Davenport triangle disappearing
Local businesses & residents argue city waited too long for study
Some residents believe the Davenport triangle has already had too much development for a recent city study to make any difference.
The neighbourhood between Davenport Road, Dupont Street and Bedford Road continues to face unprecedented levels of development, which includes a controversial proposal at 306–320 Davenport Rd. that calls for 27 storeys. Although a City of Toronto development study is underway to try to rein in the intensification and establish guidelines for developers, residents say its action is too late.
In early March, Ward 20 councillor Joe Cressy had taken two years worth of work and research and presented the Davenport Triangle Planning Study preliminary report to the community. The study is intended to protect the neighbourhood from inappropriately sized development, preserve green space and work with the community and developers to create the most livable space.
In the last few years, development has reshaped the once friendly and accessible block with thousands of units, far exceeding the mid-rise limits that have been in place in this neighbourhood for years.
The city planning study was initiated by Cressy, with the intent to set mandatory guidelines for future development.
“The broad framework here is an area like the Davenport triangle, when new development is coming, that it’s responding to the community and the city’s vision, rather than the city and the community responding to the development,” Cressy said.
According to Cressy, part of what is being proposed is based on the community’s input and suggests a maximum height of six to eight storeys, widening the current laneways and sidewalks and placing an emphasis on identifying and creating new opportunities for green space.
But some residents say the damage has already been done.
“I think our block in essence is lost. We had great hopes for working in partnership with the city and developers. But now it’s too little, too late,” said Peter Goldfarb, co-president of the Davenport Triangle Residents Association (DTRA).
Goldfarb explained that, because most of the development is already in the works and will not be affected by this study, that this is ultimately a waste of city spending.
“This isn’t much unlike closing the barn door after the horses have gone,” he said.
Goldfarb also expressed upset that DTRA had never been consulted on the study, despite the association having put in hundreds of hours looking at what could work best for the area.
With the abolishment of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), the city will now have more control over how neighbourhoods handle incoming development, but this will only apply to proposals that came after mid-December 2017.
Several development proposals have already been initiated for 321 Davenport Rd., 342–346 Davenport Rd., 350 Davenport Rd. and 115 Dupont St. that will not be affected by this study.
“There is currently a project that is being discussed that the city will not discuss because it has been appealed to the OMB,” said Goldfarb, referencing the 27storey proposal. So the issue at hand is that the city had agreed to do the study two and a half years ago, so that it would inform.”
David Currie is the owner of restaurant Le Paradis on Bedford Road and has been there for 32 years.
“I have lost all my parking, so my lunch has collapsed. Because I have no parking, no one is coming.
He describes the loss in business as “significant,” and he is faced with deciding whether or not he should shut down permanently for lunch hour: not an ideal choice for the restaurateur. His problem with the study is the same as Goldfarb, the damage has been done.
“The big one is already done. You couldn’t put anymore density in here. There are thousands and thousands of people here now,” he said.
“I have lost all my parking, so my lunch has collapsed. Because I have no parking, no one is coming.”
Clockwise from left: Renderings of the proposal for 306–320 Davenport Rd., 321 Davenport Rd. and 346 Davenport Rd.