Big box re­tail com­ing to Lesmill

How does a two-lane road and 1,061 park­ing spa­ces work?

Bayview Post - - News - — Kristina Kirkaldy

The former in­dus­trial site at the north­west cor­ner of York Mills Road and Lesmill Road has long been eyed for a big box re­tail devel­op­ment but has sat empty for years. Last month, the Don Park HVAC build­ing, at 16 Lesmill Rd., was de­mol­ished to make room while the de­vel­op­ers con­tinue to work with the city to fi­nal­ize a plan.

The scale of the proposal does have some res­i­dents wor­ried about the mas­sive in­flux of traf­fic to the area.

“The whole is­sue of traf­fic around Don Mills is a big is­sue,” said Terry West, a mem­ber of Don Mills Res­i­dents Inc.

“York Mills has not been iden­ti­fied as a ma­jor cross-city street for high-den­sity tran­sit.”

Ac­cord­ing to Kait­lyn Gra­ham, with City of Toronto Plan­ning, the site plan is still un­der re­view.

The pro­posed site would al­low for 1,061 park­ing spa­ces, which highlights po­ten­tial traf­fic con­ges­tion in an area that is mainly busi­nesses and in­dus­trial build­ings.

Lesmill is a two-lane road, whereas York Mills is larger and was re­cently reconstructed.

Cur­rently the only ac­cess to York Mills from the site is via a small two-lane road that runs beneath the York Mills over­pass and is mainly used as a drive­way for the Rogers of­fices next door.

On Jan. 13, Emily Roukhkian, se­nior land devel­op­ment man­ager with the devel­oper SmartReit, at­tached doc­u­ments for their third site plan sub­mis­sion in an email to the city’s plan­ning depart­ment.

“We feel con­fi­dent that we have ad­dressed all com­ments and con­cerns in this sub­mis­sion,” stated Roukhkian in the email.

SmartReit’s re­sub­mis­sion YORK MILLS RD in­cludes traf­fic ser­vices ap­proval of a new lay­out for the intersection of Lesmill and Val­ley­brook Drive, to the north of the site, and ap­proval of a new intersection on Lesmill and the site ac­cess.

West said the area is quickly chang­ing from an in­dus­trial area to a com­mer­cial and con­sumer cen­tre.

“There is not only the Wal­mart proposal, but there are also many de­vel­op­ments in the works by Upjohn Road and the [plaza] where the Dragon Pearl restau­rant is,” said West.

SmartReit’s SmartCen­tre divi­sion vice-pres­i­dent of cor­po­rate af­fairs, San­dra Kaiser, said they are still work­ing with the city on their ap­provals for the site.

SmartReit pur­chased the site in 2013 from Home De­pot. The ap­pli­cant sub­mit­ted plans in 2015.

De­mo­li­tion work un­der­way at former Don Park site on Lesmill Road

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