Thorn­hill Woods back on the ta­ble

Jaf­fari Com­mu­nity Cen­tre re­sub­mits de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion

Richmond Hill Post - - NEWS - — Jes­sica Wei

A re­vised de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion to de­velop an 11-hectare sec­tion of Thorn­hill Woods has Thorn­hill City Coun­cil, the Jaf­fari or­ga­ni­za­tion and a lo­cal res­i­dents group still un­sat­is­fied.

The ini­tial ap­pli­ca­tion, sub­mit­ted in Fe­bru­ary 2014, pro­posed two 17-storey tow­ers — one for res­i­den­tial apart­ments, of­fice and re­tail space, and the other for a se­niors’ res­i­den­tial apart­ment build­ing — as well as 61 three-storey con­do­minium town­houses. The re­vised pro­posal re­duced the tower heights to one eight-storey build­ing and one six­s­torey build­ing. As well, the Jaf­fari Cen­tre has amended the pro­posal to in­crease the buf­fer zone be­tween the de­vel­op­ment and the rest of the neigh­bour­hood to 11 me­tres from the orig­i­nally pro­posed four me­tres, in­stall a pub­lic na­ture trail along con­ser­va­tion lands and re­lo­cate a her­itage house to another sec­tion of their prop­erty.

“We feel that we’ve worked in good faith with both the coun­cil and the res­i­dents to try to meet and ad­dress their con­cerns,” said Shab­bir Jaf­fer, vice-pres­i­dent of the Is­lamic Shia Ithna Ash­eri Ja­maat of Toronto (ISIJ).

The Pre­serve Thorn­hill Woods As­so­ci­a­tion (PTWA) re­cently held a meet­ing to dis­cuss their con­cerns over the new ap­pli­ca­tion. Al­though they ac­knowl­edge that some of their con­cerns were ad­dressed, they feel that their pri­mary con­cerns were not sat­is­fied.

“The four ma­jor ones would be den­sity and then the im­pact on traf­fic both on park­ing and traf­fic flow,” said Rom Koubi, chair of the PTWA. “And then we have the types of build­ings they want to build there. They do not con­form with what’s around them.”

Cur­rently, City of Thorn­hill staff is re­view­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion and work­ing with both the PTWA and the Ja­maat or­ga­ni­za­tion to find a mu­tu­ally ac­cept­able agree­ment. The Jaf­fari Cen­tre is await­ing ap­proval be­fore mov­ing for­ward to ISIJ com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion and fundrais­ing. How­ever, Jaf­fer has made it clear that the or­ga­ni­za­tion would strongly pre­fer not to go through the On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board.

“We’re all part of the same com­mu­nity,” he said. “We’re here as equal par­ties and contributo­rs, and we’re go­ing to have to live to­gether. We want to be able to work with [the city and res­i­dents] be­cause we want to be good neigh­bours.”

With the ap­pli­ca­tion still un­der re­view, it is un­clear when the or­ga­ni­za­tion in­tends to break ground.

Shab­bir Jaf­fer, vice-pres­i­dent of the Is­lamic Shia Ithna Ash­eri Ja­maat of Toronto

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