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Impolitical: Parkdale Tenants facing down a Landlord

Last Wednesday I attended an organizing meeting in the basement of the Parkdale Library for tenants of the Akelius owned buildings in the heart of Parkdale.

Akelius is a Swedish owned company that entered the Toronto real estate market in approximately 2011 and now owns over 2,000 units in over 30 properties across the city, . . . → Read More: Impolitical: Parkdale Tenants facing down a Landlord

Impolitical: Parkdale Tenants facing down a Landlord

Updated below (Thursday April 30th, 1:30 pm). Last Wednesday I attended an organizing meeting in the basement of the Parkdale Library for tenants of the Akelius owned buildings in the heart of Parkdale.Akelius is a Swedish owned company that entered th… . . . → Read More: Impolitical: Parkdale Tenants facing down a Landlord

Impolitical: Presentation on the Bloor/Durie development in Bloor West Village #parkhp #topoli

Hello all! It’s been a while here at the blog. Apologies. I hope to get back to posting more regularly in the near future. 

I wanted to post my speaking notes from today on an issue that came before the Etobicoke York Community Council. As you will note from my previous blog entry, I have . . . → Read More: Impolitical: Presentation on the Bloor/Durie development in Bloor West Village #parkhp #topoli

Impolitical: Presentation on the Bloor/Durie development in Bloor West Village #parkhp #topoli

Updated (Friday August 14th, 7:30 p.m.) below.

Hello all! It’s been a while here at the blog. Apologies. I hope to get back to posting more regularly in the near future. 

I wanted to post my speaking notes from today on an issue that came before the Etobicoke York Community Council. As you will note from my previous blog entry, I have been involved with residents here in Parkdale-High Park for a few years now on development proposals. It’s a huge issue in the riding. The latest significant challenge is represented by the proposed development at the corner of Bloor & Durie in the heart of Bloor West Village (“BWV”). While my notes will go into a bit of detail on the entire issue, I just wanted to highlight what essentially happened at council today.

This development is of great concern to the residents of BWV, Swansea, Old Mill, South Kingsway and High Park. The development proposal was scheduled to be heard at the Ontario Municipal Board in the near future (date unknown). But Council agreed today – essentially adopting the motion found below – to seek an adjournment of that development hearing until a properly done public study can be undertaken of the Bloor West Village area. That is potentially quite significant should the OMB – as it rightfully should – listen to this message from the City.

This could mean that BWV will be developed coherently, driven by a public study process that will now keep at bay the one-off developer driven proposals such as this one at Bloor & Durie.

Here’s hoping and I know the residents will remain vigilant to ensure it happens in the right way. Notes follow.

Speaking notes for Tues, Aug 12th – Etobicoke York Community Council
2265-2279 Bloor Street West and 116 and 240 Durie Street – Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment, Rental Housing Demolition & Conversion Applications

Councillors, City Staff & members of the community, my name is Nancy Leblanc. I am a resident of Swansea, residing just a few blocks away from the proposed Bloor West Village development that is before the council today for consideration.

I support the position of the neighbourhood resident associations who are opposing this development and am appearing today on their behalf. Those resident associations are: the Bloor West Village Residents Association, the Old Mill Community Association, Swansea Area Ratepayers Association and the South Kingsway Neighbourhood Committee. Many of their members are here today.

I would respectfully ask of this Council that you support the residents of this neighbourhood community in their opposition to this development. Specifically, I would request that the following motion be moved, considered and supported by this Council:

1. Be it resolved that the Staff Report dated August 1st, 2014 be deferred for consideration until a properly done public Area Study can be undertaken by the City in respect of Bloor West Village that will set out detailed guidelines for future development.

2. Be it further resolved that this Council authorize the City Solicitor to request an adjournment of any date obtained before the Ontario Municipal Board in respect of this development until a properly done public Area Study can be undertaken by the City in respect of Bloor West Village that will set out detailed guidelines for future development, and until that study and its conclusions are subject to public review and comment, and until that study is adopted by City Council as set out in the Official Plan.

