Casa Loma Residents Association

Heritage Neighbourhood • Vibrant and Strong Community

New Petition Against Proposal for 105 Wells Hill Ave.

The application to establish a daycare at 105 Wells Hill Ave. was heard by the Committee of Adjustment on February 12, 2020.  While the Committee was sympathetic to arguments about traffic, safety and congestion from the 44 residents who filed letters of opposition and the 5 residents who attended the hearing in person to voice their opposition, the 5-member panel concluded that they could not consider those issues in their decision.  The Committee held that because daycare is a permitted use under the zoning bylaw for our area and the only variance the applicants required was a technical one relating to parking on city-owned lands, they had no choice but to conditionally approve the application.

Regardless, city staff responsible for transportation have so far failed to comprehend the extreme danger and congestion that will be caused by this use at this particular location – something that almost all residents who live in the area and actually rely on this critical artery fully understand.  The statements made by the CLRA and residents made it very clear that the neighbourhood is not opposed to daycare but are opposed to one in this particularly foolish location.

To this end, it was also raised with the Committee that residents, with the strong support and input of the CLRA, are currently negotiating with the developer Kingsett to accommodate a large public daycare with 49-62 spaces within their three-tower development located nearby at 1467 Bathurst St. (the St. Michael’s development at the northeast corner of Bathurst St. and St. Clair Ave. W.).  The proposal also features a seniors’ centre, public green space, as well as ample and accessible parking for safe pick up and drop off at the daycare.

Despite the Committee’s decision on the application at 105 Wells Hill, its approval is nevertheless conditional on the owner applying for and obtaining commercial boulevard parking from the city in order to accommodate the necessary two (2) parking stalls for the daycare on the city-owned lands to the North of the property.  Upon applying for commercial boulevard parking, Councillor Josh Matlow has the option to trigger a poll of nearby residents in order to allow the neighbourhood to vote on the application and Councillor Matlow has confirmed that he will trigger this poll.

The CLRA remains firmly opposed to the proposal at 105 Wells Hill Ave., as those of us who live and travel here by foot and by car ever day know too well of the safety issues with this blind curve and narrow street. The proposed 2 parking spaces and their configuration are woefully inadequate to lessen the danger – especially as we know that parents picking up and dropping off their kids have the tendency to do whatever is most convenient in the moment.

As this issue is gaining awareness, we encourage those of you who remain opposed to this dangerously located daycare and who live anywhere in our CLRA neighborhood to sign the CLRA’s petition, including those who filed objections with the Committee of Adjustment earlier this year and to assist in promoting the fact that the residents of the Casa Loma area are in favour of daycare in appropriate and safe locations in the neighbourhood. This includes the public daycare in the proposed Kingsett development.

Our member Nick Saint Martin has been spearheading this file alongside our President Robert Levy. Please feel free to contact either of them for more information.

Contact information: Nick Saint Martin nicholassaintmartin@gmail.com / Robert Levy CLRAToronto@gmail.com

The online petition can be accessed HERE.  Note, we are not soliciting donations and are not raising any funds. There is no need whatsoever to donate to Change.org who is the on-line facilitator of our Petition. Your most important contribution is your voice.

A Message from an epidemiologist and resident in the Casa Loma neighbourhood

You should perceive your entire family to function as a single individual unit; if one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the unit is at risk.

Seemingly small social chains get large and complex with alarming speed.

If your son visits his girlfriend, and you later sneak over for coffee with a neighbour, your neighbour is now connected to the infected office worker that your son’s girlfriend’s mother shook hands with.

This sounds silly, it’s not.

This is not a joke or a hypothetical.

We as epidemiologists see it borne out in the data time and time again and no one listens.

Conversely, any break in that chain breaks disease transmission along that chain.

In contrast to hand-washing and other personal measures, social distancing measures are not about individuals, they are about societies working in unison.

These measures also take a long time to see the results.

It is hard (even for me) to conceptualize how ‘one quick little get together’ can undermine the entire framework of a public health intervention, but it does.

I promise you it does.

____________________________________

Our first two events of the year have been cancelled because of Covid-19.   Clean Toronto Together scheduled for April 25 and Jane’s Walk scheduled for May 2 will not take place this year.

Take care everyone.

