Kimberly Spice –
The precedent-setting Mirvish proposal for 266 to 322 King St. W.—which consists of three towers, 84-storeys, 86-storeys, and 82-storeys—has prompted local councillor Adam Vaughan to implement a stronghold approach to the continual density explosion in the Downtown core.
A public meeting Dec. 11 at Metro Hall, 55 John St., attracted more than 70 people who had questions and concerns about the impact that this mega project would have on the neighbourhood.
Representatives of the Mirvish project did’t participate in the presentations; the meeting was conducted by city staff.
“We have assembled a planning team,” Vaughan told The Bulletin. “Instead of just having an area planner here, what you are seeing here tonight is a team that’s been assembled to manage clearly what is unprecedented pressure in a community.
“We have all hands on deck,” he continued. “As soon as they told me they had a project I went to the chief planner and said I need a special team to manage this in the Downtown core. If we have a typical City of Toronto process you could see a march of 80-storey buildings through Downtown and you would be powerless to stop it. We need to have a complete review of the neighbourhood’s capacity to manage density and we need to answer residents’ questions.”
Highlighted concerns, revealed after round-table discussions, included heritage, overcrowding of transit, sidewalk capacity, rental units and public space that would be open to everyone and not only tower residents. The listed items covered many flip-chart pages that Vaughan will use to address people’s concerns and to find the answers to their questions prior to any Mirvish representative’s presentation to the public.
Vaughan is diligently looking ahead at what could transpire if the Mirvish project proceeds unchecked with no strategic organized planning of the entire area.
“We need to make sure we have the planning tools in place,”
Vaughan stated, “to make sure that if this is the iconic building that it proposes to be. In the same way when TIFF came—it was going to be the iconic building that is now in a forest of buildings with similar configuration—we need to make sure we have the proper planning controls in place to control whatever happens after this application is dealt with.
“Because no sooner than this one came in, Oxford came in with three 90-storey buildings on Front Street. Clearly there is an appetite for 90-storey buildings.”
The development project is partnered with renowned architect, Toronto-born Frank Gehry, who designed the unusual upgrade at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Questions or concerns can be sent to Frankentowers@thebulletin.ca to be forwarded.