Hub rezoning community meeting.

The old GO Station parking lot, existing rental tower and unused podium.
The old GO Station parking lot, existing rental tower, unused ground floor and multi-level parking.

An item up for discussion at next week’s Etobicoke York Community Council Meeting concerns the Weston Hub and surrounding area. At this meeting, City staff will be directed to invite residents within 150 metres of the Hub to a consultation meeting. Presumably this will be to listen to residents’ suggestions and concerns about the project. As yet a location and hour have not been announced but the date will be Wednesday, September 16. (The meeting is being rescheduled – WestonWeb will publish the date once it’s known.) In attendance will no doubt be the major players in this endeavour including Councillor Frances Nunziata. As with all such consultation meetings, any member of the public is eligible to attend.

The tower.
An artist’s impression of the proposed 30-storey rental tower (from Rockport).

In order for the project to go ahead, approval must come from the Community Council at their November 10th meeting. It will then go to Toronto City Council for final approval (rubber stamp) and enactment.

From the Preliminary Report Summary:

This application proposes to amend the Official Plan, the former City of York Zoning By-law No. 1-83 and City of Toronto Zoning By-law 569-2013 to permit the development of a 30-storey, 370-unit rental apartment building, seven at-grade townhouses and a 1,200 m² outdoor community open space at 22 John Street, which will be used for a Farmers Market and public open space.  A 794 m² Creative Cultural Hub with 26 affordable live/work artist units is also proposed at 33 King Street and 2 Elsmere Avenue, with 70 new Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) parking spaces on the lands municipally known as 14 John Street.

 

In addition, 3,897 m² of vacant ground floor space at 33 King Street is proposed to be converted to a self-storage facility.  Parking for the proposed development at 22 John Street would be provided in an underutilized parking garage located at 33 King Street.

 

The Weston community has been identified as one of the City’s 31 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIA’s). The proposed development, along with local expansion of public transit by Metrolinx and GO Transit, will contribute to an area-wide social and economic revitalization.

 

This report provides preliminary information on the above-noted application and seeks Community Council’s direction on further processing of the application and on the community consultation process.

 

A community consultation meeting arranged by staff in consultation with the Ward Councillor has been scheduled for September 16, 2015.  A Final Report and statutory public meeting under the Planning Act to consider this application is targeted for the  November 10, 2015 meeting of Etobicoke York Community Council provided that all required information is submitted by the applicant in a timely manner.

Coming soon to Weston?
Coming soon to Weston? Yuuuuup!

I don’t recall prior mention of almost 4000 square metres (43,055 sq feet) of rental self-storage as part of previous Hub discussions. Surely self-storage doesn’t belong in or near a cultural hub? This dwarfs the less than 800 square metres (8,611 sq feet) of creative programming space also on the vacant ground floor of 33 King. In other words the ground floor community space will be 83% self-storage. Since the apartment building will have no parking spaces, tenants will be sharing parking space with the storage and Cultural Hub folks in the existing multi-level parking garage. The number of rental apartments in the 30-storey building seems to have been nudged about 6% upwards from Artscape’s claim of 350 to 370. Flatteringly, Artscape reckons that Weston is, “a neighbourhood that has not seen new private investment since the 1970s”.

It just gets better.

N.B. This article has been edited to reflect that the meeting will not be held on September 16 but on another date. The Etobicoke York Community Council Agenda had this as the date but according to Councillor Nunziata it is incorrect. WestonWeb will publish the date once it’s known.

Artscape survey online

Artscape has launched a website for Artscape Weston. They promise that

The vision for Artscape Weston Hub will be developed from the ground up in the local community and will respond to the needs and interests of neighbours, community partners and other local stakeholders . Plans for Artscape Weston Hub will be developed in response to this shared vision and the community will continue to have an important role to play in stewarding the project once it has opened.

You can also make (some of) your feelings felt through an online survey. The questions are for only the Artscape project, not the associated residential tower.

Your humble correspondent was most intrigued by the comparison Artscape makes between Weston and Wychwood Barns, a comparison first and most ably raised by Roy. Roy found the contrast to be, well, marked.

Artscape seems to be engaging in a little of what my high-power sales-executive friend calls ‘expectation management’

Is the Artscape Weston Hub meant to be the same as the Barns?

… In the case of the Barns, the opportunity that presented itself was a 60,000 square foot, city-owned, heritage building in search of a use. In the case of the Weston project, the opportunity came in the form of a request for proposals for a city-owned parking lot next to an underutilized grocery store and parking structure. 

While I am refreshed by this frank writing, as an aside, I remain puzzled about Artscape building nice spaces in nice places. They ‘transform communities‘, and building more where much exists is an odd way to do that.

 

 

Weston to get new COSTI campus

The long-vacant downstairs at 35 King St will soon host a branch of the COSTI immigrant services organization.

COSTI’s new Weston campus will provide help with career planning, youth employment, settlement, and vocational training. On January 26 from 3:00 to 6:00, COSTI will have an open-house.

While the expansion of COSTI is certainly good news, it probably means the end of a long-hoped-for expansion of George Brown College into Weston. George Brown had studied coming here and moving into 35 King, and local politicians had been boosters. Little has been said about the plan in the past year, however, and the plan seems to have withered.