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Toronto councillors reject proposed demolition of Roncesvalles Ave. heritage building

Local councillor Gord Perks says actions taken by developer show "flagrant disregard of the public interest."
April 4, 2018
By Jennifer Pagliaro

The request to demolish a heritage building on Roncesvalles Ave. shows "flagrant disregard of the public interest," says local Councillor Gord Perks.

Perks said he regretted a representative for the applicant, Markham-based Propeller Developments, was not in the committee room at city hall on Wednesday for a meeting of the Toronto and East York community council where the application was being considered

"I'd like to be able to read them the riot act out loud," Perks said. "If they were here I would tell them, don't darken my door again."

Community council rejected the demolition application. It will be considered by council this month

In 2016, Propeller submitted an application to the city to allow the development of a seven-storey office tower on top of the early 20th-century Dominion Bank branch building on Roncesvalles Ave. at the corner of Howard Park. Ave. After the application was submitted, the city reviewed the two-storey, red brick site and designated it a heritage building.

Staff recommended the earlier proposal to alter a heritage building be refused, saying it would "irrevocably alter" the character of the heritage building. The development application has been appealed by the developer to the OMB, a provincial tribunal that deals with most land-use disputes.

Before a pre-hearing could be held at the OMB last month, the developer submitted the application to completely demolish the building.

The new application says the reason for the request is "to construct a new development on the subject site," but what the developer proposes to build in its place is still unclear.

The Toronto Preservation Board recommended refusal of the demolition application

Perks called the original request "completely unacceptable" and the actions taken by the developer reprehensible.

"I've never seen one like this," he said. "I've never seen an applicant with such flagrant disregard of the public interest, good planning, heritage buildings and community opinion."

Propeller's owner, Silvano Tardella, could not be reached for comment.

A heritage study submitted by the developer last year in support of their application concluded that the proposal would retain a "significant heritage resource" with what they called "minor" alterations.

A letter sent by a lawyer for the developer last month says they now plan to appeal to the OMB the decision to not allow the complete demolition of the building.