Worried about local water and sewer capacity, Toronto staff move to pause condo development at Yonge-Eglinton
It’s the first time staff have drawn a line in the sand over concerns that infrastructure is not keeping pace with development.
April 3, 3018
Amid concerns the Yonge-Eglinton area could be reaching water and sewer capacity, staff say a proposed two-tower condo development should be put on hold until a review is completed.
A report from staff headed to Toronto and East York community council on Wednesday comes after city planning staff identified growing concerns development in the midtown neighbourhood was outpacing the available infrastructure, like pipes, schools and parks.
But this is the first time staff have drawn a line in the sand over those concerns about basic, hard infrastructure after council gave them direction in December to put a hold on development in the area if necessary to “ensure that growth and infrastructure needs are aligned.”
The proposal, for a 25- and 34-storey condos at Yonge St. between Millwood Rd. and Davisville Ave., was appealed by the developer, Times Group, to the Ontario Municipal Board, a quasi-judicial body that deals with most land use planning disputes, after staff did not issue a final report with recommendations within the required timelines.
Staff are now requesting to fight the Yonge St. proposal at the OMB, saying it would be “overdevelopment” of the site, would “significantly reduce” afternoon sunlight on the Davisville Junior Public School and its outdoor play area, and would set a “negative precedent” for that stretch of Yonge St.
Should the city lose that fight and the development is allowed in some form, staff have recommended the OMB be requested to put a hold on construction moving forward until staff can confirm there is the necessary water, stormwater and sewer capacity.
Councillor Josh Matlow, who represents the area and called for an infrastructure review, said he strongly supports the staff recommendations.
“The Yonge and Eglinton area, including Davisville, has seen unprecedented growth for several years and it’s critically important that along with social services, basic infrastructure can keep up with the pace of new residents moving into the area,” said Matlow. “This isn’t a narrow debate about whether there should be development or not, it’s about when there is development it should support a good quality of life in our neighbourhood.”
Toronto Chief Planner Gregg Lintern told the Star in January that while staff continue to work on a review of the secondary plan for the Yonge-Eglinton area, development pressures need to be paused.
“The intent with the recommendation is to signal that applications submitted after November 15 are premature, until adoption of the updated secondary plan,” Lintern wrote in an email. “City planning would not advance final reports on applications until that time. Staff will work with any applicants to align proposals with the policy directions in the proposed secondary plan update.”
A secondary plan sets out planning policies for a specific area within the city, like Yonge-Eglinton.
The South Eglinton Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (SERRA), in a letter to community council, said they strongly support the city planning recommendations to ask for a hold on development.
“We are concerned about the lack of infrastructure capacity,” president Andy Gort wrote, listing overcrowding on the Line 1 subway and schools already over capacity as additional concerns.
In the Yonge-Eglinton area, prospective condo buyers have long been met with signs warning that their children are not guaranteed to attend the local school.
Gort said the planning division’s recommendations should go further in requesting development be held until those issues are also addressed.