West Queen West triangle gains new ally against OMB

Active 18 asks communities to lobby councillors

By Jessica Rose –

Mayor David Miller announced Feb. 2 that he would introduce a notice of motion at council directing staff to pursue all available options to appeal the Ontario Municipal Board’s approval of three high-rise condo developments in the Queen West Triangle.

The Mayor is focusing on the importance of creative industries and in particular the retention of space for employment purposes, including (but not exclusively) live-work space for artists.

Active 18 asks that all its supporters email their local councillor ASAP and urge them to support the Mayor’s motion. We suggest you emphasize the importance of retaining jobs in the city, and neighbourhood vitality (so that it’s not just about artists or about any one particular property).

If the motion passes, the City will appeal the OMB decision. Thus, it’s vitally important that councillors understand that people really care about the issue of good planning in Toronto. It’s also important that the councillors hear from you that this is a city-wide issue—it’s not just about this particular development.

A list of city councillors and their contact information can be found here: http://app.toronto.ca/im/council/councillors.jsp

The press release sent out by the city on Feb. 2 is below, for your information.

Thanks for your support!


February 2, 2007

Mayor and local councillor seek protection of West Queen West triangle Mayor David Miller will introduce a notice of motion seconded by Councillor Adam Giambrone at Monday’s meeting of Toronto City Council directing staff to pursue all available options against the Ontario Municipal Board’s (OMB) approval of three developments in the West Queen West triangle.

“Creative industries drive Toronto’s economy and are the focus of the joint Province of Ontario/City of Toronto report ‘Imagine a Toronto: Strategies for a Creative City’,” said Mayor Miller. “West Queen West is home to a critical mass of artists and others who make Toronto’s cultural industry what it is. Unfortunately, the board’s decision does not respect that. As a result, the vibrancy and vitality of this neighbourhood and the city’s creative community at large is threatened.”

In the motion, Mayor Miller and Councillor Giambrone direct City staff to take a number of steps in fighting the decision. The recommended steps are the subject of a confidential report from the City Solicitor but will be made public once approved by Toronto City Council.

The OMB’s decision came despite a strong position put forward by City staff working with the community that would have ensured a significant portion of this triangle would be retained for employment purposes including live-work space for artists. The proposal as approved by the OMB will result in a drastic transformation from what was a thriving, mixed community into a block of largely residential-only units.

“We made a strong case at the OMB in favour of appropriate development that properly serves the neighbourhood with parks, affordable housing and space for the cultural industries that already thrive here,” Councillor Giambrone said. “I’m delighted that Mayor Miller recognizes the city-wide importance of this cultural hub and supports challenging the board’s frustrating decision.”

Mayor Miller added that the OMB’s decision illustrates the need for the board’s functions to be reformed. “The OMB has too much power over municipal issues and has a history of ignoring the needs and desires of local communities,” he said. “We must continue to fight these decisions and put the interests of Torontonians first.”

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of more than 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.