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Saturday, February 13, 2010

OMB Hearing To Go Ahead

Hi everyone,

We received some surprising and slightly discouraging news this past week.

Build Toronto, the economic development corporation that has been assigned responsibility for the approximately 17 acres of city land on the Quarry site, now says that a significant portion of its land is environmentally unsuitable for any development. The remediation cost of removing and replacing contaminated and unstable soil, we were told at a meeting on Feb. 10, makes development on this parcel economically unfeasible. Despite CCQLD and the community being assured several years ago by the city that all its land was environmentally sound and easily developable, Build Toronto says it came to its recent conclusion through more detailed geotechnical surveys of city-owned land.

This information fundamentally changes the nature of discussions we have been having with city planners, the developer GCD (Gerrard Clonmore Developments), Build Toronto and others through the ‘Special Committee’ meeting process since January of 2009. As many of you are aware, and as Councillor Brian Ashton outlined at the CCQLD Annual General Meeting last month, the discussions had revolved around finding a development concept over the full 49-acre quarry site that would be suitable to all parties – one that would be a significant improvement over the four-block, 1,455-unit high-rise tower complex for which GCD currently has zoning on its land. This was to be done by essentially spreading density over the full site in a comprehensive design plan. With roughly 40 per cent of city-owned land now effectively off the table, however, this has become a much more difficult proposition.

In the short term, this means that the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing scheduled for Tuesday of this week is going ahead. Matters under consideration are a GCD rezoning appeal for removing minimum unit sizes for some of its proposed units, and a filed site plan application for one of its four tower blocks. The city will be arguing against GCD’s appeal. The CCQLD is one of three community groups (also including Our Community Speaks and East Beach Community Association) that will have an opportunity to speak in opposition to GCD’s application via participant status.

Following the OMB hearing, regardless of which way the decision goes, we will continue to explore all possible avenues to reach an outcome acceptable to our community. It will also be time to mobilize all our resources together make sure our position is heard loudly and clearly at the municipal and provincial levels. More on this in the days to come…

We’ll be in touch again after the OMB hearing. Thanks as always for your support.