New Jaffari Village proposal submitted
Traffic and parking still central issues to fifth development resubmission
There’s a dire need to have at least 1,500 spots for the mosque alone.”
The Islamic Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat of Toronto (ISIJ) has submitted its fifth revised development application for their proposed “Jaffari Village” after four years of consultation, negotiations and resubmissions with the local community and the City of Vaughan.
The recent application submitted by the ISIJ to redevelop the 11 hectares on 9000 Bathurst St. proposes two towers at eight and six storeys; a three-floor townhouse development; a three-storey parking garage; additional exit points at Knightshade Drive and Apple Blossom Drive, as well as Bathurst Street; a nature trail; a school; a community centre; and an 11-metre buffer zone from the neighbourhood.
“We feel fairly confident that this time around we addressed pretty much everything that the residents had issues with,” said VP of the Jaffari Centre and ISIJ, Shafiq Ebrahim.
However, there are still voices of opposition coming from at least one local residents’ association. Rom Koubi, chair of the Preserve Thornhill Woods Association (PTWA), said his main concerns were parking and traffic congestion, deeming the proposed traffic exit points as too narrow to support additional traffic.
“There’s a dire need in this application to have at least 1,500 parking spots just for the mosque alone, and that has not been addressed,” Koubi said. He gave an example of a recent Eid Ashura event in which he claims over 2,000 vehicles flooded the area. However, Ebrahim is challenging that assertion and claims the current parking lot already has the required capacity.
“Unless someone has actually walked the parking lot and singlehandedly counted all the cars, I would challenge the assertion 2,000 cars [were at the Eid Ashura event],” said Ebrahim. He pointed out that the centre hosted a weekend Labour Day festival, which neighbourhood residents attended, that did not encounter parking issues.
“Having said that, in the revised plans that are before Toronto City Council, there is more than adequate parking with the three-storey parking [garage] that is being proposed,” he added.
According to the City of Vaughan, a decision will be made at a future Committee of the Whole meeting once all agencies’ reports are finalized. Both the ISIJ and PTWA agree arbitration from the Ontario Municipal Board will only be used as a last resort.
Rom Koubi at the site of the proposed ISIJ development in March 2014