Despite months of deferrals and a six hour debate, Toronto and East York Community Council still didn’t make a decision on a controversial condo proposal at 66 to 76 Kippendavie Avenue. It voted instead to refer the issue to city council without recommendation.
Leading up to the vote, it was unclear what would happen as council members had differing views on the project. Chair Gord Perks wanted to take city staff’s advice and approve the 65 unit project while Beach rep Mary-Margaret McMahon recommended rejecting it.
In the end, the body followed Councillor Janet Davis’s advice to punt the ball to April 12 city council meeting. But time is not on the city’s side as an Ontario Municipal Board hearing on the project has been scheduled for April 19.
Following the advice of councillors Pam McConnell and Paula Fletcher the city will hire a third party mediator to work on reaching a settlement on the outstanding issues between the residents and the developer, including reducing the unit count to 54 and requiring $10 million in insurance to cover any impacts on adjacent homes during construction, before council meets.
Perhaps the biggest concern of residents is the impact that the new building might have on the already existing basement flooding problem that sees raw sewage back up into homes about once a year.
“This development is too big and too problematic for this site,” area resident Greg Hobson told members of community council. “Kippendavie Avenue is essentially reclaimed swampland. There are several rivers running underneath it.”
Kippendavie Avenue resident Fiona Ara, who has asked for a moratorium on projects on Kippendavie until the city comes back with its solutions for basement flooding on the street, says she’s not against development, but just wants it done properly.
“I don’t want a building that I believe in the core of my heart is going to damage the infrastructure in the area, is too oversized and is too dense,” she said.
However, both the developer and city experts say the proposed condo building won’t make the flooding situation worse and may improve it as it will include a storm water retention tank sufficient to deal with volumes in the event of a 100 year storm such as the one severe experienced in 2005.
Beaches-East York rep McMahon is hopeful but not optimistic a settlement can be reached.
“It would be great if the two parties could figure things out but we have been working on it for a few months and are in a deadlock, but maybe this has been an eye opener,” she said in an interview.
She said her intention is ask city council to refuse this project. If that happens, the city would send a solicitor to the OMB to fight the proposal.
One of the problems working against the city is their own planning staff recommends approval and would likely be called as witnesses by the developer.
But an eleventh hour agreement is still possible.
“In my wildest dreams if they shaved off the fourth floor and had the terraces on the top of the third, I am sure the community would be happy with that,” said McMahon. “But in reality we need to be very concerned about the water on that street and the (city’s) environmental assessment is not complete.”