New Jaf­fari Vil­lage pro­posal sub­mit­ted

Traf­fic and park­ing still cen­tral is­sues to fifth de­vel­op­ment re­sub­mis­sion

Richmond Hill Post - - NEWS - by Adam Steinberg

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

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