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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.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


After the letter from the Minister of Natural Resources was shared with the community (see previous post), the Minister of Government Services, Harinder Takhar, was contacted. We wanted to point out to him that there were still many unanswered questions regarding public claims on the unregistered G zoned portion of the property and that a proper public hearing should take place before any land was transferred to the developer.  We also wanted to make sure that he was aware that some residents, in order to get answers and reach resolution, had objected to the title application and that their sincere input had been unceremoniously met with by million dollar lawsuits from Dunpar.  (Eight residents withdrew; one has not and he is currently fighting the lawsuit based on the position that he has the right and reasonable grounds to object).
Kate Murray, MOGS's Director of Titles, responded to that letter.
(Click on the thumbnail below to see the letter)

One of the objectors responded to her letter with the following (She has not yet replied)  .... 

Ministry of Government Services
20 Dundas Street West
4th Floor
Ont.  M5G 2C2

December 21, 2010

Attention:  Kate Murray, Director of Titles

Re:  Application for Absolute Title for 51 Lake Shore Drive,
Lot 103 PLAN 1478, (PIN 07612-0131) by John Zanini of Dunpar Developments

Thank you for your letter of July 20, 2010.  (I have attached a copy of that letter for reference.)

The process you describe in your letter for filing an objection to a title application aligns with what I also understand it to be. 

I would like to let you know what has happened since the spring.

I, along with eight neighbours, did in fact file an objection.  We did this for two reasons. 

  1. We were described in a letter from the applicant’s counsel as “interested parties” in this matter and, as it were, felt “invited”.  That letter also contained details and a form for filing an objection.  The local newspaper, the Etobicoke Guardian, also carried another general call for “interested parties” to comment on the application.  In a call to your office, we were also told that, because this was a waterfront matter, there needed to be wider notice given for the offering of comments and/or objections than just to the actual adjacent landowners.

  1. There are big and still unanswered questions about the unregistered waterfront part of the property that the applicant is claiming.  One of the questions addresses the fact that the land is zoned open space/parkland and, to date, no one has given the community a reasonable explanation as to why on City of Toronto zoning maps it looks like an extension of the adjoining park - Prince of Wales Park.  Is this a matter of a property developer acquiring what looks like public realm land?  Another question asks why did the municipality assign a G zone to the unregistered parcel in the first place?  G zoning is never on private property.  Was it because it was originally set aside for future parkland after the municipality did lakefill and shoreline protection following storm damage?  Granting the applicant ownership also would violate City and Provincial policies about opening up the Lake Ontario waterfront to the public.

All nine of the objectors felt strongly that, as community members who have closely followed matters regarding this property for over four years and very much interested in the protection of the public interest on the South Etobicoke waterfront, we had the right and reasonable grounds to make an objection.

We expected that the applicant’s counsel would make a diligent and honest attempt to explain things and resolve the issues with us and give us some answers – just as you described in your letter to me.  Failing a successful outcome with that, we anticipated that a hearing might be required to give a fuller and more public airing to the matter – again, a process just as you detailed in your letter.

Instead, each one of us, without any effort made at resolution on the applicant’s part, was served with a million dollar lawsuit.  (I believe this type of action by developers is commonly called a SLAPP - Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation - and that there is actually a move at this time to make them illegal in Ontario).

Eight of the objectors, in the face of such intimidation and under duress, withdrew their objections.  One decided to carry on and defend himself at the Supreme Court of Justice, an endeavour that he is finding both costly and stressful.

Needless to say, the applicant’s heavy-handed response has also had a chilling effect on the community’s expectation of voice, fairness and due process in civic engagement.

The community and I would appreciate your comments on this matter, particularly with regard to the applicant’s legal action.  Is what he has done considered part of the normal process?  Do we really have a situation here where money may end up trumping the public’s only opportunity to grapple with this large, precedent-setting, issue, one that could influence forever the development of the South Etobicoke waterfront?  Has silencing sincere inquiry now become a legitimate part of what we assumed was a fair, public, participatory process?

I look forward to your reply.