This staff report should be deferred for many reasons. We have little to lose by doing so, and much to gain.

This application is being supported by a study completed by the proponent which, to no one’s surprise, is basically in support of the proposed development.

But – The basic principle which the residents seek is to ensure that Bloor West Village be developed through a plan driven by the public interest – not private – and in a manner that recognizes its unique historical characteristics and its present day character as a landmark west Toronto village. Study the village as a whole – then decide how it should be intensified and densified.

The character of the Bloor West Village strip is unique. There is a careful balance between the Mixed Use commercial areas along Bloor and the stable Neighbourhoods that abut Bloor. It is a flat stretch that to date has been undisturbed by high developments except to its peripheries on the east and west, in lower grade areas toward the Humber River and High Park where height impact is somewhat lessened. The storefronts date to the 1920s and 30s. Yet the Staff Report before us today maps out a future for the Village that will disrupt this character and historic balance, that will penetrate a stable Neighbourhood street, and that will set a poor precedent for development of the heart of Bloor West Village. It opens the door to a series of negotiated one-off developments, jammed into the heart of Bloor West Village without the proper studies having been done.

For example – There is no Avenue study that has been undertaken of Bloor West Village. According to the Official Plan, development requiring a rezoning – as this proposal does – will not be allowed to proceed prior to completion of an Avenue Study unless a review is undertaken that demonstrates to Council’s satisfaction that subsequent development of the entire Avenue segment will have no adverse impacts within the context and parameters of this review.” (2.2.3.3(b))

Further, the Official Plan requires that any development preceding an Avenue study must be shown to “contribute to an attractive, safe and comfortable pedestrian environment that encourages walking and strengthens local retailing” (2.2.3.3 (c)).

Yet as one resident has put it, quite well, this proposal will:

“have an adverse impact on the pedestrian environment by inserting a much taller street wall rising straight up from the street 7 stories before the step-back in a block of predominantly two story storefronts. The height and massing will create a large monolithic structure than looms over and oppresses the visual environment within the heart of the district and replaces lively, pedestrian oriented, fine-grained commercial facades with a bland, undifferentiated row of shops with identical materials and design that are less variable, legible and attractive.”

A publicly driven area Study is therefore required before such one-off developments, supported by segmented studies, are inserted on a jarring basis that break up the character of Bloor West Village.

A deferral of this Staff Report is also warranted given that a Heritage Conservation District Nomination has been sought for Bloor West Village. In 2008, City Council identified Bloor West Village as an area warranting analysis as a Heritage Conservation District. Some of the heritage considerations include:

The buildings, dating from the 1920s and 30s;

Bloor West Village was the first Business Improvement Area in the world;

The historical connection to immigration from Eastern Europe, including the location of an annual Ukrainian festival which is the largest in North America

To prematurely consider a development in the heart of the Village without allowing for a Heritage process to be completed would be inappropriate.

Another important factor for this Council to consider is the Swansea Secondary Plan that governs the Durie Street properties sought to be included in this development. The Swansea Secondary Plan specifically provides that

“where the Zoning By-law permits apartment buildings in areas designated as Neighbourhoods, any apartment building will respect the zoned height and density limits.”

This means that any development proposal that penetrates the Durie Neighbourhood, governed by the Swansea Secondary Plan, must respect the zoned height and density limits of the Neighbourhood. That is, 0.6 times the area of the lot. The Staff Report is rightfully concerned that these physically “stable” neighbourhood areas are sought to be used to support a mixed-use development.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we ask this Community Council to support the residents, defer consideration of the Staff report before you today and seek an adjournment of any scheduled OMB hearing in respect of this development. The future development of Bloor West Village deserves a proper public study – after which decisions can be made to intensify and densify the area, in accordance with its unique history and village characteristics.

Thank you.

Update (Friday August 14, 7:30 pm): Please also see the Save Our Village website for more information on the 2265 Bloor hearing and other developments in the Bloor West area.
. . . → Read More: Impolitical: Presentation on the Bloor/Durie development in Bloor West Village #parkhp #topoli

Aaron Manton: Ontario Election: Evaluating Voter Engagement In My Riding Of Parkdale-High Park

Obviously some of the onus is on voters to research candidates, platforms, and issues, and to think for themselves about who and what they want to cast their ballot for. That being said, the opportunity to engage with a candidate one-on-one can have a tremendous impact on voter intention – it certainly has for me . . . → Read More: Aaron Manton: Ontario Election: Evaluating Voter Engagement In My Riding Of Parkdale-High Park

Scott's DiaTribes: Congrats to Nancy Leblanc, your OLP candidate for Parkdale-High Park

My long time blogging colleague will apparently be acclaimed in that riding on May 7th for the OLP, and like BigCityLib, I am very pleased to see and hear this.

I’ll repeat what I said elsewhere: despite the fact we sometimes disagree on things, we are friends, and I wish her nothing but the best . . . → Read More: Scott’s DiaTribes: Congrats to Nancy Leblanc, your OLP candidate for Parkdale-High Park

A BCer in Toronto: Why Nancy Leblanc will beat Cheri DeNovo in Parkdale-High Park

My friend Nancy LeBlanc (you may also know her as Impolitical) is running for the Ontario Liberal nomination in Parkdale-High Park, and I think she’s going to beat the NDP’s Cheri DeNovo in the next election. Why? Because she’ll work harder.

I haven’t met many people — particularly candidates — that genuinely enjoy canvassing as . . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: Why Nancy Leblanc will beat Cheri DeNovo in Parkdale-High Park

Scott's DiaTribes: Another Liberal blogging colleague takes the political plunge

It appears to be the week Liberal political bloggers have decided to make the jump from blogging into running for office. This time, it’s Nancy Leblanc, who has been a longtime Liberal blogger at Impolitical. She has announced her attempt to win the provincial nomination for the Ontario Liberals in Parkdale-High Park:

Early in her . . . → Read More: Scott’s DiaTribes: Another Liberal blogging colleague takes the political plunge

The Canadian Progressive: Aagh, Harper Conservatives Nuked Democratic NDP Motion On Role Of PBO

By Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Feb. 14, 2013: Showing their burgeoning disdain for accountability, transparency, financial oversight and the independence of federal watchdogs, the Harper Conservatives earlier this week nuked a progressive NDP motion on the role of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO). The motion, tabled by the Official Opposition’s Finance critic, Peggy . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Aagh, Harper Conservatives Nuked Democratic NDP Motion On Role Of PBO

Impolitical: Electoral reform debate – video

Parkdale High Park Liberal Debate on PR vs FPTP Part 1 from June Macdonald on Vimeo.

For those who are interested, this is the first 20 minutes of our debate held on November 15th in Parkdale-High Park on the topic of electoral reform. The introductory statements by the debaters begin at around the 7:00 . . . → Read More: Impolitical: Electoral reform debate – video

Impolitical: Last call: Electoral reform debate tonight #php #cdnpoli #topoli

CLICK TO ENLARGEInfo on location and resolution all above on our great flier designed by Graham Bolton, riding volunteer. The debaters are all quite enthused about the night which has been inspiring to hear. They are prepared and looking to get into th… . . . → Read More: Impolitical: Last call: Electoral reform debate tonight #php #cdnpoli #topoli

The Equivocator: The PHP Liberals are hosting an Oxford Style Debate on Electoral Reform on November 15th

When?: Thursday, November 15th, 2012. 7pm – 9pm Where?: Bishop Marrocco-Thomas Merton (1515 Bloor St W, Toronto) Who?: Hosted by the Parkdale–High Park Federal Liberal Riding Association and Fair Vote Canada. The motion: “Be It Resolved That Canada Should Adopt … Continue reading . . . → Read More: The Equivocator: The PHP Liberals are hosting an Oxford Style Debate on Electoral Reform on November 15th

Impolitical: It is on: Electoral reform debate

In west end Toronto, on the evening of November 15th, the Parkdale-High Park federal Liberal riding association will be hosting a debate on electoral reform featuring some fine Canadian public policy leaders. We are very appreciative that they will be taking the time to participate with us in this event. The debate will be held . . . → Read More: Impolitical: It is on: Electoral reform debate

Impolitical: Toronto event this week: Roots Revival – featuring Justin Trudeau and The Rizdales

Click to enlarge.

