|There’s been a lot going on in Bloor West Village as we head into summer (which fingers crossed, appears to be on our doorsteps). Here’s a wrap up:|
Humber Theatre Condo Development
The Site Plan has been approved and demolition permits have been issued for the buildings on Bloor from Riverview Gardens to the Theatre. We expect demolition will begin in the not too distant future.
Harcroft & Bloor Condo Development
The original developer sold this site, along with the approved plans. The new developer is currently working with City Planning, and the immediate neighbours on Harcroft, on some small changes before going ahead with this project.
Avenue Study & Heritage Conservation District Study
While the Avenue Study has wrapped up, the HCD Study has determined that, while there were individual properties meriting an HCD designation, there were not enough Heritage Elements to warrant a District designation. We are pleased to report that a number of HCD guidelines are currently being worked into the Avenue Study. The approval process has been slowed down by the COVID -19 pandemic and staffing changes in both the Planning and Heritage offices. We are hoping things will soon get back on track with the next steps being a presentation to the Community before being sent to City Council for approval. Our efforts toward encouraging responsible development should be significantly reduced once the resulting bylaws and zoning restrictions are put into place.
Laneway Suites & Garden Suites
Laneway Suites, approved by the City of Toronto in July 2019, are typically located in the rear yard, with access next to a public laneway, and are generally smaller in scale and completely detached from the main house on the lot. Garden Suites are similar except that their access is from the front of the property. The Garden Suites project is one of several studies being undertaken by the City to help create more housing options in residential neighbourhoods. The City would like to hear what you have to say on this topic by taking a brief survey that can be accessed on the BWVRA website.
Bloor Street Bike Lanes
The Bloor Street Bike Lanes have been successfully installed westward from downtown to Runnymede Road. Planning is now underway to eventually extend these lanes all the way to The East Mall. This extension of the Bike Lanes will require the approval of the Etobicoke-York Community Council.
Kennedy Park-Margdon Parkette
In 2019 there were extensive improvements made to the Kennedy Park-Margdon Parkette, located behind the Runnymede Library, between Glendonwynne Road & Kennedy Park Road. A section remains that has not been renovated, immediately behind the Library, that has mysteriously fallen off the Toronto Parks to-do list. We are working with our Councillor Gord Perks to get this project back on track.
BWVRA Annual Meeting
The BWVRA fiscal year is April 1st to March 31st, usually followed by an Annual Meeting in May. Last year we postponed our Annual Meeting to the Fall, in the vain hope that large gatherings would once again be possible. So, here we are a year later facing the same situation. Our virtual Meeting last Fall was a success and we thought it would be best to once again postpone to the Fall, with the hope that by then there may be some progress to report on the Avenue/HCD Study approval process and, if the chatter is accurate, there may even be a Federal Election!
In addition to reporting to the Community, a key element of our Annual Meeting is having the Financials and our Board approved by our Membership. Only Residents who are Paid-up Members of BWVRA (have paid the $20 annual fee) are eligible to vote on any Motions presented at the Meeting. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated on-going restrictions our expenses have been minimal, so we have made the decision to suspend our Annual Membership Canvass. This means that those eligible to vote at our Annual Meeting, to be held at a yet to be determined date in the Fall, will be all those Residents who have already renewed their Membership since April 1st, 2020 last year, along with those who might decide to renew their Membership anytime between now and our Annual Meeting in the Fall.
We’ve been advised by Plazacorp that an Application for Temporary Street Occupancy During Construction has been submitted for the Bloor Street West address. It’s expected that demolition will begin in approximately 4 weeks’ time (end of March). Expect traffic disruption to begin at this time in the Bloor Street West and Riverview Gardens area.
A key part of the Bijou development at the Humber Theatre site will be the rejuvenation of the northeast corner of Bloor Street and Riverview Gardens. Currently, this swath of property is unadorned with any landscaping or design elements and features a less-than-ideal off-camber sidewalk going around the corner. Upon completion of the condominium, this will be changed for the better.
Above is a rendering proposed by the developer of the Bijou, that our community is supporting. The current proposal was arrived at as a result of numerous consultations with a BWVRA neighbourhood advisory group. As shown, it will include greenery, a staircase to better navigate the downward slope and new seating areas. Final drawings will be made available once a Site Plan Approval is received from the City. This is another example of the BWVRA in action.
“I was just looking at the BWVRA notice about the Humber/Riverview building. I have to commend the BWVRA on its continuing work to keep the village development to a reasonable level. The rendering of the proposed building is at least kept to mid-rise and the design at least has some interesting features that break up the glass box effect. I think that without the continuing pressure that the Association has wielded, BWV would look very different at this point. Well done!”
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.