30-storey apartment, storage, artists’ space approved

To nobody’s great surprise, but many people’s disappointment, the Etobicoke York Community Council approved the development at 22 John last night.

The proposed development has divided the community. It will bring an Artscape-run live-work space for 26 artists, but will also bring a 30-storey rental tower, a self-storage facility, and disruption and diminishment to the farmers’ market.

Frances Nunziata tweeted:  “2nite’s EYCC mtg has brought us 1 step closer to the John St Development & Weston Hub! This is an exciting time for

Meeting moved

The Etobicoke York Community Council meeting, in which the building at 22 John will be considered, has been moved to Council Chamber, York Civic Centre, 2700 Eglinton Ave. West. It will begin at 7:00 pm.

Thanks to Sophia for the tip!

News from the BIA

Weston will be having a  “Shop The Neighbourhood” campaign on Saturday, November 28th. Local shops will have sales and signs to encourage you to get out and see what your community has to offer.

This Saturday will be the last week for the Weston Farmers’ Market, and likely the last time it will be on the John Street lot for quite some time.

The 36th annual Weston Santa Claus Parade will be held Sunday, November 29, rain or shine.

Public meeting

The Etobicoke York Community Council will consider the proposed high rise, storage facility, and artists’ community at 22 John Street on Tuesday, November 10 at York Civic Centre.

If you write in, your submissions will be considered by Council. I’m not clear about who you write to, but I imagine that if you email Frances Nunziata, your emails will get there.
If (once) the application is approved, it will be rubber stamped by City Council.

That’s all folks

The vision from way back. Some slight changes made along the way...

The vision from way back. Some slight changes made along the way…

The last community consultation over the Weston Hub was held Wednesday night and it seemed to be designed as a bit of a cheerleading session in the form of a snoozefest. Members of the Weston Village Residents’ Association (which has supported the project from day 1) seemed to make up a good number of the audience of about 100. Audience members seemed split between total support, support but concerned by the negative aspects and those opposed. It’s fair to say that a fair number in attendance seemed ready to swallow the negatives of a 30-storey tower, townhomes and a storage facility as the price to be paid for 26 live-work spaces for artists and some space for community organizations. Refreshingly, no major surprises were unveiled and one or two minor tweaks were announced that will improve things but the bottom line seems to be that the project is now a ‘go’ and will be presented to the Etobicoke York Community Council for approval in November and then to City Council in December.

In the question period, in spite of Toronto Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat’s insistence that the majority of people are overwhelmingly in favour of the project, several people spoke against it, some having reservations about the 8-storey building limit being set aside. Dan Harris wondered what new rabbit (e.g. storage) was to be pulled out of the hat. Another interesting comment came when a resident asked if Affordable Housing would consider allowing low income tenants to occupy the rental building if the developer failed to secure enough tenants (he hoped they would consider it). Developer Jack Winberg responded that there is every indication that the building will be filled by market-rate tenants. The affordable housing rep said he would look into it if approached by the developer.

The latest tweaks:

  • The fire route will now be along King and John Streets rather than through the ‘community space’.
  • Seven more parking spaces have been found as a result of a remnant area from the Toronto Parking Authority
  • The townhouse base of buildings along John Street will be adaptable to commercial.

The bottom line:

There will be a 30-storey rental apartment building and large storage facility. According to Ms. Keesmaat, the rental tower was never negotiable. The Farmers Market space will be smaller than the space currently in use. The storage lockers won’t provide much employment but won’t produce much traffic either.

On the other hand, the site will be attractively landscaped with a small (but perfectly formed) public area and there is a possibility that the Artscape portion will work and be a roaring success. Ms Keesmaat claims that the project is a special opportunity for Weston and a special effort to bring re-investment into Weston.

Only time will tell how ‘special’ it will actually be.

Thanksgiving events

Thanksgiving is the most profound time of the year–both melancholy and joyful, with the end of summer and the bounty of harvest; it is time to reflect on what came before and what is yet to come. Or maybe I’m feeling melancholy because it’s my birthday.

The Farmers’ Market is having a harvest celebration this weekend. There will be face painting, castles, and an unusual fashion show.



To honour the season, our local food bank and the Weston Park Baptist Church will be raising money and starting a food drive. The drive will begin in earnest on December 6, but they would be very glad to accept a donation now.


Selling off taxpayer assets.

This week (Monday) we will have a meeting concerning the land, some of which was donated to the town of Weston for what became Humber River Regional Hospital back in the 1940s. We will also have a residents’ meeting (Wednesday) to hear citizen input regarding the Weston Hub on John Street. In both of these cases, taxpayer funded entities sold or are looking to sell valuable public land to developers. The Toronto Parking Authority sold off the old GO Station parking lot with little fanfare and now HRRH effectively wants to sell its entire site to developer/s.

On the one hand, we have been told by Councillor Nunziata and others, it’s essential for a tower to be built as part of the Weston Hub on the GO site but according to Inside Toronto, she is quoted as being opposed to one on the hospital site,

“The people from the community are very concerned because it is an 11-acre site, it is zoned institutional and they were concerned the hospital was going to try and sell it to the highest bidder and build towers, residential, which they didn’t want.”

I would guess that those same citizens of Weston aren’t cheering about a 31– 30 storey* rental tower on the old GO parking lot but it looks like they’re getting one. Why is the HRRH site any less vulnerable? Answer: it’s probably not.

As the old saying goes, there is only one taxpayer. Why are (often hard fought) public assets compromised by the need for taxpayer funded agencies to raise cash? Surely our cities deserve better and more deliberate planning than this?

One more thing… Farmers Market traders have been concerned for a while that because their new site is so much smaller, they won’t have room for their vehicles. Superimposing the approximate new space allocation (black line) over a satellite view of the Market in full swing is quite telling and may explain traders’ anxiety. This much smaller space may work well with stalls selling selling pickled artisanal mushrooms and the like but it probably won’t be the same for many of our current traders who need their current freedom to spread out.

Farmers Marketl space allocation after the Hub is built.

Farmers Marketl space allocation (black line) after the Hub is built.

Parking may be an issue too as that will be in the lower part of the green space at the bottom of the image.

*Update: Etobicoke York Council minutes have changed (from the original agenda) to now state that the Hub rental apartment will be 30 storeys. Hopefully it was just a typo on the part of clerical staff.