If you would like to provide feedback about the large buildings proposed at Weston and Little, a reader has sent along the following information—but you need to act fast. The deadline is noon tomorrow.
You can send written comments by email to the Etobicoke York Community Council at [email protected] If you want to address the committee meeting on Monday, you can register to speak at the same email address.
You can also call 416-394-8101.
The details of the file are as follows
The developer is Weston Asset Management Inc, and they are asking to “To Amend the Official Plan and Zoning By-law” with application number 19 219985 WET 05 OZ.
City staff have recommended approval of the large development at 1956-1986 Weston Road and 1-5 Little Avenue. The development will be considered by Etobicoke York Community Council on June 27.
If approved, one of the buildings will have 35 storeys—up from 29 storeys in the 2019 plan—and be the tallest in Weston. The other will have 29 storeys. Together they will have 733 condominium units, up from 592 three years ago.
In the past, the development was opposed by staff, the Weston Village Residents’ Association, and community members, who said, among other things, it was too tall, too dense, too ugly, too close to the property line, and would cast too long a shadow.
Some of those concerns have been addressed. The buildings, while taller, take up less of the property. One of the buildings has been “reconfigured from the original proposal and pulled further back on the site, and angled away from Weston Road. This was to provide a stronger pedestrian perception area”.
Also, the developers have agreed to build a 3,400 square foot “non-profit community cultural space located on the ground floor of the existing heritage building at 3 & 5 Little Avenue” for the city.
However, issues remain. The 2019 staff report said the buildings “would result in a bulky, overwhelming presence which would not fit in with the surrounding area nor provide adequate transition in height to the surrounding properties”. The developers made some design concessions, but the buildings still seem overwhelming to me.
Staff also said “[we] suggest that the northwest portion of the site be re-designed to be a mid-rise building”. That, clearly, hasn’t happened. The shorter tower remains 29 storeys high.
Staff had concerns about shadows, particularly “regarding the shadow impacts on Little Avenue Memorial Park”. The new report doesn’t address the effects on the park—which presumably remain—but says shadows will fall on Weston Common (erroneously called the Weston Hub) at least some of the year for part of the day.
Other reasoning in the report is odd. For instance, the author says “although Tower A has a larger floorplate than typically recommended, it is in keeping with the existing built form context and is complemented by Tower B having a varied and generally smaller tapered floorplate.”
Even if a large tall tower were complemented by a smaller tall tower—which, honestly, I don’t get—there is a large, 12-storey podium joining the two towers, and the tower floorplate is invisible at ground level. Nobody will see the putative complement except from the air.
The development is also scheduled to be considered by City Council on July 19.
At issue is a proposal for two 29-storey towers joined by a very large podium on a relatively small site at Weston and Little. The official plan for Weston limits buildings to 8 storeys, and fewer close to the road, so the proposed building is far larger, far denser, and far more imposing than permitted. Indeed, the buildings look like a tornado dropped Toronto onto Weston’s heritage.
The city report says that the proposed building “would result in a bulky, overwhelming presence”, “fails to address the local and planned context” and “is inappropriate for the site”. Staff say the plan should be rejected and redesigned as a “mid-rise building with a 45 degree angular plane provided from the Neighbourhoods, open space and low-rise areas and that particular attention be paid to heritage features”.
It’s not just the architecture. The building will have effects on community space and infrastructure—perhaps for decades. The report says Weston will need:
a new elementary school,
a new public community centre and
a new child care centre
None of these will be built quickly. St John The Evangelist took 5 years just to build—and months were wasted on legal wrangling over a culvert. A culvert. Could you imagine what it would take to build a school from scratch?
The developers aren’t only asking to draw down Weston. They’re hoping to provide too few common elements for the future owners. They would like to provide less than half the required amenity space and too few parking spaces.
The city has made it clear that residents and representatives must reject this proposal and demand it be redrawn, from scratch, with the community in mind.