Church/Gloucester developers set for rough ride

By Michael Schwartz –

gloucesterPlans for a 25-storey residential development on 592-596 Church and 67-71 Gloucester will meet with continuous hostility, judging by the opinions expressed at a recent community meeting, where what was intended to be a dialogue between residents and the project design team turned onto a series of difficult and probing questions for the would-be developers.

The meeting took place at the 519 Church community centre on July 29. Dozens of area residents attended, including representatives of the Church Wellesley Village BIA and the newly-minted Gloucester Residents’ Association.

Meeting chairwoman Krystyn Wong-Tam’s opening words stressed that if all sides involved met and expressed their opinions the development would be far superior as a result. She was, however, cautious in this case because there had been “a lot of development in the Downtown corridor but little in the way of affordable housing.”

Lisa McCann of Church 18 Holdings, the developer, stated that she was attending “to open lines of communication.” Communication is what she got—with aspect after aspect of the project commented on. Unfavourably.

Opposition over the project is not just about demolishing the properties (which currently include 35 low-rise rental units) in whole or in part and retaining their facades, the process known as facadism.

Residents raised such questions as tree planting and conservation, long-term traffic schemes (and even whether construction vehicles could physically enter and leave the site), community benefits and whether the actual number and density of apartments is acceptable. The proposal would see 135 condo units and 35 rental units added to the already teeming community.

Krystyn Wong-Tam described the area in question as “a gem in this part of Toronto.” Any development will have to be persuasively promoted.