By AMARACHI AMADIKE, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher is sounding the alarm about a development proposal at 425-471 Carlaw Ave., just north of Gerrard Street East, which lacks an affordable housing units component.
The proposal, which is for a mixed-use building with three towers at 30, 35 and 40 storeys, is a partnership between Infrastructure Ontario and ChoiceReit with the aim of providing a Transit Oriented Community (TOC) along the future Gerrard Station on the future Ontario Line subway.
“I have pressed Infrastructure Ontario and the developer, ChoiceREIT, to add affordable housing into their plan,” said Fletcher in a news release. “I am very disappointed that no commitment to include affordable housing has been made.”
The TOC program was created by the Province of Ontario with the intention of providing more housing around transit stations.
Under the guidance of Infrastructure Ontario, the program works alongside Metrolinx (the provincial transit agency building the Ontario Line) to outline requirements for subway projects and develop proposals that can be integrated with transit facilities.
With the future Gerrard Station expected to be used by about 3,300 people during peak hours, many of whom will be transferring from the Ontario Line to local streetcars and buses, community members are questioning why housing in such an area isn’t planned with affordability in mind.
The Gerrard-Carlaw TOC project will provide 1,080 residential units as well as 7,810 square metres of public space for retail, grocery shopping and amenities. The units will comprise 93 studios, 421 one-bedrooms, 166 one-bedroom plus dens, 176 two-bedrooms, 105 two-bedroom plus dens, and 119 3-bedrooms.
The project will also provide 225 new jobs in the process according to the City of Toronto. However, this creation of employment has largely been overshadowed by a lack of affordable housing units.
On Wednesday, May 10, Toronto Council unanimously voted in favour of Fletcher’s motion to request that the provincial government require a minimum of 20 percent affordable housing on this site.
The recommendations also included a request for ChoiceReit and Infrastructure Ontario to “make a public commitment to add 20 per cent of affordable units for 50 years guaranteed affordability” to their proposal.
Although Fletcher’s motion passed, ChoiceReit has no obligation to provide affordable units to its development as the Province of Ontario’s More Homes Built Faster Act does not mandate them as a requirement. As of yet, no public commitment has been made by the developer to include an affordable housing component to its Gerrard-Carlaw buildings.
The site is currently home to a retail plaza which includes a No Frills grocery store and a surface parking lot.
There have already been two community consultation meetings surrounding this site.
However, anyone who would still like to voice their concern about the lack of affordable units at 425-471 Carlaw Ave. is encouraged to sign Councillor Fletcher’s petition on the matter at https://www.councillorpaulafletcher.ca/gerrardcarlaw?fbclid=IwAR1HEzdTW8yDWAscRNZdWB-HFPXpfffh7bijflP9WScDkiAkJjkvfVoOFvU
“I continue to hear from many of you who support affordable housing and want to see more built,” said Fletcher. “I’ve launched this petition to show where we stand and hope you will consider signing to make your voice heard.”
Amarachi Amadike is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro Community News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.
Did you enjoy this article? Become a Beach Metro Community News Supporter today! For 50 years, we have worked hard to be the eyes and ears in your community, inform you of upcoming events, and let you know what and who is making a difference. We cover the big stories as well as the little things that often matter the most. CLICK HERE to support your Beach Metro Community News!