Saving the ravine – for the third time

Will you help our community save the Glen Davis Ravine?

The Glen Davis Ravine is on the north side of Kingston Road just west of Main Street. Thanks to the dedication of Beach residents, it was designated a ravine by the City in 1988. When developers sought to set that designation aside in 1990 at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), the residents defended the ravine designation at the OMB.   The residents won.  But now, shockingly, 21 years later, many of those same residents are again incredulously fighting the same fight – for the third time – to save the same ravine.

A new developer, Kingston Road Development Corporation, has applied to build a 47 unit six-story condominium with three floors of underground parking – carved in the side of the ravine.   The current zoning allows four stories. The developer, however, has applied for six, and seeks approval to build well into the ravine.

On Sept. 29 The Friends of Glen Davis Ravine appeared before the OMB to give witness testimony.  That included testimony that residents had fought this battle at the OMB in 1990 and won. We asked the OMB to please uphold its former decision.  We submitted that to allow a protected ravine to be developed is a giant step backwards. It sets the wrong precedent under the City’s Ravine and Natural Feature Protection by-law. It makes the by-law meaningless.

We testified that the proposed building encroaches significantly down the slope of the ravine.  The huge shadow caused by the building prevents any real reforestation. The extra two stories are toxic to birds as this is a migratory bird route.  The ravine hosts wildlife – groundhogs, fox, even a deer.

Further, those residents at the base of the ravine – on Glen Davis Crescent – will experience a large loss of light, and significant shadow for most of the year. Car lights will shine through their bedroom windows as cars slope down the steep Kingston Road driveway.  Privacy will be lost as condominium balconies overlook residents’ homes and yards.  Serious concerns were raised regarding noise, garbage trucks at the back platforms, waste from balconies, release of water flows (including polluted water) after storm periods, flood impacts, and soil erosion.  In place of a ravine, residents will have a fortress-like retaining wall some 30 feet high. From the base of the ravine the proposed condominium will tower some 80 feet.  The emotional impact is enormous.

Every elected representative in our ward is against this development.  Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon wrote to the OMB and stated: “This project will cause the physical removal of a segment of this ravine which will be trucked away.” Former Councillor Sandra Bussin stated: “…the impact of this development flies in the face of the by-law”…and…”the mistakes of the past should not be repeated today.” MPP Michael Prue has attended every fundraiser, also attended by MP Matthew Kellway.

But the OMB has the statutory authority to decide  – not our elected representatives or our communities. And the OMB historically favours developers. Further, the City of Toronto is no longer defending the ravine. So it is left to the residents to carry the fight and finance the battle.  That is why we need your help.  Our experts will testify on Nov. 7 at the OMB to challenge the developer and preserve the Glen Davis Ravine – yet again.  Please visit the website and make a small donation.  If this development proposal is approved it will say our ravines are disposable.  Other developers will use it as authority to develop other ravines, application by application. Your help could make the difference.

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