On February 16, 2022, South JT GROWs was invited to a meeting with Councilor Bailao to discuss the contents of our community letter sent on November 30, 2021. You can view our letter here - thank you to those who signed it!
In our letter we asked for the following:
Closer partnership with Ana Bailao’s office to ensure that we are aware of all and any of the developments and changes to future plans.
A request that all of Marlin-Spring and Hines properties be added to the Bloor Street Study so that any future changes to their properties can be considered within the scope of the larger area.
The responses are included:
Help us understand why variances (like that requested by 181 Sterling) can still be granted after ruling by LPAT/OLT?
Definition OLT/LPAT: The provincial body that can overrule City of Toronto recommendations towards developers. If the City of Toronto objects to developments, the developer can appeal this decision to the OLT (formerly LPAT). Typically decisions are aligned with developer interests
The granting of this variance was not in addition to what had already been approved by the OLT, BUT was allowing Marlin Springs to shift density from one building to another - the decision to move density from one building to another did not undermine the decision of the OLT/LPAT
Why is it difficult for the city to include 181 Sterling Road in the community plan, given that what happens there will impact future developments?
Ana Bailão recommends that we refrain from adding 181 Sterling Rd to the community plan because if we do add this site to the plan, the developers may request further amendments which could then go to the OLT
In other words: don’t bug these guys, the development is done, and adding them to the plan now might allow for more wiggle room to amend the design that the city is currently working with
The variance was granted in response to the AKIN art space that was negotiated, however, there are limited terms to this art space -- what is the plan to ensure that this space is not misused like those on 32 Lisgar? What is currently going on with AKIN at 32 Lisgar shows that developers support artists in the short term but not the long term. The fear for 181 Sterling is a future breach of contract like that on Lisgar.
We need sustainable and long-term stewardship of artists, with alternatives outside of Artscape getting involved.
This is complex - there were multiple organizations at the table to support this space, however, financing fell through and there were not enough organizations left to care for the space
South JT GROWs will continue to monitor the artist space that has been approved in 181 Sterling Rd to support artists in having accessible, inclusive, and supportive spaces
How can we help developers and the city understand that a ban on resident parking in these developments is not enough, given the irresponsible lack of visitor parking for both commercial and residential sites of these new developments - we need public parking for current and future patrons and residents! How can we advocate for public parking given that this is being marketed by developers as an attraction with museums, art, and shopping?
The City no longer has parking minimums in condo buildings
South JT Grows agrees that this is great for the environment and will encourage future residents not to have a car...however, we also identify this as ableist in that those that require a car to transport themselves, family members, etc. will mostly not be able to reside in these new buildings.
South JT GROWs was able to work with Ana Bailão to secure a ban on residential street parking from all new residents within the new developments. This means developers must consider the needs of their residents and provide adequate parking for them if residents desire spaces as they will not be able to park on the street
HOWEVER, this does not account for visitors. Many of the proposed developments in our area propose very few visitor parking, which means that visitors of these buildings will use our already over-permitted streets. Again, this is an ableist assumption that visitors can visit without a vehicle. This is not ok. We want to live in harmony with our new neighbors, visitors, and guests. We will continue to discuss the need for adequate visitor parking.
What are your thoughts?