January 2017

24 January, 2017, 7:00-9:00 PM

Staff Lounge, University Settlement House


Ralph, Max, Karen, Geoff, Dennis, David, Danielle, Beverley, Julie, Don, Willie, Nicholas

1.     Welcome:


Approval of agenda and September minutes

Ralph: business arising from last meeting and minutes

– meeting with Italian consulate postponed by the consulate

– Ceta and others obtaining signatures for lane naming

– Ceta following up on uneven pavers in Grange Park; there will be final examination and repairs in the spring

– Public meetings about ward boundaries have concluded with a good recommendation from the expert advisors

2.     Planning & Development:

87 Huron at OMB

Max reports that this five storey building, pretending to be single family house, is actually a three-unit residence. First brought to COA in April by architectural technician acting as agent for the owner, incorrect drawings presented at that time, proposal deferred with COA requesting corrected data and drawings. These were not forthcoming in September so COA refused the minor variance request. The owner and her husband Barzin Bahardoust appealed to OMB.  Max suggests that because of our previous long involvement with 129 Baldwin, and the violations apparent in this application, we go to OMB hearing on February 8 and ask for Party status to represent GCA interests.  Also ask Councillor Cressy to move at City Council that the City send a lawyer to the OMB to defend the COA’s refusal of the requested variance. Unanimously approved.

Max raises issue of prevention, so the chances are reduced of this kind of inaccurate application happening in the future. Community associations have increasing credence and influence at OMB and COA because we act specifically and effectively when things seem to be going wrong. Next we need to work to open up the site plan approval process, which now occurs entirely behind closed doors; we need access to these meetings as public events and have the ability to intervene at that level. Discussion of a range of demolition issues, and protection of heritage.

33 Henry St

Reapplication of previous COA deferral: Max suggests that because the same plans are being submitted, Henry Street community should take lead on this matter as they started the initial opposition, with GCA help if requested.

502 Adelaide West

Max distributes renders and drawings and reports that our friends in the Garment District Neighbourhood Association are supporting this development in their territory, a high-quality 12 storey condo building designed by Dermott Sweeney. Planning is (mildly) opposed to the plan, claiming it is too tall, no setbacks (that’s the architectural style), with impacts on heritage buildings. Public meeting tomorrow, Jan 25. This is judged a very good building by all but Planning, with Councillor Cressy especially pleased with the developer’s cooperation in adjusting the building.

GCA discussion started by Geoff about lesson to be learned here about opportunity costs. Planning’s effort in opposing this loses the opportunity to focus on more relevant matters. The involvement of Planning in this site (focused on boilerplate analysis) undermines their complaint of not having enough time or people to deal with more pressing City issues.

U of T engineering projects

Karen and Geoff meeting engineering group tomorrow.  David reported on meeting two groups, Artistic Hoarding and Interactive Digital Map. Nicholas and Ralph report on upcoming meeting with Green Plan group.


234 Simcoe architecture and traffic – Planning’s view

Max and Ralph report on meeting with Planning etc in Councillor’s office: Lanterra project, massive development, between Simcoe and St Patrick. Our biggest concern is that the corner of St Patrick and Dundas is already overcrowded and dangerous, addition of massive underground parking in new project will render it even more dangerous. GCA encourages Planning to not accept traffic plans as they didn’t count pedestrians, Planning indicated that at this point they weren’t concerned about what happened at grade; they only wanted to deal with “planning issues” which evidently means what the building does in the sky, not at grade.  Developer affirms they are revisiting traffic planning.   

U of T secondary plan update

The Secondary Plan (at least a first cut at it) has been submitted to Planning who will eventually respond. GCA proposed including surrounding buildings in plan, ie, opposite the University on Spadina, Bloor, College, but this was rejected. We have a particular concern with former Salvation Army site at McCaul and College now owned by U of T; well-sourced rumour of possibility of Silverstein Bakery building being bought by U of T as a site for major student residence, and given the surrounding building height/scale this could be a very large development. The U of T Secondary Plan that is unfolding is enormous and complicated.

U of T research initiative

University has asked residents associations for ideas about what their students could do for us. Province is considering making it mandatory for undergrad university students to have community placement. University does not have such placement programs now and is searching for partners. A series of meetings involving various administration sections of the university, schools within the university, and interested neighbours is underway.

203 College

Ralph reports that everybody is waiting for OMB to come back with decision which, at the end of the hearing, was going to be issued “shortly,” that is, in January.

