No smoking at 10 Wilby.

10 Wilby Crescent – artists concept.

Anticipating the impending legalizing of marijuana, Options For Homes announced on Friday that it will ban smoking anywhere inside or on the property of its new 22 storey condo apartment at 10 Wilby Crescent.

Non-smokers who live in apartments already may know that stale cigarette smell can drift insidiously through conduits and other gaps between apartments. The impending legality of marijuana has prompted OFH to get ahead of the game and ensure a smoke-free environment for occupants. Vaping will be allowed – so it’s not a complete ban.

Re-writing an existing condominium corporation’s declaration to ban smoking in a building is a major undertaking requiring an 80% vote of owners in favour. Options For Homes feels that starting off with a no smoking ban will put the condo board ahead of the game and make the issue up front so that purchasers can make an informed decision. OFH claims that 75% of prospective purchasers are more likely to purchase in a smoke-free building.

Apparently landlords of rental buildings can ban smoking in all or part of a building and a rental building can eventually become smoke free by requiring new tenants to not smoke. Existing tenancy agreements must be honoured but once the smoker leaves, landlords can insist on no smoking from the new occupants.

Options for homes believe that their new smoke-free building will be a first for Toronto. Read more here.

1705 Weston Road Meeting well attended

There was a crowd upwards of 70 people in attendance last night at 1901 Weston to hear details of a by-law amendment proposal that would allow a (so far, nebulous) 25-storey, 82 metre, mixed-use building to be built on a site at Weston Road and Victoria Avenue. The meeting was called by the City of Toronto so that residents could get more details about the proposal from the developer, architect and city officials. No decisions have been made yet -comments from residents concerning the proposal will allegedly guide the Planning Department as to what they will or will not approve. Councillor Nunziata and MPP Laura Albanese were present.

The meeting was kicked off by Sean Rooney a member of the planning department who stated that their goal is to see something built that fits into the local environment. He referenced the 2004 Weston Urban Design Guidelines state that buildings should be restricted to 8 storeys, having an appropriate size and scale and support the vitality of the area. There’s also the tall building guidelines that somehow come into play. In addition, new guidelines have also been added to encourage more children to be raised in high rises.

There were several groups in the crowd, not all on the same page. A group from ACORN would like to see an affordable housing component built into whatever ends up there. Local homeowners are concerned about the extra noise, shadow impacts and traffic; some want a condo built stating that we have too much rental accommodations in Weston while others reported that even Weston’s comparatively low rents are too high for them.

The proposed building. Note that there will only be four balconies per floor – these will be a feature of the two or three-bedroom units.

The building, it was revealed by the developer, will be a condo not a rental but in these early stages, there is openness to some leeway. According to the owner, talking about the interior details would be speculative as nothing has been decided yet.

The architect explained that the odd placement of the top section lumped onto the lower is to “align with the residential zone across the street” and also to assist with shadow impacts. Incidentally he glossed over the shadows that the building would cast in December. Weston Road will be widened in the future by 12 feet further restricting the site. A further limitation on the site is that there must be a 30 metre setback from the rail line. (I wonder how this would affect future rail corridor widening.)

Many expressed concern over the height of the building and the impact of traffic in the area. With a potential for over 500 residents in the building, and an assumption from the developer that 50% of residents would be using public transit, 6 visitor parking spaces seems low.

Other concerns from residents:

  • Noise from trains would be reflected by the tall building to other residents.
  • Property values of nearby homes will be negatively impacted.
  • 500 additional residents will bring unacceptable traffic levels along Victoria Avenue.
  • There is not enough ground floor retail space for a supermarket.
  • The development is not in keeping with the scale of the neighbourhood.
  • Other Toronto communities think 14 stories is too tall – why 25 here?
  • This is not responsible development.
  • Concern about density.
  • Concern about affordability.
  • The proposal does not fit into the community.
  • This will create a precedent if approved.
  • We don’t need another rental building.
  • Can a community control its own destiny?
  • What about affordable child care spaces in the building?
  • Why is there confusion over height guidelines? – They conflict with each other.

Sean Rooney from the Planning Department would like to hear further comments on the proposal.
Tel. No. (416) 394-8245
By email: here

Weston Janes Walk next Saturday, May 5th.

Janes Walks are free, community organized neighbourhood tours, volunteer led by the people who live there.

Jane’s Walks encourage people to share stories about their neighbourhoods, discover unseen aspects of their communities, and use walking as a way to connect with their neighbours.

Named after American born community activist Jane Jacobs who moved to Toronto in the 60s. She revolutionized thinking about what it means to live in a city.

The Weston Historical Society has organized several Janes Walks over the past few years and they are offering another on Saturday May 5th at 10:00am.

A River Runs Through It – And So Much More
Led by Cherri Hurst and Mary Louise Ashbourne, Weston Historical Society
10 – 11:30 am | Meet at St. John the Evangelist School at 49 George Street, Weston.

Showcasing Weston’s history but informing participants of what is new and exciting about Weston will be the main theme of this year’s Walk. With some of it showing the Humber River’s part in Weston’s history and its present contribution to making Weston the place to be. Fourteen stops only begin to show what someone can find in the area. With participants ranging from the BIA to Options for Homes to the Lions Arena this year’s Walk promises to be interesting and informative. There is one downhill slope and one medium size uphill slope. Ramps on and off the bridge. The steps can be avoided by taking a secondary route. This Walk will end in front of the mural on the old fire hall in the parking lot at the corner of Little Avenue and Weston Road.

