Wednesday, April 18, 2018

PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT, BRIMLEY-ELLESMERE CORNER


April 13th 2018

Letter to City Planning Staff Attention Emily Caldwell, MCIP, RPP

RE: PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT, BRIMLEY-ELLESMERE CORNER



Based on questions and comments from GACA members at our March 26th community meeting, the following issues are of concern to the community focusing on vehicular access, height and massing, density and community facilities as set out below.


1.       Vehicular Access

The property is so small and has such limited frontage on the public streets so close to the intersection that it must operate both vehicular accesses as in-right/out-right only driveways.

I am aware of only one developed property in our Centre which is restricted to only in-right/out-right access:

The Lay-Z-Boy furniture store on Progress Avenue. Not a lot of traffic compared to 262 residential apartments plus commercial and the Lay-Z-Boy store will soon be demolished for a TBM insertion shaft.

 There are a few other driveways restricted to in-right/out-right but these are secondary access such as the one from Progress to Canyon Creek and the secondary exit from the Tridel Consilium Towers garage onto the ramp up to McCowan signals.

 This kind of restricted access is terribly inconvenient to residents and service vehicles. Some will ignore the movement restrictions and try to force their way in/out with left hand turns.

 The driveway to/from Brimley is supposed to serve all delivery-pick-up for the apartments and the small bit of commercial floor space. This is also the garbage-recycling truck access driveway and serves some visitor parking.

I’m sure the condo board can schedule garbage-recycling truck pick up during off peak times. But deliveries by FedEx, Canada Post, Purolator, Meals-on-Wheels etc, all of which are becoming more prevalent ways of ‘shopping’ occur at all times of day.












 
Residents in need of the TTC’s wheel trans service to get to/from work travel during ‘rush hour’  which for Brimley and Ellesmere is about 2 ½ hours each weekday morning and evening.



Elementary age school children living in this building will more than likely be bused to/from schools in the broader community each day. The Public Board estimates 262 units would generate about 58 public elementary school children. I have not seen an estimate from the Separate School Board.


 
None of these vehicles will use the Brimley driveway. They are going to load-unload in the public streets.

 The Brimley driveway will be all but useless even for in-right/out-right during the extended parts of the day when traffic is backed up southbound right up the hill and through the lights at Omni-Golden Gate.
                        
Typical Evening Traffic Southbound on Brimley Road at Ellesmere.
Backed up to and sometimes through the signals at Golden Gate


The ‘main’ driveway to/from Ellesmere will be controlled access with a card reader or some similar device.  The Ground Floor Plan in the architectural submission indicates there are 37 visitor parking spaces at this level within the controlled access garage. It’s not clear where the control gates are located on this driveway but the total distance to the garage door from the street line is +\- 14 meters. We’ve all seen it: someone has forgotten/misplaced their parking card, a visitor buzzes the person they are visiting and no-one is home. More residents’ vehicles arrive and pull in behind them. What happens? How many vehicles does it take before someone is stuck blocking the sidewalk or hanging out onto the through lanes on Ellesmere? Who backs out over the sidewalk?

The sort of “Who cares about vehicle congestion? Everyone walks cycles or takes transit anyway!” attitude of some architects and planners may work in downtown Toronto. That part of the city has an incredibly rich transit environment and all sorts of ‘walk to/cycle to’ commercial and employment opportunities.

Those conditions do not exist in Scarborough. Even with the subway extension to our Centre and eventual full development of our Centre as a dense urban area, arterial roads like Brimley and Ellesmere are still vitally important to all our residents as to way to work, shopping, day care, and a thousand other trips each year.

Glen Andrew is concerned therefore that this site is too small to appropriately handle the vehicle access requirements of 262 residential units.
                                                                                   






Tuesday, April 17, 2018


2.      Height and Massing

The applicant proposes an “L” shaped building.



One side of the “L” is 15 storeys: the other is 11 storeys.



They have chosen to locate the taller side of the “L”, the 15 storey side, along the Brimley frontage. Which places it directly opposite the Forest Mansion condo residential units on the east side of Brimley.



 
 One part of the Forest Mansion condo is a 12 storey apartment building with end units facing west but the majority of Forest Mansion’s Brimley frontage is built with 3 – 31/2 storey townhomes.



The townhomes are ‘back-to-back’ units which
means the units on the west side have their only windows facing west over Brimley Road.


















From the building face to the Forest Mansion Townhouses to the  proposed east face of the 15 storey apartment is +\- 45m. Based on Plan A3.2 in the Architect’s submission it appears that the building across  the street from the Forest Mansion townhomes will be 51.25m above the level of Brimley… about 4 times the height






Glen Andrew therefore asks Staff to very carefully assess the impact of the applicant’s proposal on views and sunlight available to the Forest Mansion townhomes. We think it is appropriate for Staff to challenge the architect to place more of the building mass along the Ellesmere side of the “L” and correspondingly less along the Brimley side to achieve a more appropriate relationship. Ellesmere is a wider thoroughfare and on the south side opposite this proposed development is the Petro Canada station which is not a sensitive land use.
 Your Official Plan gives Staff all the authority it needs to assess relative building heights and request changes to achieve built form compatibility:
3. A SENSE OF PLACE
3.1 Urban Design
Built Form – Tall Buildings

Tall buildings must fit within their context and minimize impacts on surrounding properties. An analysis of appropriate building heights for new development within the Centre will be an important part of the planning review process.