Final Report on the Casa Loma Transportation Management & Mitigation Plan (“TMMP”)

The final TMMP report prepared by the City of Toronto consultants, WSP Global, was delivered by them to community representatives on January 13, 2020.   Attending the presentation from our Councillor’s office were Josh Matlow and Slavisa Mijatovic, from the City were Cheryl Blackman and Jo Ann Pynn of Economic Development and Culture (EDC), Louise MacDonald from the Dupont by the Castle BIA, Nick Di Donato and Pat Di Donato from the Liberty Entertainment Group (LEG) and Jeffrey Maiste, Director of the Casa Loma Residents Association.

For those not familiar with this Study, it was initiated by the City of Toronto in August 2018 to identify traffic and parking congestion issues around Casa Loma in response to concerns raided by residents living in the vicinity of the Castle.  The first report was presented by the City’s consultants, WSP Global, on November 6, 2018 at an Open House held at the Toronto Archives building.  The CLRA obtained feedback from local residents and presented this feedback to the City and its Consultants in November/ early December 2018.  After a long period of little communication, caused in part by a change in personnel at WSP, the Consultant’s report was delivered on January 13, 2020.

Fundamentally, the final report was little changed from the initial report delivered to the Open House on November 6, 2018.

Observations and Recommendations taken from the Final Report were:

  • The City and Liberty Entertainment Group should do more to encourage the use of public transportation to the Castle.
    • The City can help by improving the wayfinding signage to the castle from both St. Clair West Subway station and the Dupont Station.  Use of the Dupont Station can highlighted by potentially changing the name of the station to Dupont Casa Loma.  Our Councillor’s office will approach the TTC to explore this possibility to coincide with the revamping of TTC maps in 2021 when the Eglinton Crosstown opens.
    • LEG have taken steps on its website to encourage the use of public transportation by having a direct link from the home page to public transportation directions.

Other ideas such as extending the 33 Bus from St. Clair West to Dupont during major events at the Castle have been dismissed, largely because there is no place to stop a bus at the Castle without blocking traffic.

  • A sidewalk be built on the north side of Austin Terrace across from the castle complemented by a Pedestrian Crossover.
    • This recommendation is controversial as many residents in the area see this as adding to traffic congestion from continuous use of the crosswalk during major events, more dropping off/ picking up on the north side of the street, more risk to pedestrians as they will likely cross at several points and concerns over the privacy of those living on the north side if the sidewalk is heavily used by pedestrians and those taking photos.

The next step will be for EDC to send this recommendation to Transportation Services to initiate a detailed study, and investigate the feasibility and cost of the potential project.  The CLRA will organize input from those living north of the Castle to ascertain their views and present them to the City.  This is one recommendation that warrants more input from local residents given the differences of opinion already identified.

  • A Pay and Display Parking System should be implemented at the Casa Loma Parking Lot to relieve congestion caused by the time it takes for payment at a kiosk on entrance to the parking lot.

LEG has committed to implement this but say that work on the parking lot and the side wall on Walmer Rd. hill has to be completed by the City first.  This will therefore not take place until the City has completed its work, likely not before May 2021.

  • More signage to direct traffic to alternative parking lots including in real time when the Casa Loma parking lot is at capacity.

EDC noted that there is a long history of issues with Heritage about signage.  However EDC have been working on building a better relationship with Heritage and will re-engage them in the process to find a viable solution for improved digital signage.  EDC will most likely engage a consultant to create a proper policy and design for a solution that is acceptable to Heritage and the community.

The TMMP Study Phase is now complete. As seen from above, action will now be required from EDC, Heritage and LEG. The CLRA will stay involved and will continue to take feedback from our residents, communicate with City officials and organize meetings as required.

Skating Party (Feb. 1) & City Budget Meeting (Feb. 4) Hosted by Councillor Josh Matlow

 

 

CLRA Opposes location of daycare at 105 Wells Hill Ave. on Curve

The Casa Loma Residents Association (CLRA) maintains the opposition it filed in February 2019 to the application made to the City’s Committee of Adjustment for a minor variance to convert 105 Wells Hill Ave. into a private daycare.  The application has been submitted again and will be heard on February 12th *.  The CLRA urges all residents of the Casa Loma neighbourhood to voice their opposition to the application by writing to Sylvia Mullaste at the City of Toronto at , with a copy to your City Councillor, Josh Matlow, at and to the CLRA at .

