12th floor, West Tower, City Hall
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Attention: Marilyn Toft
RE: EX23.3 Provincial Transit-Oriented Communities Program
Dear Mayor Tory and Members of City Council,
The Federation of North Toronto Residents Associations represents over 30 residents associations in Midtown, North Toronto and North York.
We join many community-based groups including resident, business, service, environmental and heritage organizations to express our support for the direction of the staff report, and our concern for the unilateral approach of the provincial government in its Transit-Oriented Communities Program.
We are concerned that what is happening now at the First Parliament site is a preview of what communities may expect anywhere that the province has a planned transit station, and where there is an opportunity to hand land to the private sector to raise revenues!
Based on our experience to date with the Eglinton Crosstown and the Ontario Lines, especially the lack of transparency in decision-making, we fear that the rush to accelerate planning and maximize provincial revenues will compromise long-term community building, heritage conservation, and complete communities, including affordable housing, community space, and public open space on these sites.
FoNTRA’s member residents associations are strong advocates of public transit; they support the current work to improve the City’s transit network. At the same time, it is crucially important that the desire to capture value at transit nodes be balanced against the equally important opportunities to meet other needs of the community. It is the community that is most expert in identifying those needs and they need to be at the table throughout, and not only after the terms of any transfer or long term use have been negotiated We respectfully request that City Council mandate a strong role for the City and the community, and not allow the Province to run roughshod over due process and good planning.
c.c: Chris Murray, City Manager
Tracey Cooke, Deputy City Manager, Development and Infrastructure
Gregg Lintern, Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning Division
Derrick Toigo, Executive Director, Transit Expansion Office