|You are invited to join Friends of High Park Zoo on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM for their Annual General Meeting. This year, it will be held virtually and in person, with details given below.|
Anyone can qualify as a member of Friends of High Park Zoo by either contributing 10 hours of volunteer work with the organization or making a financial donation of at least $20 during 2021 or by June 22, 2022. If you haven’t already done so you can donate online here.
To attend in person, you must provide proof of vaccination and wear a mask. The meeting will be held at the High Park Nature Centre located at 375 Colborne Lodge Dr, Toronto, ON M6R 2Z3. To attend via Zoom, please register below.
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Not to worry; Apocalypse Now is not being remade in our neighbourhood. But helicopters will be used nearby from mid May to mid June to control gypsy moths. You can check the interactive map at http://toronto.ca/lddmoth to find out where spraying will take place.
Spraying is weather-dependent and can only be initiated in specific weather conditions. As a result, specific spray dates will be confirmed 48 hours in advance and may be cancelled if conditions change.
No special precautions are required for residents in the spray zones, however, those wishing to avoid exposure can remain indoors during and immediately after the spraying. The insecticides that will be applied are not toxic to birds, humans, other mammals, adult moths, butterflies, bees and other insects and are approved by Health Canada for urban aerial use.
Backlane Studios, a non-profit creative hub located in Parkdale, are offering free workshops on Zoom which will show you how to research a
building or a street in the Toronto archives.
The next workshop isÂ March 18, 2021.
They are also beginning a project called Mapping Our Memories. This project collects the memories of seniors and links them to digital maps.
The first six session course on interviewing and writing begins March 9, with more workshops to follow.
Find out more atÂ backlanestudios.ca
Are you a registered charity, not-for-profit group or individual hosting free activities in support of social, environmental and recreation initiatives in High Park and Western Beaches that needs funding?
Grants up to $3,000 are available to support Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PFR) objectives of environmental stewardship, promote activity, social well-being and/or other as outlined in PFR Parks Plan.
With new information coming out daily, it is difficult to know where to turn to make sure our views are heard on how we can rebuild a fairer, more just Toronto.
As the City prepares to release its 2021 budget in early January, every voice is critical to make sure the issues we care about are acted upon as we move forward. Housing, the environment, public transportation, and child care will all be up for debate as the City tries to find a path forward. By working together we can strengthen our voice to ensure no one is left behind.
Join me on Monday, December 7 at 6:30 pm, as I welcome both local and city-wide leaders and activists to discuss how we organize in these unprecedented times. This is going to be a great opportunity for you to be able to share your thoughts and ideas during this troubling time, and ahead of the City’s 2021 budget.Â
You can register for my virtual town hall atÂ gordperks.ca/register/Â .
Our recent survey highlighted the local tree canopy is an important issue with Bloor West Village residents. If you are interested in having some help engaging the community in your tree initiative, LEAF is looking for community partners to collaborate with their Young Urban Forest Leaders (YUFL) program.
YUFL participants will work closely with a community leader over a five-month period (May to September) to host outreach events, plant native species, deliver community events, and educate the community on the importance of native plants for urban wildlife.
To learn more and apply, click here. The deadline for applications is Sunday, 5 April at 11:59 PM. You can also join LEAF for the YUFL Information Session on Thursday, March 12th (6:30 PM to 8:00 PM). Register for the event here.
Find out at this local meeting next month, hosted by Ward 4 Councillor, Gord Perks. The details are as follows:
Monday, February 3rd, 7:00 pm â€“ 8:30 pm
Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton School â€“ 3rd Floor Staff Room
1515 Bloor Street West (near Dundas West Station)
An accessible entrance is available on the south side of the building on Dundas Street.
The Zoning By-law Amendment application for 2442-2454 Bloor St West has been approved by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).
In April 2019, the developer, the City and all of the other parties to the appeal reached a settlement for a 12-storey building on site, which the LPAT approved in principle. The Final Order was held, pending satisfaction of a number of conditions.
Those conditions are set out in Appendix A of the Confidential Report from the City Solicitor adopted at the June 2018 meeting of City Council, which can be read here. All supporting documentation for the Zoning By-law Amendment application, including architectural plans and technical reports, is available online at the City’s Application Information Centre, under “Supporting Documentation” here.
A site plan application, including “streetscaping” at corner of Bloor and Riverview Gardens remains under review and a demolition application for buildings on site is still pending.
On April 23, the originally scheduled Contested Hearing at LPAT (formerly OMB) on this development was converted to a Settlement Conference because the remaining two objecting Party’s had withdrawn. However, the Settlement is conditional on the City’s Transportation Services staff being satisfied the the proposed development will not generate any unacceptable traffic impacts on the immediate neighbourhood.