105 Wells Hill Ave. is the first house on Wells Hill Ave. south of St. Clair Ave. W., which sits on the dangerous and blind curve between Melgund Rd. and St. Clair Ave. W. across form Wells Hill Park. This heavily driven two-way section of Wells Hill Ave was recently narrowed by 1.5 meters following completion of a new sidewalk on the east side (the inside of the curve).  It is the only access road to our neighbourhood from St. Clair Ave. westbound and is used extensively by through traffic to and from Bathurst Street (particularly during rush hours and busy times at Loblaws).

The daycare is intended to serve 37 children and operate with a support staff of 9.  Many residents of the Casa Loma neighbourhood have already expressed the obvious safety concerns with children being dropped off at the proposed daycare and the congestion that will result from cars backing out of the driveway at 105 Wells Hill Ave. or stopping on this curve leading either from or towards St. Clair Ave.

The narrowness of the street combined with the sight line limitations in front of the proposed daycare—which are exacerbated by the fact that the plots of land on the inside of the curve, (including the proposed daycare itself) are elevated above the street—will inevitably lead to increased risk of danger to children, parents, residents, and those who commute via Wells Hill Ave.

Car standing at 105 Wells Hill at 8:51AM – Jan 7, 2020

The reality is that just one (1) car stopped on the Avenue for any period of time creates an unacceptable hazard for the operation of a daycare. To date since the road was reopened after completion of the sidewalk, the new “No Standing” signs along the Avenue have not deterred vehicles from parking on the curve and causing danger and congestion.

The CLRA is a supporter of more day care facilities to service our neighbourhood.  In fact, the CLRA strongly supports the 49-child public day care to be built in the platform of the proposed development at Bathurst and St. Clair.  However, 105 Wells Hill Avenue is simply an inappropriate and unacceptable location for a daycare.

The CLRA will be requesting that the Committee of Adjustment reject the application or, in the alternative, defer consideration of the application until the City’s Transportation Services department has had the opportunity to properly study the impacts and potential hazards of this proposed daycare.

For more information about the application, refer to the City of Toronto’s online Application Information Centre relating to this application at:
http://app.toronto.ca/AIC/index.do?folderRsn=1exZJYEU09A08cV1s0%2BloA%3D%3D

* February 12, 2020 Committee Room 2, Second Floor Toronto City Hall

Demolition Permit for 136 Lyndhurst Ave. Under Review

136 Lyndhurst Ave.

The property at 136 Lyndhurst Ave. is one of 63 properties in the Casa Loma neighbourhood to be evaluated for Heritage Conservation District status in addition to the homes within the Hilton Avenue Heritage Conservation District and the Wells Hill Avenue Heritage Conservation District.   All of this is set forth in the Casa Loma Heritage Conservation District Study approved by the Toronto Preservation Board on July 18, 2018 on the recommendation of the City of Toronto’s Planning Division.

 

In mid December, a Notice of Residential Demolition was posted on the property.  The CLRA objected to the potential demolition on December 19th as this property is included in the list of special properties that contribute to the overall heritage character of the Casa Loma neighbourhood.  It is one of a cluster of nearby properties on Lyndhurst Ave. that were deemed in the Casa Loma Heritage Conservation District Study to be worthy of further evaluation for heritage conservation district status.  The others are next door at 134 Lyndhurst Ave. and nearby at 133, 128, 125, 120, 117 and 111 Lyndhurst Ave.  This further evaluation has not yet been carried out.

See Notice of Objection.

The CLRA has been very proactive and diligent in advising the listing real estate agent, heritage preservation services and Councillor Matlow’s office notifying them that this important property was potentially threatened as early as March of 2019.

As a result of our objection and with the full support of Councillor Josh Matlow, the Chief Building Official, City of Toronto, will now refer the demolition permit application to community council for consideration.  It is expected that a staff report will go to Toronto and East York Community Council on February 5, 2020.

We will keep you posted.

 

 

Dog Park at Sir Winston Churchill Park re-opens

The new dog park at Sir Winston Churchill Park is now open. It is located off the Nordheimer Ravine path and can also be accessed down a new path from Spadina Rd. north of the bridge.  Unfortunately it is less than 50% of the size of the dog park that was closed in 2016 to permit renovation of the resevoir. There are some nice new features and landscaping will be improved in the spring.

 

Report on Meeting re: St. Clair Bathurst Proposed Development

A community meeting was held December 4th at the Forest Hill Jewish Centre to introduce the changes made to the proposed development by the developer KingSett Capital.  The meeting was organized by Sipo Maphangoh of City Planning and Josh Matlow, City Councillor.

