were agreed to by the developer. It still remains a proposed high-density design of real concern to us all, on many (no pun intended) levels: traffic, emergency services, lack of public open space….

LPOA will be present at NYCC and at the OMB (second pre-hearing takes place on Nov. 22, and a five-day hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 17.)

When the application for the Scenic condominium towers was approved for the site on Brian Peck Cres. (on the hill on the south side of Eglinton, east of Brentcliffe), a cap of 965 units was placed on the complex by the OMB. The developer now wants to add 98 more units in Tower 3, without any changes to the massing and height. That would make 1,063 units total, with those in Tower 3 increasing from 218 to 316.

Interestingly, the city did not notify LPOA of the application, but we heard about it from our friends in the Leaside Business Park Association. We have serious reservations about both the application and the municipal process so far, and intend to be very active on this file.

Regarding the protection of affordable rental housing in Leaside, LPOA attended a city-held public meeting about the Garden Court apartments in late June. The owner of the complex is applying to convert rental units into condominiums, and both tenants and non-tenant residents of Leaside attended the meeting to show their opposition to both piecemeal (unit by unit) or total conversion proposed by the owner.

City staff made an excellent presentation regarding both the city’s official position on protection of rental housing in general, and on the proposals of the owner. A full staff report is expected this autumn.

The situation of many Talbot tenants, however, is less satisfactory: the owner of the three Talbot buildings wants to renovate and update the apartments, which is good. What is NOT good is that eviction notices were served in late spring this year on all tenants.

It should have been possible to do these renovations one building at a time, which would have allowed tenants to stay or at least involved minimum disruption to their lives. Instead, timing became an issue, and there was heavy-handed pressure on tenants to leave, so many felt it necessary to seek other accommodation.

Many have signed notice of their option to return once the renovations are complete, but we do not yet know when those might be, and what long-term rent increases might ensue.

My next column will look at the Leaside traffic study to be undertaken later this autumn by the LPOA and Leaside Unite. Unlike a proposed city-run study, for which funding has yet to be allocated, ours is funded, and will involve Leaside residents in both consultation and planning.

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