3.     Density
We have to ask why a density of over 5 times lot area is appropriate for this site.

Your Official Plan policies encourages:
 “Higher density residential uses adjacent to the SRT and the proposed Sheppard Subway stations…” [Policy 1.4 (c ) Principles for Success –Scarborough Centre Secondary Plan]

and states,

a)     The highest density of new development will be encouraged to locate on sites that are adjacent to rapid transit stations, having consideration for the planning, urban design and built form policies and objectives of the Official Plan and this Secondary Plan. [Policy (c ) Precinct Policies, Section 4.6.]

So if density is supposed to go up in close proximity to rapid transit stations, and our SRT station is ‘moving’ east to become a subway station on McCowan Road… and to date there is no Sheppard Subway Station in our Centre…and if there were it would be in/under the McCowan Subway Station almost 900m away from Brimley-Ellesmere…and since development proposals east of McCowan much closer to the McCowan Subway Station, like Menkes-Kevrik, Simpsons, Fieldgate, are approved or in the process at 5.0, 5.79 and 5.9…why is 5.07 appropriate for Brimley-Ellesmere? How does that achieve a density transition from rapid transit stations?
 What is the density of Forest Mansion? How does that compare with what is proposed even farther from the rapid transit stations?
4.      Community Facilities

The property is in what City Planning calls the Brimley Precinct of the Scarborough Centre Plan. That means development is subject to the policies of the Brimley Precinct Plan.
 Here’s what your Official Plan says about the importance of good quality community facilities:

4.6.3 The Brimley Precinct
Like other healthy communities, the Brimley Precinct will include land uses such as parks and open spaces, schools and community services and facilities that contribute to the health of the Precinct’s residential and employment focus.
The Brimley Precinct Policies:

                (a) The Brimley Precinct will be a focus for residential and employment growth together with uses such as parks and open spaces, and community services and facilities, concentrated along the Brimley Corridor.

                (b) Within the Brimley Precinct, the provision of community services and facilities including, but not limited to the following, are promoted:
                 
                i. a multi-purpose, community service space for a range of programs, including: a     community health centre, youth drop-in centre, seniors centre and an employment training centre; and
                ii. licensed non-profit child care facility(s).
              
                (c ) A public connection to the Bendale Branch of Highland Creek, west of Brimley Road to provide a pedestrian walkway/pathway to the watercourse area and to link with the open space area and pathway system south of Ellesmere Road is encouraged.
 
4.9 Community Services and Facilities
A strong network of community services and facilities is essential to developing a highly functioning and livable Scarborough Centre. It is also essential for creating a sense of community.

The residential and employment growth and change expected in the Centre will need to be balanced with the timely provision of community services and facilities to support the current and future residents and workers.

The development of additional facilities will ensure community access to publicly-owned facilities for social, meeting, recreational, cultural and educational purposes.

POLICIES
                (a) Community services and facilities will be:
                i. delivered to support residential and employment growth;
                ii. located in close proximity to the resident and worker population that they serve;

                Community services and facilities priorities for the Centre include, but are not limited to:
                i. child-care centre(s) for infants to school-age children;
                ii. a neighbourhood library;
                iii. a public elementary school;
                iv. the expansion of the existing Catholic elementary school facilities;
                v. a parent and child resource centre;
                vi. the coordination of the delivery of services to Centre residents; and
                vii. the identification of opportunities to establish partnerships with other levels of government, agencies, school and library boards and local service agencies to assist in the provision of community services.
                 
6. A CONNECTED GREEN SPACE
Parks and Open Spaces
With a planned increase in residential and worker population over the next 30 years in the Centre, the existing supply of parks and open spaces will need to be improved and expanded to meet increased demand. Programmable park space for both passive and active uses is needed within the Centre.

More quotes from your Official Plan:

A strategy for the acquisition and improvement of public parkland, open spaces and recreational facilities within Centre will be developed.
POLICIES
6.1 New development in the Precincts will create the need for additional park(s) to be delivered to support growth.
6.2 New parkland will be created and/or existing parkland will be expanded or enhanced.

6.9 New public parks, capable of accommodating a variety of passive or active uses in each of the McCowan and Brimley Precincts, will be encouraged.


Lot of words. Lot of promises.

But none of these facilities which the Official Plan says are “ essential to developing a highly functioning and livable Scarborough Centre”…” essential for creating a sense of community.” …none of them exist in the Brimley Precinct.

