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Waterfront Plan under threat – Meeting Notes from Community Discussion October 19, 2016

RECORD OF COMMUNITY MEETING

To discuss the OMB appeal of the Mimico-by-the-Lake Secondary Plan by Shoreline Towers (SLT) and the threat to Mimico waterfront

Sponsored by the Mimico Residents’ Association (MRA) and the Mimico Lakeshore Community Network (MLCN).

October 19, 2016

In attendance (speaking/answering questions): Christopher Moore (MRA); Harry Oussoren, Carole Goyette, Judy Rutledge and Martin Gerwin (MLCN); Daniel Flemming from Councillor Mark Grimes’s office; Andrew Misiak from MPP Peter Milczyn’s office.

In attendance: Members of MLCN, Members of MRA, residents from Shoreline Towers, plus other residents of Mimico (sign-in sheets available).

PowerPoint presentation:

Agenda:

  1. Overview – Martin and Judith
  2. Councillor’s Office
  3. MPP Peter Milczyn’s Office
  4. Toronto City Planning – [*not in attendance, did not speak]
  5. Q&A
  6. Wrap-up

Overview – Martin and Judith

Judy History (How Martin and Judy got involved):

  • They got involved in the Mimico 20/20 revitalization process due to the possibility of a nearby redevelopment (on the Longo property) with a 44-storey condo tower (it didn’t proceed).
  • 100,000 people coming to GTA each year.
  • Development is necessary.
  • Developers’ aims not the same as residents’ and City’s aims.
  • Residents wanted to be considered and heard re: development.
  • MLCN wishes for more transparency in the development process.
  • Align interests of residents/communities/developers/City
  • Secondary Plan got appealed after approval (after years of planning).
    • Entire plan appealed.
    • OMB dealt with appeal.
  • SLT precedent setting – important to discuss.
  • City bylaw and regulation needs to be changed to make it harder to go against Secondary Plan.
  • Community points of view need to be expressed and heard at the OMB.
  • [Story about Danish experiment – “beer drinkers” /super-users of public space, and park development – point was to highlight successful collaboration between city and various groups in the community who use the park .]

Martin – experience at the OMB:

  • Long process, a lot of meetings to come up with Secondary Plan for Mimico-by-the-Lake.
  • Secondary plan was approved by City Council in July 2013.
  • OMB can overturn a city by-law, create a new one to replace it.
  • SLT appealed the Secondary Plan in its entirety.
    • Eventually was whittled down to site-specific appeal regarding their own property.
  • Threat to plan – precedent-setting.
  • [Discussion on aspects of plan with aid of diagram.]
  • Waterfront road was deemed important as an assertion of “public space”. Also provides street addresses for buildings close to the water.
  • 7 Precincts (areas with groups of buildings).
  • SLT in Precinct B – not slated for development in plan due to lack of space.
  • August 2016 decision:
    • Adjudicator was trying to get City and SLT to compromise.
    • Decision – the City and SLT are to go back to the table and negotiate a deal within a certain framework.
  • 1st proposal 25-storey building.
  • OMB said that the amended plan should allow SLT to develop within certain envelope.
    • No higher than 15 storeys.
    • Waterfront road is a must.
    • Building pushed back 7m further from water (than original proposal by SLT).
    • 6m wide roadway allowed.
    • SLT must set aside land for the road.
    • But because the proposal is site-specific there is nowhere for the road to go at this time.
      • Proposal for there to be driveway to Lake Shore Blvd. to access building on a temporary basis.
    • Architectural flourishes encouraged.
      • Building can’t be more than 46.5 m tall.
      • But flourish could be allowed outside this height limit.
    • Changes to overall policies and procedures:
    • Called for property owners to collaborate within their precincts.
    • Must have a balance of residential and employment uses.
    • Rethinking on coming up with funds for parks and roads.
      • Secondary Plan requires owners to dedicate land for roads and parks; the amount is relative to the size of the proposed new building.
  • SLT has asked for review of the August 2016 decision by another board member.
    • Secondary plan said no buildings behind buildings (need to have a different street address). Will SLT be allowed an exception to this on a temporary basis?
  • What can be done right away?
    • Speak to Councillor and planning staff regarding next steps:
      • One option for the temporary driveway provides for a pedestrian/cycle path from Lake Shore Blvd. to the waterfront.
      • Find out if there are more property owners who would get together to make a precinct plan. (Councillor would be able to take the initiative.)
      • Promote development that conforms to the Secondary Plan.

