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Letter to residents and MRA Members regarding Wesley Mimico United Church & Heritage designation

October 13, 2013

Re: Wesley United Church Heritage Designation

Dear Membership and Residents:

The Mimico Residents Association would like the opportunity to provide context, clarify and address any concerns or misinterpretation that may be in the community relating to the Wesley Mimico United Church Development Plans.

Concerning  the development of the Wesley Mimico United Church, there are two files that are ongoing with the City of Toronto:

  1. Re-zoning Application to permit senior housing on the site with reduced setbacks and increased density.
  2. Heritage Designation under the Ontario Heritage Act, which defines the heritage significance of the property and puts a process in place for developers/owners to adhere to if the building becomes ‘designated’.  Currently the building is heritage ‘listed’ and not subject to provincial protection, although it is still subject to the requirements of the City’s Official Plan heritage policies.

In a statement released on June 13, 2013 the MRA Board of Directors specifically stated that we could not support the Wesley Mimico United Church development proposal in its CURRENT state.

Regarding the Re-zoning Application, we are concerned about the precedent that the requested setback and density allowances could set for future development in the surrounding area.

We also believe the Wesley Mimico United Church should adhere to the heritage standards set by the City, the Province and the Federal government.  Toronto Heritage Preservation Services, City Planning and the Toronto Preservation Board have recommended heritage designation of this property.   The designation of the property will be considered at the October 17 meeting of Etobicoke York Community Council (EYCC). The MRA has sent a letter to EYCC for consideration regarding the potential designation of this property. (Click here to read the letter).

The MRA makes decisions and creates position statements or letters based on the following:

  • Community consultation through our website and our Facebook page
  • Community surveys where we ask residents to respond
  • Discussions with City experts, our councillor and planners
  • Review of submitted letters to the City (posted on the City website) and letters to the MRA
  • Specifically in the case of WMUC Redevelopment  – attendance as an observer at their Community Forum meetings and an MRA-hosted community Public Meeting/Q&A
  • Board motions and votes based on the above

We have Association members for and against the re-development plans (please visit www.mimicoresidents.ca/mra-response-to-current-wesley-mimico-united-church-proposal to view the blog commentary).

We understand the importance of the Church, its activities and its congregation to our community. We encourage the Wesley Mimico United Church to work with City of Toronto Heritage and Planning staff to develop a plan that will preserve the building appropriately while still allowing the Church to achieve its goals and remain a vital part of our community.

Please feel free to email us with your comments or questions.

We remain committed to promoting the quality of residential and economic life in and around the Mimico area.

Sincerely,

Kyra Trainor, President
Mimico Residents Association
cc: Mark Grimes, City of Toronto Councilor

Comments

  1. There needs to be checks and balances in decisions regarding our community but I think this project will benefit the greater Mimico area. It will help comunity groups and provide much needed seniors housing. WMUC has always seeked to be a positive influence in the community which cannot be said for a future condo developer. Let’s not ignore that that will be the outcome if this project is blocked. A developer will just come in an impose their will on us through the OMB. At least with this project we can all have some input on this project to come up with something positive for our whole community.

    Regards,
    BC

    • Dear BC,

      You are repeating the false assumption that designation of the Wesley Mimico United Church building will force the congregation to disband and sell the property. This is nothing but fear-mongering.

      It is true that the church may have to revise their plan for below market, “affordable” housing on the site, but designation will not stop them from converting the church building into housing for seniors. What it will do is ensure that any redevelopment of the building respects and preserves the key heritage features of this one-of-a-kind Mimico landmark.

      The church’s development team has seriously underestimated the important heritage value of the building. All the city’s heritage experts at Heritage Preservation Services, Toronto City Planning and the Toronto Preservation Board are recommending designation.

      The MRA agrees and has taken a strong, principled position in favour of protecting what little is left of Mimico’s built heritage.

      They should be applauded for their efforts.

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