The new plan calls for 3 rental towers: The tallest at 35 storeys will be built as a luxury rental tower; the other two towers of 30 storeys each will be built on a 5 storey (rising to 8 storeys in the rear) podium and will be designed for market rate rentals.  58% of the 886 units will be 2 or 3 bedroom units. Entrance/Exit to the Parking for 898 cars will be from both Bathurst St. (north end) and St. Clair (east end).




The developer has addressed many of the concerns raised at the public meeting last June.   Buildings will cover 62% of the land area, a particularly marked reduction from the very large slabs first proposed for the site and approved by the OMB in 1998.  In addition the sidewalks have been widened to 9 meters (same width as in front of Loblaw’s), a park will be built at the corner of St. Clair and Bathurst,  trees will be planted along St. Clair and Bathurst, public access will be given to a park like area between the buildings leading to St. Michael’s College School in the rear and a large childcare facility to be run by the City of Toronto will be incorporated.

Josh Matlow continues to seek input for this development which will be “the most impactful ever” for our neighbourhood.  Further public consultation will take place in the new year before the Staff Report which will send the proposal to City Council.

Those in attendance were broken out into smaller groups and each group submitted their comments in writing.  A group of residents from the CLRA submitted the following comments, criticisms and questions:

  • The development is more attractive than the one presented in 2017 which called for 3 – 30 storey towers on a large 6-7 storey podium because of the overall design, smaller footprint, the separation of the tallest tower from the other two, a park at the corner and walkway between the towers, 9 meter sidewalks, trees along the sidewalks, and public daycare.
  • More clarification on the construction quality is requested. Is it to be upscale, mid-scale or mass production quality?  What are the projected rents?  Will retail frontages be attractive?
  • There is concern about the density as it looks like the project will house over 2000 residents.  This will bring pressure on traffic (898 new cars; multiple deliveries; school buses (once again there is no response from the TDSB on school accommodations). Will there be a delivery bay for both residential and retail deliveries and an Uber bay onsite so vehicles will not stop on either St. Clair or Bathurst?
  • Bathurst & St. Clair is already one of the most congested intersections in the city.  The current development proposal has been submitted in advance of the Transportation Management and Mitigation Plan authorized by the City on October 29th.  Therefore there has not been incorporated into the plan the need for a new right turn lane from St. Clair to Bathurst, a green light arrow, nor a new bus bay on Bathurst north of St. Clair.
  • The proposal is therefore somewhat premature coming ahead of the Transportation Management and Mitigation Plan.
  • Concern was raised about any use of the street during construction and the entrance and exit of construction vehicles from the site.  The neighbourhood suffered for a few years from the closure of a traffic lane while the Rise Condominium was under construction.  We want to see all staging on site so that lanes will not be reduced and access times are limited to outside of rush hour.
  • Concern was expressed about the safety of pedestrians in the area, particularly on the west side where the sidewalk is narrow, resulting from the additional vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Will bollards or similar be appropriate on the west side of Bathurst?
  • How will the traffic exiting the property on Bathurst St. and St. Clair Ave. be managed?  Will there be new traffic lights installed on Bathurst? St. Clair is already backed up during rush hour more than half a kilometer from Bathurst to Tweedsmuir.  How will traffic entering this congestion from the development be managed?  How will heavier pedestrian traffic between Bathurst and the subway be accommodated?  As exiting traffic can only go west, it will only exacerbate the use of the U Turn at Bathurst.
  • Has there been an evaluation of the number of people who will use the daycare?  What additional congestion will result during prime morning and evening drop off times?
  • There is concern about the spill over this increased density will have on the Casa Loma neighbourhood to the south. More congestion and more traffic will be skirting thru our residential streets
  • We were informed that the gas remediation on the site is likely to be ongoing for the next two years.  We have requested regular updates so that residents can be assured that any contamination risk to the property and adjacent properties is being addressed.  Suncor, the developers and the Ministry of Environment are all involved.
  • What are the anticipated construction start and completion dates?

If you have other comments to submit, please let us know (clratoronto@gmail.com) so we may incorporate them for the record.  This is similar to the process we followed last year following the presentation by the consultants to the Casa Loma Traffic Management and Mitigation Plan. (it’s been a year and we are still waiting on that report !)

