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

If the likely answer is “yes”, then you may want to attend an upcoming meeting. You’ll have an opportunity to share traffic-related comments about South Kingsway and Bloor St, with the City Transportation Division, Toronto Police’s 11 Division and our Councillor, Sarah Doucette. City Transportation Staff will also provide suggestions about safety improvements at the intersection. Here are the details:

Date: Monday, July 30, 2018

Time: 6:30 pm – 8 pm

Location: Swansea Town Hall, 95 Lavinia Ave

For more information, please call 416-392-4072 or email councillor_doucette@toronto.ca

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.

Test Details

  • 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.

To learn more, visit www.torontopearson.com/conversations/.  You can also contact the Noise Management Office with questions at 416-247-7682 or community.engagement@gtaa.com.

With warm, summer weather clearly here, the City of Toronto is reminding Bloor West Village residents that they can track their water use online with MyWaterToronto, the City’s online water use tool. You can use the tool to track your water use by day, week, month or year. The tool can also be used to identify prolonged and unexplained water use increases, which could mean you have a leak. Or maybe left a tap on… You will need your utility bill to sign on to the tool.

Visit toronto.ca/mywatertoronto.

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.

City Planning has posted DTAH’s Final Report on the Bloor West Village Avenue Study on the City’s Web page. Please see the link below. City Planning Report which provides an overview of DTAH’s report and next steps is anticipated to go to the June 6, 2018 Etobicoke York Community Council meeting.

https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/planning-development/planning-studies-initiatives/bloor-west-village-avenue-study/

The Junction Farmers Market is an independent non-profit local farmers’ market in the heart of the nearby Junction. The market provides local, sustainably produced fresh foods in ways that build community, support local food growers and producers, and promote access to healthy food for all. Open 9 – 1 Saturday mornings from May 26th to Nov. 3rd, 2018. Come eat with us in The Junction! You can follow the market on Facebook (@junctionfarmersmarket), Twitter and Instagram (@junctionmarket).