Wellesley West developer stunned by a bit of applause during pitch

Michael Schwartz –

Public consultation on the proposed mixed-use development on Wellesley St. W. drew local residents into a meeting on June 19 at the Grosvenor St. YMCA.

The project in its present form comprises 1,304 dwellings in two towers (45 and 54 storeys high) with a 10-storey podium base.

As the buildings will share a plot of land with an existing park, the balance between buildings and greenspace—and the nature of the parkland—were prominent issues at the consultation. The sheer scope of the application, its physical size, the nature of recreational amenities, and the changes required to by-laws and local roads added to the already-complex agenda.

Toronto senior planner Sarah Henstock introduced speaker Mark Mandelbaum, co-founder of site developer Lanterra. The audience heard him respectfully—a fact that was later touted on Lanterra’s website: “Lanterra unveiled their vision to a crowd of over 100 people at the nearby YMCA on Grosvenor, to applause?! Not a standing ovation, but any applause at all for a developer at a public consultation is a rare event.”

A subsequent presenter was also applauded for a comprehensive slide show of landscaping examples from around the world.

Comments from the floor touched on wind speeds in open areas and the lack of shelter in rough weather. A separate dog run was requested, as was a shadow study.

A Church-Wellesley Neighbourhood Association member and avid cyclist advocated a mix of family units, notably to include young children, a scramble crossing at Wellesley and Yonge and what he described as his own “big bold idea”—close off a section of Breadalbane St., thereby uniting the two neighbouring parks and providing a link to the YMCA on Grosvenor St.