See the following links for more details on the proposed project.

Architectural Plans Nov 26, 2019

Draft Zoning Bylaw Amendment

Hydrogeological Report

Landscape and Lighting Plans

Portal to Development Application (City of Toronto Folder)

Bathurst / St. Clair Development – Community Consultation Meeting Dec 4th

KingSett Capital, the developer of the former Petro Canada gas station land at 1467 Bathurst St. (Bathurst & St. Clair ; also referred to as the St. Mike’s land)  has prepared a revised proposal for this property consisting of two 30 storey towers on top of a 5 to 8 storey base building and a 35 storey stand-alone building.  Proposed are 866 residential units, 1,561 square meters of retail space and 898 vehicular and 879 bicycle parking spaces in a 5 level underground garage. Also included in the proposal is a 772 square meter park at the southwest corner of the site, a 575 square meter privately owned publicly-accessible space, a 650 square meter daycare facility, widened public sidewalks, mid-block pedestrian connections and retail along both street frontages.

In its Revised Plans the Developer is said to have considered the feedback heard from those who attended the public consultation and working group meetings over the past couple of years. One missing piece will be the Traffic Management and Mitigation Plan approved by City Council on October 29th.

Our Councilor Josh Matlow  recognizes that this is a transformational project for the community and therefore it’s important that your feedback and vision guides him and the City Planning staff before any decisions are made on this development. That is why he is holding a public meeting on:

Date:    Wednesday,  December 4, 2019

Time:

6:00 pm – 6:30 pm Open House

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Presentations

7:30 – 8:30 pm – Roundtable Discussions

Place:    Forest Hill Jewish Centre, 360 Spadina Rd.

At this meeting you can learn more about this application, ask questions and share your comments.

Relevant Documents

Architectural Plans Nov 26, 2019

Draft Zoning Bylaw Amendment

Hydrogeological Report

Landscape and Lighting Plans

Portal to Development Application (City of Toronto Folder)

Traffic Management and Mitigation Plan (TMMP) requested for St. Clair & Bathurst development and intensification

Led by resident and CLRA member, Barbara Chernin and supported by the CLRA, the Toronto and East York Council unanimously passed a motion by Councillor Josh Matlow on October 10th to request a comprehensive Traffic Management and Mitigation Plan for the St. Clair Avenue West and Bathurst Street Planning Framework Area.  Now that it has been passed by the Community Council, it will be considered by City Council on October 29, 2019.

This initiative is timely as the developer of the old gas station property at Bathurst & St. Clair is expected to present his application for 3 rental apartment towers and a seven storey podium this fall.

Josh Matlow’s Motion to Toronto and East York Council Meeting

Re: Developing a Traffic Management & Mitigation Plan for the St. Clair Avenue West and Bathurst Street Planning Framework Area

Dear Chair and Members,

The area of the St. Clair Avenue West and Bathurst Street Planning Framework has seen an increase in development applications in past years.  We are anticipating further intensification in this area, which has spurred concern from local residents about the cumulative impact this will have on the community.  Residents have raised concerns over traffic management, noise controls, air quality, truck traffic and overall road safety, which is why I am requesting the development of a comprehensive Traffic Management & Mitigation Plan for the area.

I believe it is imperative to take a proactive approach in minimizing disruption and promoting safety in the community.  This necessitates a coordinated effort by several City divisions to assess current conditions and make informed recommendations as to a focused and productive approach to these concerns.

RECOMMENDATIONS

It is recommended that:

  1. City Council request the Director, Transportation Services, Toronto and East York District, in co-operation with other relevant City divisions, to develop a Traffic Management & Mitigation Plan for the area of the St. Clair Avenue West and Bathurst Street’s Planning Framework, including but not limited to: a. Traffic management in light of increasing density in the area; b. Construction staging coordination and management that would not impact the public right-of-way for development construction purposes; c. Construction and related noise monitoring and enforcement to be coordinated by Transportation Services and Municipal Licensing & Standards divisions;
  2. Ensure coordination between development construction sites to minimize impacts of truck traffic in the area and ensure compliance with the truck prohibitions on local streets in the area; e. Coordinate with relevant stakeholders, divisions and agencies, to do air quality studies and ensure mitigation of any additional construction-related pollution to the area.

