Kippendavie in limbo

Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon discusses some of the residents’ issues with Ward 19 Councillor Mike Layton. After 13 deputations on March 23, the Toronto East York Community Council could not agree on a recommendation for the Kippendavie development proposal, and sent it to the April 12 City Council meeting. Photo: Phil Lameira

After listening to more than a dozen residents, going through over 200 letters of objection, and debating for over four hours, the Kippendavie development proposal has been sent to City Council by the Toronto/East York Community Council (TEYCC) with no recommendation.

On March 22, one after the other, local residents each spoke to the TEYCC on the various issues they believe will be impacted by the proposed development at 66-76 Kippendavie Ave. All the while, councillors consulted with each other and with city staff in hopes making the most informed decision.

Residents argued that potential for flooding was one of the biggest issues. Community members suggested that the footprint of the development could potentially prevent water from being drained away when it could flow onto the streets, adding to an already existing flooding problem.

But after a study, the city’s Technical Services staff concluded that the tank which will be built under the development will in fact help the current flooding issues on Kippendavie Avenue.

“It’s not very many developers who’ll come up with a novel solution that will actually make the storm water flow off the property better after the development than it is before the development,” said Ward 14 Councillor Gord Perks, who voted in favour of the staff’s recommendation to approve the development.

The other issue that has residents reluctant to support the development is the density the building would bring to the street and neighbourhood. The developers have been requested by the TEYCC to keep the density to 54 units, and the building to not exceed four storeys in height.

The decision will now move to City Council on April 12th for a final decision.

In the meantime, the TEYCC has made a recommendation that the parties come together in a mediated meeting and try to agree on 13 key issues. Issues include having the developers give the city $150,000 for parkland development and $100,000 to be used exclusively for water, stormwater and sanitary infrastructure in the immediate area.

Asked about how frustrating the entire process has been, developer Dino Longo said “We’ve been extremely patient, but, it’s a tough one.”

Longo said he looks forward to meeting with community members, something he’s been willing to do since the beginning of the process. “We are interested in working through the mediator to find a resolution,” said Longo.

Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, who has been supportive of the community members and has been, according to Kew Beach Neighbourhood Association (KBNA) members, a great advocate for their cause, is keeping her hopes up that an agreement can be achieved prior to April 12th.

“You’re talking to the eternal optimist, so there’s always a chance [both sides will come to an agreement],” said Councillor McMahon.

Bill Burrows, spokesperson for the KBNA, is also hopeful that the mediation process will address key issues and resolve them.

“It’s not our objective to stop this building. Our objective is to have a responsible development that doesn’t overwhelm the street, the infrastructure, and everything else,” said Burrows.

The residents have been very vocal on the issue. Some of the councillors were impressed by the over 220 letters received.

“You are champs,” said Councillor Perks of their cumulative effort.

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