Thornhill Woods back on the table
Jaffari Community Centre resubmits development application
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