Councillor Shelley Carroll

Find out the latest news and upcoming events in your neighborhood. Politics, news, views, and links from Ward 33 Councillor Shelley Carroll.

Friday, April 28, 2006

El Ad/Parkway Forest Strategy Approved by Council

Hello All,

What a brilliant community clean up we had. Tons of thanks to the kids and staff at Cherokee P.S. for cleaning up Shawnee Park. Thanks to Officer Pickerell and Div 33 for helping out.

Superstar residents surrounding Sheppard and Leslie intersection cleaned up all morning in THE POURING RAIN! Top Superstars have to be Brian Ralph from Marowyne and the whole Sturdy family from Clovercrest.Take a look at their amazing work around the Southeast corner of the intersection and all the way up the hill to the Hospital.

Lots of help friends working hard from the Toronto Iranian Club and the Don Valley East Provincial Riding Association, and many new friends pitched in. The Mayor dropped by to catch us working in the rain as well as M.P.P. Kathleen Wynne. Of course we wasted no time putting them to work as well!

Below you will find the letter going out on Parkway Forest. We are working on a householder that will explain even more but won't be out until later this Spring.

This letter is being forwarded to all members of the Parkway Forest Working Group as well as residents on record as attending previous meetings on the Parkway Forest development application. Please feel free to share this letter.

I know that all neighbouring residents need to understand how Council reached the decision to support the City Staff’s OMB Direction Report, and secondly, we need to understand the next steps so our local neighbourhoods can continue to be involved. As I’ve said of this OMB Direction report so many times, “We need to stay in the driver’s seat.”

On Community Council’s Decision:

City planning staff took a long time to understand what case the developer would make, using Provincial Policy and Toronto Policies to defend their application. This is always the first step in the process where a developer’s has already appealed to the OMB. Planners must arm themselves properly for what they are up against. Planning and Councillors could easily refuse the preliminary report last year. The original 3600 new unit design was a long way from any policy direction.

Many of the tall buildings first proposed were too far back from either Don Mills or Sheppard. These buildings have since been removed. But the policy statements do give the Developer a case as far as intensifying closer to those arterial roads. This meant that staff, with help from the community working group, had a legal obligation to review the revised designs, demand changes, and finally, to use policy arguments to demand enough control over the long term in this community to protect it from development impacts.

The final revisions submitted by the Developer, reduced in design by over a thousand units, proved to be more strongly in keeping with policy, particularly the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) for rapid transit corridors. Therefore, staff had to design an Ontario Municipal Board defense position focused on our need as a City to protect the surrounding neighbourhoods from adverse effects.

The direction demands that staff, with help from Community and Councillor, be granted the authority to demand building changes where adverse effects are still an issue, particularly at the corner of the development. We need the control over traffic management, over a decade or more of development, to be able to demand that issues are addressed as they arise. We are asking that Henry Farm and Parkway Forest infiltration issues be addressed as requirements to proceed with each construction phase that brings new residents.

Finally, and this is the key recommendation, we need to review all issues (e.g., infrastructure, traffic, health, etc.) before the developer can apply for a zoning amendment to go beyond 1,655 units to the absolute cap of 2,200 units. The report is very clear about this number of 1,655 and gives no permission to go to 2,500 or more.

On the Issue of Next Steps:

We must take a strong position, supported by City policies, to make our case at the OMB. To simply say no to the OMB Direction Report and go to the OMB hearing on June 12th without a position would be irresponsible. I will not take such a risk with the quality of life in this community just to score political points. Without a strong City position, we leave the developer with a strong case for the whole 2,500 units being built, in only 8 short years. The City’s position, endorsing the OMB Direction report, reduces that number to 2,200 (pending a further review and approval after 1,655 units are built) and extends the construction over a more manageable timeframe.

I saw several emails on Community Council day that spoke of such things as ‘Low Rent, High Rise Tenements’ and ‘Ghettos where there are already too many renters’. I want to be very clear. There are NO NEW RENTAL UNITS in the current proposal. The Developer is applying to build 332 rental units to replace those being demolished. The rest of the proposed new units will be ownership units. We have proposed phasing this development so that NO NEW RESIDENT will arrive for at least 5 years.

The real and present issues such as heights and density, traffic and schools must be reviewed at various points throughout the 7 construction phases and we will demand this during the OMB hearing which begins June 12th.

It is important to note that the Developer has already indicated that they are prepared to go along with City Planners’ requests for slower phasing and build-out, further reductions to building height and massing at the corner, and to reduce the number of units to 1,655. They have agreed that they would have to apply for a new amendment for the remaining units up to 2,200, the new maximum. All of this is on the condition that Council supported the staff report. They were quite clear at Community Council that without our endorsement of the report, they would go to the OMB prepared to fight for 2500 units over 8 short years.

City Planning Staff are working very hard to stay in the driver’s seat and keep us there with them. They are telling the OMB that we need authority over the changes in this community throughout a process that may last as long as 15 years. The City and the local community would have a role in something the Provincial Policy Statements call ‘Reurbanization of Rapid Transit Corridors’. Reduce the process to 8 years without the ability to re-visit vital community issues, and reurbanization could turn into urban devastation.

The OMB hearing is on June 12th and neighbourhood groups have already been registered to speak to the application and to Council’s position. If this OMB direction is the outcome of the tribunal, it will be necessary to immediately set up a Parkway Forest/Henry Farm Community Planning Council to play a key role in the future of our community. My office will make every attempt to keep you up to date throughout the summer.