On Friday November 20, 2015 Mary Bella, on behalf of the MRA, was given the opportunity to make a witness statement as a Participant in the appeal regarding Shoreline Towers proposal, currently in hearings at the OMB. Below is our written statement.
ONTARIO MUNICIPAL BOARD PARTICIPANT STATEMENT
Mary Bella, Director and Board Member
Mimico Residents Association
Ontario Municipal Board Hearing
Proposed Official Plan Amendment No. 197
O.M.B. File No. PL130885
Phase II Hearing
I’m here today, on behalf of the Mimico Residents Association, to speak in support of Official Plan Amendment, OPA 197 – The City of Toronto’s Secondary Plan for Mimico.
The Mimico Residents Association has been involved in this process from the very beginning. We have attended charettes, community consultations, surveyed our membership and written in support of the City’s plan at both the Etobicoke York Community Council and City Council levels.
We feel this plan strikes a fair balance between the needs and concerns of local residents and the wishes of local property owners and developers.
We have reviewed the OMB documents related to this hearing and we would like to voice our support for three aspects in particular that are being challenged by Shoreline Towers Inc.:
- PUBLIC LAKESIDE STREET:
OPA 197 Policy number 3.1.2(b) URBAN STRUCTURE > Public Lakeside Street
OPA 197 Policy number 4.1.1(c) PUBLIC REALM > Public Lakeside Street
The waterfront belongs to all of us. It is PUBLIC space. For decades the Mimico waterfront has been held by private interests and blocked off from the public, and that private ownership remains today.
In recent years, millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent to create a magnificent linear waterfront park along the lake’s edge.
The public lakeside street proposed in OPA 197 is a necessary and welcome addition to our waterfront linear park as it will provide increased public access and an important delineation between the public and private realm. It will also allow for ‘street oriented development’ and provide new addresses for development which will further enhance the waterfront public realm.
Local residents also anticipate that such a lakeside street may encourage some ‘at grade’ retail in the form of cafes and restaurants overlooking our beautiful waterfront park – a place where people can enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal while watching sailboats glide in and out of the local marina.
- PRECINCT PLANS FOR AREA DEVELOPMENT:
OPA 197 Policy number 3.2 PRECINCTS
OPA 197 Policy number 5.1 DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK FOR PRECINCTS
This area, dubbed The Great Wall of Mimico, looks like it does today because private property owners were allowed to develop their individual, narrow parcels of land without any thought to how such developments fit together with neighbouring properties. The result is a wall of low rise, block apartments squeezed together along the entire Mimico waterfront.
OPA 197’s Precinct Plan for Area Development will address this problem by ensuring that neighbouring property owners work together to achieve the overall vision of the City’s Secondary Plan for the area. The MRA also fully supports the policy whereby each individual Precinct Plan must be brought forward and endorsed by Council.
- BUILT FORM – HEIGHT LIMITS
OPA 197 POLICY Number 4.2.2 – 4.2.7 BUILT FORM
The Mimico Secondary Plan area is very different than Humber Bay Shores. Height restrictions are absolutely necessary to ensure appropriate scale development in keeping with the generally stable, low-rise nature of the surrounding residential area.
During the community consultation phase of Mimico 20/20, area residents advocated for lower heights and densities than those proposed in the City’s plan. However, in the end, we feel the City has managed to strike a fair balance between the needs and concerns of area residents and the wishes of local property owners and developers.
Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you today.
After silently reading our statement the OMB member residing asked Ms Bella to elaborate. She discussed the importance of the waterfront to our community, and the negative affect that a tower would have in close proximity to the new waterfront trail.