Information was provided on the re-zoning of industrial land to residential and the resulting loss of jobs of which the Christie Plant closer is an example. Speakers were John Cartwright of Toronto and York Labour Council, Peter Milczyn Councillor for Etobicoke Centre, Jim Reekie President of the Humber Bay Shores Association and by phone Jennifer Keesmaat Chief of City Planning.
The Province has legislation that requires the city protect industrial lands from re-zoning. However this restriction must be reviewed every five years. This review is occurring now. There is an accumulation of 100 re-zoning applications for review. City council will oppose 95% of these applications. The applicant can then go to the OMB but Peter feels the OMB will rule with council. Property zoned residential is far more valuable than those zoned industrial. Property owners increase the value of there property even if they don’t intend to build residential. Despite the conversion of industrial land to residential there is an increase in industrial jobs in Toronto. The new young workforce wants to live in Toronto where the action is and don’t want to travel to the suburbs to work. There has been some successful stories: Consumers Glass to a film studio, keeping Walmart out of the Portlands.
Christie Biscuits Plant closing
The Christie Plant situation is that in the notice given to the city the owner wants to sell the property for the building of 27 condo towers. The mayor has informed them that the council will not allow the sale of the land for even 10 towers. The purpose of the announced close-down may be to just to get the re-zoning during this review period or to get tax concessions.
The transportation, schools, infrastructure and utilities in the area can’t handle the population in the condos already built and approved.
The 500 jobs may not be saveable but if the area stays industrial we may end up with many more jobs.
We must remember that the information was from three perspectives that would naturally be against the change from industrial.
My personal opinion of the programme is that, outside of the 5 call-ins, it as factual an informed as any of the University lectures I have attended on planning.