You are on page 1of 3

EXCLUSIVE: Etobicoke residents say neighbourhood lost out on $100K in

negotiations with condo developer

By John Lancaster, Sarah Bridge, CBC News Posted: Jan 15, 2015 5:00 AM ET

The 11-storey condo development at Lakeshore Boulevard and Superior Avenue is taking shape, looming much higher than the many homes and
shops nearby. But the money intended to lessen its impact on the community has been greatly reduced. (CBC)

A Mimico residents group still wants to know how their neighbourhood lost out on $100,000 in
proposed money for local amenities.
The cash was part of an arrangement with a condominium developer, which would have
provided $250,000 for local parks improvements in exchange for increasing the size of a condo
project at Lakeshore Boulevard and Superior Avenue.
The building is now taking shape, looming 11 storeys, much higher than the many two-storey
homes and shops nearby. And the money intended to lessen the buildings impact on the
community has been greatly reduced.
According to a City of Toronto staff report, Davies Smith Developments had agreed to the
original amount in June 2011, after discussions with planning staff and the local councillor. The
report was adopted by community council, and a few weeks later, it headed to city council for
final approval.
This time, when the matter was brought up, area councillor Mark Grimes stood and told fellow
councillors he had a technical amendment to the deal. He recommended that council require
the developer to provide $150,000 for local parks and improvements." He made no mention of
the fact that the developer had already agreed to pay $100,000 more. Grimes provided no
explanation for the reduction.

The change caught local residents by surprise.

The community didnt know, said Peggy Moulder, a member of theLakeshore Planning
Council Corporation (LPCC), a residents group that monitors urban planning in
south Etobicoke. And it wasnt even clear [when Grimes presented the motion] that this was an
actual reduction from what was approved at community council.
No agreement on $250K, Grimes says
Coun. Grimes declined an on-camera interview, but in an email response to CBC News wrote,
there was never an agreement reached with the applicant for $250,000 in Section 37 cash
contribution. Instead, he said, I recommended the $250,000 to try and negotiate the maximum
benefit for the community.
'Its not an entitlement to build; its a privilege to build.'- Timothy Dobson, LPCC president and
He then indicated that Section 37 contributions are voluntary payments, negotiated with the
applicant, the local councillor and planning staff and said that the motion he moved at city hall
in July 2011, was a minor technical amendment approved openly and transparently by City
Council reflecting the actual agreement reached through negotiation.
Section 37 of the Planning Act in Ontario allows developers to pay cash to municipalities or
provide community facilities in exchange for increasing the height or density of a new building.
The idea is that the money will help mitigate the increased traffic and strain on amenities the
development could bring to an existing neighbourhood. The agreements arent mandatory, and
the transactions are calculated on a case-by-case basis. But this particular transaction raised
eyebrows in the ward.
$250K not enough?
In September 2011, Timothy Dobson, president and chair of LPCC, wrote a letter to Mayor Rob
Ford and members of council outlining the groups concern that council members were not
properly informed of the substantial change [in the Section 37 contribution] prior to their vote on
the amendment. The letter asked council to reopen the item and hold a new vote. The group
says it has never gotten a response.
As for the original $250,000 amount, Dobson isnt even sure that was enough. The condo
building, which is currently under construction, sits on a site the city staff report called a
parkland priority area, just steps from the waterfront.
Theres the whole question of whether [the higher amount of] $250,000 is even a good value,
said Dobson. Its not an entitlement to build; its a privilege to build, so in exchange for that

privilege, you give back a certain amount to the community in various forms parkland,
hospitals, whatever.
Aesthetic overhaul
Since the late '90s Mimico has been in the midst of an aesthetic overhaul. A once-dingy motel
strip south of the Gardiner Expressway is now the new Humber Bay Shores neighbourhood.
Thousands of condo units have sprung up across the ward, with many more still in the works.
'The big winners are the developers.'- Resident Peggy Moulder
In his email to CBC News, Coun. Grimes listed a number of Section 37 contributions from
developments that have benefited his ward, including the restoration of Mimico Train Station,
Sam Smith Skating Trail, Eighth St. Skateboard Park and others.
The 11-storey Davies Smith condominium is going up in the main commercial stretch on
Lakeshore Boulevard. in Mimico. In a cafe across from the building site, Paul Chomik, a
longtime Mimico resident and LPCC member told CBC News, Time and time again the
community was told, Oh, were going to put all these people in [Mimico] and its going to make
the main street here prosperous and this, that, and the other. And all these benefits that were
promised to the community over and over again never happened.
Dobson added: We feel this area has been very short-changed in terms of the monies.
City officials have also long complained there isnt enough money for much-needed
improvements to transit and other infrastructure.
Moulder commiserated: The big winners are the developers and the big losers are the public.
CBC News reached out to Davies Smith for this story, but the developer offered no comment.
If you have any information about this or other stories, please contact our investigative unit:
John Lancaster (416-205-7538) and Sarah Bridge

Related Interests