Andrew for MPP Peter Milczyn:

  • Born and raised in Mimico.
  • Some planning background.
  • Will take down questions and relay them to Peter M.
  • Question to audience: Does everyone know what a Secondary Plan is?
    • Purpose: vision to redevelop/revitalize an area.
  • Andrew remembers what Park Lawn and Lake Shore was like before the development, and felt ‘overall it has been improved’.
    • Transportation is the largest issue, and funding for it.
  • Peter M. suggests one way to improve development issues is with a development permit system.
    • Designate area for specific development– zoning, height, density.
    • City could go into an area, apply by-law.
      • Harder to appeal at the OMB.
    • Benefits of development permit system:
      • Strategic process.
      • Reaffirm support for community land use vision.
      • Requires community input.
    • Province’s reforms to OMB may address some of the issues as well.
    • November 9 and 16: Peter M. Public Consultation re: OMB.

Daniel Flemming for Councillor M. Grimes:

  • Here to hear concerns and take questions down to M. Grimes.
  • No other statement.

Questions/Comments

  1. Russ Ford:
    • OMB Reform: what is government thinking re: Reform (how?)
    • Andrew from MPP office: Gov’t does see OMB as a problem.
    • Reform would include limiting amount of appeals, and to bring certainty to appeals (i.e. what can be appealed).
  1. [Name ]
    • Curious, OMB decisions more for developers than community, any work on how OMB members are appointed?
    • How can they more represent the community?
    • How long will reform take? New election 2 years away, what if Liberals are gone and this is still in process?

Answer/comments:

  • Development permit system was supposed to be implemented in July 2014, but was appealed to the OMB.
  • Appeal was scheduled to be heard in August 2016.
  • Issue came up regarding planner who was to testify.
  • Conflict of interest?
  • Stopped hearing.
  • Board member wanted to clarify whether witness could give “unfettered” evidence.
  • OMB allowed delay to hear motions on status of witness before hearing starts.
  1. Jensen:
    • Planning question/comment – there seems to be no planning in place to move people over Humber River bridge near Palace Pier to get to the city before planning more development (residential space).
  1. [Name]
    • Clarification
    • Matter @ hand, the Mimico Secondary Plan says:
      • there is no space for building behind SLT, but they are proposing to build;
      • there must be a road, but there’s no room for a road in proposal;
      • there must be parkland, but there is no room for park in proposal.
    • Is this just a disaster that is determined to happen?

Martin:

  • When writing the Secondary Plan, the City concluded there was no room;
  • There was already compromise in the Secondary Plan;
  • Whatever happens (if it gets built) it won’t be in conformity with original vision;
  • OMB trying to get revitalization started;
  • Determination of compromise – some sort of deal to have something built.
  • Conceded during hearing – that the waterfront road is not necessary for traffic, but is needed in order to assert public space and provide a street address for the new SLT building.
    • City conceded smaller road might be acceptable.

Judy:

  • Councillor in the difficult position of making both residents and developers happy.
  • Residents need a stronger voice.
  1. Rayissa – Realtor:
  • Wanted to disclose that she is a realtor.
  • Lived in Mimico for years.
  • Work partner is her mother.
  • Impression is that OMB is a bully.
  • She and her mother help put assessments together for clients to protest developments that could affect property value.
  • Feels that there needs to be grassroots efforts to protest OMB steamrolling through.
  • Developers are more concerned with their own property value/profits rather than healthy community.
  1. Stephanie – resident:
    • Development sounds approved.
    • What about infrastructure?

Councillor’s office, MPP office, Application has process:

  1. Pre-consultation with Councillor and City staff;
  2. Must go through circulation:
    1. Transportation
    2. Engineering
    3. Planning
    4. Parks

They all assess challenges.

The development application went through Transportation; there was a transportation study  done by a professional planner hired by the property owner.

  1. Darren – reference to the question above (traffic study):
    • Studies have been done;
    • Are those going to be accepted ‘as is’, will they be challenged?

Martin:

  • Traffic studies were done with HBS (Humber Bay Shores) early in the process.
  • Developers went to OMB for more height etc, but traffic studies were not always re-done in reference to that.
  • Assuming they will be accepted ‘as is’.
  1. Jensens:
    • Martin and Judy hard workers attending OMB hearings;
    • Mark and Peter’s offices are the only ones with power;
    • If they can’t do anything, are we not going in circles?

