Shhh…Community Consultation Meeting November 28 at WCI

Developer, Weston Asset Management Inc. wants to fundamentally change the nature of Weston’s ‘Main Street’ by erecting two 29-storey condos surrounded by a 12-storey podium. On its own the podium would be called a high rise in most parts of the world – or for that matter more genteel (and better represented) parts of Toronto. The site consists of the old Greenland Farms property and several adjacent others. Residents will use Lawrence and Little Avenues to access the complex.

Nearly two years ago, Weston Asset Management purchased a block of properties comprising numbers 1956, 1966, 1972, 1974, 1980, 1986 Weston Road and the adjacent property on 1 Little Avenue. The biggest of the properties is the old Greenland Farms supermarket that was once home to Loblaws.

The properties as they currently stand. Click to enlarge. Image from Google Maps.
Part of the developer’s plan of the project (Weston Road is at the bottom). Click to enlarge.
The developer’s concept drawing of the finished product. Note the size of the storefronts at the base of the structure. Click to enlarge.

Up until recently, this development would have been in direct contravention of the Official Plan for Weston (not that it ever made any difference) which restricted building heights along Weston Road. Not to worry, Toronto’s Official Plan has been updated to remove all references to Weston and pesky Weston Road building heights. Job done!

Ground floor retail space proposed by the developer. No room for a supermarket. Click to enlarge.

For people hoping that a supermarket would return, there is bad news. The average supermarket occupies about 30,000 – 50,000 square feet. Despite the project’s size (there will be about 43,000 square feet of retail, there is no single retail space bigger than 4,300 square feet on the ground floor. Just over 31,000 square feet of retail is planned for the entire second floor but  supermarkets are traditionally built at ground level.

Toronto requires developers to perform shadow studies as sunlight is a fast disappearing commodity thanks to high rise buildings. The opposite side of Weston Road will predominantly be in shadow as a result of the new development. For some reason, the developer hasn’t included shadows during the six months between September and March (when sunshine is most welcome and needed). Incidentally shadows on March 21 and September 21 are identical so why include both?

There’s news for heritage lovers. While the developer has made plans to keep only the facades of 1974 (Squibbs)-1976 (tax preparer) and 1982 -1984 (Humber Condominiums) -1986 (God Bless Canada Coffee), the two other buildings and the hairdressers at 1 Little Avenue will be demolished entirely.

Artist’s impression of part of the proposed retail strip showing the two heritage facades that will be preserved. Click to enlarge.

Curiously for such an important change to our ‘downtown’, there is no mention of this community consultation on Councillor Nunziata’s newsletter or website. Legally, only residents within 120 metres need to be notified but this is a development that will affect residents far beyond those limits and will influence neighbouring development for decades to come.

One can only assume that the councillor would like this event to be poorly attended and that the developer has been told it’s a done deal. Then again, she may be trying to protect the community from an even bigger impact. After the last meeting, held in August 2017 to gather community input, Weston Asset Management felt encouraged enough to double the size of the project. Sad but true.

This extract from a letter to Planning by the developer’s solicitors may provide a clue to the opposition anticipated and the meeting format best able to deal with it..

“In terms of the parties involved, we would suggest that in addition to the typical notice required under the Planning Act, the additional stakeholders who should be invited to the public consultation meeting should include any known residents’ associations in the immediate area as well as representatives of the local BIA. The form of the meeting which we have found most beneficial to the public gaining a full understanding of the proposal, in addition to allowing City Staff to best assess the veracity of the concerns (my bold and underline), is the type of open house where the various city and applicant consultants can review the various areas of interest with individuals and/or groups in a smaller setting. The current notification requirements, which include both the posting of a notice onsite, as well as the typical mail-out to surrounding property owns(sic) and the specific organizations indicated above, is the best manner in which to reach the public.”

That sounds a bit like like divide and conquer.

Read more about the project here. The developer’s application materials can be found here.

If you cannot attend the meeting, and would like to provide input, Rory McNeil at the City Planner’s Office would like to hear from you:

by email: [email protected]
by Phone: (416) 394-5683
by letter: City, Planner, Etobicoke York District, 2, Civic Centre Court, Floor 3, Toronto ON, M9C 5A3.

Planning Application Consultation:
Date: November 28, 2019
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Location: Weston Collegiate Institute; 100 Pine Street.

Upcoming events: get busy!

