Proposed Humber Theatre Re-development

On September 28th, the first Pre-hearing Conference at the Ontario Municipal Board offices in Toronto was held regarding the proposed Humber Theatre re-development. During this meeting, all of the Parties and Participants, who have an interest in the proceedings, were identified and the next steps were proposed and agreed upon. The Bloor West Village Residents Association was very capably represented by our legal counsel Paul DeMelo, a highly regarded lawyer at OMB proceedings. We have also retained David Butler, a noted Professional Planner in Toronto, who also brings many years of experience to our team.

It now seems to be common practice at Pre-Hearing Conferences for the OMB to encourage the Parties to explore the potential for “Mediation” as an alternative to a much more involved and costly “Contested Hearing”. Very often the Parties will agree but the Developer will usually also ask for a Hearing Date, should Mediation fail. However, in this case, it was very encouraging that Plazacorp did not make such a request. Instead, it was agreed there will be a second Pre-Hearing Conference on February 7th, 2018, with the understanding that this will lead to Mediation in the Spring, 2018.

In the mean time, our expectation is that the Developer will make a sincere effort to reach out to and consult with all of the Parties and other concerned representatives of the community. Our Association is mobilizing quickly to be a constructive voice for the community when these consultations begin.

But we need YOUR input ….on the kind of re-development the BWVRA should be advocating for on this site!
So please save the date October 30th, 7:00 pm, for a Community Meeting at the Humbercrest United Church Hall on Baby Point Road, just north of the development site.

Join the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) on Sunday, October 1st to celebrate ravine protection and the addition of the Humber River to Ontario’s Greenbelt!

From its headwaters north of Toronto to Lake Ontario, the Humber River now enjoys protection from the Greenbelt all along its banks. It took TEA 8 years of advocacy to make this happen. To show their gratitude to the thousands of people who joined the campaign to protect the ravines and grow the Greenbelt, they’re holding a series of celebrations in these ravines

Interested in joining? 

Welcome to the Greenbelt: A Celebration in the Humber River

When: Sunday, October 1st. 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm

Where: King’s Mill Park North (map view)

Let them know you are coming by taking a moment to fill out this RSVP form.

In 2008, a proposal to re-develop the Humber Theatre site at 2442 Bloor Street West as a 10 Storey mixed-use commercial and residential condominium received approval from the Ontario Municipal Board. That project never proceeded.

Looking west through the Village, Bloor/Jane is one of our most iconic intersections and any development there will have a major influence on the eventual look and feel of our neighbourhood as intensification continues.

  • In January of 2016, Plazacorp, another developer, approached our Councillor, Sarah Doucette, to inform her it planned to submit an application to the City Planning Department for a 14-storey development on the Humber Theatre site and over to Riverview Gardens, from 2442-2454 Bloor Street West.  She asked that it hold a Community Meeting prior to submitting this application, to hear the thoughts and concerns of our residents. This meeting was held on Monday, February 8th at the Humber Theatre with a large group of local residents in attendance. Following that meeting, Plazacorp submitted an application to the City which did not reflect any of the input received from the residents at the meeting.
  • 1st PUBLIC CONSULTATION arranged by City Planning took place on September 29th 2016 at St. Pius X School. Many residents, along with the local Resident Associations, attended this consultation where they shared their views regarding the latest proposal. Overall, the residents thought the proposed building is much too high and massive for the location. They also expressed their concerns related to the potential for increased traffic at an already complicated intersection and their discontent with removal of the theater, which has been a highly valued cultural asset for generations of Village residents. The numerous objections expressed at the meeting did not reflect a categorical rejection by the community of the site’s re-development, but rather that a built form be utilised that respects the local midrise context of Bloor Street and the scale of the immediate residential neighbourhood.As a next step in the approval process, City Planning staff engaged the Design Review Panel.  The DRP’s mandate is to assist Council in fulfilling Official Plan objectives by providing staff with independent professional design advice on public and private development. The DRP’s goal is to improve people’s quality of life by promoting design excellence within the public realm, including the pursuit of high quality architecture, landscape urban design and environmental sustainability.
  • 1st DRP for the Humber Cinema site was held on November 23rd 2016. The panel voted unanimously for a redesign of the project.  Please see the minutes.
  • In December 2016, Plazacorp informed Councillor Doucette that it was prepared to consult more directly with the community starting early in the 2017.  In anticipation of this opportunity, a Working Group was formed, consisting of three local Resident’s Associations and led by the Old Mill Humbercrest Neighbourhood Association,(now merged with BWVRA); Regretfully, there was in fact no further contact from the developer and no consultations with the Working Group followed.
  • 2nd DRP for the Humber Theatre site was held on April 21st 2017.  Plazacorp, submitted a revised proposal to the City’s Design Review Panel. This scheme had substantive changes, but unfortunately the height and massing of the building were not significantly reduced.  Instead, the alterations to its form could arguably have made it even more imposing and less sensitive to it’s the Bloor West Village context.  Please see the minutes.
  • On May 15th 2017, after being roundly criticized by DRP, the developer appealed its’ original application to the Ontario Municipal Board, that did not address any of the concerns expressed by the community or the significant recommendations from the DRP.
  • Pre-Hearing at the Ontario Municipal Board to be held on Thursday, September 28, 2017.  This is the first step the OMB takes to identify all of the Parties that have an interest in the matter, explore whether there is an opportunity for a Mediated Settlement and, failing that, set a date for the Hearing.

We want to ensure that residents’ concerns regarding this proposal are heard at the OMB. To do that, we need your help to raise more than $60,000 to pay for legal and planning professionals who will attend the Pre-hearing and the proceedings that follow.

If you care about Bloor West Village, and everything that makes it  a highly desirable place to live and visit, please take the time to get informed, spread the word and DONATE!

 

http://www.saveourvillage.ca/

 




The Avenue Study is a first step toward better planning policies and zoning bylaws for Bloor Street from Keele to the Humber River. Changed policies and bylaws will determine the future size, design and character of new developments along Bloor. The current policies have proven to be very damaging when tested at the OMB, where developers have been winning the majority of the contested decisions.

Details of the Avenue Study can be found here on the City of Toronto web site.

Our residents’ association has two members on the local advisory committee with the City and the consultants to ensure residents’ concerns are incorporated into this study. The Avenue Study is targeted to be completed by the fall of this year.

 

Sunday May 3, 2015
10am – 11:30amish
Starting point: Neil Mclellan Park (across from Runnymede Subway station)
Walk leader: Dianne Bradley

Screenshot 2015-04-23 12.36.04

What’s a Jane’s Walk?
Jane’s Walks are free, locally organized walking tours, in which people get together to explore, talk about and celebrate their neighbourhoods. Where more traditional tours are a bit like walking lectures, a Jane’s Walk is more of a walking conversation. Leaders share their knowledge, but also encourage discussion and participation among the walkers.

Did you know that Toronto has 2400 Lane ways?  Should we begin to look at  laneways as  more useable space in Toronto?  Come to learn more about  the history of Bloor West Village and its  commercial laneway strip. Help us  brainstorm about the role laneways could play in the neighbourhood.

The walk begins at Neil Mclellan Park across from the Runnymede Subway station and traverses the laneways and parkettes behind the vital retail area on the north side of Bloor Street.  Learn about the history of Bloor West Village, the building of the Bloor-Danforth subway and its impact on the neighbourhood and the current growth of development and intensification in the area.   Laneways are an untapped resource in Toronto.  We want to explore with you the potential of laneways as shared spaces for walkers, cyclists and cars,  greening of laneways, transforming them into vibrant communal spaces, potential for housing with appropriate zoning,  We want to start the conversation in Bloor West Village.  How can we harness the potential and transform laneways as multi-purpose communal spaces?

Come with your ideas.

There is an upcoming opportunity to submit comments and questions regarding the Mid Rise Guidelines Performance Standards directly to City Planning Staff. These Mid Rise Guidelines were originally put into place back in 2010 to help guide planners and developers when dealing with new development proposals. A 5 year review of these Guidelines is currently underway.

Date:  Friday, April 24th
Time:  1pm to 4pm
Location:  City Hall, Second Floor, Meeting Room B (access through Reception A)

It is an Open House, so you can come at any time between 1pm and 4pm.  The feedback received will help guide the evaluation of the Mid Rise Performance Standards.

In addition, or alternatively, you can participate by filling out a survey on the topic: click here for the survey.

As you fill out this survey, keep in mind that it is the City’s Mid Rise Guidelines that currently inform new development in Bloor West Village. Many residents who filled out our BWVRA survey said they love shopping and walking along Bloor St. W.

What about this shopping strip makes it so appealing to so many? There are many design elements (some serendipitous good fortune and others credited to good planning) that make our local “high street” so appealing – so please keep these in mind as you fill out the Mid Rise Guidelines survey – especially the question about “Visual Preference Survey”!

For instance:
There is an eclectic blend of small-scale independent and corporate stores that keep things interesting as we walk along; every few steps, we notice a new shop or business because the storefronts are quite narrow.

Wide sidewalks allow for patios, benches, and for merchandise to be displayed outside; all of which create spaces to stop to chat with friends, neighbours and shopkeepers and add to the vibrant sense of community in Bloor West Village.

People are attracted by “organized complexity” – a mix of order and variety. In Bloor West Village, there is variety in the colour and treatment of storefronts but the general width and height are similar, which creates order. Here’s a great video called How to Make an Attractive City.

The fact that Bloor Street runs east-west gives us the advantage of sun exposure, especially on the north side, and protection from the cold North winds. Design to date has ensured that sun continues to shine along this shopping strip.

Local streets are offset where they intersect Bloor St, which creates interesting views of the retail main street as you walk towards Bloor St.

1990 Bloor St. W. (at Parkview Gardens) site plan approved, construction has started.

2114 Bloor St. W. (at Kennedy Park) a revised proposal has been submitted. There will be a Community Open House on April 9th.

2115 Bloor St. W. (at Harcroft) a proposal has been submitted. The Working Group has reviewed the application is waiting for the City’s report.

2265 Bloor St. W. (at Durie) mediation has been successful and will go to a Settlement Hearing on April 7th. We will keep you posted as that unfolds.

Call to action for the OMB appeal!

Neighbours and Friends
Apply for Participant Status

at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) for

the Development at 2265-79 Bloor St. W. (Bloor & Durie Ave.)

Re: OMB File Nos.

PL140435 and PL140768 2265-79 Bloor W, City of Toronto
The Ontario Municipal Board Hearing begins Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 10:00am. The hearing takes place at the OMB Offices, 655 Bay Street, Suite 1500, Toronto,ON M5G 1E5 (South of Gerrard, corner of Elm & Bay)

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Screenshot 2014-06-23 09.52.23
What is Participant Status?
We want you to write to OMB Case Coordinator, Sandra Chan at the OMB asking for Participant Status so that you can voice your concerns surrounding the development. We need the Village to apply in their hundreds to attend the OMB hearing on Jan.6, 2015 at 10am.

Responsibilities and duties of a participant at the OMB hearing.

When you register as a participant, you will be:
  • required to attend the first day of the hearing & will be struck off the list if you fail to appear.
You may have to testify. Your testimony can be as simple as a read statement of an opinion. You will be:
  • given a prep session by our lawyer to ensure that your testimony does not overlap or repeat other testimony.
  • prepared so that you can confidently be cross examined by the lawyers for the developer, the CIty and/or our own lawyer.
  • given a time and/or day on which the Chair will hear you testify.
Keep in mind only a handful of all the participants will be asked to testify at the hearing.

 

Please contact OMB Case Coordinator, Sandra Chan to request Participant Status at the hearing. Click here to view the newsletter that contains a template of a “Request for Participant Status email”

Feel free to personalize the letter including your specific concerns about the development. At the end of the letter you need to add your information and address.

If you have trouble linking to the letter to Sandra Chan, please contact shirley@bwvra.ca.

Our councillor Sarah Doucette sent the following note:

Dear residents,

I have just been informed by the proponents for the proposed 2265-2279 Bloor Street development have taken their proposal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). As the proponent has heard from me, and the community as a whole, we do not support this application. The proponent has now decided to exercise their right to go the OMB 120 days after applying, skipping the city process and going straight to the province.

To say I am disappointed is an understatement. I have heard overwhelmingly that residents share my concerns over the size and density of this building, and have expressed unease regarding traffic, retail plans, and the overall feel the building project. If approved this development will greatly alter our village and our community as a whole. By going to the OMB the proponent is not waiting to hear the city planning report, your views, or the ruling of City Council. The decisions are now left in the hands of an unelected board that is made up of members from across the province who may have never step a foot into Bloor West Village.

2265 Bloor proposed development

Moving forward, City Planner Phillip Carvalino will now be writing a Request for Directions report to Community Council to recommend the actions the City should take at the OMB. I will be putting forth a motion to send city legal and planning to the OMB. You can still share your thoughts and concerns with Mr. Carvalino, as well as my office. Council will not be sitting from September to December due to the municipal election. While it is highly unlikely that an OMB hearing will occur during this time, if a pre-hearing does occur the City Solicitor will go to represent the City.

With the OMB now hearing this case, the decision has left City hands and now lies with the Province. Despite this fact I will continue to fight for reasonable development that maintains the character of Bloor West Village.

I will update you as soon as I have more information.

Best regards,

Councillor Sarah Doucette

The BWVRA will of course pass along any further updates as they arise.