On Feb. 28, Bob Pearson of IATSE 873 and Randy Buck of east Toronto community coalition addressed Toronto’s film board with their concern that a recent OMB decision will set the stage for a further 10 acres of film studio space to be turned over to big box retail on Eastern Avenue. They will be joined by local city councillor Paula Fletcher.
“If the OMB grants Smart!Centre's appeal, this additional 10-acre property which is currently a film studio could be converted to big box without ever making a rezoning application to the city,” said Bob Pearson. Smart!Centres has applied to the OMB after the city of Toronto refused to convert 19 acres of employment lands into 650,000 square feet of big box retail. “We are shocked the OMB would allow ‘me-too’ in such an important employment district in the city.
This goes against the Province’s own policy that retail is not allowed on employment lands,” said Randy Buck, co-chair of the ETCC which is opposing the Smart!Centre application at the OMB. “For the OMB to deliver such a decision which could allow an additional 10 acres of employment land to be converted to retail is disheartening.”, adds Buck. “With this decision, the OMB has potentially delivered a “golden mile” of big box retail to Toronto’s studio district adjacent to our developing waterfront.”
In February, Toronto city council charged the mayor to send a letter to the province asking that the provincial government make a declaration of provincial Interest in this OMB hearing. Film is one of Toronto’s key industries and is home to 25,000 jobs bringing over $750 million annually to the city’s economy of which $650 million is for major productions. “Today we will ask Toronto’s film board to strongly support city council’s request that the province protect employment districts and declare an interest in the OMB hearing” said Pearson.
For more information, please contact:
Randy Buck – East Toronto Community Coalition – 416-406-5558
Bob Pearson – IATSE 873 – 416-524- 2388
To see media related to this situation please go to http://www.easttorontocommunity.org/media.html