Yours truly

Cc            Laurel Broten, MPP Etobicoke-Lakeshore


Linda Jeffrey, the new Minister of Natural Resources, wrote to Laurel Broten, MPP Etobicoke-Lakeshore, and outlined her ministry's current position on this property.  Laurel had asked for clarification following inquiries from her constituents.  The letter states that her staff have concluded their investigation, reaching an agreement with the developer, and that the matter is now with the Land Titles office.
The letter is archived below. (Double-click on images for better view)

However, the same old questions are raised ....

·     Did MNR have all the evidence required to make their decision?
·     Was their investigation thorough enough?
·    Did the City of Toronto fully explain to MNR why this lakefill land is shown as "open space" (parkland) on City zoning maps?
·     If there is no "evidence" to support either legal or illegal lakefill on this additional 60 odd feet, why default to "legal"?
·    Why not declare there is a current lack of evidence to support either claim and let it go to a public Land Registry tribunal where all parties can present their case?
·    How cozy is the relationship between MNR, the applicant, the applicant's "expert" witnesses and the applicant's counsel?
·     Why is there no onus on the applicant to prove (at a tribunal) that the lakefill was done legally (Le. on dry, accreted lakebed)?
·    Why have'nt the former owners of this property applied for absolute title over the last 100 years?
·     What stopped them? (knowledge that it was really public land?) 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


The Ontario Attorney General of Ontario is beginning to tackle the issue of SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation)
A new advisory panel will suggest possible content for legislation that would help prevent lawsuits from being used to silence critics by imposing long and costly court processes on them.  
Its advisory panel apparently reported to the AG on September 30, 2010

See the news release Protecting Freedom Of Expression In Public Debate

Friday, October 1, 2010


Rick Bartolucci, Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, has replied to Lakeshore Planning Council's letter of July 2nd, 2010. In that letter, LPC drew the attention of Jim Bradley, the Minister at that time, to a number of "irregularities" regarding the developer's appeal before the OMB.  The developer's grounds for the appeal are based on his assertion that the City delayed his building application.   
LPC's detailed letter containing information pertaining to the proposal indicates that, in fact, the developer appears to be responsible for the delay and questions whether the application should have been forwarded to the OMB in the first place. LPC had hoped that the information provided might help staff determine how policy could be changed to avoid this kind of situation in the future.
Here is the new Minister's far from adequate reply.

Saturday, September 25, 2010



September 21, 2010


Residents of New Toronto have been slapped with a million dollar lawsuit by a developer unless they withdraw their objections to his application to the Land Registry offices for absolute title to a disputed piece of land.  Neighbours objected because they believe part of the land being claimed by the developer is publicly owned waterfront.

At 51 Lake Shore Drive land zoned “G Open Space” next to the shoreline was created by dumping fill in Lake Ontario. Local residents want this land transferred to the City or Conservation Authority to protect public access to the waterfront which the community has enjoyed for decades.

“This is bullying and intimidation” said Jem Cain of Sixteenth Street; who has been involved in the community’s efforts to ensure that the development proposal maintains a window on the lake from the Waterfront Trail.  The residents want to know what regulatory statute allows the developer to claim the majority of landfill in front of his property (zoned Open Space). The residents turned to the Ministry of Natural resources for help in protecting what they believe is public land.

Ms Cain is a candidate for City Council in Ward 6 and is reluctantly withdrawing her objection to the application for absolute title. “The letter from the developer’s lawyer states that the appropriate forum to voice our concerns is the OMB and then demands that we sign away our democratic right to object,” says Ms Cain.  The issue of who owns the land is before the Land Registry Offices and not the OMB. “Other residents and I have been forced to withdraw because we cannot afford to risk this outrageous claim for damages.”

Surveys of the lot at 51 Lakeshore Drive show the southern limit of the land in 1909. A 2006 survey shows that approximately 75 feet of additional land extended the lot out into the lake between 1909 and 2006. There do not appear to be any official records of when lake filling occurred or how much of the property is accreted land. Residents asked the Ministry of Natural Resources to identify and protect the land that is publicly owned. The Ministry is only claiming approximately 25 feet of landfill and has not communicated the logic behind that decision to the community.