Harry:

  • There has been some impact on OMB by being there to witness,
  • Though it is a huge expense of time and energy.

Chris Moore:

  • The question seems to be, ‘are we for sure getting this building?’
  • SLT towers proposed tower on the proposed site of the road.
    • OMB said no;
    • They said what could be built;
    • Told developers to meet with city.
  • Could SLT say this is not profitable enough to build with new constraints?

Martin:

  • Longo property development was like that.
  • 44-storey tower proposed, but Mimico Secondary Plan limited height to 25 storeys.
  • Longos withdrew proposal, and sold property ‘as is’.
  1. Marg Hansen – Wesley Mimico United Church:
    • Parking: if the new tower is built, what is the plan for parking?

Answer:

  • Parking would be underground.

Additional question:

  • 3-storey apartments next door, in poor repair: are they being put into plan?

Answer:

  • Not part of the SLT plan.
  • They are part of the next precinct, and could be part of a plan to develop the whole of Precinct A.
  1. John – Marina del Rey:
    • Comment with respect to traffic:
    • Look out over Palace Pier before development.
    • Motel Strip Secondary Plan was approved.
    • There are transit issues going outside of plan.
    • We need to send message to city and province – ‘please support the plan’.

Andrew – MPP office:

  • Peter supports the Mimico-by-the-Lake Secondary Plan.
  • OMB is at arm’s length from government.
  • November 9th Peter is holding a OMB reform public consultation.
  1. [Name]
    • It is important for the public to phone Councillor, MP, MPP.
    • Important to come to meetings, keep bugging them.
    • ‘Keep them on their toes’.
    • ‘Phone them, keep their offices hopping’.
  1. Wendy Hoffman:
    • Public road is in contention.
    • What was the vision for the road?
    • What would be lost by making it smaller?

Martin:

  • Road is to give clear signal of what is public realm and what is a private backyard.
  • Waterfront road not needed to carry lots of traffic, but for asserting public realm.
  • Board concluded narrowness not material; not expect to carry much volume.

Carole Goyette:

  • Road would also give the buildings a street address.

Chris Moore:

  • Original road included parking, but narrowing makes it normal road size with no parking.
  1. [Name]
  • If building does go ahead – not only is there a traffic concern, but
    • Construction: noise, dust, mud, danger to children and pets.
  1. Jensen:
  • City has admitted traffic problem by installing a sign, not allowed making right turns onto Marine Parade Drive, because cars are going along Marine Parade Drive and then coming out near Palace Pier, to bypass traffic on Lake Shore Blvd.
  • Some also cut through the parking lots between Lake Shore Boulevard and the water, east of the Humber River, to avoid the congestion on Lake Shore.
  • Traffic problem exists now, and road infrastructure has to be addressed before allowing more development.
  1. [Name]
    • Park land not just to look nice/for play, but also to protect buildings from storms coming from lake.
    • [Story about a friend who recently brought property in Daytona Beach only to have home destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.]

Martin:

  • Toronto Region Conservation Authority established erosion hazard line; nothing can be built within 10 meters of that line.
  • SLT was obliged to observe the 10m. setback (and did).
  1. Michelle – rental:
    • Park land concern:
      • Supposed to be getting more parkland with Secondary Plan.
      • Where is the additional park land.
      • Road will take away from park land.

Martin:

  • Secondary Plan has road and addition to linear park, both to be on land dedicated by property owners when redevelopment takes place.
  • New bike trail is proposed so that bikes and pedestrians don’t have to share a path.
  • MLCN criticized Community Facilities Gap Analysis (one of the studies done in the course of the Mimico 20/20 exercise) for saying our area is well endowed with parkland, when this conclusion was reached only by counting Humber Bay Park West – not by any means a neighbourhood park, because it is more than 2 km. away by land.
  1. Russ Ford:
    • Child care, community centres, schools, not being added when new residents are added.
    • Harry: We are hearing that infrastructure/amenities are a big concern in many comments/questions, and they are important for developing a healthy community.

Closing and thanks

Comments

  1. I was not able to attend the meeting in person. Thank you for publishing the materials and minutes.
    I will be contacting my councillor and MP.
    Regards
    Ro

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