by David Nickle
Toronto and East York Community Council members threw up their collective hands yesterday and voted to have an independent mediator try and find a solution to an impasse over a proposed four-storey condominium development on Kippendavie Avenue in the Beach.
The development proposal came to community council with a recommendation from city staff to approve with certain conditions – but it also came with more than 200 letters from residents in the area, urging community council to turn it down.
Local councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon had asked her colleagues to hold off on making a decision on the matter while residents and the developer at 66-76 Kippendavie tried to work out various issues, notably worries about the effect the 65-unit building would have on local sewage capacity.
On Tuesday, the community council finally heard from the community and the developer, who has already begun an Ontario Municipal Board appeal.
Finally, McMahon tried to convince the community council to turn the proposal down, and hire planners to fight the proposed development at the Ontario Municipal Board.
“The community has been working endlessly in their spare time and the developer has been approachable, but there are some issues, largely surrounding density and water,” she said. “Water is the main thing – Kippendavie has been disadvantaged with nine-inch and 12-inch sanitary pipes and hundreds of homes in the neighbouring new development empty into the Kippendavie system. Basement sewage flood problems have persisted. There are more frequent hundred-year storms which we know will worsen with climate change.”
St. Paul’s Councillor Josh Matlow was one of the few councillors who supported the community.
“What I’m hearing from the community is whether you believe you know what you’re doing or not, listen to us,” he said. “We want our councillors to vote in a way that reflects our needs.”
Other councillors were more cautious. Community council chair Gord Perks said opposing the plan at the OMB would only undermine the city’s credibility, as the report had been recommended by staff.
“If we don’t speak up when the process produces a good result then we will wind up with the very worst kind of results – we will lose the ability to control development if we can’t even follow our own rules,” he said.
The community council finally went along with plans by Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher and Beaches-East York Councillor Janet Davis, to hold off on making a decision and send the matter to the April meeting of Toronto City Council, and to appoint an independent mediator to attempt to resolve remaining issues between the developer and the community.
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