“The only official communication I have received is threats from the developer’s lawyers. Absolutely nothing has been communicated directly from the Ministry of Natural Resources or Land Registry regarding decisions on who really owns the land,” said Ms Cain.

The developer has demanded that the residents withdraw the objections they have filed with the Land Registry Office and sign a document stating they have no objection to the developer’s application.

The developer’s proposal for seven residences on the lot will be heard by the OMB only after the issues surrounding land ownership are resolved. The site is currently occupied by a vacant building which was once a small nursing home for seniors. It sits close to the street frontage on Lakeshore Drive with the disputed area along the lake’s edge as backyard.

The current zoning will permit the development of a semi-detached dwelling unit or a single-family home.  The developer is seeking approval to build six large semi-detached dwelling units and a large single family home.

 “Redevelopment that reflects good planning and fits in with the existing neighbourhood would be acceptable to the neighbours. A brick fortress of seven four-story residences is out of character with this neighbourhood and will ruin the panoramic view of Lake Ontario and the city skyline that is enjoyed by thousands of people who use the Waterfront Trail year round,” says Ms Cain.


Jem Cain
131 Sixteenth Street, Toronto, Ontario M8V 3J9

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


On July 5th, some community members submitted objections to Dunpar’s application for absolute title to a sizable amount of waterfront land on the site beyond the land described in the survey that came with the developer’s title when the property was bought.  They feel strongly that this land, described as open space parkland on City zoning maps, is public land and should not just be given automatically to the developer, at least not without an adequate explanation of what looks like a virtually undefended land grab of public property. (Here is a link to one of the objections.)
The City says it has no claim on it (yet inexplicably identifies it as parkland!) and it looks like the Province has settled for a claim on what amounts to little more than the rocks at the waterline! Both jurisdictions have increased public waterfront access as policy!!
The community members expected that their objections, in the absence of objections from the City and the Province, would lead to a public airing of the issue and an explanation from Dunpar as to why they should be given the land and under whose authority.  The community expected answers from the developer, a sincere attempt at resolving the objections by the developer’s counsel and a public hearing at the Land Registry.
Instead, Dunpar’s lawyers informed the objectors that a legal action has been initiated against them at the Ontario Supreme Court of Justice for what they claim is willful obstruction to the developer’s endeavours and that damages to the amount of one million dollars will be sought.  The lawyers have told the objectors that if they withdraw their objections the lawsuit will be dropped.  Some of the objectors have, under duress, decided to withdraw their objections in the face of this threat.
This amounts to blatant intimidation by a developer with deep pockets in order to limit public participation in the planning of their community in order to get what they want.  This practice by powerful developers to muzzle opposition has become so common that it now has its own term – SLAPP  - Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.  (A Google search of this term will describe its chilling effect on communities and the efforts by some North American jurisdictions to outlaw the practice.  Here is a link to a recent article in the Globe and Mail about it.)
The adversarial and non-communicative approach taken by John Zanini, owner of Dunpar, to resolve development issues on this site with the community needs to stop.

Monday, July 12, 2010



Sent via fax: (416) 585-6470 &

June 30, 2010

The Honourable Jim Bradley, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
17th Floor
777 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2E5

The Honourable Jim Bradley,

Re: 51 Lake Shore Drive, Etobicoke – Official Plan and Rezoning Amendment and Site Plan Applications

I am writing to you on behalf of the Lakeshore Planning Council, a local community group in South Etobicoke. 

We are respectfully requesting recommendations as to how we would bring forward a policy change that will not allow a developer to submit changes to a development proposal, after the required deadlines for a City Council decision on the Zoning By-Law (120 days) and Official Plan Amendment (180 days) have passed. 

We have a situation where the applicant has submitted plans to permit the development of six-semi-detached dwelling units and one single detached dwelling unit on a waterfront property zoned R2 and G (open space). 

The developer submitted his proposal in August 2008 and then withdrew the proposal in December 2008. 

On April 17th, 2009, the developer re-submitted a change to his proposal after the required deadline for a Council decision on the Zoning By-Law Amendment (January 1, 2009) and Official Plan Amendment (March 1, 2009). 

