High Park Residents' Association (HPRA)


1844 Bloor Street West Fundraising Campaign:

If you love Toronto's High Park, please help.

Please join our OMB challenge.

Look at this building design. For the past two years we have been trying to reason with the architect and the developer. This over-sized, boxy, glass-topped building does not belong in the High Park neighborhood.

We attended community consultation meetings, Community Council meetings, Working Group meetings. We created a petition. We sent emails to the developer, the Councillor, the City's planning department. We dutifully filled out suggestion cards.

The architect and developer responded with "revised designs". They repositioned sections of the building, without actually responding to the core issues: too tall, too big, too much glass.

They turned a deaf ear to our pleas to build the tall centre section from something other than glass panels. They gave us fritted glass balcony panels instead. They flatly refused to include design elements - such as roof and window shapes - which would tie the design of this building to the surrounding century buildings.

Instead, they changed the brick colour to a slightly darker shade of reddish-brown.

If built as planned, this condo building will permanently change the "village feeling" in this neighborhood.

It will set the tone for this section of Bloor Street. Other condo buildings will follow this one. Two more are already planned: 1990 Bloor St West and 2114-2130 Bloor Street West.

We are concerned that, a few years from now, we will have a corridor of glass-walled condo buildings on Bloor Street, along the northern edge of High Park.

If built as planned, this condo building will permanently change the park experience for visitors to High Park. The tall centre section is made of glass panels. That glass will reflect sunlight glare into its own courtyard, and down into the park.

Not enough is yet known about how a wall of buildings, 8 to 14 storeys in height, would affect the trees, plant life and wildlife in the park. There is an ANSI (Area of Natural and Scientific Interest) in High Park. No study has been done to determine the potential impact on the ANSI.



The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing for this proposed development took place on November 13 through 23, 2012. We are awaiting the decision from the OMB

At the very least, we hope to achieve a reduction in the height and the overall size (massing) of the building.

We are currently fundraising to pay the retainers for our Planner and Arborist.

$12,000 is needed now.



Contributions can be made by:

Cheque, mail to:
P.O. Box 123
412 Roncesvalles Ave.
Toronto, Ontario  M6R 2N2

(Make cheques payable to "High Park Residents' Association")

Or, eTransfer to this email address: 1844ActionFund@HighParkRA.org

Tips for using Interac eTransfers:

1. Log on to your bank's online site.

2. Look for a button, menu, or command which uses one of these phrases:
* eTransfer
* Interac Email Money Transfer
* payment by email

3. When asked for the email address, type 1844ActionFund@HighParkRA.org

4. Type your security question and answer.

5. Confirm your transaction.

6. Exit from your bank's website.

7. Go to your own email account. Send your security question and answer in an email to 1844ActionFund@HighParkRA.org

More info about eTransfers: http://www.interac.ca/consumers/productsandservices_ol_eTransfer.php

Questions? Email info@thisismypark.ca

Rejected Built Form for 1844 Bloor Street West
Rendering of Daniels Corporation proposed built-form



Residents of the HPRA recognize the need for densification along Bloor Street, as per the province's Places to Grow legislation, and a means to contribute toward increased property taxes for the City.

1844-1854 Bloor Street West SiteHowever, in recognizing the need to protect High Park’s 400 acres of natural forest and wetlands for future users, the existing buffer between the park and the subway right-of way, and the area’s century-old Edwardian character, area residents and the Executive of the HPRA believe development along the stretch of Bloor between Clendenan and Keele must reflect its unique location in a more appropriate manner.

Thus the HPRA’s creation of the 1844 Bloor West Development Committee, struck to solicit opinion from residents about development plans on properties adjacent to High Park.


The latest news in the development process:

At the Etobicoke York Community Council meeting on January 10, 2012, the sitting Councillors voted unanimously to refer Daniels’ development proposal to the City of Toronto Planning Department and for further direct consultation with the community.

Instead of fully engaging with the community, Daniels Corporation appealed the components of their development proposal that address height and massing to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). A Working Group was established to examine the site plan aspects of the proposal.

Members of the HPRA met three times with representatives from Daniels Corporation, Diamond Schmitt Architects, the City of Toronto Planning Department and local residents.

The Working Group meetings revolved around only the aesthetic façade of the building, landscaping and bird-friendly design, while ignoring the dominant concerns of local residents: height and massing.

By appealing the re-zoning and Official Plan amendment components of the development proposal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), Daniels Corporation has clearly indicated their having no desire to negotiate with community residents as to the height, size and shape of the development.
 
