TBCA September 2013 Meeting Minutes

Trinity Bellwoods Recreation Centre
Monday, Sept 30th, 2013
7:00 P.M.

SUMMARY MINUTES

Attendees:

  • Chair – Chris Walker
  • Councillor Mike Layton
  • Rosario Marchese, MPP
  • Ashley Da Silva – Councillor Layton’s Office
  • Ben Pakuts
  • Loise Schklar
  • Liz Manger
  • Bjarne Peterson
  • Ross Burnett
  • M.Lesser
  • C. Daniels
  • Walter Girlato
  • Erin Hatfield
  • M MacGregor
  • LJ Lahodynsktj
  • Benj Hellie
  • Carol Keates
  • Elspeth Cassar
  • Wendy Fox
  • Anne Keary
  • Natasha Mitchell
  • Natasha Mytnouych
  • Laura McConally
  • Emil Glassbuurg
  • John Bowker

Agenda:

  1. How can we be more effective? An open discussion with Cllr Layton.
  2. Common concerns frequently heard across the community include:
    • Impacts on new development on community
    • Noise / conflicts with bars and restaurants
    • Growing park use and inability of City to keep up with maintenance demands

DISCUSSION

General discussion on `How Community Groups can be more effective with the following:

  1. Accountability – Who are the key point City Staff/departments that community needs to deal with? Communication gap issues.
  1. Continuity – How can community members ensure that agreements are brought forward throughout the political/development process? Lag time issues.
  1. Appeals – How can community groups best deal with municipal approvals process/ OMB appeals? Balance of Power issues.

Are Residents Association an Important Tool for Dealing with the Above?

YES – Cllr Layton believes that Residents Associations are important because:

  • Important for pushing push back on development applications.
  • Important to raise profile of some of the local concerns.
  • Raise gaps in neighbourhood info and where additional studies need to be (i.e. Bathurst Street Study).
  • They provide continuity of local concerns – don’t have to start from scratch every time.
  • Provide a local perspective on issues and community priorities.
  • Providing advice to local residents – guidance and directing residents to the right places.
  • At OMB, there are powers is in numbers – Community Associations can help with that.
  • AGCO responds well to individuals (via letters), not necessarily a group / community association.
  • Cllr feels that there have been some significant community wins in the ward.

How can the City better help residents’ groups be more strongly represented at the OMB/CofA?

  • How can community members unlock the technical requirements and studies required at the CofA or the OMB? OMB, and to a lesser degree the CofA, can be very expensive for community members to participate in.  This is a challenge.
  • Community groups cannot afford the necessary technical studies or the lawyer fees and there is a concern that the City lawyers do not represent the interest of the community.
  • City solicitors don’t necessarily share the voice of the community.
  • Time is very short for community groups to organize themselves in preparation of OMB hearings after the outcome of a CofA decision (90 days).
  • Unresolved discussion on how community groups can best access the City and/or legal support to help make the case on behalf of the community?

Information on the OMB Reform (Bill 20) –Presented by MP Marchese

  • Official position is that City of Toronto wants out of the OMB (Bill 20).
  • MP Marchese is advocating that the City should be able to make planning decisions on its own without having to defend themselves at the OMB.
  • OMB members are not necessarily planning experts.  Therefore, they rely on the expertise of advisors (lawyers, planners, architects, etc).
  • You need Cllrs, City Planners and the local community to come together to make the strongest case at the OMB. When these three forces come together you win more frequently.
  • City of Toronto is supporting the idea of a local appeal body, where appeals could be brought forward from the CofA.
  • Would require a new appeals body to be established. Appeal bodies are expensive to set up. Currently the OMB is subsidized by the Province.  This subsidy would be terminated.
  • There is a risk that if you remove the OMB, you are more vulnerable to poor decision making at the CofA.  If OMB removed, then the appeal from the CofA would go directly to the court system.
  • Risk if zoning is not clear and strong, then there may be confusion over what can be built and how it can be built. Requires a stronger defensible, up to date zoning,.
  • Risk that courts will be clogged with making planning decisions – is this what we want?  A way to avoid this would be to establish an alternative appeals body.
  • CofA may potentially be more accountable to local residents than the OMB currently is.

MOCCA Redevelopment Update

  • It’s not a done deal yet.  Planning application has not yet been received.
  • City is not supportive of the scale of the development as it currently stands.
  • After Abacus and ML Lumber, Cllr Layton says that he will not support anything above mid-rise guidelines.
  • Community concern is that the developer would rather go to the OMB than deal with the community and / or a negative opinion from the Councillor.

AGCO

  • Enforcement is a major challenge at the moment – you need to prove that noise and liquor violations are coming from a specific bar/restaurant.
  • A new bill is being worked on – hope to have it introduced in next 2 week.  It will help to clarify powers between the municipality and the Province.
  • Draft bill will be circulated to residents associations.
  • Cllr Layton identified that the City wants the power to revoke liquor licenses from rogue establishments.
  • AGCO needs to be more accountable to the City of Toronto.
  • Trying to get Municipal Licensing Standards (MLS) and the AGCO working together better – but there remains confusion over who has the power to deal with issues (even within both agencies).

Queen Street Salvation Army Redevelopment Update

  • Salvation Army redevelopment from 2 storeys to an 8 storey building.  29m with 60 beds (units).
  • Mid-rise guidelines identify 6 storeys as appropriate for Queen Street.
  • Only in preliminary stages. No application as of yet.

Kromer Radio Redevelopment – 410 Bathurst Street

  • Interim control by-law put in place by City, but  RioCan is appealing the bylaw to the OMB.

Next TBCA Meeting is Monday November 25th, 7pm – 9pm
At the Trinity Bellwoods Recreation Centre,
PLEASE JOIN US!

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