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Please direct inquiries to Ossington Community Association Corresponding Secretary Benj Hellie


Thanks an enormous amount to all of the fantastic work done by so many of you under the SGO umbrella. SGO got the community through the first stage of this process with dramatic and smashing success. The time has come to regularize operations, and so today SGO will wind its activities down, freeze this group, and transfer its intellectual property to the Ossington Community Association.

Again, thanks enormously to each and every one of you. You helped set the stage for the next phase, and it could not have happened without you.


The Ossington Community Association warmly invites each and every one of you to join with it. We are on the web at We have an open Facebook Group, and I hope to see there in the near future all those who have taken an interest in the project of SGO.

The object of the OCA is to promote the flourishing of the neighbourhood -- from Crawford to Dovercourt, above Queen up to Harrison -- and its commercial zones: the Ossington Strip and the Dundas Bend within the neighbourhood.

The OCA is fully inclusive: any resident of the neighbourhood may become a member; we welcome local storefronts to our membership; and we extend a hand also to friends of the neighbourhood.

The OCA is working toward operation under a fully Robert's Rules-compliant organizational structure. The OCA was chartered on 3 July 2012 and is operating for its initial phase under provisional bylaws.

Over the coming months, the OCA has two principal projects. The first is to roll out a membership drive. Once a sufficient membership base has been attracted, the OCA will hold a fully general meeting and begin progress toward an election of officers in full compliance with Robert's Rules.

The second project is to represent the neighbourhood and its commercial zones in regard to pending development issues. The OCA has inherited the intellectual property of Smart Growth for Ossington, which has wound down its operations.

To maintain operational continuity, the charter meeting elected a provisional Executive Board: President Jessica Wilson, VP JP Manoux, Treasurer Rob Corkum, Corresponding Secretary (aka Communications Director) Benj Hellie, and Recording Secretary Scot Blythe, as well as Directors Jamie Angell (from the business community) and Daphne Ballon (as friend of the neighbourhood). Two Directorates remain open, as does the VVP position, as do 21 seats on the Steering Committee.

The OCA extends a warm welcome to all residents and storefronts in the neighbourhood and its commercial zones and to all friends of the Ossington Community.

Let's keep talking about Ossington.

Write city officials about 109OZ: Mike Layton, Councillor; Francis Kwashie, City Planner
Basic facts about 109OZ are here.
Join us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter; watch this video documenting our community's fantastic response to the current crisis

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Basic facts on impact and law

109OZ has not been approved.

Height.  The proposal is for a "6-story", but with its double-height first floor and HVAC story it is 82 ft, as high as an 8-story building, and 2-8 times higher than every building in the area.  Ossington is LOWRISE (1-4 stories), the proposal is MIDRISE (5-10 stories).  The MIDRISE height (82 ft) almost doubles Ossington's LOWRISE by-law maximum (46 ft).

Bulk, looming, shadow.  The proposal is 151 ft wide (1/3 of the block) and 116 ft deep, just 21 ft from Argyle Place, abutting Givins residences. Multiplied by its 82 ft height, this makes for a huge, bulky structure, three times as voluminous as everything else on the block combined, which would loom oppressively over the center of the Ossington strip and several dozen homes, blocking afternoon light from dozens of cultivated front and back gardens.

(By way of comparison, the 3-story Golden Turtle building is 33 feet high, 17 feet wide, 43 feet deep.)

Balconies, overlook, and noise.  The proposal has 80+ balconies closely and directly overlooking front and back yards of several dozen homes on Argyle, Givins, and even Brookfield.  The privacy and noise concerns for residents (especially given advertising promising a "party building") are obvious.

Units.  The proposal has 86 small units (avg. 700 sq ft), no family (3Br) units.

Chain store retail. The 11K sq. ft. space is built to house 1 'AAA' retail (i.e., chain) store. How hip!

