Part 9 - "Double Duty"
Eestlased Kanadas 17 Nov 2017 Allan MeiusiEWR
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Property owners in favour of the Broadview Development Plan and those, like Estonian House, looking for relief from its restrictions will meet again at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) on November 23rd. Participants will come together at a pre-hearing to finalize an issues list, clarify everyone’s general stance on the matter and lay out the ground rules for debate. Estonian House Limited (EHL), The Governing Council of the Salvation Army and Gordian Foods Limited (Whistlers) are appealing the City’s Broadview Development Plan.

There have been a couple of changes since the initial applications were submitted to the OMB. The original position advanced by EHL was written when Alterra was part of a joint community centre and condo development. But that deal has since been publicly terminated. A couple of months ago Gordian Foods sold their lands and buildings. A chunk of land starting at the north-east corner of Mortimer and Broadview and going north to the Sobeys, bordering Westwood Ave, has the potential of becoming a sizeable retail and residential project. Groups such as the Chester Hill Residents Association, Helliwell Place Residents’ Association, Playter Area Residents’ Association as well as almost a dozen other participants should get a better idea of what EHL plans to do with 958 Broadview and how the northeast corner at Mortimer could change. Years from now two sides of Broadview, a little over a city block from each other, could have dueling condo developments.

In May 2016 surrogates for EHL wrote to the City of Toronto that: “Estonian House has been located on Broadview Avenue for over 55 years, and wishes to remain in this location as part of the community into the future and to evolve into a true cultural hub.” That letter, signed by planning consultant Peter Smith of Bousfields, was included as part of the EHL’s application to the OMB. Obviously, that position may be evolving. On October 30th Annex and Harbord Village Residents’ Associations heard from David Kalm that the Madison Project may be ready to put shovels in the ground in the third-quarter of next year. That being the case, the “cultural hub” will be moving to the Annex and the Estonian House will no longer be “located on Broadview Avenue.

It will be up to those representing EHL to explain why 958 Broadview should be able to go beyond the 6 storey height limit even though EM2 won’t be part of the development. It will also be interesting to see who continues to represent EHL in the OMB process. At the first pre-hearing, attorney Johnathan Cheng of Stikeman Elliott LLP represented EHL. Stikeman’s was also the law firm representing Alterra’s interests in the original application materials to the OMB. Will Mr. Cheng continue representing EHL even though Alterra is no longer a “co-“ or supporting applicant in regard to 958 Broadview? How about Peter Smith of Bousfields? On October 30th Mr. Smith was part of the team that made a well received presentation to the Annex and Harbord residents’ associations regarding the Estonian Centre on Madison. Now that Mr. Smith is working on the intricate site plan approval, Heritage Preservation Service and Committee of Adjustments processes for the benefit of the Madison Project, is EHL’s OMB hearing preparation double duty? Toronto-Estonians became familiar with Mr. Smith when he was contracted to help with planning and preparing to keep the Estonian House on Broadview. Now Mr. Smith has to turn 180 degrees to help explain to the OMB why EM2 on Broadview can’t be facilitated while helping Toronto-Estonians and local Madison residents understand why the “Estonian Centre” on Madison is a great project. Sometimes advocating for the client(s) can be challenging.

On Broadview the client wants to be able to build beyond 6 stories even though it means going outside of a plan advocated by local City Councillor Mary Fragedakis after a lengthy public consultation process. On Madison, the clients are proposing a 2 storey centre that respects a 12 meter height restriction and enjoys public support from Ward 20 Councillor Joe Cressy. Is it possible that Broadview may get approval to go higher than 6 stories in order to make a 2 storey project more feasible on Madison? That might be a political question for Fragedakis and Cressy. In the meantime, a planning consultant may have to modify their client’s story. The new story might go something like:
“…we were staying, but now we look like we’re going… if you (OMB) help us make this property on Broadview more valuable with air rights, we can move to Madison where we don’t have to worry about anything higher than 12 meters.”

For those interested in following the OMB process, the information is as follows:

Ontario Municipal Board (Toronto), Pre-Hearing
Address: 655 Bay Street, 16th Floor Toronto
Matter: OPA 343, Broadview Ave Planning Study, Case # PL 160686
Date: November 23, 2017
Time: 10:00am
Scheduled: No more than 1 Day
Appellants: Gordian Foods Limited, The Estonian House in Toronto Limited, The Governing Council of the Salvation Army in Canada

Ontario Municipal Board (Toronto), Hearing
Address: 655 Bay Street, 16th Floor Toronto
Matter: OPA 343, Broadview Ave Planning Study, Case # PL 160686
Date: Monday, April 9, 2018
Time: 10:00 am
Scheduled: 10 days have been set aside for the hearing.
Appellants: Gordian Foods Limited, The Estonian House in Toronto Limited, The Governing Council of the Salvation Army in Canada

The letters that were part of Estonian House Limited’s original OMB application are available here.

Allan Meiusi
EWR Contributor

Toronto Eesti Maja tulevik
Madison Project “Due Diligence” Part 1
Madison Project “Due Diligence” Part 2
Madison Project “Due Diligence” Part 3 – School Season Neighbours
Part 4 - "Déjà vu all over again"
Part 5 – "Cash out, but will it cash in?”
Part 6 – "11 Madison: Check the box.”
Part 7 – "Tired, but still solid.”
Part 8 - "Whose House Is It Anyway?"
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