Sincerely,

Councillor Josh Matlow Ward 12, Toronto – St. Paul’s


UPDATE

City Council approved the Traffic Management & Mitigation Plan for the area of the St. Clair Avenue West and Bathurst Street’s Planning Framework on October 29th, 2019

Wells Hill Ave. road re-construction nears completion

The road, sidewalk, and sewer re-construction of Wells Hill Ave. between Lyndhurst Ave. and St. Clair Ave. West is nearing completion. The sewers, roadbed and reconfiguration of the intersection where Wells Hill Ave., Melgund Road and Lyndhurst Ave. meet has been completed. The rebuilt sidewalk on the west side and the new sidewalk on the east side should be completed this week. Asphalt is scheduled to be laid the week of October 21st, weather permitting.

This section of the road, which is the main entrance to our neighbourhood and which accommodates traffic heading to Bathurst St. southbound, has always been of concern to area residents because of the blind curve.  It will likely be more hazardous going forward as the road has been narrowed to 20 feet at the curve to accommodate the new sidewalk on the east side.

Wells Hill northbound approaching curve

Wells Hill northbound at curve

Wells Hill southbound

Any traffic that stops on the curve will risk a rear end collision and possibly there will be a head-on collision if a car attempting to pass collides with a car coming from the opposite direction.

Winter snow clearing will be a challenge as snow will either be pushed to the side, making passing impossible or on to the sidewalk making it risky for pedestrian traffic.

Last February the CLRA opposed the location of a daycare at the curve pending a traffic and safety review. There were also 20 written submissions from area residents in opposition,  Our position will be the same if the application is re-submitted to the Committee of Adjustment following this narrowing of the road.

September Meeting with Casa Loma Management

The CLRA organized a meeting with Casa Loma Management (Pat Di Donato and George Briggs) on Friday September 20th to review this summer’s activities at the castle and for an update on the forthcoming Legends of Horror month.  Slavisa Mijatovic from Councillor Matlow’s office and officers from the City’s By-law Enforcement Department attended as well.  We were informed that Chris Papadopoulos who was our regular contact at the castle recently left for a new opportunity in Montreal.

It was noted that there were fewer complaints about noise from the castle this summer from our residents.  Management reported that attendance seems to have leveled out between 800-1000 and there were no nights like last year where the castle reached capacity.  Events in the Pavillion will stop at the end of September.  There was also an improvement in traffic flow as Uber and taxi drivers are getting more used to the designated pick-up/drop-off area in the east parking lot, including this designation now in the Uber app.  Use of the south entrance at the corner of Davenport and Walmer was explored but it was decided that the pathway from that entrance has safety issues.  There was no progress on the reconfiguration of the visitor’s parking lot as it is still being used in part as a staging area for equipment and materials being used for the reconstruction of the Stable wall.  This work is expected to be finished by this fall.  We were told that the design of the parking lot would not allow for collection of fees on exit and that the option of self-serving parking payment machines was still under study.   Removing the traffic bottleneck caused by collecting payment on entry remains one of our priorities and has been supported by the TMMP study.  [Note we are still waiting on the next TMMP report which we expect before year-end].  There has also been no progress in bringing public transit options to the front page of the Casa Loma website.  Pat Di Donato took note of this.  Note was also made by the by-law enforcement officers of the ice cream truck with its loud generator which parks well beyond the one hour parking limit on Walmer Rd.

The Legends of Horror event will take place between September 27th and October 31st this year except for September 30, October 1, October 7 & October 8.  Like in previous years the last timed entry will be at 11 PM with exit after Midnight.

Exit sign on Walmer Rd.

A security guard has been hired to move people along as they exit the stables to Walmer Rd.  We have asked that the last timed entry be no later than 10 PM next year. Casa Loma has a number of security people on sight and are working to improve their training on crowd and traffic management.  There has been a problem in relying on Paid Duty police officers as they do not always respond to job postings and sometimes commit and do not show up.  We again asked our Councillor’s office to secure regular police presence, like other major public facilities that attract large crowds, especially where alcohol is involved.  We expect a follow-up on this matter but as the police department does not report to City Council, it may take some time.

There was no update on the Stables lease negotiations. Both Casa Loma and our Councillor’s Office know of the CLRA’s interest in being kept informed.  We want to have input into any expansion of the Stables use.

The CLRA welcomes comments and suggestions from area residents affected by noise, traffic and parking issues related to Casa Loma.  We are currently working with residents on Walmer Rd. to determine what changes residents may want to the On-Street Permit Parking times.  [Walmer Rd. Survey.]

