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Shoreline Towers development proposal update

From Mimico Lakeshore Community Network and Mimico Resident’s Association:

To friends and attendees of October 19, 2016, meeting:

Thank you so much for coming to the community meeting on October 19 last, organized by the Mimico Residents’ Association (MRA) and the Mimico Lakeshore Community Network (MLCN), to talk about the Shoreline Towers proposal and the results of the decision by the Ontario Municipal Board. You were one of 80 people – a terrific turnout. If you entered your email address on the sign-in sheet, you should have received this message via email. (View the October meeting materials here | View the previous Shoreline Update here)

Shoreline Towers and the Ontario Municipal Board

In its decision of August 30, 2016, the Board gave the City until the end of December to come up with a revised version of the Secondary Plan for Mimico-by-the-Lake. The deadline has now been extended to the end of February. As a party to the OMB hearing, MLCN recently took part in the conversation between Shoreline Towers and the City aimed at producing an agreement on how to revise the Secondary Plan. We used the opportunity to advance the idea of a new public pathway to the lake that would be mid-way between Superior Avenue and Grand Harbour. We will make sure that you are informed when a final decision on Shoreline Towers is handed down.

A new, conforming building on Lake Shore Boulevard

Meanwhile, there is a piece of good news concerning development in our neighbourhood. The City has received an application for a six-storey building to be constructed at 2417 Lake Shore Boulevard West, next to Birds & Beans. To the best of our knowledge, it fully conforms to the Secondary Plan, so no one will feel a need to appeal to the OMB. The building will include space for a dance studio, which will be a real asset to Mimico. This is just the kind of “revitalization” we have been hoping for all along.

Another proposed new building

There may be more good news coming in March, when the last of the appeals against the Mimico-by-the-Lake Secondary Plan will be dealt with by the OMB. This appeal involves a proposal for a condo building that would replace the shopping plaza at 2491 Lake Shore Boulevard West, opposite the 7-11. There will be a process of mediation between the City and the owners of the plaza; if it is successful, the result will be an agreed settlement and a building that satisfies all parties.

Abolishing, or reforming, the OMB

At the meeting you attended, we were impressed by how concerned people were about the powers and decisions of the OMB, and about the way developers manoeuvre their way around the OMB in order to avoid following the recommendations of the City’s planners – who have a long-term view of city planning, rather than a view that ends with the completion and sale of a new building.

In December, the provincial government began to gather opinions from the public about possible reform of the OMB. MLCN sent in a detailed response to the government’s questionnaire. We expressed the view that the OMB has become thoroughly discredited, and the best thing would be to abolish it outright. However, it is our understanding that the cabinet has decided to carry out some reforms of the OMB, but not to abolish it. So we submitted some proposals for change that would fix some of the worst problems we have experienced in our dealings with the Board.

Another contested Secondary Plan: Mimico-Judson

MLCN is also preparing to take part in the OMB hearing on appeals against the Mimico-Judson Secondary Plan. This is the plan for the neighbourhood near the Mimico GO station, on both sides of Royal York Road. It was passed by City Council in June of 2016, and immediately appealed by several developers, by Metrolinx and by other parties. The appeal by Metrolinx aims to reverse an amendment that City Council made to the recommendation of the planning department; the issue is whether town houses should be built right next to the Willowbrook rail yard. The appeals from property owners and developers will be another example of such people using the OMB to try to override what the City has decided on the basis of input from our community and the recommendations of its professional planners. We expect it to be a long and complicated fight.

We encourage anyone who is able, to be present at the first pre-hearing conference on this OMB appeal. A good turnout of people from the neighbourhood sends the message that residents really care about what happens to our community. The pre-hearing conference takes place at 10:00 a.m. this coming Thursday, February 9, 2017, at the offices of the OMB, 655 Bay Street, 16th floor. We know that the timing of the session is what suits the professionals, rather than ordinary members of the community. This reflects one of the big problems with the OMB: its inaccessibility to the public. But please be there if you possibly can.

We thank you so much for showing an interest in our community.

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