On June 27th, there was a community meeting about the 90 Eastdale site and a new building that has been proposed.
Because the planning process is so darn confusing, here is a run-down of what has happened with this project to date and why certain decisions and proposals are being put forward. It’s all a little finicky – so bear with us as we try and explain.
Here is a map of what the site currently looks like.
The building outlined in red is the only high-rise building at 90 Eastdale Ave at the moment (there other buildings nearby at 2 Secord Ave, 195 Barrington Ave and 75 Eastdale Ave as you can see from the map. This post deals with 90 Eastdale Ave). You can see there is an existing park (green square), located north of the existing building.
What’s happened so far?
Originally, the owner of 2 Secord and 90 Eastdale (who we’ll call ‘the developer’) applied to the City of Toronto for approval to build a 22 story condominium tower that would be located immediately west of the existing 90 Eastdale building. This new building would have over 200 units in it.
This is a map of the proposed plan by the developer for the 90 Eastdale Site.
You can see the developer’s proposed building (in yellow) is in behind the existing building (in red outline). The existing park (green square) would remain.
The people who live in our community, as well as the City’s urban planning staff, have expressed many concerns with this development application, including the increased pressure on local infrastructure like roads and traffic, more shadows and wind tunnels, as well as safety issues such as no public visibility to the entrance of the new building, etc. For more details on the concerns visit my original post.
What were the City’s options?
With an application to build this proposed 22 story building in front of them, the City had two choices:
- Approve the application.
- Reject the application.
If the City had approved the original application that was submitted, we would have ended up with a development that the community does not want.
If the City rejected the application, the owner would have appealed the City’s decision to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Based on lots of previous rulings the OMB has made, it would almost certainly have approved the developer’s application, overruling what the City and the community actually want.
What’s the deal with the OMB?
So, this is a weird thing that only happens in Ontario – nowhere else in Canada – if a developer doesn’t like a City’s decision, it can appeal to the Province’s Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). And just like that – the OMB takes over and overrules the City’s power to approve new developments. It’s hard to believe that such local decisions can be overruled by an unelected provincial tribunal….
But nothing’s been decided yet, right?
Because the City hasn’t actually made any decision on this 22 story building, the developer has now gone ahead and appealed to the OMB – they are allowed to do this because the City has taken too long as spelled out by the law. They are appealing to the OMB to move things along and force a decision on their original application.
The reason the City didn’t make a decision?
Probably because they didn’t think the application was very good and they attempted to work with the developer to arrive at a stronger plan. They did this knowing that whatever happens, the developer can appeal the City’s final decision at the OMB.
I hear there’s a ‘new plan.’ What’s the deal?
The City has now presented an alternative plan to the one the developer submitted.
Here is a map of the new plan the City has put forward.
The alternative plan is the City’s attempt to get the developer back to the table and arrive at a compromise – they don’t want to go to the OMB, knowing that the OMB will probably approve the developer’s original application.
In this alternative plan, you can see a new high rise building (in purple) would go to the north of the existing building (in red outline) where the original park was located, a new park (the green square) would go to the south of the existing building and some of the existing townhouses and be over top of new underground parking, new townhouses (in purple) would be built in behind (to the west of) the existing building to replace the townhouses taken down for the new park and underground parking.
Please note, nothing has been agreed to yet and details about what the newly proposed building in this alternative plan might look like have not been decided. This is really just an idea put forward by the City.
Where does this leave us?
Now there are two different outcomes we face:
- We arrive at a compromise development plan like the City’s alternative option that addresses the community’s (and the City’s) concerns while allowing the developer to build on its property.
- We lose at the OMB.
3. OK, there’s a third choice…..there’s always a (slight) chance the City could win at the OMB.
Whatever happens, one thing is certain: this land owner is going to be allowed to build something on this property.
Unfortunately, the City has no reasonable means for disallowing a development on this site. The City can only try to regulate development by placing limits on things like heights of new buildings, etc. And as we’ve pointed out, if the developer doesn’t like the rules, they can simply appeal to the OMB, where they often win.
So, if this is the case, coming to a compromise with the developer might be the best option and we might get something out of it as a community – money to re-develop/implement traffic calming measures along Secord Ave? Money to improve the Secord Community Centre attached to Secord School?
Please comment with ideas and suggestions! Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
** please note, the images and maps we have used are from City of Toronto documents, provided by Councillor Janet Davis’ office.