Negative impact on Ossington's character. Like Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Ossington's status as Toronto's restaurant row and eclectic destination district is crucially constituted by its "main street character buildings" and open "street piazza" feel.  Dropping a big ol' King West-style big-box condo with chain retail on the strip would suck the cool from the area, and set a precedent for MIDRISE on Ossington that would quickly degrade it into a place like any other.

Density.  The proposal has a density---the ratio of square footage built to the size of the lot---of 3.9.  That is 56% higher than the existing by-law maximum of 2.5.

Cars, parking, safety.  The proposal has underground parking for ~70 cars off of the narrow Argyle Place laneway (which would need to be widened---how?).  This doubles the cars in the area and raises serious safety concerns about vehicles cutting across Argyle St, the main walking path of children to Givins-Shaw Elementary and a primary pedestrian and bike path route to Trinity-Bellwoods park.

Back laneway features a two story blank wall, a truck loading dock, and a twelve foot square power transformer.

The Basic Question.  Reserve is asking the City to grant them large exceptions to our by-laws so they can build MIDRISE in our LOWRISE area.  Why would the City do this, when it would leave our business, residential, and school communities significantly worse off?

The only possible reason would be if the Official Plan's call for "intensification" in mixed-use areas like Ossington supported MIDRISE here, in law or in fact.  It doesn't.

First, the Plan along with the associated "Avenues and Mid-rise Buildings Study" calls for MIDRISE to occur on "Avenues" (broad miles-long retail corridors, like King, Queen and Dundas), which are big enough to sustain MIDRISE.  Less than two years ago, it was determined that Ossington is NOT an "Avenue", hence determined that growth on Ossington should NOT be subject to MIDRISE development.  This makes sense, since Ossington is nothing like an "Avenue", nor will it ever be.  Ossington's retail segment is too short to be a "corridor" (only 600m, from Queen to Dundas) and Ossington is too narrow to be an Avenue: at only 17.5m it is 8 feet below the minimum 20m width to be an "Avenue", and widening Ossington to 20m would require tearing down and replacing all the existing buildings, including 4 historical designation buildings).  That's not going to happen.  Plus, Avenues are supposed to be the bearers of heavy traffic: but the Ossington strip is second-lowest in traffic volume in the West End among non-Neighborhood streets.

Second, there is no need to interpret the call for intensification in mixed-use areas like Ossington as somehow requiring MIDRISE development.  Density on Ossington is nowhere near the LOWRISE limits---we could easily double, perhaps triple, the density on Ossington within the existing limits.  We have not outgrown the by-laws.

So there is no good reason for the City to permit exceptions to our zoning by-laws that would contravene the recently updated Official Plan (according to which Ossington is NOT an Avenue, and so should NOT be subject to MIDRISE development) by allowing Reserve to put MIDRISE (5 stories or more) on LOWRISE (1-4 stories) Ossington.  And the serious negative and destabilizing impacts associated with this proposal constitute a multitude of good reasons for the City to forbid any such thing.

Who's minding the store?  The Official Plan says that  "Intensification of land adjacent to neighbourhoods will be carefully controlled so that neighbourhoods are protected from negative impact. Where significant intensification of land adjacent to a Neighbourhood or Apartment Neighbourhood is proposed, Council will determine, at the earliest point in the process, whether or not a Secondary Plan, area specific zoning by-law or area specific policy will be created in consultation with the local community following an Avenue Study, or area based study" (OP 2–22).  This has not occurred.

Ultimately, we are going to have to rely on our City Officials---Planner Francis Kwashie, and Councillor Mike Layton---to directly effect the protective measures that are called for in the official plan.  We call on Planner Kwashie to acknowledge that the Official Plan's call for growth in mixed-use areas like Ossington can be answered without allowing de facto exceptions to our by-laws that would effectively convert Ossington to MIDRISE, with the ensuing destabilizing results on our business, residential, and school communities.  And we call on Councillor Layton to pledge only to support applications that KEEP OSSINGTON LOWRISE.

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