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This blog was set up by neighbours concerned about development on this site. There is currently a proposal to build seven four storey units (six semis and one single) that would greatly reduce public views of the lake, is partially on green space and lakeside "hazardous lands" and is totally out of character with the neighbourhood. This would require a huge amendment to Toronto's Official Plan and zoning by-laws.

Friday, November 28, 2008


If you were unable to pick up a copy of the developer's site drawings, double-click on these images.
You can also e-mail Terry Smith at to arrange to see the original copy handed out at the meeting.


The Assembly Hall auditorium was packed last night with as many as 140 residents who were there to protest Dunpar’s application to build townhouses on the site. The city planning department asked for community input … and they sure got it! There was a virtually unanimous show of hands in disagreement; speaker after speaker offered up all of the points of concern that have troubled the community and which have formed the content of the dozens of written submissions sent in to Greg Hobson-Garcia. No one spoke in favour of the proposal. Although maybe "not a priority" for our Councillor, many spoke about a community desire to have the City exporpriate the site, or, at least, the southern half on green space, and turn it into a waterfront park.

With so many counts against the application, plus the opposition of the community, the Councillor and the Conservation Authority, major breaches of the Official Plan and Zoning and inconsistencies with past OMB decisions, it is virtually inevitable that the planning department will eventually report to Community Council that it has decided against Dunpar on this proposal. In fact, the developer’s representative, Tom Giuancos, made no attempt whatsoever to even “sell” the project to the community.

The planning staff said their intention is to report to the Etobicoke-York Community Council on January 13th, 2009 where the real decision will be made. The council is made up of eleven west-end City Councillors. These Councillors have the authority to accept the planners’ recommendation, modify the recommendation or overrule it.

Last night, Councillor Grimes reaffirmed his opposition to this proposal and said that he would vote against it at Community Council and ask the other Councillors to oppose it. He also said that, if any modifications were made to the application, there would be another public meeting. He would not, however, commit himself to an ongoing opposition to any townhouse development on that site (for example, a new application for six, not seven, townhouses). He also said that he would direct the City Solicitor to defend the City’s position should the developer appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Community Council meetings are public and residents can make short deputations. In order for anyone to do this, they need to know the meeting date and they need to get on the deputation list by calling Sandra Domotor, Etobicoke-York City Clerk, at 416 394 8083. Submissions can also be sent to the eleven individual Councillors prior to the meeting. A submission, for example, could be the same one that you sent to Greg Hobson-Garcia with an explanatory add-on.

Councillor contact information is available at



During the public meeting, Councillor Grimes said that he would work with to communicate with the community and that the people behind that organization should be the “spokespersons for the community”.

At the meeting, there was representation from many other community groups: CCFEW, Good Neighbours, LAMP, the Lakeshore Planning Council, the New Toronto Historical Society, Lakeshore Environmental Gardeners, the BIA, Friends of Sam Smith Park, 51 Lakeshore Drive blog spot, the Lakefront Homeowners Association, the Watershed Coalition, Spirit of the Lakeshore as well as There were probably other community groups at the meeting as well.

All of these groups and individuals care very much about our neighbourhood and deserve information on proposals in Ward 6. Councillor Grimes needs to understand that the more community groups he communicates information to, the more people in Ward 6 he can reach. It is hard to understand why he would shut any of his constituents out by choosing to only work with a select few, shunning the rest.

As our elected representative, he is required to communicate the same information to all interested community groups equally.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


The community group “Our Lakeshore” hosts a blog about 51 Lake Shore Drive. There are many comments from community residents that make for interesting reading. Here are the links …..

Thursday, November 20, 2008


There is an example of a Dunpar lakeside, four storey, townhouse development on Nautical Lane at the foot of Sand Beach Road. (Sand Beach runs south from Lakeshore between First and Royal York). The development extends to the new seawall at the water's edge. The buildings are very tall without any sight lines in between. The private enclave is isolated from the community, protected by a fence, "No Trespassing" signs, motion and sound detectors and security cameras. There have been water's edge access issues between residents and neighbours, particularly with regard to the community garden that was planted this summer in the public space next to the development . One of the photographs shows the fence that was erected down to the water to prevent people from accessing the beach in front. A townhouse in that development is currently listed at $749 000.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


The site plan does not provide anywhere to store snow removed from the side drive. The snow will be piled on the side streets where parking is already an issue, or on the green space where salt and contaminants will leach into the soil. Jennifer from Fourth Street posted these photographs to illustrate the snow storage problem we had last year at Fourth and Lakeshore Drive.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Make sure you get your submissions in as soon as possible.
An example of a recent letter from a neighbour is posted below
(Click on image to see larger version)


Councillor Mark Grimes:

This letter is in response to an application submitted to the City of Toronto planning division for the development of a parcel of lake front property with an existing structure at 51 Lakeshore Dr. The purpose of this letter is to outline my concerns regarding the proposed application and the impact this will have on both my neighbours and the neighbourhood in general. I respectfully request that I be kept informed of any meetings or matters regarding this application by email.