The New Toronto Courthouse considered again at TEYCC

The proposed Provincial building at Chestnut/Armoury/Centre, designed to amalgamate five or more peripheral courthouses, will be as tall as a 44 storey condo building, with no parking for 1145 staff plus visiting lawyers and families of those involved in the justice system.  It is guaranteed to create traffic problems with prisoners being brought in and out, security issues, etc.  Max went to Community Council regarding transportation situation, and construction staging issues including no reimbursement to City from Province eliminating on-street parking (in the amount of $234,000 annually), and cultural heritage matters.  Community Council was content to take no action.

OCADU rebuilding of 100 McCaul – architects chosen

OCAD has received Provincial funding to build out 100 McCaul. Tom Mayne of Morphosis (Los Angeles) is the design architect, with Stephen Teeple (Toronto) and Brian Porter of Two Row Architect (Six Nations) completing the architectural team.

New councillor on AGO board

Ralph reported that City Councillor Michelle (Bernardinetti) Holland, Ward 35 Scarborough Southwest, has been appointed to the AGO Board ex officio from City Council, a position usually held by the Ward 20 Councillor.  Councillor Cressy, however, remains one of the three co-chairs of the Grange Park Advisory Committee.

Consultation on other dog parks

Karen reports that a friend wanted to organize a fenced dog park in Moss Park, then another person in Crombie Park which is being redeveloped. She and Geoff have met with them to try to encourage more off leash areas in parks, with Karen providing advice from GCA experience.

Naming of elements in Grange Park

The AGO director consulted the Grange Park Advisory Committee about the possibility of naming individual elements of the Park according to the wishes of a donor. The consensus of GPAC was that plaques, as previously agreed, were fine to recognize donors (no commercial logos allowed), but that naming a park element itself was unacceptable.

Meeting with MPP Han Dong re 203 College and OMB/LAB reorganization

MPP Han Dong invited Ralph and Max to his office, ostensibly to talk about elevators in residential buildings, but Ralph reports that what he really wanted to discuss was his interaction with neighbours about details of the 203 College Street condo proposal (he lives just a few houses away on Beverley Street), and the Ontario Municipal Board in general. 75% of appeals in front of OMB from Toronto are small-scale minor variances from COA, not major planning issues involved by-law or Official Plan amendments. These items will shortly be handled by a newly established LAB (Local Appeal Body), while larger issues will continue to be heard by OMB, the renovation of which is currently being studied by the Province.  He is part of the OMB review, and Ralph and Max asked him specifically to consider the potential for community associations like us to have access to intervener funding to participate in hearings.

MPP Dong wants to attend a GCA meeting and he will be given our schedule.

405 Dundas at COA 18 January 2017

This is a four story small building, with a restaurant half a floor below grade and three storeys above (one of offices and two of residential), three doors west of the Lucky Moose laneway. The property has been purchased by two young realtors who applied to the COA to convert all into apartments, specifically for student housing. The owners are upfront about the chaotic condition of the building today, with students living in the “commercial” space, and their desire to upgrade it; they expect it will be rented to groups of students because OCADU is nearby. Councillor Cressy opposed the proposal, citing loss of one floor of employment space to residential space.  The Committee approved the variance.

City Budget: possible TCHC closings

Don and Bev reported on their attendance ata townhall meeting organized by Councillors Cressy and Layton to discuss TCHC’s situation in the draft City budget: less funding for more residents, with some 400 jobs to be lost and a reduction of $10million from the TCHC budget.

External Affairs

West Queen West Heritage Conservation District has encountered the problem of organizing a HCD along a very heterogeneous street (Bathurst to Dufferin).  Seven residents associations around exhibition place, plus GCA, have gotten together to help the Board of Directors of Exhibition Place to understand this is a public facility not a private one while they are drafting their strategic plan. It would be a good thing if there were additional residents associations in Ward 20 (and in War 27, too).  Rents on Queen are very high and are the underlying source of the problem of empty storefronts (the City is requesting the Province to allow the removal of tax abatement for buildings empty for 90 days or more).

3.     Grange Green Plan:

Julie is keeping track of the Glasgow Street Parkette renovation study and the need to landscape the area between the two arms of the southern face of 245 College (which was thought around the table to be a monster of a building).  Ralph reported that the City is starting a volunteer air monitoring system, and will provide additional details.

4.     Institutional:               

Previous bank balance of $1325. After outstanding expenses of $737, and two $500 commitments from location shoots to come, our new balance will be $1588.

 Next Meeting: February 22, 2017, same time, same place