Letter in support of OPA 405 (Midtown in Focus) – November 17, 2018

The following letter was sent to the provincial government to support the original Official Plan Amendment 405, as originally drafted.

Nov 17, 2018

The Honourable Steve Clark
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
777 Bay Street, Floor 17
Toronto, ON M5G 2E5

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Municipal Services Division
Municipal Services Office – Central Ontario
777 Bay Street, Floor 13,
Toronto, ON M5G 2E5

RE: Approval of the City of Toronto – OPA No. 405.

(EBR Registry Number: 013-3483, Ministry Reference Number: 20-OP-187916)

The South Eglinton Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (SERRA) represents the community of South Eglinton and Davisville Village in the South East quadrant of the Yonge-Eglinton (Y-E) Secondary Plan area. SERRA has proudly served our community for 50+ years. SERRA members were engaged throughout the development of OPA 405 and strongly support the amendment.

In summary:

The designation of the Y-E area by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing as an Urban Growth Centre (2006) has resulted in a large number of developments, far exceeding minimum density targets for this area.

This area is overdeveloped with all aspects of hard and soft infrastructure significantly lagging development and will require major capital infrastructure investment.

The current Y-E Secondary Plan (2002) predates the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing designation of the Y-E area as an Urban Growth Centre (2006) and no longer reflects the planning needs for this area.

OPA 405 is a comprehensive review of the Y-E Secondary Plan area and as such SERRA supports the City of Toronto that this plan should be approved under Section 26 of the Planning Act.

OPA 405 conforms to the Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan, is consistent with the PPS, and has regard to matters of provincial interest per Section 2 of the Planning Act.

We strongly support OPA 405 in its current form, because:

  • it accurately reflects the complex past and current planning conditions of the area
  • it establishes a comprehensive framework for future residential and employment growth, keeping in mind the limits of infrastructure capacity
  • it aims to maintain the area as a “complete community”, an area where one can work, live, attend school and play.

We would be open to discussing any potential modifications that may be contemplated by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. It is urgent for the OPA to be approved.

This OPA submission has seen extensive consultation from all area stakeholders over a period of three years. Many members of our association attended numerous workshops and plan reviews and were full participants in the process.

Components of the proposed OPA 405 which we support and which in our opinion should be retained include:

  • recognition of the diversity of our neighbourhoods with the identification of 22 specific “character” areas
  • the effort undertaken to research each “character” area and develop a unique vision and development plan for each of those areas
  • the comprehensive scope of the study, including land-use designations, urban design standards & building height limits, public realm, parks and open spaces, community services & facilities, infrastructure and transportation
  • the clear and detailed policy directions provided
  • recognition that current and future development needs to be coupled with Infrastructure capacity
  • heightened focus on heritage elements in the plan area.

Over the last 10 years the Y-E area has seen unprecedented development growth, which now represents the equivalent of a mid-size Ontario city.

A summary of all the current developments (from 2016 – including completed, under construction, approved and under review) indicates:

  • 69 developments, totalling approximately 21,000 new units
  • an expected population growth of some 35,000 new residents
  • a projected increase of 7,900 new transit riders on the TTC Yonge line at morning peak hours (and new transit riders from the Eglinton Crosstown LRT).

OPA 405 will allow for additional development, but in a more measured fashion, expected to result eventually in an addition of 50,000 new residents and a growing employment in the Y-E area.

The approval of OPA 405, in its current form or modified, is critical to beginning the process of developing a strategy to confront the looming infrastructure gaps and inadequacies.

We would welcome the opportunity to meet with the Minister, including other local community representatives, in the event changes are contemplated to the proposed OPA 405.

Respectfully submitted,

Andy Gort,

President, SERRA

cc. Jill Andrew, MPP Toronto – St Paul’s

Kathleen Wynne, MPP Don Valley West

Robin Martin, MPP Eglinton – Lawrence

Josh Matlow, Councillor Ward 12

Jaye Robinson, Councillor Ward 15

Mike Colle, Councillor Ward 8

Gregg Lintern, Chief Planner and Executive Director, Toronto City Planning

Kerri Voumvakis, Director, Strategic Innovative Policy & Analysis

SERRA board members