Please direct your comments and suggestions to

On-Street Parking – Castleview Ave. and Walmer Rd.

Castleview Ave.

On October 10th Toronto and East York Community Council will be approving changes to On-Street Parking on Castleview Ave. as petitioned by residents of the street.

On-Street Permit Parking will now apply to the hours of 12:01 AM to 10 AM and 6 PM to 8 PM, 7 days a week.  In addition, a one hour parking maximum will be effective all other times.

Walmer Rd.

A Survey of residents on Walmer Rd. is also underway, led by resident Dale Joffe, to determine what residents of that street want in the way of changes to the existing On-Street Parking Permit regime.  On-Street Parking Permit hours have historically been slightly different than those on Castleview Ave.  Residents of Walmer Rd. have chosen 3 options for consideration:

  1. On-Street Parking Permits required 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  2. On-Street Parking Permits required between the hours of 2:00 AM and 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM Monday to Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday.
  3. Retain current hours of 2:00 AM to 10:00 AM, 7 days a week.

The CLRA is supporting local residents in these initiatives.  On-Street Parking Permits and one hour parking restrictions are tools to restrict Casa Loma visitors from parking on these streets and assist Traffic Control, Police Services in managing a tag and tow parking violation policy.

City releases plans for new Green Line

City Parks has released a blueprint for a five km-long connected park and open space to be called the Green Line.

By connecting existing parks, parcels that are available to become parkland and pathways, the Green Line will open up an attractive walking corridor between our neighbourhood and the Corso Italia neighbourhood on St. Clair just west of Earlscourt Park.

One of the connections is the stretch along the hydro corridor between Bathurst and Spadina Rd. which is currently used as parking lots for George Brown College and visitors to Casa Loma. The plan shows an attractive upgrading of the sidewalk in front of the parking lots.

 

This is a 10 year project that is expected to begin next year.

FULL REPORT

TLAB Overturns COA decision on 369 Walmer Rd.

On Feb 13th the Committee of Adjustment denied a developer’s application to build a four plex (2 semi-detached duplexes on 2 lots) in place of the existing single lot at 369 Walmer Rd.    Several neighbours, the Casa Loma Residents Association and Councillor Josh Matlow opposed this proposed development which is inconsistent with the character of Walmer Rd.   The stretch of Walmer Rd. north of Castleview Ave. consists of 33 single detached buildings, 4 semi-detached buildings, 2 single detached that have been repurposed as 3 unit apartments in the interior with no change to the exterior and 3 buildings purpose built decades ago as multiple unit.   These latter 3 buildings are consistent with the streetscape; two are accessed by one front door and the third is accessed only by side doors. (Click here to review data prepared by the CLRA).

Over three days of hearings in July, the Toronto Local Appeal Board heard the arguments by legal counsel representing the developer, its Planner and arborist.   On the fourth day of hearings , before the CLRA and neighbourhood parties opposing the development had an opportunity to present their arguments, the TLAB Member directed the parties to enter into a settlement agreement.   He had made up his mind that the development would proceed; all that was left was to agree on some modifications to make the development more palatable to the community.

The four plex destined for 369 Walmer Rd. is out of character with the street and establishes a very dangerous precedent for our neighbourhood.   The four residential units of about 2500 sq. ft. each to be built on this lot, and likely to be registered as 4 condominiums with 12 bedrooms, needed 12 variances to the relevant bylaw dealing with among others the width of the front lot, size, depth and height of building.   The development required a severance of the lot into two lots.   The front width of one of the 2 lots will be only 6.99 meters. (369 Walmer and the lots adjacent to the north and south have frontages of 15.24 meters).   The depth of the building, as proposed and measured from the front lot line, would exceed that permitted under the bylaw by 50%. (20.92 meters compared to the permitted 14 meters).

These variances were deemed by the Member to not be material.   He favoured the developer’s proposal as being consistent with the objective of more densification in the city which is a goal of the Provincial Policy Statement and the Toronto Official Plan.   He rejected the overwhelming evidence that it is not consistent with the Walmer Rd. streetscape.

The settlement agreement secured some changes to the building.   The front of the building will have only 2 doors (a double door) instead of 4 and will be of an architectural style more compatible with the street.

369 Walmer – Original Proposed Frontage

 

Architectural design for revised frontage.