The hearing for Daniels Corporation's appeal is set to begin on November 13, 2012 at the Ontario Municipal Board, 16th Floor, 655 Bay Street, Toronto. The High Park Residents' Association urges concerned residents to attend the hearing.


Read:
 
HPRA Summary of the Working Group Results

HPRA letter submitted to City Planning Staff and Working Group Chair Councillor Sarah Doucette

HPRA explanation about development and the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB)

Legislation and guidelines pertaining to development

Sign:

This Is My Park petition

Stay connected:

Next Steps


A time-line of the development process:

January 2008 - Daniels Corporation conducts a Phase I Environmental Assessment


March 2008 - Daniels Corporation conducts a Phase II Environmental Assessment


June 14, 2010 - Councillor Bill Saundercook and representatives from Daniels Corporation hold a pre-application community meeting at Grenadier Restaurant in High Park.


September 22, 2010 - Daniels Corporation submits a Preliminary Proposal for development (otherwise known as the Planning & Urban Design Rationale) to the City Planning Department.


February 23, 2011 - The City issues a Preliminary Report to staff – its first indication
of having received a proposal from the proponent regarding the development, with
documentation required as part of the application process.


March 16, 2011 - The HPRA first publishes a web page specific to the proposed development,
featuring softcopies of the proponent’s proposal and government documentation, for the
benefit of resident review.


March 22, 2011 - Etobicoke York Community Council endorses the proposal, beginning the process to approve the development project. Included in the process is a requirement for community consultation.


April 19, 2011 - The Design Review Panel assesses the proposed development and votes 6 to 0, with one abstention to refine the design. Specific recommendations included giving greater consideration to the Mid-Rise Buildings Study, and to the quality and scale of the public realm.


May 4, 2011 - Councillor Sarah Doucette holds a community consultation meeting at Annette Street Junior and Senior Public School. City planners and representatives from Daniels Corporation provide details about the proposed development and listen to the opinions of approximately 150 community residents.

After many comments and questions from those gathered at the meeting, including the HPRA Executive, it becomes clear that the main concerns are the building's height and shadow effects, the impact of intensification (especially in relation to the site's close proximity to High Park), and issues arising from increased traffic and parking scarcity. Representatives from Daniels and the City Planning department repeatedly cite an Avenue Segment Study and a Shadow Assessment study - both of which can be found in Daniels Corporation's Planning & Urban Design Rationale document.
 

May 25, 2011 - A fire breaks out in one of the abandoned houses on the property owned by W.J. Holdings. While the High Park Residents' Association does not speculate on the cause of the fire and its potential effect on the proposed condo development on the site, the HPRA is concerned about the safety risks of the abandoned houses. As illustrated by the fire, years of vandalism and vagrant squatting, the abandoned houses pose a risk to our community. The owner of the property, W.J. Holdings has been neglectful for too long and should be held accountable for what occurs at the site.


August 4, 2011
- For three months after the first community consultation, a growing number of residents contact the HPRA after hearing nothing from the City in response to verbal queries and written community input forms collected at the May 4th meeting - or concerns expressed via email, surface-mail, in-person, or telephoned comments to City councillor or City Planning staff.

The Executive of the HPRA strikes a 1844 Bloor Development Committee (later renamed “This Is My Park”) to solicit local resident feedback on the pros and cons of the proponent’s design.

This Is My Park letter to Ward 13 councillor Sarah Doucette


November 9, 2011 - Feedback from HPRA members attending the City’s “Community Consultation” meeting where Daniels Corporation unveils a revised development proposal, is that the meeting consists of presentation, a lack of answers to queries made May 4th, and demonstrated attempts to merely humour residents who raise issues specific to the City’s Official Plan, the City’s Planning Department deferral to the City’s Design Review Panel (DRP), the DRP’s subsequent findings, media reports on the various downsides of glass wall architecture (including risks to native and migrating bird habitats, conservation of energy, reserve/repair funding costs), the City’s existing buffer zone between a 400 acre park and the subway right-of-way consisting of buildings no higher than four storeys, the nearby community and City partnership’s Bloor / Dundas Avenue Study which given Bloor Street West’s solely commercial context between Keele and Dundas provided for maximum heights there of six storeys at property edge and ten storeys at non-arterial crossways, the lack of tree preservation (only 5 of 53 existing trees to remain), the precedent-setting nature of the proposed built form’s massing, and as a result, the lack of true consultation with the community.

Moreover, the height of the revised fourteen-storey proposal, unveiled at the November 9th meeting, has increased from the original 48 metres to 52.

The HPRA Executive, anecdotally noting a ratio of 50:1 in terms of proposal opposition: support, authorizes This Is My Park to begin petition activities in earnest, to reflect resident support for a multiple-storey built form with commercial and daycare amenities, though one which better reflects the existing character of the community, height/massing appropriate to the property’s unique location next to High Park, and might act as a worthy precedent for future development.

Accompanying the revised development proposal are several documents pertaining to the development and its effects on the surrounding area.

Shadow Study (warning: extremely large file), prepared by Diamond and Schmitt Architects
Traffic Impact Study Update, prepared by BA Group
Toronto Green Standard Checklist
Draft Pedestrian Wind Study, prepared by Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc.
Tree Preservation Plan, prepared by The Tree Specialists Inc.


December 5, 2011 - Demolition of some of the properties on the site begins. The house severely damaged by the fire in May 2011 is demolished first, followed by several others. Approval for demolition comes from a decision made at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on October 26, 2011.


December 16, 2011 - The City Planning Department issues a Final Staff Report recommending amendment of the Official Plan and re-zoning of the site.

HPRA Executive letter to Ward 13 councillor Sarah Doucette


January 10, 2012 - Etobicoke York Community Council voted to refer the proposal submitted by Daniels Corporation to the City Planning Department for a re-design and community consultation. We, as residents, brought forward issues that the Etobicoke Community Council could not ignore and persuaded the Council to vote in favour of referral of the proposal. Over 700 petition signatories of area residents, 52 written submissions, and over 100 residents in attendance helped convince the Community Council in voting in favour of mandating the creation of a new design for 1844-1854 Bloor Street West, in addition to community consultation. The application is referred back to the Director of City Planning, a community consultation will be held with respect to building massing and consideration of appropriate materials that are sympathetic to the existing community, and that City of Toronto will need to report back on any resulting revisions.


March 1, 2012 - Heeding calls from  the High Park Residents' Association for the establishment of a Working Group to revise the development proposal at 1844 Bloor Street West, Councillor Sarah Doucette holds a community meeting to invite potential participants to apply for a seat on the Working Group.

Daniels Corporation announces publicly that it has appealed the first two components of its development proposal - rezoning and amending the Official Plan - to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

These first two components relate to the massing and height of the building. Rezoning allows for major revisions to the City's existing By-law as it applies to this specific site, including land use changes, and significant increases in permitted building heights and development densities. Amending the Official Plan allows for changes in the built environment and improvements to the City's hard services (such as roads, sewers, etc.).

If these components of the proposal are accepted by the OMB, it would allow Daniels Corporation to build a 14-storey condo stretching from Pacific Avenue to Oakmount Road.

The third component of the development proposal - site plan control approval - examines the design and technical aspects of a proposed development to ensure it is attractive and compatible with the surrounding area and contributes to the economic, social and environmental vitality of the City. Features such as building designs, site access and servicing, waste storage, parking, loading and landscaping are reviewed.

The Working Group established by the City of Toronto - with representation from Daniels Corporation, Diamond Schmitt Architects, the City of Toronto Planning Department, the High Park Residents' Association and local residents - will only discuss the site plan component of the development proposal.

In turning to the OMB - a provincial body - instead of working with the City of Toronto and local residents, Daniels has clearly indicated their having no desire to work with residents, through City-led consultation, as to the height, size and shape of the development.


May 15, 2012 - Despite overwhelming opposition in the form of over 60 written submissions and 7 oral deputations, Etobicoke York Community Council votes to approve the site plan application proposed by Daniels Corporation, and to instruct the City Solicitor, the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning and any other appropriate City staff to attend the OMB hearing in support of the proposed Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment appeals.

The final proposal does not include a much promised daycare amenity, but does include several new substantial increases to the size of the building:
- The height of the northwest, southwest, southeast wings has increased by 2.7 metres
- The 9th storey bump-ups have increased by various heights ranging from 3 to 3.2 metres
- The mechanical penthouse (15th and 16th storeys of the building) has increased from 24.8 metres to 45 metres wide, essentially a doubling in size equal to almost half a football field!
- The 9th floor northeast corner fill-in has increased by 3 metres


Next Steps:

We encourage area residents who value High Park to participate, by sending input directly to us, to ensure that the voice of local residents is heard.

To help with legal costs related to challenging Daniels Corporation at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) please consider making a contribution by following the steps outlined at the top of this page.


    Images of building renderings courtesy Daniels  Corporation



High Park Residents' Association (HPRA)