There is no child care facility, profit or non-profit, in the Precinct. The applicant’s community facilities study says:
·         All 123 spaces in Squirrel’s Nest, the nearest day care, are already taken: No Vacancy!
·         The Scarborough YMCA Junior day care’s 64 spaces are fully occupied: NO Vacancy!
·         Rosalie Hall Day care’s 63 spaces are fully occupied: No Vacancy!
·         The Not Your Average Day Care centre on Centennial College Progress campus’s 37 space are fully occupied: No Vacancy!
There is no “multi-purpose, community service space” in the Precinct.
There isn’t a square inch of public parkland west of Brimley.
We are not aware of any “strategy” for acquiring new parkland.


In fact the one piece of property the city did own in our Centre which would have made an amazing public park and community recreation centre…5.3 acres right on McCowan Road between Bushby Drive and Progress Avenue…and now right across the street from the future subway station…WAS SOLD TO BUILD TORONTO FOR $10 IN 2011…in the hope that Build Toronto which sold it to a developer for $22.6Million would pay ‘dividends’ to the City. If there have been any ‘dividends’ they have not been used to buy new parkland in our Centre!
 These policies were all recommended by Staff and approved by Council in 2005. Thirteen years later and none of these “essential” public services have been delivered.
 The lack of ‘essential’ community facilities has been documented several times. City Planning retained consultants in 2009 to look at community facilities in central Scarborough when you were doing the Markham-Ellesmere Intensification Study. The two key recreation centres serving the area, Centennial and Mid Scarborough, were both described as having all programs either ‘well attended or at capacity’.

Has Council voted the monies required to deliver these essential facilities? Not as far as we can see.
 
The Recreation Parks and Culture Departments spending plans to the year 2027 show $3.1Billion in projects they want to deliver across the city. Of the ones that have definite locations, only 2.2% are located anywhere in Scarborough. Spending plans for central Scarborough which might help with these ‘essential’ services include $2.2Million for development of the city’s lands at 705 Progress. Bearing in mind that a modest sized community centre can cost +\-$9 – 10Million or more, then $2.2 isn’t going to get us much.

The developer’s Community Facilities Study quotes Lora Mazzoca, Planner at Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation as stating that there has been no funding identified in the approved 2017-2026 capital budget for improvements to facilities within these wards.

So our question to Staff in assessing this proposal is if these services are “essential to developing a highly functioning and livable Scarborough Centre”…and are” essential for creating a sense of community” …but none of them exist in the Brimley Precinct and there is no funding available in capital budgets stretching out to 2027…how can you approve construction of another 262 residential units at Brimley and Ellesmere?













                                                                           

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Glen Andrew Learns About the Fieldgate Project





Glen Andrew Learns About the Fieldgate Project





Really good community meeting
for Glen Andrew Community
residents last night.

Over 50 people came out to hear
Mr. Craig Cal present plans for the redevelopment of the north
east corner of Progress
Avenue and Consilium Place.








Craig is a Scarborough guy. He's working for Urban strategies Inc, planning consultants for the owner, Fieldgate. Really great to have a professional who knows the area come out and show us their plans. This is a massive project with over 2,200 apartments and townhouses which will take years for approvals marketing and construction. Plans include new streets, pedestrian paths and a new public park as well as street front commercial along Consilium Place.





Missed the meeting? Want to learn more about Fieldgate’s plans?

 All of the plans and studies prepared by the applicant are on file with the City Planners in our Civic Centre. If you want to look through any of these you can call our City Planner, Kelly Dynes at 416-396-4250 or email her at Kelly.dynes@toronto .ca to make an appointment.

 All the studies and plans are available on line at the City Planning web site. Go to


Select the blue text which reads “Application Information Centre

Click on the blue box which reads “Application Information Centre

A new page will come up with a map of Toronto on the right hand side. On the left side click on “Scarborough” under City District….under Ward click on “Ward 38”…and then click on “Search”.

 Up will come a bunch of blue pins on the map and you can zoom in on our Scarborough Centre and click on the pin on the north east corner of Progress and Consilium Place…670 Progress… and a box will appear.

Click on “Learn More

Another box will appear with a title “Supporting Documentation”. Click on that and up comes a list of all the studies submitted by the applicant.

 The Planning Rationale contains all of the graphics which Craig used last night to present their proposal.

 You can download any-all of these as PDF’s to read or save as you wish.

 You may leave your comments with City Planning by clicking on the box with the speech bubble and pen near the bottom of this page.

 If you want to learn more about any of the applications in Ward 38 just back up one step to the map with the blue pins and click on another one.

 This and other proposals like the one for the old Simpsons stamping plant lands and our proposed city park/school just to the east at 705 Progress, and Mr. Goldman’s plans for the grassy field just north of the McCowan SRT Station will change the face of our Centre east of McCowan. Glen Andrew is committed to working with our Councillors, our Staff and the applicants to make sure these are the very best we can achieve for our Scarborough Centre.



Iain McLeod,

President, Glen Andrew Community Association.                                                             March 27, 2018.