On Wednesday, November 20, the Toronto Police will be hosting a gang prevention town hall.


Frontlines will be having its annual holiday brunch just before the parade:

 

The Weston Santa Claus Parade will be Sunday, November 24. You’d have to be a fool to miss the finest Santa Claus Parade in Ontario.

Santa on a float


The Masonic Temple on Weston will be hosting an open house right after the parade. It’s really cool, and you should stop by.


And St Philips will be having Jazz Vespers just after.

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The Weston Historical Society will be hosting its 39th annual old-fashioned Christmas carol and hymn sing on Wednesday, December 4 from 7:30 until 9:00 pm at Central United Church.

Local Tory candidate reflects.

Conservative candidate Jasveen Rattan on the campaign trail. From Instagram.

York South-Weston is a tough nut to crack for Tory politicians. The riding, both federally and provincially, has consistently elected Liberals with the occasional NDP exception. MP Mike Sullivan, MPP Paul Ferreira and current MPP Faisal Hassan are the three exceptions.

Last year, Conservative candidate Mark DeMontis came within a whisker of winning in 2018’s Big Blue Wave courtesy of Doug Ford and Kathleen Wynne. Local man DeMontis, with a compelling back-story, courted the area politically and there was speculation that had he stuck around for another campaign (namely the recent federal one), he might have been able to pull off a victory. In June, DeMontis announced he had moved on to focus on his role with the Ontario Government thus making way for candidate Jasveen Rattan.

As an unknown parachute candidate from Mississauga and without a Big Blue Wave to propel her, she faced an uphill task eventually finishing a distant second to incumbent Liberal Ahmed Hussen. In the article, Rattan frames her result as the most successful for a federal Tory in over 40 years but in reality, her vote total and share of the popular vote were almost identical to those of 2015 Tory candidate James Robinson.

TVO’s Steve Paikin has written an article dealing with the Tories’ recent loss and focusses on Ms Rattan and York South Weston. In the article, Ms Rattan states that the people of York South Weston need help. I wonder if she will be providing that help between elections (along the lines of Chiara Padovani and Yafet Tewelde), or whether we can look forward to yet another new Tory face to contest the next election.

Read Steve Paikin’s article here.

Nunziata’s response to gun violence

Frances Nunziata spoke to Newstalk 1010 about the recent spike in violence in Weston and Mount Dennis. She blames street gangs and gang-affiliated bars:

Nunziata says street gangs are a problem in the neighbourhoods she’s responsible for and so are the bars they hang out in.

She’d like authorities to do more to clamp down on bars that attract and allow illegal activity and the people involved.

Nunziata has long loathed after-hours bars in Weston and has fought against them for more than a decade.

Weston-area doctor gets 12 years for fentanyl fraud

A Weston-area doctor has received a 12-year sentence for writing fake fentanyl prescriptions.  Dr. George Otto worked with a Weston pharmacist, Dr Shereen El-Azrak, who filled the fraudulent prescriptions. The pain patches were sold on to middlemen, who peddled them around Ontario.

El-Azrak, who worked at PharmaChoice on Lawrence, received a 13-year sentence.

Dr Otto worked out of a walk-in clinic on Jane St, near Wilson. He and El-Azrak trafficked more than 6000 fentanyl patches, according to the sentencing documents. That many patches could be worth more than a million dollars.

 

Police arrest three in Mount Dennis-area shooting

The police have arrested two men and a youth for the recent shooting near Black Creek and Trethewey.

On October 30, five people were shot in the hallway of an apartment building and were taken to hospital. Nobody was killed in the shooting.

Over the past weeks, the police arrested Andre Cunningham, 20; Malik Mohamed, 21; and a young man under 18. They’ve each been charged with five counts of attempted murder and many firearms offenses.

Police seeking person of interest in shooting

Toronto Police are asking for the public’s help finding a man involved in a shooting in the Mount Dennis area. They say that  on “Saturday, November 9, 2019 at approximately 2:50 p.m., two men were driving in the area of Industry Street and Todd Baylis Boulevard  [when] a pick-up truck with unknown occupants pulled up next to the vehicle and began shooting.”

One person had life-threatening injuries

The police are trying to find a man with “black hair that is long on top with shaved sides. He was wearing a black winter jacket with a fur-trimmed hood, a black Air Jordan sweater, black Air Jordan track pants, and black and white sneakers.”