On April 29th, 2009 the developer submitted the application to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) on the grounds that the city failed to make a decision on the Zoning By-Law Amendment within 120 days and on the Amendment to the Official Plan within the prescribed 180-day time limit.                    

We feel that the developer is responsible for the delay and the application should not have been forwarded to the OMB.  How can we change this?
Moreover, a preliminary report was not made available to the Etobicoke-York Community Council for review and therefore there was no public meeting on this application to afford public comments. 

The application has been adjourned sine die at the OMB. 

The applicant is applying to the land registry office for absolute title of the property.  To date, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has claimed a portion of the shoreline. The community is claiming that the lands between the original 1909 survey and the lands claimed by the MNR belong to the municipality because they are zoned open space G (see map below for current zoning, and map on following page highlighting the lands in question).

Note: Proposed City of Toronto zoning by-law harmonization maintains this G zoning.

Detailed information pertaining to this proposal, which may help staff determine how policy can be changed to avoid this situation in the future, is attached.

Please do not hesitate to contact me, if you need clarification or have any questions. I can be reached at 416-571-8221.

We look forward to your response,

Paul Chomik, P. Eng.
Lakeshore Planning Council

cc         The Honourable Laurel Broten, MPP
            Mayor & Members of Toronto City Council
Gary Wright, City of Toronto, Chief Planner
            Mark Wilson, Chair, & Board of Directors, Waterfront Toronto
            D. Keith Laushway, Chair, & Board of Directors, Waterfront Regeneration Trust                               ...3
51 Lake Shore Drive –
Official Plan and Rezoning Amendment
and Site Plan Applications

Application for a single family dwelling unit (2007)

1.                  The site, Lot 103 Plan 1478 (1909 survey) was purchased on January 4, 2007. 

2.                   The new owner submitted an application to amend the Official Plan and the Etobicoke Zoning Code for a single-family dwelling on June 5, 2007.  The application is submitted for lands that are zoned G in the Official Plan and are not owned by the applicant.

3.                  A preliminary planning staff report dated September 18, 2009 recommending a community consultation meeting, among other directions, was adopted by the Etobicoke York Community Council is circulated:

4.                  Please Note: Attachment 3 & 4 of the above-noted planning staff report indicates that the property is “subject to confirmation of property delineation”. 

5.                  On December 5, 2007 a community consultation meeting is held.

6.                  The applicant subsequently withdraws this application to permit a house on the site.

Application for 7 townhouses (2008)

7.                  On August 12, 2008, the applicant submitted an Official Plan Amendment and Rezoning applications and an application for Site Plan Approval to permit a four-storey townhouse block consisting of seven townhouse dwellings: Gross Floor Area: 19,134 sq ft Floor Space Index: 1.51 Lot Coverage: 61.42%.

8.                  The local Councillor holds an informal community meeting on November 27, 2008.  Approximately 140 residents attend the meeting and reject the applicant’s proposal.

9.                  In December 2008, the applicant advised planning staff that they would not be proceeding with the townhouse proposal and that he would be submitting a revised proposal for the applications.

10.               On this basis, city staff did not prepare a Preliminary Report but awaited the revised resubmission for reporting purposes.

11.               On January 1, 2009, the required deadline for a Council decision on a Zoning By-Law Amendment passes.

12.               On March 1, 2009, the deadline for a Council decision on an Official Plan Amendment also passes.

13.               On April 17th, 2009, the applicant submits a revised proposal to the planning department for three semi-detached homes and one single family house. Gross Floor Area: 20,542 Floor Space Index: 1.62 Lot Coverage: 61.05%

14.               April 29th, 2009, City of Toronto Clerk’s Department receives a notification that the applicant has submitted the application to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) on the grounds that the city failed to make a decision on the Zoning By-Law Amendment within 120 days and on the Amendment to the Official Plan within the prescribed 180-day time limit.

Application headed to the OMB

15.              At the Etobicoke-York Community Council meeting of May 14th, 2009, a motion is approved to direct the Director, Community Planning, Etobicoke York District, to report to its June 9, 2009 meeting on the revised plan for development at 51 Lake Shore Drive.

