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Mimico 20/20 Update – Councillor Grimes’ January 22 Motion

Councillor Grimes made the following motion to Etobicoke York Community Council (EYCC) on January 22nd, 2013
VIEW THE MOTION: app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2013.EY21.49****
The motion was adopted by EYCC and will go to City Council on February 20th.

What does the Motion mean?
According to the motion, Councillor Grimes believes that the Secondary Plan currently “does not provide sufficient flexibility to encourage investments” and “does not achieve the goal of community improvement … and revitalization” of the Mimico Lake Shore area. He is asking City Planning to consider measures that will increase the flexibility of the Secondary Plan, and better incent development and revitalization.

The MRA followed up with City Planning to clarify what this motion could mean for the Secondary Plan. Matthew Premru has confirmed:

  1. The Secondary Plan is still in the works and will continue towards completion. City Council will vote on Councillor Grimes’ motion at the Feb 20 council meeting. If the motion is adopted, City Planning will take the Motion’s points into consideration, study and report on them, and endeavour to incorporate them in the Secondary Plan.
  2. City Planning is hesitant to bring a Secondary Plan to Council that is significantly different than what has been shown to the Community in the past few months. If there are significant changes, they would have to come back to consult with the Community.
  3. A new projected (earliest) date for the Secondary Plan to go to Council is April 9. But Mr. Premru admitted it could easily be later than that if there are major changes and consultations that need to happen before the Plan is finalized.
  4. No deadline has been set for City Planning to report on Grimes’ & EYCC’s recommended strategies.  Completion of the Secondary Plan remains a departmental priority however at this time, Mr. Premru is uncertain of how long it will take to assess and assemble all the relevant information.  Updates can be expected through the project homepage and email notification list as work continues.

Comments

  1. I left Mimico 7 years ago but still own a home there, will be moving back this summer, and have been following the revitalization initiatives closely. I was glad to see that area residents wanted to see developer plans modified, and thought we were moving foward. Why did Mark Grimes feel it was necessary to put this motion forward? Did he have legitimate concerns about the needs of constituents in this case or was he simply representing developer’s wants? How is advocating for change to the plan, which then has to come back to stakeholder review drive the agenda? There doesn’t seem to be much transaparency here – so it’s difficult to judge. So give us some more to go on Mark – what drove you to put this forward and what do you believe the consequences to be? What evidence do you have that investors will not be interested in the plan as it is?

    • All great questions, Michael.

      From the wording of the motion, it seems that Councillor Grimes does not believe developers will want to invest in development under this Plan. The original concept of Mimico 20/20 was to revitalize the lakeshore. Property owners are key stakeholders in this process. Based on feedback the MRA has received, this motion adds another tool into the tool kit of the Mimico 20/20 plan. However, it would certainly be worth contacting Councillor Grimes with your questions: councillor_grimes@toronto.ca

      Kyra Trainor,
      President, MRA

  2. Update:

    Councillor Grimes’ Motion was debated at City Council late in the evening on February 21st.

    The contents of the Motion were deleted and Amended to the following:
    “City Council direct the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning, to address,
    in the context of the final Mimico 20/20 Report, how recommended policies and
    initiatives will create a framework to encourage investment in the area.”

    http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2013.EY21.49

    This Amended motion was Adopted with a vote of 32 in favour, 3 against.

    Councillor Grimes’ office has advised that he hopes to address the issues again when the Secondary Plan reaches Etobicoke York Community Council (EYCC).

    There is an Etobicoke Guardian article about the meeting here:
    http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/2080089-council-rejects-grimes-mimico-development-incentives/
    City Planning has indicated that the earliest date for the Plan to go to EYCC would be April 9, 2013.

  3. I’ve had a chance to review Councillor Grimes amended motion EY21.49 and while I’m pleased that references to “waiving of development fees” and offering “tax incentives” to developers have been axed, I am concerned that his request for specific “policies related to rental housing” was not adequately debated by council.

    This issue is at the very heart of why this neighbourhood has languished for the past 50 years – and if not properly addressed by the MRA, Councillor Grimes and members of City Council, the city’s bylaw mandating full one to one onsite rental replacement will be the death of the Mimico 20/20 revitalization initiative.

    The the vast majority of the Mimico 20/20 revitalization area (known locally as the Apartment Strip or Great Wall of Mimico) is comprised of nothing but affordable rental housing. This has created a unique challenge for the Mimico 20/20 revitalization initiative in which the city’s policy of full onsite rental replacement and the Official Plan’s mid-rise designation for the area collide head-on.

    Well meaning affordable housing advocates like Community Action Team Ward 6 (CAT6) and the Mimico Lakeshore Network (MLN) are hard at work lobbying on behalf of tenants to ensure full onsite rental replacement, while opportunistic developers like Longo’s are demanding huge increases in allowable height and density to finance city mandated full onsite rental replacement. This is the reality we are facing. If developers are required by law to replace all existing rental units onsite AND limit density to mid-rise nothing will happen in the area.

    Like the overwhelming majority of Mimico residents, I don’t want to see hi-rise towers on the waterfront, but concessions on rental replacement must be considered if we are going to put strict limits on height and density demands.

    I’m urging you, together with the local councillor, to find a way to address this issue so we can get on with the task of revitalizing this community.

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