‘Very dissatisfied with outcome of Planning and Housing Committee on Official Plan Change’ – Long Branch Neighbourhood Association

A previous post is entitled:

Higher Order Transit Corridor is being recommended along Lake Shore Blvd W. through Long Branch. Understand what it will mean to you.

The post provides details on how to apply for membership in the LBNA and provides background related to the message that follows below.

Following update is from the Long Branch Neighbourhood Association:

Christine Mercado and Ron Jaimeson of the LBNA deputed to the Planning and Housing Committee on Wednesday to request that Map 4 in the Official Plan Amendment (OPA) for Transportation be revised to remove Lake Shore Blvd W as a Higher Order Transit Corridor. But the Committee did not make this change and if nothing changes, it will be going to City Council for approval at the next Council meeting Feb 27th. In addition there were multiple letters to the Committee from residents and a deputation (also opposing Higher Order Transit on Lake Shore) by the Mimico Residents Association.

The Councillors on the Committee did not ask staff for clarification of any of the issues and concerns we raised. You can view the deputation here. See time stamp 2:24:52 – 2:36:20 for the deputations from Christine and Ron and 2:42:10 – 2:47:34 for the deputation from Mimico.

The video after the lunch break shows the Committee discussion on this topic.

Figure 1 – Map 4 – Higher Order Transit Corridors – Draft of Official Plan Amendment, City of Toronto, October 2019. Click on map to enlarge it.

The overwhelming majority of residents in South Etobicoke oppose this once they fully understand the implications. All the previous studies and public consultations that have ever been done do not support it. It is not a responsible use of scarce transit funds as it duplicates the GO line which is already a Higher Order Transit Corridor. Not a single study that has been done over the past 20-30 years have shown it is even physically feasible. This contradicts the recently City Council approved Waterfront Transit Reset Plan (2018).

Map of Waterfront Transit Reset Plan (2018). Click on map to enlarge it.

Even though no Higher Order Transit is planned or budgeted for out to the foreseeable future, based on the May 2019 Provincial Growth Strategy, by putting this in the Official Plan it will define 500 – 800m on either side of Lake Shore W throughout South Etobicoke immediately as a strategic growth area with no Growth Plan in place from the City to say it is not. This will allow, and in fact encourage, land investors and developers to overwhelm the South Etobicoke communities, including Long Branch, with Development applications to try to achieve the Provincially mandated intensification targets that go with this Official Plan designation.

While we are aware of the explanation being given by the Transportation Department that this designation on Map 4, showing Higher Order Transit along Lake Shore W through Long Branch, is merely intended to protect the corridor in case it is required for future use, in the meantime, it is already being exploited in TLAB Hearings by developers as a justification for intensifying in stable neighbourhoods and sets the stage for much more intensive intensification deeper into the neighbourhood with the 800 metre radius attached to this designation.

The implications of this OPA on our neighbourhood are significant and we are appalled that there was no public process put in place during the general public consultation to specifically inform our residents of this proposed change to the Official Plan and to provide the opportunity for meaningful input and representation from our community.

If no further action is taken this will be approved by City Council on Thursday, Feb 27th and it will become part of the Official Plan.

Our first step has already been taken. We have reached out to Councillor Grimes’ office who has in turn reached out to senior staff in Transportation and Planning. We are awaiting a reply and will update you shortly.

Please stay tuned as further action may be required early next week.

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