Dan Harris: Walkway is important

Plans are almost in place for the new 30-storey rental tower in downtown Weston. The second-last hurdle was easily stepped over at the November 10, Etobicoke York Community (EYCC) Council meeting when councillors approved the project with some minor modifications. Interestingly, one of those modifications was to double down on the proposal by prohibiting the current owners, Rockport Group from demolishing or converting any of the units into condominiums for 20 years.

A total of 432 units will be built on the site including 26 affordable live-work units for artists.

The City Planning Department broke its own urban planning and zoning guidelines in approving the building (8 storeys is the legal height limit in that part of Weston).

Weston Village as planners projected back in 2004. Note the conspicuous lack of a 30-storey rental apartment building.
Weston Village of the future as planners projected back in 2004. Note the conspicuous lack of a 30-storey rental apartment building.

Weston resident Dan Harris has written letters to Toronto’s Planning Department, specifically to Chief Planner, Jennifer Keesmaat. (Readers may wish to check out one of her TedX talks in which she stresses the importance of providing residents information, analysis and evidence in order to generate ‘understanding’ of development proposals – around the 12 minute mark.) In his correspondence, Harris maintains that no rationale has yet been put forward that actually justifies the breaking of the current 8-storey height limit on Weston buildings. He is also frustrated by the glacial speed of and lack of meaningful responses to his objections. The only official reaction has been from the Community Planning Director for Etobicoke York, Neil Cresswell. Mr. Cresswell promised a further response would come last week but failed to deliver. Without the courtesy of rationale behind decisions, Harris maintains that it is hard to present any form of rebuttal.

While Harris is realistic about the project’s likelihood of becoming a reality, he is attempting to at least get a formalized pedestrian walkway between the east side of King and the new Hub. The City’s position appears to be that while the walkway is needed for traffic access and so will be accessible by pedestrian traffic, it will not be formalized through legislation.. Harris is concerned that if not legislated, pedestrian access may be blocked at some point in the future cutting off safe access from King to priority destinations such as the two schools in the area and even the Hub itself.

The ball is still in the Planning Department’s court. WestonWeb will alert readers to any responses.

 

3 thoughts on “Dan Harris: Walkway is important”

  1. Railroaded again.

    Who is bolstering the developers? Urban “planners”? (as in, let’s have standards, but for some secret reason, we can ignore them– not 8 but 30!) our elected official, Frances Nunziata, who has always protested that the tall (but not 30 storeys) apartment buildings all along Weston Rd were not on her watch?

    Talk, like Metro,including community involvement, and then, like Metrolinx, ignore responses.

    Another empty train?

    1. No it’s not you Barb, it was better. Unfortunately the community trusted the City not to sell the parking lot, the Planning Department to follow its own guidelines and didn’t realize that the Urban Land Institute (who ran the Charettes) and Artscape are de-facto arms of the development industry. We already owned the land and no doubt the (then) owner of 33 King would have been delighted and financially motivated to have any tenants in the building. There was a failure on the part of many (and I include myself) to not realize what was happening. I took my eye off the ball and missed
      the significance of this ad which I happened to catch by accident.
      https://www.westonweb.ca/tag/16-john-street/

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