4121 Kingston Road Virtual Community Consultation – Tuesday, November 16 at 7pm

IMPORTANT

On Tuesday, November 16 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, the City of Toronto is hosting a Virtual community Consultation meeting for the massive 4121 Kingston Rd development.

If you have not heard of this development it’s because only property owners within 400 ft of the development are notified: “The formal notice of any public meeting held by the City will be sent to: property owners within 120m (400 feet) of the property; anyone submitting a written request to the City Clerk’s Office to be notified; and anyone providing their name and contact information on this Comments sheet.”

The City of Toronto invites you to:

  • View the background file
  • View the Application & Supporting Documents (that’s the good stuff – hundreds and hundreds of pages in 26 files that must be downloaded individually, one at a time – good luck!)
  • Email your questions to Francis.Kwashie@toronto.ca and councillor_ainslie@toronto.ca in advance of the consultation
  • Register to participate in the consultation <- you must register!
  • Follow instructions in your confirmation email to participate – you must pre-register!

Yes, the City of Toronto has made it extremely difficult to educate yourself on these applications, their impacts, benefits, how they will affect you and your family, friends and neighbours. they’ve also made it difficult to participate in consultations. Sadly, I think that is by design.

This particular application will affect most residents in West Hill, Guildwood Village, Scarborough Village and to some extent Woburn. Yet, only those who live within 120 metres are automatically invited to participate in consultation.

Anyway, at the time of writing this blog post (it’s Friday), you have about 96 hours to read up on this huge project, submit your questions and register to participate.

Guildwood Village will clearly be impacted by this development. Yet, the proposal and the accompanying 118-page Planning Rationale, which reads much like a Sales Brochure, fails to mention, even once, Guildwood Village as an area of concern on any matter related to this development.

There is not a single mentioning of how this development will affect Guildwood’s 9,200 residents. Not one! It is as if Guildwood Village does not exist in the eyes of this project.

That is obviously extremely concerning.

I have read the application documents over the last few days but i’m still confused about a whole bunch of things. So, here are my initial comments and questions that I emailed today to
Francis.Kwashie@toronto.ca and councillor_ainslie@toronto.ca

My Comments & Questions

4121 Kingston Rd is long overdue for development. I firmly believe a mixed-use development of this property with retail and restaurants would benefit and serve not only West Hill but also Guildwood Village, Scarborough Village and to a lessor degree Woburn.

The property is a clean slate to develop a thriving community focusing on Quality of Life for its residents and neighbouring communities and to deliver much needed Affordable, Quality Living to Scarborough residents.

However, the 4121 Kingston Rd proposal raises serious concerns and appears to fail in the most basic areas of community development.

1) Proposal Offers No Impact Consideration for Guildwood Village

Question: Why was Guildwood Village excluded?
Request: Conduct a complete impact study for Guildwood Village, including

  • Visual Impact Study with and without foliage for Guildwood Village
    • Create 3D model of entire Block Context Plan (this includes one 40-storey tower, one 38-storey tower, two 36-storey towers and one 25-storey tower) so Guildwood residents can fully understand the visual impact from any vantage point at any time of year from within Guildwood Village, similar to Google Maps Street View.
    • During January and July, arrange for helicopters to hover at all 5 planned/envisioned towers so residents can fully understand the actual, real-life height and impact of towers.
  • Sun/Shadow Study for Guildwood Village and West Hill
    • Include the entire Block Context Plan
    • Create 365-day study, sun up to sun down.
  • