That’s a picture of the Lawrence Avenue West bridge above, which was washed away… 81 people died in the greater Toronto area on October 16, 1954 and almost 4,000 were left homeless. Eerily, Hurricane Hazel actually followed a path very similar to the recent Hurricane Florence that hit the US last week.
Toronto Field Naturalists, in partnership with Heritage York, is organizing a local walk down memory lane, literally. Join Madeleine McDowell on this historical walk along the Humber River between Old Mill Station and Lambton House (4066 Old Dundas Street). The walk has steep stairs down to the path and a 2.6 km walk along the river banks where Hurricane Hazel flooded the bridge and shores. The walk also includes historical pictures and a cup of tea at Lambton House.
- Date: Saturday, October 13, 2018
- Time: 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM
- Place: Old Mill TTC Station
- Leader: Madeleine McDowell
Dear friends and neighbours in Ward 13,
For the past eight years I have had the tremendous honour of representing you as your City Councillor. It has been a joy to work with you, the residents of the Junction, High Park, Bloor West Village, Baby Point, Warren Park, and my own neighbourhood of Swansea.
As a team we have worked together to protect what is important to our community, and bring in new tools and features to improve our ward. From our first fights to save the High Park Zoo and rebuild the Jamie Bell Castle Playground, to our recent work creating safe school zones across the ward, implementing the Bloor West Avenue Study, High Park Character Study, and the upcoming Bloor West and Junction Heritage Conservation Districts we have been at our greatest when we work together to achieve what’s best for our community.
When I decided to run for office over eight years ago, it was because I wanted to make a difference in the day-to-day lives of our community. I have always been a Councillor that prefers to help solve the problems on the street, rather than sit in committee rooms discussing policy. As we move towards the 25 ward system, I am sad to think that the hands-on community activity must be replaced, as Councillors’ roles will have to focus primarily on city wide issues, with the day-to-day operations being left to staff. With the role of Councillor changing I had to decide where my heart lies.
I knew I could not leave our community without the representation it deserves. It is clear to me that having my friend and colleague Gord Perks at City Council is essential to help the City to move forward in the right direction. Gord as an experienced and progressive City Councillor, will be able to finish the important projects we have started, help grow our inclusive and exciting vision of our community, all the while standing up for the residents of our City in this time of great change.
For that reason, upon much reflection, I have made the difficult decision not to run for re-election under the 25 Ward system. I want to thank all those that have reached out to me over the past year to show their support, offering a donation, to take a lawn sign, or to help knock on doors. I want to thank the brilliant residents I have had the honour of working beside over the past eight years as we build our community. Finally, I want to thank Ward 13 as a whole for being the best place to represent in the City of Toronto.
…but you probably knew that. If not, you should plan to attend. It’s one of the largest such festivals there is and the weather’s supposed to be fantastic. For more information, click here.
In our last update, we informed the community that a much improved proposal had been submitted by the Developer in late April, which has now become public information. Fortunately, most of BWVRA’s concerns with the previous proposals had been satisfactorily addressed in this latest submission with the exception of these two issues:
- Minimizing potential traffic impacts on the neighbourhood
- Resolving neighbourhood concerns about excessive wind impacts and pedestrian safety at the corner of Riverview Gardens & Bloor Street
With regard to potential traffic impacts, the main concern has been about the very large overall amount of retail space being proposed (approx. 5,000 sq. m.), and the Developer’s unwillingness to accept any restrictions on individual store sizes. We had asked for a limit of 1,750 square meters, as recommended in the recently completed Avenue study, which is a little bit larger than the No-Frills store in the Village but much smaller than a typical Loblaws, Metro or Sobeys. The main issue with a high-volume “big-box” store at this location is the potential impact from excessive traffic, it would be almost certain to generate, on the local street network that is already stretched to its limit.
The second issue about wind impacts and pedestrian safety mainly relates to the proposed removal of the more heavily used sidewalk beside the building on the Riverview Gardens frontage and the proposed retention of the sidewalk next to the road, which is considered unsafe by many local residents.
In any case, these two remaining issues were not considered deal breakers and our Board was anticipating that the third Pre-hearing Conference on June 28th would set the stage for the Mediation sessions scheduled for September 4 & 5. However, much to our surprise and that of the other three Parties, at the Pre-hearing Conference, it was announced that City Council, at its meeting two days earlier and on the recommendation of Planning Staff, made the decision to accept the Developer’s latest proposal.
In addition, the lawyer for the Developer also informed the Pre-hearing that his client was no longer interested in participating in Mediation sessions with the remaining four Parties. As Mediation is voluntary and all Parties must agree to participate, regretfully, this decision effectively put an end to the opportunity for us to participate in a Mediated Settlement.
Under these circumstances, as the only path forward, the four Parties have been given until August 17th to either also settle on the current proposal or present their outstanding issues to the Developer along with the names of the expert witnesses they will call upon should the Appeal proceed to a Contested Hearing.
But there is good news on our two remaining issues!
- On the question of Traffic impacts, in its recent comments on the Developer’s up-dated traffic study, City Traffic staff has been especially critical of the consultant’s findings. In particular, it was noted that there has been no recognition or assessment of the potential additional traffic that may be generated by retail stores in the development, and the capacity of the local street network to accommodate it. After reviewing the staff Memorandum, our Board is satisfied that the City has the traffic issue in hand and the proposed development will not be allowed proceed until staff is satisfied that there will be no significant impact on the local streets.
- With respect to the Riverview Gardens frontage, at the same time as Council agreed to settle with the Developer, Councillor Doucette was able to have a motion passed directing staff to consult with the community during the Site Plan review process, in order to arrive at an acceptable design for that corner.
In view of the very substantial progress on these issues, at a meeting on July 20th our Board made the decision to also accept the current proposal, however, we will retain our standing as a Party to the proceedings, just in case any or all of the other Parties do not agree to settle by the target date of August 17th, which could then lead to a Contested Hearing.
A public hearing is being held on a potential development on this property, regarding a zoning by-law variance request. The meeting will be held on Thursday, August 16 at 10:00 AM at the York Civic Centre, 2700 Eglington Avenue West, Toronto in the Council Chamber.
To view the materials for this application online, visit www.toronto.ca/alc under file number A0365/18EYK
As Canada’s busiest airport, Toronto Pearson understands its operations and the growing demand for air travel have an impact on surrounding communities, which is why they’ve been working toward reducing noise impacts for neighbourhoods like Bloor West Village. One recent example is the three-year collaboration with NAV CANADA of The Six Ideas: A Quieter Operations Roadmap. In Spring 2018, the GTAA and NAV Canada consulted communities across the region on the six noise mitigation ideas. A final report outlining the results from the Six Ideas public consultations will be available later in Summer 2018.
One of the Six Ideas consulted on is a Summer Weekend Runway Alternation Program. Many international airports use this kind of program to provide residents with relief from aircraft noise by rotating runway usage during periods when fewer aircraft are arriving and departing. These rotations are scheduled in advance so that residents know when to expect relief from aircraft noise. Toronto Pearson’s summer weekend runway alternation program is Idea 5 of the Six Ideas. Based on community feedback received from the Six Ideas consultation, 68% of the airport’s neighbours impacted by east/west operations expressed interest testing a summer weekend runway alternation program to better understand the respite it may offer. So, Toronto Pearson is moving forward with a test of a Summer Weekend Runway Alternation Program, for eight weekends beginning on July 28, 2018.
- Dates: Weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) from July 28 to September 16, 2018
- Time: 6:30 a.m. to midnight
- Scope: East/west runways only
The Summer Weekend Runway Alternation test should provide residents who live along (or in the case of Bloor West Village, just south of) final approach and initial departure paths of the east/west runways with periods of predictable respite from aircraft traffic overhead. The north/south runways are not included in the program but, like always, will be used if the weather conditions or safety dictates a change in operations.
Boarders have been redrawn at Council. So do you think High Park is in the west end or east end?
A few blocks north of Bloor, there’s another farmers market to check out between May and October. The Annette Village Farmers’ Market looks very inviting indeed.
Parts of our village are immersed in school traffic (kids, parents and cars) ten months of the year. This update suggests that coming 2019, pilot programs will begin towards increasing the safety of surrounding streets.
Since the first Pre-hearing Conference at the OMB last September, two revised “without prejudice” proposals have been presented to the Parties by the developer. The BWVRA Board of Directors was particularly encouraged by the latest version provided in March, in which there were very significant reductions in the building height and massing. As is the case with all “without prejudice” proposals in a negotiation, the substance of these proposals remains confidential between the Parties. However, the developer, apparently assuming that it is close to arriving at a scheme that the various Parties (including the BWVRA) will find acceptable, has recently submitted an application for Site Plan Approval to the City. As a quick reference, the two architect’s perspectives below have been extracted from this submission:
Why is this significant? The Site Plan application drawings, which very closely resemble the most recent “without prejudice” proposal, are now on the public record, and by reviewing these drawings you should have a good understanding of how the negotiations have progressed to this point.
From the perspective of the BWVRA Board, the most important improvements in the current proposal, as compared to the initial submission to City Planning that also remains under appeal at the OMB, are:
- The average overall height of the building has been reduced from approximately 47 m. to 35 m., or the equivalent of 4 residential floors (this is just marginally higher than the 32 m. height approved back in 2008 for the original Humber Theatre proposal)
- The gross floor area has been reduced from 31, 645 sq. m. to 28, 596 sq. m.
- There are approximately 44 fewer condo units.
- There are 87 fewer underground parking spaces.
While these revisions represent the very substantial progress that has been made toward a potential settlement, the following issues remain to be resolved:
- Minimizing potential traffic impacts on the neighbourhood
- Neighbourhood concerns about pedestrian safety and excessive wind impacts at the corner of Riverview Gardens
In the mean time, your feedback continues to be very important, and we welcome any thoughts you may have on the current proposal as reflected on the Site Plan drawings.