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LPOA settles for an improved development at Sunnybrook Plaza

The LPOA was successful in reaching a mediated settlement with RioCan over their development application for 660 Eglinton Ave. East (Sunnybrook Plaza), forestalling an adversarial hearing scheduled to start on December 5th. Representatives of RioCan, and the LPOA, on behalf of the Leaside community signed minutes of settlement at the OMB on November 28. Board-assisted mediation involving RioCan, City staff, and the LPOA was extremely helpful in winning important concessions.

Compared to RioCan’s original application, the settlement calls for significant improvements, among them:

Height, massing, density, design

The final height reduces the proposed 19 and 13 storeys to 16 and 11 storeys, with a less massive appearance. Setbacks were introduced at the fifth storey instead of the eighth. The visual impact is considerably improved.

Hydrogeology

Underground water and flooding have long been a concern at the Bayview/Eglinton location. RioCan agreed to pay for the professional fees of a hydrogeologist chosen by the LPOA to assess RioCan’s hydrogeology study and investigate impacts of the construction on both the site and adjoining properties. RioCan confirmed to our hydrogeologist’s satisfaction there will be no offsite deleterious impacts to neighbouring properties.

Natural heritage and tree protection

The viability of several trees on homeowners’ properties was threatened. The LPOA hired an arborist (at RioCan’s expense) to identify concerns with RioCan’s natural heritage and arborist reports. The settlement allows for our arborist (again, fees to be covered by RioCan) to be present during construction of the retaining wall to monitor and evaluate tree protection issues, subject to neighbours’ agreement to access their properties for arborist survey purposes. The settlement provides for fence replacement, covered by RioCan.

Outdoor amenities, landscaping and parking

Details to be handled in the site plan application process; RioCan will supply the LPOA and City with their site plan application at the same time, and a working committee will be established.

Section 37 Funds

The settlement provides $2.7M for community purposes. Councillor Burnside has expressed an interest in applying these funds toward the cost of a community centre to serve North Leaside.

The LPOA believes this settlement offers significant improvements over the original proposal. As Linda Martin, Bessborough resident, said at a December 10 meeting arranged by the LPOA, “I am satisfied that this was the best deal we could get under the circumstances.”