At the Community Meeting about the proposal for the development at the Greenland Farms site (Weston and Little Ave.), the developer’s agent tried to justify the immense building on the basis of the province’s plans to increase development around ‘Major Transit Stations’. Weston GO station (as long as we keep our GO trains) is such a Major Transit Station. The new provincial plans (now called ‘A Place to Grow’) require a planned density of 150 persons and jobs per hectare (1/100 of a square kilometre) around GO Stations. From the city of Toronto, this definition:
So, what does this mean for Weston? First, the 500 metre radius looks like this.
The Greenland Farms development will clearly be within that circle which extends north to almost King, south to part of Sykes, east along Lawrence to Pine, and west to just into Etobicoke.
But the real question is, how much density do we need to achieve the provincial plan? Do we really need to permit several 29 and 36 storey towers?
The answer can be found in the 2016 Census. Here is a map of the west part of Toronto with densities in different colours – dark blue being the densest.
The Census data is in persons per square kilometre. Weston is already the densest part of the west end, with the possible exception of part of Dixon Road. And the densities of the areas closest to the proposed development are already substantially more than 150 persons per hectare, not counting any jobs which may exist.
By small census areas, here are the actual densities.
35204426 – West side of Weston Road, Little to St. Phillips – Density 153.3 persons per hectare
35204415 – East side of Weston Road, King to John to tracks – Density 181.73 persons per hectare
35204414 – North side of Lawrence to John St, Little to tracks – Density 177.57 persons per hectare
35204413 – South side of Lawrence, Hickory Tree to Weston Rd. – Density 292.12 persons per hectare
35204412 – South side of Lawrence, Weston to Pine and south to Denison – Density 69.19 persons per hectare
35204411 – West side of Weston Rd., Bellevue to Wright – Density 133.72 persons per hectare.
The 2016 census was before the building at 22 John was occupied. So the density is already greater. And the count does not include jobs, which takes the count even higher.
Weston is already plenty dense enough. Developers cannot point to the provincial growth plan and claim a right to make it denser. Even the legally allowed 8 storey maximum for development on Weston Road would significantly increase the density.
The city can and should say no to any more monstrous buildings in Weston. And defend such decision at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (successor to the OMB) should the developers appeal. Developers who thought we’d be an easy mark can think again.