Lo­cals protest mas­sive Bloor-Duf­ferin pro­posal

Res­i­dents want af­ford­able hous­ing and a com­mu­nity hub in the new devel­op­ment

Annex Post - - NEWS - By Sa­man­tha Peksa

Com­mu­nity group Build a Bet­ter Bloor Duf­ferin (BBBD) held a rally in early May to op­pose a mas­sive rede­vel­op­ment pro­posal and bring at­ten­tion to is­sues such as much-needed park space, af­ford­able hous­ing and com­mu­nity ser­vices.

“The rally was a cou­ple things,” said Nahum Mann, co-chair of BBBD. “We wanted to high­light the devel­op­ment, make sure that peo­ple knew what was hap­pen­ing and get more peo­ple to sup­port our cam­paign for pro­vin­cial in­ter­ven­tion.”

The City of Toronto is re­view­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion to trans­form the south­west cor­ner of Bloor Street and Duf­ferin Street, at 1141 Bloor St. W., into a mixed-use devel­op­ment that will in­clude six new build­ings rang­ing in height from six to 47 storeys, with 2,219 res­i­den­tial units.

Mann said res­i­dents were re­as­sured dur­ing sev­eral com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tions over the years that the devel­op­ment would ad­dress some of their main con­cerns, such as af­ford­able hous­ing and green space.

“But when the pro­posal fi­nally came out, we didn’t see any of those things in­cluded. There are zero rental units, and we don’t feel that the park space is am­ple enough,” Mann said.

Bloor Col­le­giate In­sti­tute and Kent Se­nior Public School sit on the 7.3acre prop­erty, which was for­merly owned by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). The site was sold to Cap­i­tal De­vel­op­ments and Metropia for $121 mil­lion in 2016, and the high school will be de­mol­ished as part of the pro­posal. The TDSB agreed to sell the land with the stip­u­la­tion that 30,000 square feet of space be al­lo­cated for a com­mu­nity hub. The prov­ince has com­mit­ted $7 mil­lion to­ward the new cen­tre, and the de­vel­oper has pro­posed to con­vert Kent Se­nior Public School for that pur­pose.

“I don’t think there is any­one at the ta­ble that thinks [$7 mil­lion] is go­ing to be enough fund­ing to build a space that is go­ing to sup­port the lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions,” Mann said.

The On­tario Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion also pledged $20 mil­lion to build a new high school at Croa­tia Street and Brock Av­enue. How­ever, Mann said res­i­dents are con­cerned that num­ber also falls short and said North Toronto Col­le­giate In­sti­tute cost $52 mil­lion to build in 2010.

TDSB trus­tee Marit Stiles said Bloor Col­le­giate In­sti­tute’s de­mo­li­tion should start this fall with a new school open­ing slated for Septem­ber 2021.

In the mean­time, coun­cil­lor Ana Bailão, of Ward 18 Daven­port, moved a mo­tion at Toronto City Coun­cil to re­quest fund­ing from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s Na­tional Hous­ing Strat­egy to build af­ford­able hous­ing on the Bloor-Duf­ferin site. It was adopted on May 22.

Bailão also noted any fund­ing from Sec­tion 37 of the On­tario Plan­ning Act — money ne­go­ti­ated from de­vel­op­ers in ex­change for ad­di­tional heights or den­sity — can be used at the com­mu­nity’s dis­cre­tion.

The com­mu­nity group held a rally against the devel­op­ment on May 2

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