This is the first in a hopefully-short series on waste in Weston: wasted opportunities, wasted money, and wasted space.
Today, a wasted opportunity. The 85-year-old and very pretty Satin Finish office was torn down this week, in exchange for a ‘beautification agreement’¹ with the builders.
Your correspondent had other, better plans. It could have been a small rec or youth centre, with after-school programming for the many kids in the new development. Imagine a sunlit space with oak beams and hardwood floors—a nod to its history—with an AV lab, a homework space and a videogame room, where kids could go and play LAN games.
We could have had an institutional daycare—there hasn’t been one since the Weston Village Childcare closed up more than 4 years ago. Or perhaps it could have had a meeting space or a job centre, where we could go, network, and post and find work.
How can we get heritage properties listed (and protected) faster? City staff will update the Toronto Preservation Board next week with some answers. It matters: properties around Toronto, including in Weston, are torn down before they can be inventoried.
8 Oak Street—to my mind at least, a lovely property with much potential—was one such unprotected property. It will be torn down to make way for high-density homes.
Getting heritage properties inventoried has been a struggle: Councillor Matlow has been asking staff for more than two years for some better ideas on how to do so. Among the possibilities: a citizen-led database, vetted by staff.
The demolition of 8 Oak Street will be opposed at City Council at the end of the month. Etobicoke York Community Council has asked the city to refuse a demolition permit and to find out whether the building should be added to the municipal heritage property list.
The Satin Finish development has been controversial. The developers had planned a small community of townhomes, but revised the plan to ask for more than five times as many residences. Now they are asking for 509 units, with apartment buildings and a retirement home. They are also asking to demolish the 85-year-old office building.
City Council will also be asked to oppose the division of 104X Wendell Avenue into two undersized properties.
The Satin Finish Company owners are hoping to build 99 three-storey townhouses on the site. They were rebuffed in their initial—and, honestly, quite reasonable—request to change the zoning to allow residential development. They’re now taking their case to the Ontario Municipal Board.
The Satin Finish subdivision as proposed has problems:
It doesn’t have enough shared green space
It has only one playground
It’s poorly connected to the rest of the neighbourhood, with only one street entrance
There is little effort to preserve the beautiful buildings
That said, it’s hard to argue that these should remain employment lands; homes have already popped up all around them, and a new factory in their midst would be disruptive.