The key concern here is that the developer is thus far unwilling to have any restrictions placed on the size of stores that could occupy the very large 50,000 sq. ft. of commercial space that will be available. In fact, in its updated traffic study, Plazacorp has indicated that the lower level could be occupied by a mid-size supermarket which would likely generate a great deal more traffic every day than a typical mix of smaller stores. There has been no further word from City Hall on this issue since April 23, but check here for further updates.
Meanwhile, the BWVRA is pleased to report that as a result of separate consultations with City and the developer’s Landscape Architect, an attractive landscape feature / public space has been designed for the corner of Bloor Street and Riverview Gardens. This was the only other outstanding item that the BWVRA wanted addressed before this development proceeds, and our thanks are due to former Councillor Doucette and current Councillor Perks for their help in facilitating the very positive outcome.
An important meeting will be taking place at which the Cityâ€™s moves to limit the proposed 7-towers in the area north of nearby High Park will be outlined. Here are the details:
Thursday, November 8th, 7-9pm
Grenadier Retirement Residence (2100 Bloor Street West)
Shahrzad Davoudi, an urban designer who participated in the Character Study Working Group will outline the Cityâ€™sÂ High Park Apartment Neighbourhood Area Urban Design GuidelinesÂ and provide an update on the developersâ€™ attempts to challenge those guidelines at the OMB.
There will be a discussionÂ on what would be allowed under those limits, and what the community would want included in counter-proposals from the High Park Community Alliance based on the priorities and needs of local residents.Â Outgoing Councillor Sarah Doucette, who has been instrumental in fighting for these limits, will also attend. The meeting will be used to honour Sarah for her contributions.Â The newly-elected Ward 14 Councillor,Â Gord Perks, has also been invited to attend.
In our last update, we informed the community that a much improved proposal had been submitted by the Developer in late April, which has now become public information. Fortunately, most of BWVRAâ€™s concerns with the previous proposals had been satisfactorily addressed in this latest submission with the exception of these two issues:
- Minimizing potential traffic impacts on the neighbourhood
- Resolving neighbourhood concerns about excessive wind impacts and pedestrian safety at the corner of Riverview Gardens & Bloor Street
With regard to potential traffic impacts, the main concern has been about the very large overall amount of retail space being proposed (approx. 5,000 sq. m.), and the Developerâ€™s unwillingness to accept any restrictions on individual store sizes.Â We had asked for a limit of 1,750 square meters, as recommended in the recently completed Avenue study, which is a little bit larger than the No-Frills store in the Village but much smaller than a typical Loblaws, Metro or Sobeys.Â The main issue with a high-volume â€œbig-boxâ€ store at this location is the potential impact from excessive traffic, it would be almost certain to generate, on the local street network that is already stretched to its limit.
The second issue about wind impacts and pedestrian safety mainly relates to the proposed removal of the more heavily used sidewalk beside the building on the Riverview Gardens frontage and the proposed retention of the sidewalk next to the road, which is considered unsafe by many local residents.
In any case, these two remaining issues were not considered deal breakers and our Board was anticipating that the third Pre-hearing Conference on June 28th would set the stage for the Mediation sessions scheduled for September 4 & 5.Â Â However, much to our surprise and that of the other three Parties, at the Pre-hearing Conference, it was announced that City Council, at its meeting two days earlier and on the recommendation of Planning Staff, made the decision to accept the Developerâ€™s latest proposal.
In addition, the lawyer for the Developer also informed the Pre-hearing that his client was no longer interested in participating in Mediation sessions with the remaining four Parties.Â As Mediation is voluntary and all Parties must agree to participate, regretfully, this decision effectively put an end to the opportunity for us to participate in a Mediated Settlement.
Under these circumstances, as the only path forward, the four Parties have been given until August 17th to either also settle on the current proposal or present their outstanding issues to the Developer along with the names of the expert witnesses they will call upon should the Appeal proceed to a Contested Hearing.
But there is good news on our two remaining issues!
- On the question of Traffic impacts, in its recent comments on the Developerâ€™s up-dated traffic study, City Traffic staff has been especially critical of the consultantâ€™s findings. In particular, it was noted that there has been no recognition or assessment of the potential additional traffic that may be generated by retail stores in the development, and the capacity of the local street network to accommodate it.Â After reviewing the staff Memorandum, our Board is satisfied that the City has the traffic issue in hand and the proposed development will not be allowed proceed until staff is satisfied that there will be no significant impact on the local streets.
- With respect to the Riverview Gardens frontage, at the same time as Council agreed to settle with the Developer, Councillor Doucette was able to have a motion passed directing staff to consult with the community during the Site Plan review process, in order to arrive at an acceptable design for that corner.
In view of the very substantial progress on these issues, at a meeting on July 20th our Board made the decision to also accept the current proposal, however, we will retain our standing as a Party to the proceedings, just in case any or all of the other Parties do not agree to settle by the target date of August 17th, which could then lead to a Contested Hearing.