(Site version) Community Meeting May 3, 2012 Trinity Bellwoods Community Centre 155 Crawford St.

Present: Rosario Marchese Mike Layton Adam Vaughan Christopher Hume Resident Associations including: Harbord Village R. A. York R. A. West King West R. A. Niagara Now R. A. Trinity Bellwoods Community Association Wellington Place Neighbourhood Association High Park R. A. City Place R. A. Waterfront R. A. Villages of Heartlake, Brampton R. A. Also in attendance were members of the public.

Rosario Marchese proposes to introduce a Private Member‟s bill that would effectively remove Toronto from under the jurisdiction OMB (Ontario Municipal Board). He organized this meeting to get feedback from the community and gage the level of support. In attendance were local politicians/personalities: Christopher Hume, Mike Layton, Adam Vaughan. Christopher Hume:       Toronto should do its own planning; however, this should not be left to the City planners, as this department is ineffective and lacks vision, and thus unable to manage the rapid pace our City is experiencing. This issue – why do we need the OMB - has been going on for years. OMB process involves many layers and is bureaucratic. Recommends a system more like Vancouver where politicians make rules and nonpoliticians apply them. Thinks Section 37 money is token. Mixed use residential – works well.

Mike Layton:   Believes the current process is stacked against the City and community, and is in favour of developers. Gave example of 149 Strachan where the community complained and decided the development was not ideal for the neighbourhood. The matter went to the Committee of Adjustments which decided in favour of the community. The developer then went to the 1

(Site version) OMB and was given the ok to build. (Subsequently the developer decided to build something more in line with what the community wanted but they effectively won with the OMB.) Another example, 1030 King St. W. – was voted down by the Community of Adjustments but received support from the OMB. Same for 90 Niagara, which affects a potential new project 89-109 Niagara. Observed that massive development projects are routinely receiving OMB approval.

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Adam Vaughan:  Toronto has undergone rapid growth.  Vancouver is not necessarily the best alternative; however, their planning process seems to be more comprehensive than Toronto, in that it includes social components in planning, etc.  The Vancouver process on paper is useful, takes into account social and economic factors.  He always suggests that developers meet with residents to get feedback, etc. If this were done regularly, it would erase the need for the OMB, and they would cease to be an issue.  People want to know they have influence in shaping their own community.  Yes, must try to extricate Toronto from the jurisdiction of the OMB.  At some point the Committee of Adjustments turned into a review board.  Politicians elected should have power to say no.  City Councillors have one power which is to manage land but they don‟t really do this.  The City needs to grow up and see how things are linked. General discussion:  Process at OMB is run by lawyers.  Developers have huge influence.  C. Hume stated that the City of Toronto Act of 2006 gives the City power to handle some issues that currently go to the OMB.  Developers give municipalities huge sums of money so that chips are stacked on the developer‟s side.  The High Park R. A. highlighted an example where City turned the review/approval process over to the developer.  City has never defined “character” in terms of neighbourhood. A. Vaughan:  Mentioned that studies are not useful after the application has been submitted.  Subway lines change the character of neighbourhoods.  A rational conversation needs to happen regarding development.  Planning laws are not meshing with development and need to be conducted in advance.  Keep in mind most development is years in the planning, and when a new councillor comes into office, they inherit decisions made years earlier. C. Hume  Suggests that there is too much emphasis on height and residents should also worry about what happens on the street.  Complimented A. Vaughan for thinking beyond height. 2

(Site version)  We need a process that works because we are a huge city.

Waterfront R. A.  Waterfront project – new project, 75 stories, 3 times that of originally planned by the city. A. Vaughan  The Planning Department is severely under staffed and underfunded.  In general, developers plan for tomorrow based on what they sold yesterday. M. Layton:  The mixed use model used to evaluate applications, starts from the provincial “places to grow” guidelines which then go to the City where bylaws are applied.  City wants density on main streets generally.  There is not much to ensure family use on a site, developers say family does not work.  Real issue is condo supply and demand.  The City has power but does not use it.  Ideally, the City should have the power to stipulate mixed type units, i.e. London has the power to say that developers need to have a certain number of units in a hospital zone, available to hospital staff.  City has the power to set the threshold – don‟t let councillors off the hook.  TDSB rarely gets involved in planning but could be of influence. For example, City Place has more dogs than children per building and yet there are no plans to encourage family friendly services in the area.  This may also affect resale value, as mentioned by the R.A. for that area. City Place:  A question was posed: Could City Place be forced to put Toronto City Housing in the neighbourhood?   Potentially but not necessarily a bad thing. Adam V. discussed the project behind TIFF Lightbox which includes community space, townhouses, condos, etc. All healthier neighbourhoods have mixed demographics, commercial, family, single, etc. use. It is possible to have a healthy vertical neighbourhood.

C. Hume  This is all new for Toronto – families in high-rises - and Adam is a pioneer in this.  Most developers are not imaginative or forward thinking.  Families in condos are a new phenomenon.  OMB appointees are political appointees.  OMB is a problematic process and reforming it, as has been suggested, would not be a solution. A. Vaughan  Clear rules and expectations are needed.  Semi judicial process currently where the people don‟t really matter.  A fan of decentralization.  Should invest in local decision making bodies.


(Site version)    The Committee of Adjustments does a good job of following the plan but the plan is out of date. High density should be on main streets. Need to elect politicians that plan instead of politicians who just do politics.

Public  Developers target projects based on when a new councillor comes into office.  Concern was expressed over message not getting to young people and so not getting involved, i.e. how to build better parks.  When building new parks, engage kids in the decision making process  Have program to teach people how to use City Hall also.  Planning is more than just about buildings.  Residents expressed concern over too much capacity above and beyond what is needed. A. Vaughan  The planning for the last 50 years has been poor.

M. Layton  Sometimes the seller is the City, and they want to make the best deal, i.e. sale in the Niagara Neighbourhood. General comments:  Residents discussed the lack of sunlight issue as a health concern.  A. Vaughan – discussed the „right to light‟ which is policy in Paris.  Research has proven that every dollar spent on larger sidewalks or park space means less money spent on healthcare. Bottom line – offer your support for Toronto to leave the OMB.


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