Other changes include moving the structure 3 meters forward from the rear to reduce the impact on the neighbour’s back yard to the south. The front porch will be narrowed by 1.3 meters and the building length by 0.4 meters resulting in a net move forward of the front wall by 1.3 meters. The net result is the building depth will now be only 18.32 meters or 30% greater than that allowed. The width of the rear balconies on the second and third floors will be reduced by 1.1 meters.   A fence and driveway curb will be built to separate the driveway for the four plex from the adjacent driveway on the south and landscaping will hide the above ground basement windows in the front of the house.

Our takeaway is that we need a strengthening of the bylaws applicable to our neighbourhood to protect us in the future from small frontages being created and from intensification that will ultimately destroy the character of our streets. We believe that this is also understood by Councillor Matlow who has proposed a meeting with us to review, address, obtain feedback and ultimately implement bylaw changes required to protect the integrity of our neighbourhood from inappropriate development. We look forward to this engagement with our elected representative and the City Planning department. The TLAB decision for 369 Walmer Rd. is our wake-up call.

 

 

 

 

 

Speed Reader Request for Spadina Rd.

Image of a mobile watch your speed display sign

The CLRA has requested the installation of a Speed Reader on Spadina Rd. on the stretch of road south of St. Clair Ave. W. and Castleview Ave. where residents have noticed frequent speeding above the posted 40 KPH limit.   A permanent Speed Reader is only available within a school zone under the City’s Watch Your Speed Program (WYSP).   Therefore we have applied for the alternative of a Mobile Speed Reader which like a permanent one is installed on a hydro or light pole but only for 2 to 3 weeks at a time. We can reapply more than once a year.

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Follow-up

The first Speed Reader was installed on September 16th. We hope the first of many.

 

Casa Loma Golf Classic scheduled for Saturday Sept 21

The annual Casa Loma Golf Classic will be held this year at the Tangle Creek Golf and Country Club on Saturday Sept 21st.  Further information and sign up is on our website under EVENTS.

Effort to improve landscape maintenance at Art Installation

You might have been wondering about the sorry state of upkeep for the public art installation designed by Dan Young and Christian Giroux at Bathurst and Vaughan.

Original plan for “Three Points Where Two Lines Meet” 2018

We have learned that a neighbouring residents association, the Connaught Lonsmount Area Ratepayers Association, led by Jon Soules, Ann Percival and Howard Katz, has been doing some weeding and upkeep and has been following up with city officials to address this situation permanently. They have reported to the City the following:

Weed infested landscaping Summer 2019

The entire area is choked with weeds and the north end is infested with bindweed, which is really unfortunate as it is very hard to get rid of once its roots have taken hold. It’s only a matter of time before the whole triangle is strangled, including the structure. The remaining grasses (possibly 60% of the original planting) are in rough shape – they are meant to be in a dry environment, and not kept damp by the vigorous weeds that are crowding around them.  This is a case of deferred minor maintenance resulting in much more serious maintenance needs.  It is not a cost effective approach.

 In addition, a hydro box was located in the triangle after the art installation. They have asked that art work be applied to it and also messaging about the  art sculpture  and its artists, not unlike other hydro boxes in the city.

The response from the City has been extremely slow but the City’s Public Art Officer, Catherine Dean, has promised to follow-up on the maintenance issues so we are hopeful that the area will be cleaned up in the near term and a permanent landscaping maintenance plan put in place.

The Connaught Lonsmount Area Ratepayers Association took leadership here. If you are interested in helping with the maintenance of public spaces within the CLRA boundaries, beyond but including the Clean Toronto Together initiative each spring, please let us know at our general meeting this fall.

Wells Hill closed at St. Clair Ave for Construction

Wells Hill Ave. between Melgund Rd. and St. Clair Ave will be closed to through traffic for 2 ½ months for sidewalk, road and sewer repair and  the construction of a sidewalk on the east side of the street. There will be no entry from St. Clair Ave or exit to St. Clair Ave starting this morning.

The intersection of Wells Hill Ave., Lyndhurst Ave. and Melgund Rd. will also be reconfigured as shown on the map below.

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UPDATE: October 10, 2019

Work is nearly finished. The cement foundation and curbs for the road should be finished by October 11th.  Sidewalks on both sides and the “island” at Melgund/Wells Hill/Lyndhurst are scheduled to be completed next week.  Paving will take place the week of October 21st., weather permitting

 

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