2346 Weston Road affordable rentals ‘open house’.

The 2346 Weston Road site. From architect’s plans.

Toronto with a vacancy rate of 1.1% needs lots more rental apartments, especially affordable ones.  Very few have been built in recent years thanks to rent controls keeping margins low and there being much more money in building and selling condos. City incentives are in place to encourage new rental buildings. I attended an ‘open house’ last night held at 1901 Weston regarding an application to build an affordable rental building at 2346 Weston Road.

Quite a few people attended but there was no presentation made, organizers choosing to scatter their people around the room and answer questions one at a time. Councillor Nunziata was on hand too.

A typical floor layout proposed for 2346 Weston Road. Click to enlarge.

The development will be a 15 storey building; the typical floor having 11 apartments as in the floor plan above; rents will not exceed the amounts posted below – 2018 numbers:

  • 1 studio apartment – 280 square feet – $922 monthly
  • 6 – 1 bedroom apartments – 409 – 473 square feet – $1,097 monthly
  • 3 – 2 bedroom apartments – 570 – 635 square feet – $1,284 monthly
  • 1 – 3 bedroom apartment – 807 square feet. – $1,477 monthly
  • No balconies
  • Each apartment will have one bathroom only.
  • The building will have one elevator.
  • There will be 52 underground parking spaces.
  • Heating will be forced-air gas and the building will not be air conditioned.
  • Tenants will pay their own utilities
  • Residents may install their own window air conditioners.
  • Rents will be controlled / held to inflation for 25 years.
  • The building owner will get property tax breaks and other financial incentives.

Comments: If we are trying to keep low income people in one area, this building will do the job and fit quite nicely into the current stock of accommodations along Weston Road. In fact, it may even be more bare-bones and certainly less roomy than others along the strip. It’s great that affordable rentals are being built but does Weston have to roll over and be grateful for what is just a modern-day continuation of the awful apartments of the 70s? The place won’t even be air conditioned – in 2018.

52 parking spaces would be admirable for a downtown building with 157 apartments. In Weston, not so much.

The fact that there will be one elevator serving 157 apartments and two levels of underground parking will be a serious issue when it inevitably fails and vulnerable tenants are stuck on upper floors.

Can we not do better than this?

For comparison, the renovated rental building next door has a spacious 2-bedroom 1-bathroom apartment with balcony going for $1300 monthly. Utilities included.

Read the complete set of application documents here.

There was a form handed out at the meeting requesting comments on the proposal. The application reference number is: 18 120119WET 11 OZ.  Email Councillor Nunziata with your comments at: councillor_nunziata@toronto.ca

The true measure of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. Gandhi.

Upcoming events

There will be two important meetings this week about developments in the community:

Tomorrow, April 23rd, there will be an open house  for the proposed development at 2346 Weston Road.

Apartment building
From UrbanToronto.ca
Apartment building
From UrbanToronto.ca

The new owners are proposing a 15-storey, 157-unit, affordable apartment building with 15 bachelors, 84 one-bedrooms, 43 two-bedrooms, and 15 three-bedroom units.

To meet the city’s criteria for affordablity (and receive the fee waivers), the rents must be between $960 and $1550.

The open house will be between 7 and 8:30 pm at the 1901 Weston Road.


On April 30th, there will be meeting about the Oldstonehenge development at 1705-1707 Weston Rd.

The developers are proposing a 25 storey, 240-unit rental building.  The meeting will be 7 pm at 1901 Weston Road.

The Weston Farmers’ Market will open on Saturday, May 12, says the BIA.


Annual Jane’s Walk

The Weston Historical Society will be having their annual Jane’s Walk on May 5.  They are looking for “organizations, societies, churches, individuals, companies, schools, businesses, etc. who would like to participate.”


Annual Weston Heritage Weekend

The Weston Historical Society would also like to host a first-annual Weston Heritage Weekend on September 22 and 23rd. They’re “looking for people to join a committee to come up with ideas and to help organize the event. The first meeting will be Monday April 30th at 7:00 p.m. at the Weston Historical Society (1901 Weston Road).”


 

 UrbanArts has announced their spring lineup, which includes yoga, dance, comedy, outdoor education, and cooking. You can register for their programs online.



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CityTV report on 1730 and 1736 Weston Road

A screen shot from the CityTV article.

If there was evidence needed of gentrification in Weston, this next item might provide some.

CityTV did a story on Thursday, March 29 about the building at 1730 Weston Road where it seems the landlord, Westhaven Property Management Inc., has issued 60-day notice to tenants, many of whom are on year-to-year leases. There are apparently no plans to renovate or demolish and replace 1730 Weston Road.

The building right next door at 1736 Weston Road is home to Grace Restoration Ministries and has a notice in the front window stating that the site will be redeveloped.

Councillor Nunziata makes an appearance at the end of the news segment but provides little comfort to tenants, basically saying that if the building does get redeveloped, the new one must have retail on the ground floor or else she won’t support it.

Watch the video here.

City approves housing loans/grants to 10 Wilby

The city approved housing an innovative home ownership plan to be used at 10 Wilby, in Weston. $750,000 has been set aside to help 30 homebuyers with down payments, loans that will be repaid when the homes are sold or are vacated.

10 Wilby is to have 22 storeys and 233 units, and will be much taller than initially envisioned.