It’s been awhile since we’ve posted an update on the Humber Theatre Proposal, but that doesn’t mean the BWVRA hasn’t been busy! Quite the opposite! Your Association, along with the four other parties to the proceedings, has had several productive discussions with the developer. Progress is being made and there is optimism that a negotiated settlement may be within reach. The developer has been meeting with us on a “without prejudice” basis which means, unfortunately, we are unable to make any public disclosure of our progress. We’re hopeful that we’ll be in a position to provide more details in time for our Annual General Meeting on May 10th, which will feature one of our always successful Candidate Debates, in advance of the upcoming Provincial Election. We thank you again for your continuing support!
The 2nd Pre-Hearing Conference took place last week on February 8th, at which representatives for the developer and the five Parties to the Appeal, reiterated their interest in a Board-assisted Mediation process. However, the presiding Board Member, citing the current overwhelming workload and lack of capacity at the OMB, was once again unable to offer a date for this to take place. Even more significantly, no assurances were given that the Board would be able to assist in Mediation within the foreseeable future. Instead, the Board Member offered a 3rd Pre-Hearing Conference scheduled for June 28th, 2018.
Plazacorp’s lawyer then declared that his client would be willing to engage in discussions directly with the five Parties in an effort to converge on a revised proposal that would be satisfactory to everyone prior to June 28th. Should this initiative succeed, the expectation is that the 3rd Pre-Hearing Conference could then be converted to a Settlement Hearing. If no agreement is reached by then, the Developer could request more time for informal negotiations, ask again for an OMB-assisted Mediation or, as a last resort, request a date for a Contested Hearing.
In view of the inability of the OMB to assist in a negotiated settlement, BWVRA remains cautiously optimistic that frank and productive discussions will take place with the Developer over the next several months. To help facilitate this dialogue, our Association will also be reaching out to the Swansea Area Ratepayers Association (SARA) to explore issues that we have in common, and if possible, present a united front on behalf of all the residents of Bloor West Village.
In the meantime, you may have noticed the new “You Asked?” section on our website, where we share frequently asked questions and responses to them. We continue to encourage your feedback which is crucial to informing the positions your Association will be representing in the up-coming negotiations.
- If you aren’t already a member in good standing, please consider joining
- Donate to help us reach our new target of $30,000
- Attend the fundraiser preview performance of the mystery play “Tainted Justice” at the Village Playhouse on March 1st, 8:00 PM
The High Park Community Alliance (HPCA) has been informed that the Ontario Municipal Board has scheduled pre-hearing conferences with:
- GWL: Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 at 10:00AM
- Minto: Thursday, February 8th, 2018 at 10:00AM
They will take place at the:
Ontario Municipal Board
655 Bay Street, 16th Floor
HPCA has contacted legal counsel to represent our organization at these important pre-hearing conferences which deal with preliminary and procedural matters, including:
- Identification of parties
- Identification of participants
- Identification of issues
- Possibility of settlement of any or all the issues
- Start date of the hearing
- Duration of the hearing
- Directions for pre-filing of witness lists, expert witness statements and written evidence.
- The hearing of motions
- Such matters as the Board considers appropriate
For more information, read the OMB Pre-hearing Conference Info Sheet. It is important to note that the OMB’s notices state: “If you do not attend the pre-hearing conference, the Ontario Municipal Board may proceed in your absence and you will not be entitled to any further notice of these proceedings.” As noted above, HPCA will be participating in these important pre-hearings.
Individuals are also welcome to attend and will have the opportunity to register as either “parties or participants” at the actual hearings. For more information, read the OMB “Parties and Participants” Info Sheet
We will be discussing strategy/planning for the pre-hearings at the:
HPCA Annual General Meeting
Tuesday, January 23rd at 7:00PM
Grenadier Retirement Residence
2100 Bloor Street West
We hope you will be able to attend.
The first Pre-hearing Conference was held on September 28, 017, during which a number of Parties and Participants were identified and registered by the OMB. As importantly Plazacorp, the developer, asked for Mediation but did not request an alternative date for a Contested Hearing, should Mediation fail. BWVRA has interpreted this as positive sign, that the applicant would like to expedite a negotiated settlement; however, with an unusually large number of five Parties being involved, and with many divergent interests to address, this is not expected to be easy.
In the mean time, through consultations with our Members and with the advice of our Lawyer and Planner, we have been preparing to be able to clearly articulate the community’s interests when further negotiations, and possibly formal OMB Mediation, take place. Negotiated settlements are usually dependent on all of the Parties narrowing down their focus to two or three key issues that matter to them most. From the perspective of BWVRA, these are as follows:
- The proposed building is much too high, bulky and out-of-scale for the location,
- Predicted shadow impacts on the adjacent neighbourhood are unacceptable
- Wind tunnelling is already a concern at street-level, and the additional impacts of the proposed building need to be understood and properly addressed.
Our next date with the OMB is the second Pre-hearing Conference scheduled for February 7, 018. Watch for further updates, before and immediately after that date, on the progress of informal negotiations that may take place, along with the scheduled date for Mediation, should this step be needed.
On December 6th, Toronto City council voted unanimously to oppose Plaza Corp’s proposed development on the site of the Humber Theatre! This is great news and now we need to prepare for our Mediation session with the developer on February 7th, 2018.
A big thank you to the many generous people who have already stepped up with a donation to the Save Our Village Fund: we’ve raised close to $9,000 so far but we still have a long way to go. To help get us there, the BWVRA has agreed to match donations, up to a total of $2,000, between now and December 31, 2017. If you’ve been planning to donate, now is your chance to have double the impact! It’s fast and easy to do at our donation page.
A big victory for residents of Bloor West Village yesterday when Toronto City council voted unanimously to oppose Plaza Corp’s proposed development at the site of the Humber Theatre! Thank you Sarah Doucette (@DoucetteWard13) for your leadership! We’re now two months away from mediation with the OMB and residents support will be crucial to a successful outcome: follow our page to stay informed as to how you can help.
The Bloor West Village Residents’ Association is a group of resident volunteers committed to fostering a well-balanced and liveable community, both now and into the future. Our neighbourhood is currently facing an urgent challenge with a proposed development on the site of the Humber Theatre.
The Theatre sits on a landmark site with most of the stores now empty and windows papered over, awaiting development. Renewal of this block is urgently needed and the BWVRA supports responsible re-development that respects the existing scale and character of the immediate neighbourhood.
The City of Toronto is undertaking an initiative with the goal of considering the opportunity to allow and regulate laneway suites on the numerous laneways across Toronto and East York areas of the City. If you missed the meeting held recently at City Hall, feedback can be found here.
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.
One of the speakers at our public meeting next week (May 24th, 7pm, Runnymede United Church), will be Jennifer Keesmaat, from The Office of Urbanism. She is one of the authors of an ambitious study on the future of the commercial strip of Bloor West Village.
Ms. Keesmaat will present the document, called the Bloor West Village Urban Design Study, at the meeting. Since the study contains a lot of information, photos, and maps we want to offer you the chance to examine it in advance of the presentation.
Click here to see the study (PDF, 9MB)