Don Mills condo plan rejected by city

Plan for multiple condos and $17 mil rec centre rejected by city
Developer will take case to the Ontario Municipal Board
(Originally written Oct. 2 for Town Crier.)
By Kris Scheuer and Karolyn Coorsh

SIMONE GABBAY of Don Mills Friends called the offer made by Cadillac Fairview a bribe. Photo by Kris Scheuer.

The deal is off the table. 
Cadillac Fairview has withdrawn its offer to build a $17 million community centre after council rejected the developer’s application to build a series of residential condos near Lawrence Ave. East and Don Mills Rd.
The community centre was proposed as an added benefit to phase 2 of Cadillac Fairview’s plan to redevelop the Don Mills Centre. 
The condominium buildings would range from 12-26 storeys, and bring a total of 1,387 units to the neighbourhood. 
Councillors voted 17-16 to reject the settlement offer at council on Oct. 1, also defeating the application itself.
Area councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong ultimately voted against it, saying the residential plans are too dense, an opinion the city planners working on the application shared. 
“I don’t agree that we should look at this as simply getting a community centre,” he said during council debate on the matter. “This is first and foremost a planning application that will define Don Mills for years to come so we need to get it right.”The close defeat came as a disappointment to Terry West, president of the Don Mills Residents Inc, who said the community at-large supported the deal. 
“A community centre is very, very important and this was probably the only chance we have to get one,” he said. “There’s no land available and there’s no money available from the city.” 
Councillor Cliff Jenkins, who voted in favour of a settlement offer, echoed West’s sentiment. 
“This was an opportunity for the city to possibly get the biggest community benefit that’s ever been achieved on a development application in the city and we turned it down,” he said.  
Not all affected residents were disappointed with the results. 
Simone Gabbay, of Don Mills Friends, a group who have been vocal opponents of the proposed plans for Don Mills Centre, called the offer a bribe. 
“I’m personally pleased and relieved that this project has been put on hold and that councillors had the wisdom and the courage to fall back on good planning principles rather than be enticed by a golden carrot,” she said. “The price for it was just too high, literally. Those condominiums were just too high.
“We would have been in a condo jungle,” she added. “A very oppressive development that would have been totally out of character for Don Mills.”
West said he thinks the development will happen with or without the community centre, as the application is now already before the Ontario Municipal Board. 
“It’s very likely the OMB will award them what they want because it matches completely the provincial guidelines, (which) says intensification has got to take place in the city,” West said. 
After the vote Cadillac Fairview’s lawyer Jeff Davies confirmed to reporters the developer is dropping the offer.  
“Cadillac Fairview has made it very clear that after at least five years of negotiations that this is the end,” he said. “And now the matter will be dealt with by the Ontario Municipal Board.”

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