16.              May 22nd, 2009, Planning Staff report recommends that the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning Division, to report directly to the City Council meeting on July 6, 2009, in order to establish the City’s position at the upcoming Ontario Municipal Board hearing.

17.               This decision effectively by-passed a discussion of this application at the Etobicoke-York Community Council where issues of landownership could have been raised.  Moreover, the public would not get an opportunity to comment on the staff report.

18.              City Council on August 5 and 6, 2009 deferred consideration of the 51 Lake Shore Drive application to its next regular meeting on September 30, 2009.  City Council did not meet on July 6th, 2009 because of the labour dispute.

19.              On September 29, 2009, Planning Staff submit a report as a Supplementary Agenda item for the September 30, 2009 City Council meeting recommending refusal of the application, instructions to direct the City Solicitor to oppose the application at the OMB and in the event the application is approved, to impose the necessary site plan approval as determined by staff.

Ontario Municipal Board hearing November 23, 2009

20.              The November 23rd, 2009 hearing of the 51 Lake Shore Drive application is adjourned on the morning of November 25, 2009.  We believe that the applicant submitted to city staff a non-registered survey dated December 4, 2009 in support of their application. 

21.              The original 1909 survey for this property is considerably smaller. These lands were the subject of much landfill. The OMB Member indicates that he cannot make a decision for a property that is not owned by the applicant.


Land Registry Office – Obtaining Absolute Title of the Properties

22.              On December 9, 2009, the applicant submits an application to the land registry office for absolute title of the lands.

23.              The Ministry of Natural Resources claims 25 ft of the shorelines measured from the shoreline to the top of bank.

24.              On June 3, 2010, the applicant applies to the Land Registry Office for the remainder of the lands on the property.  The community and the municipality has until July 5, 2009 to demonstrate that the lands zoned G (open space) are landfill and public lands.  Maps provided as attachments to the following report:

25.              The original 1909 lot 103 registered plan 1478 for this property demonstrates that the applicant is claiming as part of the registered plan additional lands. We believe, that the lands between the 1909 survey and those claimed by the Ministry of Natural Resources are public lands (as shown on map, page 3).


The City Solicitor informed the community on July 5th, 2010, just hours before the deadline for submitting objections to Dunpar's application for absolute title, that the City "has no legal grounds to object".

In spite of the City having put parkland zoning on the southern portion of the property and the evidence from many City planning maps that shows that there is a continuous swath of parkland running from Prince of Wales Park along the shore, the City is saying that they can't find the paperwork!!!

Not only that, but the Mayor's own Community Liaison Officer has refused an invitation to come out to the community and explain just why the City shows waterfront land on this and adjacent properties as parkland yet seems willing to hand it over to this developer without a fight.  The City recently paid $4 million to expropriate a similar size shoreline piece to complete the linear park in Mimico.  The people already have a claim on this piece.  Go figure!




FYI, HERE IS ONE OF THE OBJECTIONS..... (The documents referenced with letters of the alphabet can be viewed by double-clicking on the thumbnails below)

July 3, 2010

Re:         Application by John Zanini registered as Instrument No. AT2251251 amended by Instrument No. AT2398356 to be registered as owner with an absolute title of Lot 103, Plan 1478, City of Toronto Lot 103, PLAN 1478, City of Toronto (PIN 07612 – 0131 LT) under Subsection 46(2) of the Land Titles Act

My name is **********
I live in the City of Toronto in the Province of Ontario.

I make oath and swear as follows:

I am a 29 year resident of the neighbourhood surrounding this property and live at ** ******* Street, Toronto, Ontario .

I have knowledge of this property known as 51 Lake Shore Drive with regard to Dunpar’s various applications since 2007 to develop the site and I have a particular interest in this matter.

I believe that if title for the whole site down to the water (minus the Province’s claim of approximately 25 feet extending up from the water’s edge shown in the applicant’s survey) were to be granted to John Zanini, public land set aside by the municipality for much-needed parkland in our community, would be lost.  Here are my arguments to support my objection to the application…….

