10th floor, West Tower, City Hall
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Attention: Nancy Martins
RE: PG31.7 Midtown in Focus: Final Report
Dear Chair David Shiner and Members of Planning and Growth Management Committee,
As an organization that has participated actively in all stages of the Midtown in Focus (MiF) Planning process to date, as have a number of our member resident associations, we are unwilling to be drawn into recommending among a choice of options for part of the Plan area, viewed out of the context of consideration of the whole area, and at this late stage in a process that has been marked by strong public engagement efforts on the part of City Planning.
We acknowledge that the development anticipated by the Plan already meets or exceeds provincial Growth Plan requirements, but understand that the City is not in a position to challenge this. We supported the effort to define fixed height limits which we were assured were based on modeling that took into account City guidelines such as setbacks, angular planes, park requirements, etc. to limit any negative impacts of density, such as shadowing. We appreciate MiF’s comprehensive look at growing population needs for open space, employment, adequate transit, etc., and at where further development can take place and in what form.
However, approvals of individual applications whether by the OMB or the City cannot deal adequately with overall infrastructure issues. The key issue that the Plan does not and cannot mitigate by itself is the lack of transit capacity, a problem which will be exacerbated with the Eglinton LRT opening, the absence of a Yonge relief line, and by possible future approvals of an extension of the Yonge line to Richmond Hill.
While MiF provides a planning framework for the future new development that results in significant residential intensification, it simply cannot proceed as provided for in the MiF plan without controls on the implementation. We offer a three part proposal to address this:
- permit employment generating developments and other non residential uses to proceed;
- restrict residential development to “small” projects (to be defined) and .
- develop a Phasing Plan for the MiF Plan that would be tied to transit and other missing infrastructure for the Yonge corridor actually coming on stream.
We recommend (1) that Planning staff be requested to report to the City Council in 2019 on these issues, and (2) that Planning staff, together with staff of the TTC, further be requested to update previous forecasts of ridership on the Yonge subway (Line 1) and to report on these updated forecasts and their implications to City Council in the second quarter of 2019.
In conclusion we urge City Council to focus on the macro planning issues raised by the MiF Plan, and in particular, the intensification of the entire Yonge Street corridor in relation to the implementation of the Growth Plan and the development of the necessary infrastructure. Thanks to the surge of development likely to result from past and prospective OMB approvals, there is a growing mismatch between development and both transit capacity and servicing infrastructure. City Council must face up to the implications of this mismatch.
cc: Councillors – Wards 16, 22, 25, 26, 27
Gregg Lintern, Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning Division
Kerri Voumvakis, Director, Strategic Initiatives, City Planning Division