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Joint position on the proposed disposal of Parkland around Storefront Humber

Sent: Friday March 18, 2016
To: Councillor Mark Grimes, Mayor John Tory, Kim Edgar, Jennifer Keesmat, Niel Cresswel, Costanza Allevato, MPP Peter Milczyn, Lynda Ryder, Sabrina Salatino

Below is a co-signed position paper that we believe should be considered when the Planning Application for 2445 Lakeshore Boulevard West is proposed for an amendment to the Official Plan.

It also asks that a genuine community consultation be conducted on the planned land disposal on this site component of Mimico Square. Waterfront park land is exceptionally rare in the City. We are so fortunate to have this type of land here in Mimico. Mimico’s waterfront park land is unique and should deserve the thorough discussion which results from a community engagement. A short term lease to Storefront Humber Inc. will allow the City and the community time to seek and assess how the Mimico public-at-large views the disposal as well as their thoughts on the components at this central site of our waterside community.

John Cary, on behalf of the co-signed.
President, Mimico Residents Association.

RE: Planning Application for 2445 Lake Shore Boulevard West.

We will be attending the City’s community consultation on March 21st 2016 at the Mimico Library and will be presenting this community-wide position to the meeting Chair.

We the undersigned, are writing to express the community’s deep concerns with the proposal regarding the above planning application. It proposes to dispose of the waterfront parkland that is currently leased to Storefront Humber Inc. and the land on which it sits.

While our local groups may have diverse interests, we all agree on one thing: Parkland is important to all of us and since waterfront parkland is exceptionally rare in this City, it should be treated accordingly.

As you know, the Toronto waterfront and Mimico in particular have suffered from poor decisions being made about land use in the past. Many of those decisions are irreversible but we have made some good progress over the past 15 – 20 years on improving things. Nevertheless,  there is still more work to do. This parcel of waterfront parkland is unique in Toronto – it is the only place where Lake Ontario, Main Street Retail, Public space, a Park and the Waterfront trail meet. It has huge potential as a destination and recreational hub and we have an obligation to pursue that potential.

We all agree with the approved findings of the City’s own Councillor-led Mimico 2020 report: “Future consideration of the [Amos Waites] Park should focus on both programming and landscape design to encourage interaction, activity and community gathering.” and “Any other opportunities for land exchanges that would benefit the parkland system should be examined. (p. 47)”. We also agree with the City’s policy of not disposing of or selling parkland.

The proposed disposal includes the building that is currently leased to Storefront Humber Inc. (SFH) plus the land surrounding it from Lake Shore Boulevard West to the water front. We are very concerned that this could lead to the ability to expand the building again, build additional buildings or even to expand the parking lot. The parking is already inadequate for SFH’s and the Park’s needs – cars are often double parked and parked in the driveway.

SFH Inc. is in the Elder Home Care business – a business that will grow over the years to come and, as such, their operation is likely to grow. We accept that there are no additional expansions currently planned, however, we do not accept the premise that additional expansion won’t happen in the future, especially since the parcel will have lost the protections afforded to it by the City’s Parkland designation. It will be in the interest of SFH to expand where they can do so for minimal cost and we can’t expect them not to take advantage of the circumstances, as they have done twice in the past.

SFH Inc. provides valuable services to seniors in Etobicoke and we fully support the City subsidization of their operations in our community and beyond. We genuinely believe that a creative solution can be found that meets everyone’s needs given the opportunity to pursue it.

Therefore, we are requesting that:

1) The proposed disposal of city-owned waterfront parkland be withdrawn and City staff be directed to find a mechanism that will allow for a temporary short term extension of the SFH lease for a period of 2 years to allow for the proper community consultative process that we had requested.

2) During the next two years, the City engage local stakeholders in a genuine and inclusive consultation in the context of the Mimico 2020 plan about how to make the best use of the limited resources we have to deliver services and recreational opportunities to the people of Mimico. More specifically, we would like to engage the Planning and Parks departments in a discussion about how to make Amos Waites Park and the Mimico waterfront a destination for southern Etobicoke and beyond.

Thank you for your consideration. Working together, we can make our waterfront park into a vibrant, friendly and inviting place that will be the envy of all the other parts of the Greater Toronto Area.

David Pritchard, Mimico by the Lake BIA;
Timothy Dobson, LPCC;
Martin Gerwin, Judy Rutledge, Harry Oussoren, MLCN;
Don Henderson and Dr. Maureen Henderson, HBSCA;
Susan Nagy, Lakeshore Arts;
John Cary, Mimico Residents Association.


3 thoughts on “Joint position on the proposed disposal of Parkland around Storefront Humber”

  1. Thank you for taking this position. Personally, however, I don’t think Storefront Humber’s lease should be renewed at all.

    I emailed Councillor Grimes multiple times to report that Storefront Humber employees were taking up every parking spot in the Amos Waites parking lot on a daily basis. I have photographic proof of this. And it is proof that they have overgrown this location. As an aside, the fact they have not been fined is disturbing.

    On Feb. 12, 2015 Victoria Stefaniak responded to my email, saying that “Storefront Humber’s lease is up in the middle of the next year and Councillor Grimes is committed to holding a community meeting before that to consider the community’s ideas for future use of the building”

    This community meeting didn’t happen. Instead, Mr. Grimes is moving full steam ahead.

    It’s preposterous that Storefront Humber is allowed to occupy this building for a dollar a year when they do not require waterfront property to conduct their business. This building could serve the community so much better.

    I think instead of the dreadful pavilion proposed for Humber Bay Park East (which I am firmly against), the building Storefront Humber currently occupies should become that pavilion. Here’s why:
    1. It’s in Mimico Square, where events are meant to take place
    2. A naturalized park environment would not be disturbed
    3. It has a view of the lake (unlike the HBPE site)
    4. There is land for additional parking on the other side of the adjacent plaza (HBPE is mostly wetland)

    Long story short, I feet very strongly about this.

    I suggest that an online survey be conducted to give people the opportunity to suggest how they would like this building to be used.

    Getting rid of parkland is ludicrous. Would we lose the pool? The path? The “lagoon” where the waterfowl gather?

    Sorry this got so long. Thanks for everything you do.

    PS – We have a campfire problem at Amos Waites and Humber Bay. I’ve called the Fire Department a number of times and seen fires still burning in the morning. It’s dangerous, associated with drugs and alcohol, dumping of couches, and the distinction of park trees and burning of picnic tables. I have a letter drafted.

    Anyway, Dufferin Grove Park has a great program where you can have regulated campfires under the condition you take a training course, sign a waiver, make a donation and agree to be an ambassador of the park (a.k.a. volunteer security guard) while you are there. They call the program “Eyes on the Park” and it works.

    I have dreamed of having the same program in Mimico, run out of the building Storefront Humber occupies. If that building became the pavilion, it could happen.

    Here is some info about their program:

    PPS – I guess I got carried away… Thanks again.

    1. I’d like to clarify that I support the two-year lease suggestion.

      Sorry – I did a little venting, above. I do, however, still think the building would still make a great alternative to the pavilion.

      And, I do support Storefront Humber. I just think they will need a bigger facility soon. And there’s nothing wrong with preparing for that, too.

  2. Yeah! They are considering selling the Parkland? What a nightmare! We need that park!!

    In fact, I would argue that we could put something like a dog park; a leash free park is desperately needed in this area, and would be a natural way for (dog owning) citizens to help be good ambassadors of the area, and increase safety in the park.

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