June 26, 2012
With two buildings proposed for the area of Yonge Street and Helendale Avenue north of Eglinton Avenue, residents are applauding a move that will see the city consider the developments as part of a larger study of the neighbourhood.
The first proposed development at 2360 to 2378 Yonge at the southwest corner of Yonge and Helendale is a 28-storey mixed-use building with 234 residential units and 2,270 square metres (24,434 square feet) of commercial space.
The second proposed development at 31, 33, 35 and 37 Helendale west of Yonge is a 24-storey, 231-unit apartment building consisting of a five-storey base building and a 19-storey tower. It would replace 18 existing one-bedroom rental units.
At the recommendation of city planning staff, councillors decided at the June 13 meeting of North York Community Council to consider the two developments as part of a block study bounded by Yonge, Helendale, Duplex Avenue and Orchard Heights Boulevard.
Ann King, community liaison coordinator with the Stanley Knowles Housing Co-operative, supports the idea.
“We’re entirely pleased planning (the city’s planning department) has decided to do a block study to see how these two developments will impact the area,” she said.
“We feel these (two buildings) may be too large but our concerns are broader than that.”
That’s why residents said they are also pleased the city’s planning and growth committee earlier this month approved a request from Eglinton-Lawrence Councillor Karen Stintz and St. Paul’s Councillor Josh Matlow to establish a midtown planning group to “create a proactive, holistic and comprehensive strategy for the Yonge and Eglinton area.”
In a letter to the committee, Stintz and Matlow pointed out the Yonge-Eglinton area is divided between two city planning departments, two community councils and three municipal wards.
Also, although there are urban design guidelines and an area study to support the Eglinton Crosstown light rapid transit line, they argued there needs to be a comprehensive development plan for Yonge-Eglinton.
“The purpose of the strategy is to be proactive and to establish the planning framework in advance of planning applications,” they said in their letter.
King congratulated Stintz and Matlow for taking a leadership role in light of the intense development pressures in the area.
“Development in this area has kind of taken on a life of its own,” she said.
“I have described it in other forums as the Wild West.”
Residents question whether the area’s infrastructure and resources can handle the significant influx of proposed development, which King said could add as many as 10,000 new residents to the community.
“We would like somebody to take a serious look at these things,” she said.
“We are worried about quality of life, not just for ourselves but for the people moving in.”
Terry Mills, a local activist and planning consultant, also applauded the midtown planning group.
“I look forward to planning applying itself full-on to the challenges we are dealing with in (an) unprecedented spiral of development momentum that is outpacing planning in this area,” he said in a letter to Stintz and Matlow.
“The pace of development at Yonge-Eglinton has reached the point where opinions in the development industry refer to Yonge-Eglinton as Toronto’s premiere intensification area.”
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