Residents, Councillor Pasternak not a fan of townhouse plan
(Written for Town Crier Jan.4)
A plan to add almost 200 townhouses to a quiet enclave in North York is drawing the ire of nearby residents, who say they want the land to remain as green space.
The Toronto District School Board sold vacant land at 55 Antibes Drive to developer Menkes, which has proposed 197 condo townhouses.
If approved, the development will feature 16 units facing Antibes and 181 townhouses accessed from a new public road.
The grassy site is northwest of Finch and Bathurst and residents have been using the property as a playing field especially as it is directly east of Antibes Park. Resident Harold Raven has helped organize neighbours to fight the project.
“The community as a whole objects to the redevelopment of the site,” the Antibes resident says. “It is green space.”
With the oval-shaped neighbourhood lined with narrow roads, condos, highrise apartments and townhouses, Raven said the area is high density already.
“Traffic is horrific now, If you get 197 town homes with 300 cars it will turn the traffic problem into a nightmare,” he said.
But Menkes vice president Mark Karam said their proposal is not overly dense and won’t exasperate traffic problems. “It’s in an established neighbourhood with high demand for housing,” said Karam.
“What we are proposing isn’t particularly dense.”
He said some developers would likely have proposed several high rises with 400 to 600 units. A new road that’s part of the project should help keep traffic in control, he said.
When Menkes first applied to redevelop the site in the summer, residents organized a petition and as of Dec. 22 there were about 700 signatures opposing the development, Raven said.
Besides the additional traffic congestion, Raven raised concerns about whether the existing sewage infrastructure can handle additional capacity, as the area has experienced basement flooding and sewage back-up.
And he questions if the local schools like nearby Rockford Public School, can accommodate additional children.
Newly elected area councillor James Pasternak was the local school trustee, so he’s familiar with the project.
He too, is concerned about the plan. “It doesn’t have the support of the community. The density is too high. I will insist on a public forum in a large venue.”
However, Pasternak said capacity at local schools is not a pressing concern. While Rockford Public School is quite full, it’s not at capacity. And there’s room at Fisherville Junior High. In fact, Pasternak said, there’s a separate proposal for an alternative school at Fisherville to beef up enrollment, he said.
While some residents worry this development will also mean the loss of the city park next door to 55 Antibes, Pasternak said that won’t happen. “Not a blade of grass in that park will be touched.” A few preliminary community meetings have been held with residents, the developer and city representatives.
A planning report going to North York Community Council Jan. 18 calls for a public meeting that will be scheduled this spring.
Pasternak is hosting a Ward 10 meet and greet Jan. 25 at the Antibes Community Centre (140 Antibes Drive) at 6:45 p.m. RSVP at 416-392-1371.