Councillor Josh Matlow

A Focus on Our Midtown Community’s Quality of Life: It’s Time for a Pause on Condo Development 

A Focus on Our Midtown Community’s Quality of Life: It’s Time for a Pause on Condo Development 

2018-07-06T21:06:48+00:00Tags: , , |

Midtown in Focus, City Planning’s detailed vision for the future of Midtown will be presented at Planning and Growth Management Committee on Thursday, July 5th. Please see my letter to the Committee requesting that the Provincial Government authorize the City to put a pause on all condo development until the much needed hard infrastructure and social services are in place to provide the high quality of life that our community deserves.

Planning & Growth Management Committee
10th Floor, West Tower, City Hall
100 Queen St. West
Toronto ON M5H 2N2

June 29th, 2018

Re: PG 31.7 Midtown in Focus: Final Report

Dear Chair and Committee Members,

I am writing to request your consideration of the amendment below to help support Midtown residents.

Yonge and Eglinton is a vibrant, dynamic area with excellent schools, a growing mix of local shops along with major retailers, and will soon be served by two rapid transit lines with the Crosstown scheduled to be open within three years. The area is also a victim of its own success.

In 2006, the Province designated Yonge and Eglinton as a Growth Centre without providing funding to support the mandated population intensification. Local residents know all too well that this imbalance has had significant impacts. Local schools are over capacity, the book you want at the library is out, childcare centres are full, and two or three trains can go by before you have the privilege of being squeezed in like a sardine on the Yonge subway.

To help address the issues facing our community, I worked with fellow Midtown Councillors Robinson and Carmichael-Greb in 2015 to initiate the Midtown in Focus review of growth, built form, and infrastructure issues in the Yonge-Eglinton area. After two years of intensive study by our dedicated City Planning Staff, an initial report was produced at the end of 2017 that told Council’s Planning and Growth Management Committee what local residents already know: social services and hard infrastructure have not kept pace with the rapid growth in our community.

The initial report validated our anecdotal observations by quantifying the problems we face. This final report allows the City to direct growth instead of developers. This report provides up-to-date policy that recognizes that capital upgrades and expanded social services are necessary to support Midtown residents.

While this plan needs to move forward in some form to stop developers from having free reign to build as they have for the past decade, we must build new school capacity, affordable childcare spaces, parks, and other amenities that create a livable community before more development is allowed. Unfortunately, under the provincial Planning Act, the City only has the authority to place ‘holds’ on individual development applications for a specific community benefit. The current rules do not consider the holistic needs of Midtown. We have reached the point where big-ticket projects like a new school and major transit improvements are necessary.

Significant infrastructure needs obviously cannot be satisfied by a single developer. That’s why my motion requests the Provincial Government authorize the City to put a pause on all development until the much needed hard infrastructure and social services are in place to provide the high quality of life that our community deserves.

Thank you for your consideration.

Recommendations

1. Planning & Growth Management Committee requests the Chief Planner to request the changes to the Planning Act required to place an overall pause on development in the Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan Area to provide time for the construction of the hard infrastructure and social services needed to serve the existing and projected population in the Plan Area.

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