Jennifer Keesmat in Weston

Jennifer Keesmat, mayoral candidate and Toronto’s former city planner, visited Weston this weekend, and hung out with our NDP MPP Faisal Hassan. She also met Chiara Padovani, who hopes to become our city councillor.

Keesmat with Hassan and Padovani

Is this the start of an allegiance? I’m tempted to enquire, but it’s one of those questions I don’t really want an answer to.

Your correspondent has heretofore not been a Keesmat supporter, because he has a long memory and will not forgive her for shoehorning a 29-storey tower into 22 John St, and (incorrectly) papering the decision with the tall building guidelines.

But this is an enchanting possibility: a sharp left turn, a unified front, and a clean break. I’m not yet in favour, but I could be.

Council pauses gas bar at 1391 Weston

City Council has temporarily refused the building permit for 1391 Weston Road. The owners of the property are asking to build a gas bar on the site, and to knock down the odd, round building.

Staff said they needed to investigate and negotiate:

  • “The appropriateness of the proposed use in this location;
  • Traffic impacts of the proposed development;
  • The design of the proposed commercial kiosk…
  • The loss of trees and limited amount of landscaping proposed;
  • Whether there is adequate space to accommodate internal vehicle movements.”

 

 

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.

10 Wilby keeps on growing

The original concept for 10 Wilby; 10-storeys and 131 units.

‘Riverstone Condos’ was to be a 10-storey building on Wilby Crescent, just off Weston Road, south of Lawrence. Many people put down deposit money back in 2013 in the hopes of getting an affordable condominium apartment in a beautifully designed 10-storey building overlooking parkland and the Humber. Hopes were dashed when the project fell through as prices were considerably higher in the proposed Riverstone than for existing condos on nearby Hickory Tree.

In October 2016 the project was revived, this time it was to be 234 units in 16 storeys and the building (and common amenities) not quite so architecturally splendid.

The 16-storey, 233 unit re-incarnation.

A year later and the project became 21 storeys and 235 units.

21 Storeys 235 units.

Now, according to Urban Toronto, a public relations organ for the local real estate and development industries, it’s going to be 22 storeys with 233 units. The article states rental units (not that there’s anything wrong with rental) however, Options For Homes confirmed that the units will be condos and not rentals.

Now 22 storeys, 233 units.

Stay tuned. This may not be the final version.

Finally, last time we wrote about changes in the building design and height, Options For Homes sales director, Mary Pattison wrote the following and we’ll give her the last word:

Hi – this is Mary from Options for Homes. I would be more than happy to tell you why I’m so proud to work at Options for Homes and why I think this new building will be a positive addition to your neighbourhood. Please reach out directly at maryp@optionsforhomes.ca. In the meantime, it’s helpful to understand two things:

1) We make home ownership affordable, not “affordable housing” (in the way that I think you’re referring to) Over the past 24 years we’ve often been at the forefront of the revitalization of neighbourhoods (eg. Distillery District, The Junction). We help middle-income Canadians (HHI 40-90K) with down payment support to accelerate home ownership dreams and ensure we combine that with the lowest maintenance fees in the city (about .46 a square foot presently).

2) The changes to the design are a function of increasing construction costs (due to demand) and development charges that have more than doubled in the time it’s taken to get the project approved by the city. We agree that it was lovely and we’re very proud of the new design as well.

We’re also proud of this video that shows many of our buildings and you can judge four yourself if this is what you think of when you think “affordable housing”