The SEDRA Owl: Fall 2023

The greening of Davisville
Image: 33 and 77 Davisville Ave, and future site of 60 Balliol
Image Credit: Mary Turcotte
by Jane Auster, co-president, SEDRA
Where are our parks?
Davisville Village is one of the most parkland-deficient neighbourhoods in Toronto.
This disheartening “nugget” came to me by way of the parks planner for our area in a meeting with a developer proposing a 39-storey condo for Davisville Village at 33 Davisville/60 Balliol.
But the takeaway here is, in fact, positive. Along with housing proposed for the Davisville apartment neighbourhood (on Davisville, Balliol, Merton, and Pailton), there will be significant new parkland for residents new and old!
In what is considered a rarity, DV will be the location of an over-dedication of parkland associated with new combined greenspace from developments at 97-131 Balliol and 45 Balliol St. SEDRA worked closely with David Green of Greenrock Investments Ltd. to help secure the equivalent of approximately 1,858sq. m. (20,000 sq. ft.) of new green space in our neighbourhood. As with the enlarged and enhanced park at Hillsdale and Yonge, the community will be at the table to help shape this new greenspace into one that is truly beautiful and neighbourhood-friendly.
The timing could not be better, as DV will be losing the de facto park at 60 Balliol, where developer Osmington Gerofsky Development Corp.(Osmington) is planning a new condo. But even here there will be greenspace, as 60Balliol has been designated for on-site parkland dedication. We’re in talks with Osmington to help maximize the greenspace around this development. So, while the new park at 60 Balliol will be smaller, it will be located alongside the Al Green sculpture garden to the east to create a seamless greenspace. Another win for the neighbourhood!
We will continue to advocate for more parkland in DV and work closely with developers and the City to identify opportunities to green up our neighbourhood. Want to help? Learn how. 140 Merton in the news
In other big news…a proposal to build affordable seniors’ rental apartments at 140 Merton is back! Three years after the initial meetings with the community, the proposal has been revised and is more reflective of current planning for Davisville Village, with more density and height to accommodate a greater number of residents. 140Merton Street is now a proposed 28-storey affordable rental building designed by Montgomery Sisam for CreateTO, EllisDon, and Missanabie Cree Elders Care. The heritage building already on the site will be preserved in this revised proposal.
The City is supporting the creation of this project through its Housing Now initiative, which includes dedicating City-owned land and financial incentives for the development of affordable housing within mixed-use, transit-oriented communities.
SEDRA is advocating for a small grocer/food store within this development to accommodate new residents at a time when neighbouring developments (22 Balliol, 1500 Bayview) will see the temporary (or permanent) loss of grocery stores.
Want to get involved?
Great neighbourhoods need people like you to get involved. Learn how.
Mount Pleasant Village BIA Harvest Fair
Image (L-R): Hon. Carolyn Bennett, MP, SEDRA Tall and Midrise Working Group Chair Jeff Latto, SEDRA Heritage Chair Sharon Mourer, SEDRA Co-President John Hiddema, Hon. Rob Oliphant, MP, SEDRA Co-President Jane AusterImage Credit: Office of Hon. Carolyn Bennett
Fun at the fair
After a few years’ hiatus, SEDRA was back at the annual Mount Pleasant Village BIA Harvest Fair. Some great conversations were had with booth visitors about important topics in our neighbourhood, including safety, schools, and of course development.
Worth understanding
Image: Toronto City Council ChamberImage Credit: City of Toronto
A number of local residents’ associations, including SEDRA, have come together to bring you a series of short informational pieces that are designed to summarize activities at City Hall in order to build context and stay informed about decisions and conversations that have an impact on our local neighbourhoods. Today’s feature is the first of three articles by freelance journalist Maryam Siddiqi – please note that any views expressed are Maryam Siddiqi’s and they do not necessarily reflect the views of SEDRA. We hope that this short summary inspires you to read more about important things happening in our city. We’d also love to hear what you think and what you’d like to see in future newsletters! Send us an email by clicking here.
Brief honeymoon or refocused council? Time will tell…
By Maryam Siddiqi
It’s been two and a half months since Olivia Chow was sworn in as our new mayor. The news cycle of late has been overwhelmed with headlines coming out of Queen’s Park, so you’re forgiven if City Hall hasn’t been top of mind.
How will Chow’s mayoralty be different than John Tory’s? These two quotes likely sum it up. Leading up to the election, she was interviewed on CBC Radio and asked how she’d be different as a politician now compared to the last time she was an elected official at City Hall in the 1990s. “I have less patience,” she said.
In a Toronto Star story about former Mayor Tory’s delayed endorsement of Ana Bailao during the election, a source told the newspaper: “John has always been someone who can’t make any decisions, and then he needs to be forced into making any decisions. And then when he finally makes a decision, it’s like it’s a compromise of compromises where he makes no one happy.”
What we’ve seen over the past few weeks is a lot of decisions being made – many made quickly and without debate.
Some were no brainers. With a steamy forecast ahead for the start of September, the City announced it was keeping several pools open until much later in the month (typically they shut on Labour Day). That day, Mayor Chow headed to one of those pools and swam with some local kids.
Some were related to safety. Mayor Chow backed a report that proposes using funds earmarked for the now-delayed Eglinton and Finch LRTs to hire almost 200 front-line staff to monitor the TTC for safety. “TTC riders, we want you back. We don’t want you to feel anxious,” she said at the press conference about the announcement.
And some required her getting a council that is divided on spending priorities to back her plans to get the city back on track – something many City Hall watchers weren’t sure was possible.
After the first council meeting in September, things seem to be going her way. Most had to do with figuring out ways for the City to raise money so that it can deliver services to the standards we all expect. Council voted to adopt higher land transfer tax rates for homes over $3 million; remove the $5/hour cap on street parking; begin a plan to launch a commercial parking lot levy; and request from the Province that City Hall be able to launch a municipal sales tax (though Doug Ford has said he’s not a fan). Council also voted in favour of establishing a plan to build 25,000 rent-controlled homes.
Under the provincial Municipal Act, Toronto has limited options to raise money so these decisions are crucial to a healthy future for the city. So are productive relationships with the provincial and federal government. Mayor Chow had a meeting with Doug Ford and the two said they are working on a new funding model for the city (Ford’s plummeting support because of the Greenbelt scandal may work in Toronto’s favour as he tries to win fans). And in late September she headed to Ottawa to do the same.
There’s plenty to fix in the city. First impressions from Mayor Chow are that she’s aware, and she’s on it. Time will tell if this is actually the case.