- COMMUNITY CONSULTATION MEETING NOTIFICATION. We finally received
our notices about the June 25 Community Consultation, and guess what:
the link to the Planner's Preliminary report, which includes details
about the proposal and initial concerns from the planning department, is
for the wrong property! Grrrr. We have notified City officials and
requested that they ensure that a new letter is sent out asap.
Meanwhile, the correct link is here.
- ACTION ALERT. Speaking of the Community Consultation meeting, the
letter notes that all calls and emails to either Francis Kwashie or Mike
Layton will be part of the record and input into the decision making
process. Please take a few minutes to write or call both officials and
make your opinion known: every call or email is a bullet in the side of
this crummy proposal.
- The Trinity Bellwoods Community Association (TBCA) is holding a
meeting to discuss the 109OZ proposal, on Monday, June 18, 7–9pm, at the
Trinity Bellwoods Recreation Centre (155 Crawford St). Hearty thanks
to TBCA for picking this up. All members of Smart Growth Ossington as
well as other interested parties are encouraged to attend!
- MEETING WITH CITY OFFICIALS AND RESERVE PROPERTIES. On 12 June SGO
representatives met with Ward 19 Councillor Mike Layton and his staff
(outreach assistant Tania Liu, executive assistant
Michal Hay), City Planner Francis Kwashie, and principals and associates
of Reserve Properties: Shane and Sheldon Fenton, planning consultant
Craig Hunter, and RAW architect Roland Colthoff.
First half of the meeting was with Mike and his staff, planner Francis; SGO reps Jessica and Benj; and Argyle Place neighbour Penny Carter. We were impressed with Francis here, and with Mike throughout, with respect to both content and presentation; our feeling is that they are aware of what is at stake here, and are operating accordingly.
Second half: out: Francis; in: Reserve's Sheldon and Shane Fenton; planning consultant Craig Hunter, and RAW architect Roland Colthoff. Our impression was of considerable rapport with Councillor Layton and his staff, and Mike and Francis are both sympathetic toward the "Ossington character" concept, as well as numerous specific community concerns. The reaction of the development team to our discussion of anticipated harms from their proposal was quite remarkable. They did not argue that we were wrong on the facts, nor did they argue that the harms to which we pointed were outweighed by greater good to society. Instead, they made two points: first, they self-servingly complained that any modification to the design they submitted would diminish their bottom line; second, they threatened to inflict an even worse harm on the community. Many would regard this attitude as childish.
One other thing: Shane Fenton refused to guarantee that the 10K retail space would not be used to house a national tenant---that is, a chain store. Chain stores on Ossington? How hip!
- We have been forging a variety of connections with other community
groups. Benj gave a presentation at the Trinity Bellwoods Community
Association (TBCA) meeting on May 28, and they offered their full support. Benj and Jessica
attended and gave a joint presentation at the annual Active18 meeting on June 4,
then met with several members of the steering committee; they also
offered their full support, and we will be working with them in future.
Finally, we are meeting this week with representatives of People Plan
Toronto, and also anticipate their full support. It is encouraging to see how many people---lawyers, planners,
architects, contractors, media people---are willing and able to
participate in working to ensure that growth on Ossington and surround
is indeed smart.
- The popular 'Ossington Village' blog publicized Smart Growth. We are delighted to have the support of this long-standing neighborhood advocate.
- We've been flyering both residents and merchants, and the response
has been incredibly encouraging; plus we've been having a great time
meeting and talking with our business and residential compadres. Once
names are added we should be looking at close to 100 members of Smart
Growth Ossington! Thanks to everyone for listening and signing up.
- The Committee of Adjustment just struck down a Riocan proposal to stick a Walmart (or something like it) on Bathurst just south of College -- just blocks away from Kensington Market -- which would of course be 'cultural cleansing' on a breathtaking scale. (Not to mention wrecking the traffic flow from Bloor and Ossington to Queen and Spadina and beyond.) Congratulations -- and serious thanks -- to Councillor Layton for his great work on this. Of course Riocan is appealing to OMB. Fingers crossed that this preposterous idea will remain struck down.