A local resident gave us a heads up that the Coffee Tree Roastery is celebrating its 30th birthday on Bloor Street West next month.  We agree that it has added much to the ambiance and special character of the village over those years thanks to its owner Susan, who’s worked hard to support the village and given it a special place in the hearts and minds of not only residents, but also  many well-known personalities of Toronto (see below.)  Make sure to drop by and say hello on May 12.

Neighbourhood Character Guidelines for Bloor West Village

First of all, a big thank you (again), to everyone who responded to our survey last October.  The exceptionally high response rate of nearly 50 % of the households that were contacted, indicates how much we care about the look and feel of our neighbourhoods.   As importantly, the feedback received helped to inform the recommendations of the concurrent study which is now complete and posted here for your information.

For those who are not familiar with this initiative, the Bloor West Village Neighbourhood Character Guidelines project was carried out as the first step to assist the City in implementing guidelines that  will help ensure that future large home renovations and re-builds respect and reinforce the existing  character of our neighbourhoods. The study area which coincided with the BWVRA catchment area, was bordered by Bloor Street to the south, Quebec Avenue to the east, Annette Street and Humberview Road to the north, and the Humber River to the west.

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Generally speaking, our neighbourhood is a walkers’ paradise.  But surprisingly, a publicly available scoring system can add nuance from one street to the next; even from one house number to the next.  You can read the Globe and Mail article here and see how many steps you have to go.

Where’s the movie theatre going as part of the Humber Theatre development?

In the current plans, the curtain will fall on the Humber movie theatre once development starts on the project.  We don’t have a specific date as of now, but we do know it will be closing permanently (as well, the current owner of the theatre business is not interested in continuing.)  Like you, we’re guessing, we’ve also enjoyed having a movie theatre in the village; a venue you can walk to, to take in the latest films.  If retaining a local movie theatre is important to you, or perhaps seeing a new cultural or recreational spot incorporated in the design plans, we’d encourage you to write our local Councillor, Sarah Doucette and share your views.

The Laneway Project has complied a list of “no-brainers” based on the issues and opportunities that have come up in all of the laneways that they’ve worked in.  We share their hope that it inspires action and change in the way that we plan, design and manage the laneways in communities like Bloor West Village.  Read it here.

The Bloor West Village Residents Association is pleased to announce the receipt of a generous donation of $2,500 from the Sidorova Inwood Team.  You may have noticed we were also featured in their current realtor ad on page 17 of the January Home News.  We’re grateful and thankful to have leaders such as them in our Bloor West business community supporting our campaign.

 

Bloor West Village is a special place but remains within a big city.  The Canadian Urban Institute is a non-profit applied research organization dedicated to achieving healthy urban development.  We’ve added a link to their web site, on the right.  Check it out to see interesting stories and media about the broader urban community we’re part of.

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
Toronto, ON

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.

A big “THANK YOU” to those of you who included a donation to the Save Our Village fundraising campaign on your To-Do List last month!  In December, we raised just over $4,300 which has helped take us closer to our $20,000 goal.  We still have a ways to go, so please help us with your donation by clicking here, and also let us know if you’d like a lawn sign to show your support.

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.

You may have noticed the holiday lights on Bloor West Village sidewalk trees absent this year.  Several years ago, when the sidewalks were replaced, Toronto Hydro removed all power to the trees.  In its place, solar power units were used but they are now obsolete. Early next year, new solar powered pedestrian lighting will be installed to illuminate the sidewalks.  Later on in December, this system will hopefully allow the tree lights to reappear.