Peter Riedel comments regarding the closing of Mr. Christie’s
A July 7, 2016 post is entitled:
On July 12, 2016 Toronto City Council Agenda: Investigation Report Regarding Conduct of Ward 6 Councillor Mark Grimes
[End of update]
Peter Riedel has shared the following comments:
Surprise, surprise, surprise. Within hours of the announcement of the closing of the Mr. Christie plant talk of another massive condo project was already in the air. Mondelez Canada is already looking to rezone the property for residential use, with a massive development concept for 27 condo towers.
No matter this is already the highest and one of the densest condo communities in Canada but now sights are set to squeeze even more condos into that small area.
No matter the roads are already clogged at times of day, caked with mud and air filled with dust clouds but it will be impossible to widen streets to accommodate the hundreds if not thousands of new cars that will soon appear.
I attended the meeting put on by Zeidler Arcitects and its Chief Architect and heard the topic of shadow effect brought up by him. It seems that shadow effect is only of concern until 3:00 PM. God forbid that the cars along Lake Shore Blvd W will have to drive in shadow.
Not ONCE was the Humber Bay shoreline itself brought up and the fact that the entire strip of shoreline from Park Lawn east to Palace Pier Court (yes, that is 1 kilometre) will be in perpetual shadow come late afternoon through sunset because of this gauntlet of glass towers.
So hurry down and catch a sunset while you can because these 30, 40 and 66 (not [a]62 storey Eau de Soleil [condo] as was mentioned at the same meeting) storey buildings will block out the pleasures of a sunset cutting the sun off no less than 4-5 hours in late spring and summer. Why the shadow effect was mentioned for Lake Shore Blvd W and not the shoreline is beyond me.
It seems that for all the bikers, joggers, roller bladers and those strolling on the shore, their sunset loss is of no concern. The majority of those who use the shoreline and the paths during the week do so at the end of the work day. That place to relax and unwind will soon be sunset free thanks to the frenzied building projects.
The simple fact is that from Oakville to Oshawa there is no other area on Lake Ontario’s shoreline (excepting the downtown core of Toronto) as dense or as high with condos that looms over our shoreline. There seems to be no height restrictions and there seems to be no concern for street planning and density. Simply build more and more.
When is enough enough?!
Urban Toronto article concerning Eau Du Soleil
Peter Riedel has shared with us a link concerning the Eau Du Soleil development located between Mr. Christie’s Bakery and the Humber Bay shoreline.
Urban Toronto also announcement the closing of Mr. Christie’s.
It’s time for all residents to band together to stop the rezoning.
I asked a person, who like many people has more knowledge about these topics than I have, whether she thinks there is value in offering community input regarding the review of the Official Plan. Her advice was along the following lines:
With regards to the Official Plan, she thinks it tends to be a broader focus than what we are looking for with the bakery. The developers will be making an application for an amendment to the land use, and at that point, will be required to have community consultations.
“Mobilizing the community in advance will be key. It’s something that should be done in conjunction with Mark Grimes’ office,” she remarked. “It will make the community voice that much stronger.”
She also remarked that important that the community voice appear reasonable and willing to work with the landowner: Simply saying no or stonewalling will frustrate the landowner, can lead to confrontational meetings, and can be more detrimental in the long run, in her view. She added: While it is important that we voice our concerns, we should not appear as NIMBY’s.
I found these comments of value. There is so much value in engaging in ongoing conversations about these topics.
You don’t have to spend a very long time exploring the recent developments along and nearby the Humber Bay shoreline to realize the evolution of the vertical suburb that is emerging there. The massing, height and distancing of the condominiums along that stretch of waterfront conveys an impression of a building storage depot where towers are temporarily placed and awaiting shipment to other locations in the city. Unfortunately that’s not the case. What you see is what you get: a mass of residential towers plunked in what looks to be a random fashion along the waterfront. What’s more, there is little in the way of retail development to serve the growing population in the area. Also missing is commercial space for employment, and room for services necessary to a growing community. Presently, most of those things must be accessed by automobile.
The intensity of development proposed for the Mister Christie’s site would appear to be following the same pattern: a concentration of a large number of buildings with little consideration given to planning or building a coherent community or an engaging neighbourhood. There are already a number of developments nearby that hint of what is to become of this area – and it is not particularly inviting.
Developers are now very skilled in identifying the narrow market segments where their condominium apartment products will have their greatest appeal: singles and couples who are looking to live near the city before moving off elsewhere to raise a family. As a result, buildings are sold on the basis of “lifestyle” and the vague allure of condo living. Typically, families need not apply when considering these new developments. There is little in the way of new schools, libraries, community centres or transit for the population. The lack of diverse retail means driving to shop, few restaurants means driving for a meal out, and employment lies elsewhere. Such an environment may also not be particularly appealing to many seniors either, for many of the same reasons. In short, the most notable quality of this emerging community is the lack of the physical necessities or critical mass of mixed-housing, diverse stores, offices, and services that are essential to defining a coherent community neighbourhood.
The other loss is the Christie site itself, and the reality of losing employment lands in the city. The elimination of the plant and the wholesale rezoning for single use (residential) means little opportunity for evolving a mixed-use living environment (live-work). Given the pattern already established in the area, the limitations of this type of development will only become more obvious as the pattern is replicated and expanded in the area: the high-rise suburb – with the worst connotations being emphasized.
The city gets stuck with this kind of development for a number reasons. Unbridled development, poor planning, lack of political will and a populace unsure about what to do and in no way united on a way to proceed. That said, city planning should never be left to developers solely interested in marketing lifestyle and making a profit selling units. In turn, city planners should take responsibility to push developers to recognize the qualities that contribute to creating engaging neighbourhoods (Toronto has some very nice examples to emulate), and some of those planners should reacquaint themselves with the necessary elements of good planning for people and sustainable communities. Citizens should ask themselves about what is best for the long term, and demand that development be about city-building, and not about “development.” Finally, city councilors should aim to engage people in the act of building for the future rather than rubber-stamping buildings for present market needs. Nothing less than the city itself is at stake.