1.    When John Zanini bought the property in April 2007, the survey referenced as “property description” on his title (07612-0131 LT) is the 1909 plan of subdivision survey (Lot 103, PLAN 1478).  That survey clearly shows the property that he bought does not extend to the shoreline and the dimensions fall far short of the survey he is submitting with this title application. (According to the 1909 survey, the west boundary is 66.14 m (217 feet) in depth and the east boundary is 51.2 m (168 feet) in depth)
·        SEE “1909 PLAN OF SUBDIVISION 1478, LOT 103” – DOCUMENT B

2.    The 1926 New Toronto Fire Insurance map (PLAN 83) approximates the property boundaries of the 1909 survey and reinforces the fact that this property does not extend anywhere near the shoreline.  The web reference for that map is

3.    The enclosed Property Detail Report for 51 Lake Shore Drive from “Geowarehouse”, which has access to Ontario land registry and property tax assessment information, shows the property as “not on water” and perimeter and area calculations that, in my opinion, are based on the boundaries of the aforementioned 1909 survey.

4.    When proportions are scaled to known adjacent property boundaries, the dimensions of this property as per the 1909 survey are exactly the same as the R2 portion of the site shown on the City’s most recent zoning map and currently on their website. The web reference for that map is

5.    The City’s zoning map shows the rest of the site as G zoned – open space – an unbroken extension of Prince of Wales Park along the shore.
·        SEE ABOVE

6.    According to Citizens Concerned for the Future of the Etobicoke Waterfront’s “Towards an Ecological Restoration of Etobicoke’s Waterfront”, Prince of Wales Park is a lakefill public park constructed from excavated material in 1968 when the municipality built the R.L. Clark water filtration plant.  The web reference for this is

7.    I believe that, when the Town of New Toronto was merged in to the Borough of Etobicoke, illegal lakefill that had been done by New Toronto waterfront owners over the years to extend their property and lakefill work done by the municipality after storm damage and to expand public space as with Prince of Wales Park was all claimed by the Borough of Etobicoke, zoned G and set aside for future waterfront parkland in a Borough that, by necessity, could only make waterfront parks by filling in the lake.

8.    To my knowledge, G zoning is never applied to private property.  (What landowner would willingly consent to having part of his property zoned “open space”?)

9.    I believe that the only land that John Zanini should have title to is the land shown in the 1909 survey and referenced on his property title, that he was fully aware of those property boundaries when he bought the property and that he should be given title to only that portion of the site.  The lands between the 1909 survey and those claimed by the Ministry of Natural Resources on behalf of the Province are, I believe, public lands reserved for parkland and should not be granted to a developer to build private residences.



Ref:  51 lake Shore Drive 

Here is the essential question that the Lakeshore community would like answered fully.
  • Given that a significant portion of this waterfront site is zoned G (as are other sites adjacent and close by),
  • Given that, when the developer bought the property, the survey attached to the title showed that he was buying only a portion of the land that is actually there and not the land that is designated, for some good but yet unexplained reason, as G zone or the Crown shoreline strip
  • Given that the City’s G designation means “open space” and, generally, indicates parkland,
  • Given that planning staff and the City Solicitor said they could not find the by-law that created the G zone on this site and then they admitted that there were no by-laws for all the other major land fill parks in South Etobicoke like Humber Bay Park West and East 
  • Given that our Official Plan calls for a continuous waterfront trail with connected parks
  • Given that a developer has claimed it to build private houses on,
  • Given that the City and any interested party has only until July 5th to object to that claim,

Do you think it is reasonable that City residents should be happy with the explanation from the City Solicitor that this G zoning on City maps, including the current one on the City’s website, is merely a slip of the pen” and will not be defended by our City either by objection to the Land Registry Office or at the recommencement of the OMB hearing?

A suggestion for the City .... object to the title application or, at least, request an extension to the July 5th deadline to fully investigate the probability that the City of Etobicoke zoned all this waterfront land G because it was either illegal lakefill by shoreline owners or was filled by the City after storm damage or to create public land and has been set aside for future waterfront parkland.