On November 17, 2016 the South Rosedale Residents’ Association (SRRA) held its Annual General Meeting at the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club. There was an unusually large crowd in attendance, many of whom were supporters of the MyRosedaleNeighbourhood petition opposing the proposed Dale Avenue development, the details of which were filed with the City of Toronto for consideration in August 2016.
The AGM was also attended by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and members of her staff, who stayed a full two hours and answered residents’ questions and explained some of the City processes regarding the Dale Avenue development proposal.
Representatives of the developer also attended the AGM.
The Dale Avenue proposal was the focal point of the evening and generated extensive and at times heated discussion during which many members of the South Rosedale community expressed their concerns and opposition to the project in no uncertain terms.
Numerous questions were fielded by SRRA directors, who pledged that the SRRA would be at the forefront of a thorough planning process in which community concerns, questions and issues would be fully aired and considered. This process includes organizing special SRRA members’ meetings on the development proposal, the upcoming November 22 community meeting organized by the City of Toronto, the possibility of City-sponsored working group meetings between now and the Fall of 2017, and a charrette process discussed informally at a recent meeting between representatives of the SRRA, MyRosedaleNeighborhood and the developer.
During the AGM, questions were asked about a letter written in July 2016 by the SRRA Heritage Subcommittee to City Heritage Preservation Services (HPS). This letter was written in response to a normal course request from HPS for comment on certain heritage issues. In keeping with prior longstanding practice, the Subcommittee communicated directly and independently with HPS. (The Board intends to reconsider this practice as it relates to any current and future planned multi-unit development projects).
Contrary to rumours apparently circulating in the community, this letter did not express general support for the development proposal but rather focused specifically on heritage issues, as opposed to the broader planning issues (e.g. height, density and trees) raised by the redevelopment of the Dale Avenue site. Subsequent to the Subcommittee’s July heritage letter, the developer acknowledged that the SRRA had not issued a letter of support for the development proposal (further details below). The SRRA recognizes that certain issues addressed in the July heritage letter need to be reconsidered and addressed by the SRRA Board based on input from a heritage expert. The July heritage letter is set out below.
Subsequently, in early August, the developer submitted a formal redevelopment application to the City for a 4-storey residential building with 26 dwelling units, together with a large number of studies and reports prepared by the developer to support its proposal.
Since that time an increasing number of South Rosedale residents have expressed serious concerns regarding the proposed development, and as noted above, community members expressed their concerns forcefully at the AGM.
In September, it came to the attention of the SRRA that the developer had advised some members of the community that the SRRA had written a letter supporting the developer’s application. This representation was incorrect, and the SRRA immediately demanded a retraction and passed by unanimous resolution a motion affirming that the Board at no time had expressed support for the development proposal. In its response, the developer apologized and acknowledged that no such letter of support had been written by the SRRA. After referring in some detail to the formal development proposal filed in August, the developer’s response to the SRRA stated as follows:
“…Naturally, the design is subject to further modification … through the normal processes that are typical of any development application.”
Over the past two months, as opposition to the Dale development has grown, the SRRA Board has devoted many hours of time and has held numerous internal discussions regarding the proposal, including in relation to all of the issues referred to above. As a result, on November 10, 2016 the SRRA issued a Statement of Principles regarding the proposal, approved by resolution of the Board. In this Statement of Principles the SRRA reiterated that it “has not supported, and does not support, the proposed Development in its current form.” This was emphasized on several occasions during the recent AGM.
The entire SRRA Board and a Board Subcommittee that is focused exclusively on the Dale development proposal are now considering all aspects of the proposal, including heritage issues. As stated at the AGM, the SRRA intends to retain professional services as may be required in connection with the proposed development, including the services of a heritage expert to assist the Board in determining its position on heritage issues. All relevant issues, including heritage, will be addressed by the SRRA Board.
Several members of the SRRA Board will be attending an informal follow-up meeting about Dale Avenue with Councillor Wong-Tam on Monday and will also be attending the community meeting at St. Simon-the-Apostle Church on Tuesday evening (7-9 PM).
As promised at the AGM, the SRRA looks forward to seeing interested community members at the Tuesday meeting and to working together over the next 10-12 months to respond responsibly and thoroughly to the South Rosedale community’s issues and concerns about this project. Above all, the SRRA is highly committed to achieving an outcome that meets the needs and wishes of the South Rosedale community.