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MM3.6 Catching Up with the Past: Improving the City's Heritage Preservation Framework (February 10, 2015)

NOTICE OF MOTION

 

Catching Up with the Past: Improving the City's Heritage Preservation Framework

Moved by:

Councillor Matlow

Seconded by:

Councillor Wong-Tam

SUMMARY:

 

The recent demolition of Stollery’s at 1 Bloor Street West is only the latest example of the City’s inability to stay ahead of development applications and preserve historic or architecturally significant examples of Toronto’s built landscape: those physical links to our city’s past that also contribute to the unique character and vibrancy of our streetscapes. That's why it's important that municipal preservation efforts are as comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date as possible.

 

Unfortunately, the current scope of the City of Toronto’s Inventory of Heritage Properties falls short of these goals. The Inventory currently includes only those properties that have been officially listed or designated (according to Parts IV and V of the Ontario Heritage Act), despite the City being aware of many additional properties already identified by members of the public as having potential heritage value.

 

Moreover, obtaining listed status on the Inventory is a lengthy process requiring a full evaluation and completed Staff research report, followed by consideration by both Community Council and City Council. Only following City Council approval does a property become eligible for protection under Parts IV and V of the OHA, including current demolition control policies/protections under Section 33 of the Ontario Planning Act. This review process can take up to five months to complete for a single property. For a property to become fully designated, the process can take up to eight months.

 

This motion requests the Chief Planner to implement a more inclusive, proactive and expeditious inventory classification that addresses all properties across Toronto that, according to our Chief Planner, “have been identified but not yet evaluated for listing or designation,” to ensure that no historic resource already brought to the attention of City staff by concerned residents can be demolished without consideration as to whether it should and can be preserved. As a longer term goal toward producing a fully comprehensive Inventory of Heritage Properties, this motion also asks that the Chief Planner explore the option of implementing a multi-year, city-wide heritage study project, not unlike the recently approved city-wide survey of Environmentally Significant Areas.

 

Recommendations:

  1. City Council request the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning report to Planning & Growth Management Committee on the feasibility of amending Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act to include a new, pre-listed classification to the City of Toronto’s Inventory of Heritage Properties which, without prior City Council approval, would include all properties identified as having potential heritage value and qualify those properties for a 60-day demolition permit delay in order that Historic Preservation Services staff can further evaluate the property and explore options, as appropriate, to preserve the building, including but not limited to designation.

 

  1. City Council request that the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning, the City Solicitor and Chief Building Official explore the option of full-cost recovery for a demolition permit against any property included in this new inventory classification, to cover resources required for prioritized evaluation of the property, and to be paid by the applicant, in addition to standard application fees.

 

  1. City Council request the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to report to Planning & Growth Management Committee on the feasibility of conducting a comprehensive, city-wide study to identify all significant historic resources throughout our city, much like the SurveyLA program currently being undertaken in Los Angeles.

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