Most if not all of you have walked passed Ling’s gift shop on Bloor Street. Mr. Alex Ling, an individual known to many as a champion of BIAs not only here in Toronto but nationally and internationally, passed away on September 24th.

Born on November 29, 1933, Mr. Ling was a key part in the group of local business owners who created and established the Bloor West Village BIA, the first BIA in the world. The success of the first BIA, Bloor West Village, inspired other retail districts to follow and become BIAs themselves. Today, there are 83 BIAs in the City of Toronto, and over 400 across the Province of Ontario. The BIA concept has been emulated throughout Canada, the United States and across the globe.

About Alex

Alex Ling (Alexander Edward Ling) and his wife Helen moved to the Bloor West Village in Toronto in 1971. They thought they wouldn’t be so busy; however that was not the case. Alex became involved in the BIA right away. He was first elected as Chairperson in 1979 and worked very hard for the Bloor West Village BIA and the neighbourhood.

In the early 1980’s, with the help of City Hall, he started the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) to give support to all BIAs in the City of Toronto. Alex ate and slept the BIA philosophy. He loved the work and the challenge of the job. He was TABIA’s President for 19 years and in 2001 he finally engineered himself to Past President. In 2004 Alex became Chairman of the Bloor West Village BIA by promising to continue to help out, staying on as a Board Member.

He was also the pioneer and the driving force behind the Solar Powered Conversion of the Tree Lighting and Gas Lanterns in Bloor West Village. They have since retired 45 hydro meters from the Tree Lighting Program – no more hydro bills, and no more burning of fossil fuel from the Gas Lanterns! They will soon have a total of 60 Solar Powered Gas-style Lanterns in the Village.

Alex was constantly championing and working for the cause of small business. He was instrumental in acquiring a lower discount rate for Merchant VISA and MasterCard for his members. He has worked with a number of insurance companies on group insurance for small business, as well as natural gas rebates for business and residents.

 

In our August update, the community was informed that both the City and BWVRA had no further objections to Developer’s most recent revised proposal and that the Developer was unwilling to engage in Mediation with the remaining three Parties to the proceedings at LPAT (Local Planning Appeals Tribunal).    Under the circumstances, these Parties were given until mid-August to either provide a list of their remaining issues or withdraw. A fourth Pre-Hearing Conference was then scheduled, which took place on September 5th, by which time SARA (Swansea Area Ratepayer’s Association) had withdrawn, leaving two Parties, Arbor Memorial and Dennis Maslo (an adjacent owner on Humbercrest Trail) with unresolved objections to the proposal. Their issues relate largely to private property rights and are not of any concern to BWVRA.

In any event, on September 5th it became clear that the only remaining path to a conclusion of the Appeal would be a Contested Hearing which has been scheduled for April 23rd to 26th, 2019.  This Hearing will deal specifically with the objections of the two remaining Parties. However, there is considerable uncertainty and debate about whether or not those matters are even admissible for adjudication at a Hearing. It is also entirely possible that the Developer may reach a settlement with these two Parties prior to the Hearing , in which case the first Hearing date on April 23rd would likely be converted to a Settlement Hearing.

Will Participants from the community still have an opportunity to express their personal opinions?

Regardless of whatever the situation is by April 23rd, those Participants that initially registered to speak at the time of the very first Pre-Hearing Conference back in September 2017 may also attend and present their personal views on the proposal. Other members of the public may also register to speak by contacting the LPAT Case Coordinator. However, in order to speak at the Hearing, ALL Participants are required to submit their written Participant Statements by February 1, 2019 to:

Tamara Zwarycz, Case Coordinator LPAT Case PL170556

Tamara.Zwarycz@Ontario.ca

416 326-6790

Leading up to the Hearing in April 2019, what will BWVRA need to do?

As our Association has already agreed to the current revised proposal and the remaining issues are not of any direct concern to the community, our lawyer will only be monitoring and periodically reporting to us on the proceedings.

In the meantime our new Councilor, after the upcoming election, will be briefed at the earliest opportunity on our remaining concerns related to traffic and the re-design of the corner at Bloor Street and Riverview Gardens.  We will then be relying on our Councilor’s Office to keep our community informed on how City Staff and the Developer are resolving the numerous anticipated traffic impacts from this proposed development.  In addition, we will be expecting Staff to follow through on Council’s direction to consult with the community on an appropriate re-design of the afore-mentioned street corner.

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
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/

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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