Save Our Village is a group of concerned residents working as part of the Bloor West Village Residents Association to raise awareness. We encourage you to join the BWVRA – it is a small contribution towards an organization working for the needs of local residents.
We want to make sure the development is reasonable and in character with the area that we live in and love. Without a City commissioned Avenue Segment Study, we don’t have a plan that the community has engaged in to support measured intensification. This website gathers together information, people, and resources to encourage developers to work with the community. Browse through the site to learn more, ask questions, and find answers.
It is understood that within the Toronto Official Plan and specifically those policies related to Avenue development, that Bloor Street West is an important corridor where reurbanization is anticipated and encouraged. As has been noted in the Official Plan, avenues are to be developed incrementally and each avenue is different. We fully support this approach.
The prescribed approach for incorporating what makes Bloor West Village unique is through a local Avenue Study that comprehensively assesses local conditions and defines a vision and implementation plan for community improvement. Such a plan has not been developed, though a study supported by City Council was developed in 2005 called the Bloor West Village Urban Design Study. Among other recommendations, it included generous setbacks, 3 storey height maximum at the street edge, and 5 storey maximum heights.
The developer of the proposed developments submitted an avenue segment study as part of its application as required, but the study did not include any form of community consultation, nor does it appear to address what makes Bloor West Village unique. Apart from analysis of potential soft sites, none of the Bloor West Village character shines through in its recommendations.
It also glosses over or incorrectly concludes that key community resources are available, when clearly from a local resident’s perspective they are not. For example, both child care and traditional school capacity is at or above capacity (see recent Globe & Mail article about local child care). The developer’s segment study, however, did not draw these conclusions.
This is highly relevant as the Official Plan notes that “Development in Mixed Use Areas or Avenues, prior to an Avenue Study has the potential to set a precedent for the form and scale of reurbanization along the Avenue”. We am very concerned that these two developments will form the basis for development across Bloor West Village. Given the number of residents in this area and the existing character of the neighbourhood, any decision to approve either application has the potential to affect the whole area. In our opinion, that transformation should happen carefully, with directly community involvement, and by carefully following the guidelines set out in the Official Plan.
If there are specific constraints that prevent the prescribed approach from being followed, they should be shared with local residents and we can work together to find solutions. It is unreasonable to set such a broadly applicable precedent based on minimal public notification of a few hundred metres around the proposed developments, and then send the decision straight to the Ontario Municipal Board and bypass the city’s opinion.