The CWNA's primary concerns are Development, Placemaking (Parks and Public Spaces), Heritage Conservation and Community Safety.
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Check out our Interactive Map for information on planned and current condo development projects and improvements to our parks.
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Church Wellesley Update [view all]
This summer there's a rich variety of free lunchtime and evening music concerts to choose from, presented by the Village BIA and the Downtown Yonge BIA. So pick a date or two to relax and enjoy some alfresco tunes.
The Village Music in the Park concert series takes place 5 days a week in Barbara Hall Park until late September. Lunchtime concerts take place from Wednesday to Friday from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm; on the weekends concerts shift to the early evening, from 7 pm - 9 pm.
The Downtown Yonge BIA's Play the Parks series is comprised of 50 concerts at seven outdoor venues, including College Park and McGill Granby Parkette. Most concerts start between 11:30 and 1 pm; others are geared to the after work crowd, starting at 5 pm. You can find the concert schedule on the DYBIA's Play the Parks page.
Downtown East Toronto is in the midst of an overdose and housing crisis and we can see the effect on our streets and public spaces. Last summer, a one year Downtown East Action Plan, initiated by Councillors Wong-Tam and Troisi, was adopted by Council. The Plan included 36 actions to address the areas of mental health, substance abuse, housing and homelessness, public safety, economic opportunities, and parks and public realm.
On July 18, City Council approved a 5-Year Action Plan for the Downtown East that will build and expand upon the work of the 12-Month Action Plan that has been in effect since last year.
While the Plan will not fix the addiction epidemic, it does rally City resources to address the complex issues of addiction and homelessness.
In the the space of two days in June, the Doug Ford government passed a pair of measures that severely set back the City's ability to regulate development.
Bill 108 brings back OMB, enriches developers, weakens cities
On June 6, the Conservative government passed Bill 108, the More Homes, More Choice Act, which weakens 13 existing laws regulating the development industry. Notably, the new law brings back the rules of the old Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), allowing provincially-appointed panels to decide what development is allowed, often overruling decisions of local councils.
It was just a little over a year ago that the Liberal government phased out the OMB and replaced it with the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), which was to have much less power over local decision-makers. Now those reforms will be reversed.
Now that the law is passed, we can expect the old ways to continue, with towers being built that are much taller and denser than what city planners call for. But the situation for Ontario cities will be even worse, as the bill also merges — and significantly weakens — the tools used by cities to negotiate funds from developers to create new parks, schools, community centres and other infrastructure. As well, the law changes where the City can require new affordable housing and how heritage buildings are conserved.
For more information on Bill 108, see the City's web page:
Bill 108:Changes to Ontario's Planning System.
Queen's Park rewrites City's plan for downtown
The City's Official Plan Amendment for downtown, dubbed TOCore, had been in the works since 2012. A key goal was to make sure that development did not run amuck, outpacing infrastructure and crowding out open space. The City is required to have its Official Plan approved by the province, so it sent the TOCore plan to Queen's Park last fall.
On June 5, with no previous consultation, the Province sent TOCore back to the City -- with 224 changes. The amendments weaken language setting out the principle that development should not outpace available infrastructure like community centres, parks and sewer capacity, and allows much taller and denser development than previously considered. The changes also loosen rules around sunlight, shadowing and building setbacks from streets and other rules meant to create more livable neighbourhoods.
The City has little recourse; under the Canadian Constitution municipalities are entirely creatures of the province.
Click here for the In-Force Downtown Plan which incorporates the modifications, as well as a redline version which illustrates the Minister’s changes. City planning staff have prepared a staff report which summarizes the Minister's modifications to the Downtown Plan as well as the impact associated with Bill 108.
Downtown Councillors push back
On July 18, City Councillors Mike Layton, Joe Cressy and Kristyn Wong-Tam announced that they are creating a "green light / red light" system to evaluate development proposals in their wards and determine how helpful they will be in moving those proposals forward. Those deemed unreasonable could be delayed by tactics such as de-prioritizing the projects, holding provisions on development permits and even denying municipal permits during the construction phase.
The measures are designed to encourage developers to start the application process with projects that are more in keeping with the original TOCore plan, rather than the severely weakened provincial version. How effective these measures are in the long run remains to be seen. Delays will significantly increase costs to developers, but they will measure those costs against the potential for greater profits from taller and denser towers.
The CWNA held its 2019 AGM on March 21. The meeting was addressed by Councillor Wong-Tam, MPP Suze Morrison and School Board Trustee Chris Moise. CWNA Board members then reported on the areas of development, safety and placemaking.
The draft minutes of the meeting are now available. For an added visual experience, please take a look at the accompanying slide presentation pdf.
Strolling down Church Street south of Wellesley these days, it’s hard not to notice the number of darkened storefronts and “For Lease” signs. While you might conclude this is a sign of decline in the Village, quite the opposite is true: because of intensification, land values are increasing, leading to a period of investment. As some businesses close down, others eventually come to take their place. Still, some of these storefronts have been closed for a while. Every vacant shop has a story. Let’s look at some of them...
Downtown has experienced huge growth over the past few years, making the sidewalks on Yonge Street busy -- and crowded.
The City of Toronto is carrying out Phase 1 of a study that focusses on the section of Yonge Street from Queen Street to College / Carlton Street. (Phase 2, continuing north to Davenport, will follow upon completion of Phase 1.) A number of opportunities will be considered to increase pedestrian space and improve the way people experience Yonge Street.
A public information session about the project was held on May 9, but in case you missed it, check out the online version of the display boards, which map out the process and illustrate various redesign options. The main decision: how much of the street to dedicate to vehicles, pedestrians and bikes.
The study is in the environmental assessment stage; stakeholders are being consulted via an Advisory Group. We will update you as more details are made public. There is also more information at the City of Toronto YongeTOmorrow pages.
Cromwell Property Management is proposing a 4 storey infill building on the west side of Isabella Court, the 27 storey, 400 unit rental building at 33 Isabella.
A community consultation, held on May 8, provided an update on the original proposal. Read on for details.
Church Wellesley Northwest Tower
Village Safety Initiatives Move Forward
In the wake of a wave of murders that shook the Church Wellesley neighbourhood in 2017, the City and federal government, local organizations and the Toronto police are taking action to make our community safer. [More]
Church Wellesley Update [view all]
Toronto Centre All Candidates Debate
Wed., Oct 2
7 pm - 9 pm
519 Church Street
CWNA Board Meeting
Sat., Oct 19
10 am - 12 pm
519 Church Street