Possible redevelopment of the Dufferin Mall site has brought about strong community engagement in Dufferin Grove and Bloordale neighbourhoods. The mall owner and developer, Primaris REIT, filed an application to the City and then not long after they filed an application to the Local Planning and Appeals Tribunal (the LPAT) because they did not agree with the directions City Staff and my office were pointing to in terms of comprehensive site planning and not having too much of a shadow cast shadow over the new park and proposed neighbourhood to the North. Despite the appeal, the City hosted a public meeting in February to provide community members direction to inform City Planning’s position at the LPAT. Seeing plenty more room for community engagement, I convened a Working Group of members from the public meeting, local residents and stakeholder groups. The group continues to work with my office, city staff and consultants from the developer’s team to return maximum local benefits as a result of all this growth and intensification.
As you know, the Toronto District School Board sold the lands they owned at Bloor Street West and Dufferin Street to a developer. Since then I have worked with residents, community groups, City staff, the TDSB and the developer to secure all that we could for the community. The proposal includes 7 buildings with 2,162 units, an affordable housing building, a 30,000 sq. ft. community hub including a child care centre, a 38,000 sq ft. public park, a public plaza, new retail opportunities and the creation of a $17 million not for profit land trust which will see 50% of these funds spent in Davenport in support of community initiatives. The development application was approved in late 2019 and is now advancing through the final stages of the planning and building permitting process. I have been working over the summer to expedite the public benefit components of the project including the affordable housing building. I want to thank all residents that participated in the community consultations and the work of Build a Better Bloor Dufferin, Habitat for Humanity and St. Clares Multifaith.
The Final report has been issued at Toronto and East York Community Council, and construction is underway. I am pleased to share that there are a number of community benefits included in this project, including a new splash pad, a daycare and a $1.2m cash contribution toward affordable housing.
This project, once the subject of disagreement between the developer and the City, will be moving forward after we reached a settlement with the new owners at the Ontario Municipal Board (now known as the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal). City Planning worked closely with a new owner on the site to address community suggestions which allowed the settlement to be reached. A number of changes have been made:
In addition, we have secured the replacement of all rental units from the existing building to keep that supply available and I went the extra mile for tenants and negotiated a top-up rent supplement with the developer. Furthermore, I saved heritage elements (two terra cotta lion heads and a beautiful set of stained glass windows) that a local heritage expert outlined as having merit and donated through the architectural conservancy.
In March, City Planning staff tabled a preliminary report to Toronto and East York Community Council and worked with my office to schedule a community consultation. This work was delayed due to COVID-19, but a public engagement session was held virtually on September 2nd. In light of the feedback provided, the developer is working to refine their plans and City Planning will submit their final reportlater this year or early next year.
My office has been working closely with neighbouring Councillor Frances Nunziata, City Planning, local landowners and the broader community to take a comprehensive look at the St. Clair and Old Weston area, to see how we can make improvements to help people move around more conveniently and deliver substantial public infrastructure as a new community grows around what will become a regional/local transit hub.
City Planning staff have procured a consultant team and are moving forward with a community engagement process. We will be hosting public consultation meetings with property owner and other stakeholders, plus area residents throughout the autumn.
Residents familiar with this site will know that for years there was one owner – Castlepoint (also Castlepoint-Numa) – working on planning approvals through the Ontario Municipal Board and the City of Toronto. Late in 2019, the site was subdivided and a mix of residential (Marlon Spring) and office developers (Hines) have been brought on to develop parts of the site. Castlepoint remains the owner of the landmark Tower Automotive Building (now home to MOCA) and another smaller portion. Here are some key stats about the proposals as they stand: