High rise opponents rally supporters for Dec. 6 public meeting

By Anthony Marcusa –

An impassioned group of residents will make their case protesting a planned high rise to be built on Church St. at an evening meeting on Dec. 6.

As previously reported in The Bulletin, a 25-storey residential building proposed earlier this year is to be situated on the southeast corner of Gloucester and Church streets.

The plan involves the incorporation of the facades at 592 Church and 67 Gloucester, but more importantly—to most of the objectors—it also involves the demolition of the buildings at 584 Church, 596 Church, and 69 Gloucester. Both addresses on Gloucester, 592 Church, and 596 Church were designated as heritage properties by the city in October 2009. The building at 584 Church is not listed in the inventory of heritage sites.

The Church Wellesley Neighborhood Association is leading the movement to protest the proposal. Newly elected Ward 27 councilor Krisytn Wong-Tam had previously come out in opposition to the project.

The community consultation meeting will be held at the 519 Church St. community centre. An open house to view plans begins at 6 p.m., with the meeting following at 7 p.m.

Previous gatherings of the group have been working meetings, featuring discussions among concerned residents and influential members of the community and the city. A November 2010 town hall meeting brought MP Bob Rae to the table, while city planner William MacRae has attended other sessions.

Residents have cited a lack of consultation, a desire for historical preservation, and a hatred of large edifices as reason to stop the plan.

Public notice for the meeting is only being distributed to property owners only, MacRae has reportedly confirmed. Residents of area apartments and co-ops will not receive official notice of the meeting from the city.