Get your tickets online here. It’s going to be big and much fun, so please come! All are welcome. . . . → Read More: Impolitical: Toronto event this week: Roots Revival – featuring Justin Trudeau and The Rizdales

Impolitical: Late night: Scenes from a literature drop

Thought I’d just do a quick post here and upload some pictures taken during a literature drop in Parkdale-High Park by a few of we federal Liberals on a balmy Thursday evening in connection with an event we have coming up on the afternoon of April 28th, a “Spring Forward” political renewal fair.

Some musically . . . → Read More: Impolitical: Late night: Scenes from a literature drop

Impolitical: Tough analysis of Peggy Nash

By the Jurist: But it won’t be so easy to make up for any questions about unsure political footing once a new leader faces a Con government eager to spread banana peels everywhere then run attack ads about a lack of balance. Which is why Nash has gone from being my initial first choice to . . . → Read More: Impolitical: Tough analysis of Peggy Nash

Impolitical: Expectations

“Peggy Nash: a Thatcher for the left?”Between this and the Diebel piece, her opponents must be wondering what the heck is going on. Or, who knows, maybe they like it. By the way, she’s 2 for 4 in Parkdale-High Park. Lost 2004. Won 2006. Lost 2008. Won… . . . → Read More: Impolitical: Expectations

Impolitical: The full-time MP of Parkdale-High Park

Looking forward to the many hours of full-time MPing to come while she’s out there on the leadership trail. Hey, I don’t set the standards. Peggy does. . . . → Read More: Impolitical: The full-time MP of Parkdale-High Park

Impolitical: Post election Parkdale-High Park notes

This is a risky blog post since it’s coming late at night and my faculties, post-campaign party, are just not quite at 100%. There are a few things percolating on my brain, however, so here goes…First off, congrats to our principal opponent Cheri DiN… . . . → Read More: Impolitical: Post election Parkdale-High Park notes

Impolitical: About that poll

Big poll in the Star today. It polled a ton of respondents and has the Liberals and PCs at 35% apiece. NDP at 23%. Recent polls have been showing the race tightening so this seems to fit. Every election is unique and this one’s undercurrents are certai… . . . → Read More: Impolitical: About that poll

Impolitical: The fight for Ontario in Parkdale-High Park

Parkdale-High Park Liberals have come out with a reality check this evening on some of the many claims made by sitting NDP MPP Cheri di Novo during the debates of the past week or so. I sat and watched two and lived the frustration that the piece refer… . . . → Read More: Impolitical: The fight for Ontario in Parkdale-High Park

Death By Trolley: Endorsing Justin Trottier, Green Party of Ontario Candidate, Parkdale-High Park

I am proud to throw my out-of-riding support behind Justin Trottier, Green Party of Ontario, whom is seeking to represent the Parkdale – High Park riding. Justin Trottier is a principled and active advocate for science, reason, freedom of and from religion, nontheism, free speech, gay rights, and environmental responsibility. I have had the pleasure […] . . . → Read More: Death By Trolley: Endorsing Justin Trottier, Green Party of Ontario Candidate, Parkdale-High Park

Acts of Citizenship: Ontario Liberals insinuate ONDP hates babies, or when will Ontarians tire of cynical, disingenuous, and negative politics???

As a constituent of what must be one of Ontario’s most progressive ridings, Parkdale-High Park, I was dismayed and disappointed by the first piece of Liberal campaign literature that showed up in my mailbox. In a riding where the Conservative candidate, by all accounts very worthy, is an extreme long shot to get elected, I . . . → Read More: Acts of Citizenship: Ontario Liberals insinuate ONDP hates babies, or when will Ontarians tire of cynical, disingenuous, and negative politics???