Thelma and Spadina parking site gets additional spots
The site was once approved for controversial development
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier March 25)
It may have take 12 years, but more parking spots are coming to the heart of Forest Hill Village.
And all without a new development.
The Toronto Parking Authority got council permission to spend over $1 million to add an additional 11 spaces to the 43-space surface lot at the corner of Thelma Avenue and Spadina Road.
This would require purchasing the property at 457 Spadina Road from Sharon and Fred Green for $898,000 plus another $255,000 for construction and associated costs.
The $1.15 million price tag would come from the Parking Authority’s revenues and the money would be recovered through future parking fees. If approved, the expansion would result in a total of 54 surface spaces at the lot.
“It’s a good opportunity,” said Lorne Persiko, vice president of real estate and development for the authority. “We are expanding the lot. We will do significant greening. It will be good for the area and they (residents) don’t have to deal with a development.”
He is referring to the storied history of this site that dates back at least a dozen years.
Back in 1998 the city-owned Parking Authority received a petition from local business owners requesting additional parking spaces. A survey determined a 20 space parking shortfall.
In 2000, the authority sold the air rights at the site to First Spadina Inc. for a redevelopment and a 63-space underground lot.
Residents fought vehemently against the project that some viewed as unsuited for area.
That project ultimately failed before it was built because the developer did not meet contract conditions. So the status quo has remained until now.
St. Paul’s Councillor Michael Walker is pleased with the parking expansion plan.
“We have a significant shortfall of parking,” he said. “It’s detrimental to the business community and by extension the residents who shop and park here.”
Walker said if this project is approved an additional eight parking spaces are still needed.
“We will try and find ways to maximize more spaces on the street,” he said.
According to the Toronto Parking Authority’s report, the Forest Hill Village BIA supports the proposal.
Calls to the local business improvement area were not returned at press time.