Last Thursday Oct 23, I attended an informal meeting with many of my neighbours in a roundtable discussion to learn what the current plans are for this property. In lieu of a copy of formal plans for the property, a sketch was drafted by one of the attendees from the original plan. It should be noted that the developer would not release a copy for our pursual. It should also be noted that while this application was submitted for approval on August 12, 2008 there is still no notice of the application posted on the property. As a long time resident of the area (20 years), I am compelled to voice my concerns regarding this application as I understand it.

1. A four story townhouse complex with seven units.
The size and height is totally unreasonable for both the lot size and the general character of the neighbourhood. I understand that a change in zoning would be required. The city should honour the current zoning rules for density as they are correct for this area and not allow site specific zoning changes where it is inappropriate. This area is primarily 1, 1 1/2 and 2 story single family homes. This structure will overwhelm the area in its size and height. The structure is to be built 20 inches within the property line, therefore there is no front or back yards, just a wall 4 stories high blocking any view of the lake that we and users of the waterfront trail currently enjoy.

2. Future of the mature trees on 4th street south of Lakeshore Dr. The plan includes many of the mature trees that are currently there but I have real concerns for the long term health of the trees. If as a rule of thumb, the canopy of a tree is similar in area to the root system, these trees will suffer severe stress from the excavation that will be required and will most likely loose a substantial portion of their roots which will eventually result in their death.

3. Parking. As a parking permit holder on 4th street, I find that often there is difficulty in finding a spot already and often have to park up a ways up on 4th and not close to my home. The plan does not include any guest parking so this will only reduce the limited amount of spots available for myself and my neighbours.

4. Changes to the existing shoreline.
The plan includes landfilling the shoreline to extend it further into the lake. This will have unknown results of shoreline erosion as it will change current wave patterns.

5. Changes to bylaws and zoning.
To approve this plan, it will require several changes to existing bylaws and zoning laws. The purpose of these rules is protect the homeowner, community, and shoreline of Lake Ontario from inappropriate development, if the City of Toronto is serious about its goals to preserve the shoreline and access to the waterfront, then it must honour the bylaws and zoning that it has put in place.

In closing, I must again state that these are the facts only as I know them. Any future public meetings must have the official proposal available for the public to view. This structure is certainly not in the best interest of the neighbourhood, community or the many people who use the waterfront trail. Given the limited amount of waterfront property remaining in Toronto that has not been developed, maybe the City of Toronto could purchase and lease the property with the existing structure or use it in a way that benefits its taxpayers.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Citizens Concerned for the Future of the Etobicoke Waterfront, or CCFEW, are also very concerned about the proposed townhouse development and its impact on the waterfront. CCFEW was instrumental in forcing developers and the City to create public access to the waterfront when the condos were being built at Humber Bay Shores. They have remained waterfront watchdogs and guardians.
They will be discussing the issue at their next Planning meeting on Monday, November 10th, 7:30pm at LAMP, 185 Fifth Street. Please feel free to attend. Monthly meetings are used mainly to discuss current issues, projects and policy positions. They are always open to anyone who is interested in attending.
Link to the issue on the CCFEW website .......

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I talked to Greg Hobson-Garcia today and was both pleased and somewhat alarmed by what I heard. First, he has already received quite a few submissions from the community challenging the developer's application. (Keep sending them.) He has also received the report form the Toronto Region Conservation Authority saying they cannot support the application for a number of reasons listed in a previous post. He is waiting on reviews of the application from other City departments. The mayor is advised of the community's interest in this and has asked for feedback from the planners. If residents keep the pressure up, I sense that the Planning Department's decision in their final report will hopefully end up being a refusal.

Here's the problem, though. If that is the case, the Planning Act says that a final report that is a refusal can go directly to Etobicoke-York Community Council without the need for a public meeting first. At Community Council, the report would be presented and the eleven members (west Toronto Councillors) have the power to either rubber stamp the Planning Department's decision, modify it or instruct the planners to reverse their decision and accept it! The planners' job is merely to advise council; they have no authority - the politicians have total power.

So, that could mean, for example, that a motion could be put forward to limit the townhouse row to six units and it could be passed on the spot - all without a public meeting first. This on-the-spot-modification-to-pass-at-community-council has all happened before.

Greg is trying to set up the Community Council meeting for January. We should know exactly when during this month of November. At that public meeting, it will be possible for residents to make a short deputation. In order for anyone to do this, they need to know the meeting date and they need to get on the deputation list by calling Sandra Domotor, Etobicoke-York City Clerk, at 394 8083.

Meeting dates will be passed on by the planner to those people who have requested to be on his notification list. To do that, contact Greg Hobson-Garcia at 416 394 2615 or e-mail him at This is a new file from the earlier "monster home" application, so you need to make sure that you get on the list for this current one. We will also post the information on this blog.

We also need to be aware of the fact that a developer can appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board when there is failure to announce a decision on an Official Plan Amendment by the City's Planning Department within 90 days of receipt of the developer's application. That time will be up in early December.