As some of you know, quite a bit has happened over the summer to report on with regard to the Minto and Great West Life development proposals in High Park North.
Most significantly, the Community Council (which some of you attended) and the full City Council approved a bylaw (Official Plan Amendment) in June that places important restrictions on what can be built between the existing buildings in the apartment neighbourhood.
Based on the recently-completed Area Character Study, the new bylaw touches on matters including height, distance from existing buildings, and requirements for green space. It will not stop all development. But, it was a big win for the community to have City Planning take the GWL/Minto proposals seriously, and to work hard with the community to come up with restrictions that should vastly limit the scope of any re-development.
Unfortunately, it did not end there with the adoption of the new bylaw.
At a pre-hearing before the OMB on August 14th regarding the GWL development proposal, the developers challenged the right of the City to pass new restrictions after their applications had been submitted. Legal counsel for the HPCA attended along with lawyers for the City of Toronto, the TDSB, and the proponents. The arguments will resume at the OMB again on September 25th. These matters will continue to play out via the GWL OMB pre-hearings, and the Minto pre-hearing date that had been scheduled for September 6th was cancelled and will be rescheduled for at earliest December 2018.
The bottom line is that we are still on track for a full OMB hearing, possibly two, sometime in the New Year. OMB hearings are very much like court proceedings. The lawyer engaged by the HPCA would call and question witnesses and present the concerns of local residents. The old OMB system is still in place since the case was filed before the Liberal government reforms became law.
The HPCA Executive met with HPCA lawyer Ian Flett and with urban designer Alfredo Landeata on August 9th to discuss the possible outcomes and the steps we should take next. One goal is to develop counter-proposals that reflect the priorities of residents, rooted in preserving as much green space, privacy, street safety, and quality of life as possible. Given the ongoing need for HPCA to have professional support including a lawyer and urban designer, we are preparing to launch new fundraising efforts to cover these costs.
We appreciate your continued support over these many months, and hope we can continue to count on you to help spread the word and generate even more support as we move forward.
If you would like to examine the development proposals please go to these links on the Ward 13 site for Councillor Sarah Doucette