Published February 20, 2015
25-STOREYS BY-THE-LAKE – Mimico plan challenged
By Edward LaRusic
With the first development proposal within the secondary plan area not reflecting the Mimico-by-the-Lake vision, residents fear the secondary plan will be significantly revised before it is
Shoreline Towers Inc. proposes to construct a 25-storey building on an existing parking lot at 2313 and 2323 Lake Shore Boulevard West. Th e site is east of two existing 10-storey apartment buildings that front on Lake Shore Boulevard West, also owned by Shoreline.
Mimico Lakeshore Network co-chair Martin Gerwin told NRU that part of the issue is that this parking lot was never considered for redevelopment of this nature when the secondary plan was approved. The plan, which is currently under appeal at the OMB, envisions a portion of this parking lot being used for a new public road and 20-plus m. strip of parkland to complement the Martin Goodman trail. “[Staff ] didn’t foresee any redevelopment of the Shoreline Towers properties, unless those two [existing] 10-storey buildings were taken down and replaced. The reason being is there wouldn’t be room for a roadway.”
For the most part, the 2013 Mimico-by-the-Lake Secondary Plan allows up to eight-storey buildings on Lake Shore Boulevard West, 15-storey buildings fronting the lakeshore and 25-storey buildings in between. However, it only permits up to eight storeys on the entire Shoreline development site.
“[Th e Shoreline proposal is] far removed from what’s allowed by the secondary plan,” said Gerwin. “It would be in the spirit of the secondary plan to put a 15-storey building this close to the water, but only if you could [provide] a roadway [as envisioned in the plan].”
The network wants the designated open space to remain and allow for the widening of a bicycle path along the Martin Goodman Trail. Gerwin also said that the current proposal has no three-bedroom units, which he says is needed to attract families with children.
Mimico Residents Association director Mary Bella told NRU the roadway is important for revitalizing other properties within the area.
“[Th e Shoreline] site has a couple of very large buildings on it that are already in fairly good shape and are two of the nicer buildings along the strip. Quite a few of the other buildings on
that strip are in bad repair and poorly maintained and those are the ones that need to be replaced. If we rule out the possibility of this road … we’re not going to see any development in those areas.”
Bella added that the Mimico Residents Association has concerns with the proposed building height, which she said could obstruct views to the lake.
“We’re concerned it would be the thin edge of the wedge. If a building on that size was approved, it opens the gate for further developers to come in and propose 25, 30 or 40 storey
buildings all the way along the lake.”
In the planning report by PMG Planning Consultants the necessity of the public road is questioned. It notes that the site could access a proposed roadway around a property to
the north, allowing the building to front onto a street other than Lake Shore Boulevard West. Th e report also questions the need for the linear park, noting that the area was identifi ed as
being “park rich” in a 2013 community services gap analysis, with 1.9 ha. of parkland per 1,000 people.
Underlying resident concerns, said Gerwin, is the fear that the Mimico-by-the-Lake Secondary Plan will suffer the same fate as the Humber Bay Shores Secondary Plan, which was intended to revitalize the motel strip to the northwest.
“[The Humber Bay Shores Secondary Plan] got torn up piece by piece along the way, as developers got site-specific exemptions. [The city] has revised the secondary plan
drastically to fit in with what the developers were being given. And that’s what’s firing the concern in Mimico. We’ve got a secondary plan passed by city council, but it’s under appeal. So
it hasn’t been put into eff ect yet. Before it even gets going, here comes a property owner who wants something that would be an exception, or contrary to what’s in the secondary plan.”
Shoreline solicitor Piper Morley (Borden Ladner Gervais LLP) told NRU that her client has decline to comment on this application. “[Shoreline is] going to be heading into mediation
sometime next month or the month aft er… as much as we’d love to comment on the merits of our appeal, we don’t think it’s in the spirit of mediation.”
Two general appeals of the Mimico-by-the-Lake Secondary Plan are scheduled to be before the Ontario Municipal Board starting March 9. Two site-specifi c appeals—one which is by Shoreline—are scheduled to begin November 16. Meanwhile, the city, Mimico Lakeshore Network, Mimico Residents Association, Shoreline and other parties are participating in mediation with respect to the secondary plan appeals.
The final staff report and statutory public meeting are expected sometime in the fourth quarter of 2015. nru
Posted with permission of the publisher of NRU Publishing Inc. Original article first appeared in Novae Res Urbis – Toronto Edition, Vol. 19 No. 18, Friday, February 20, 2015.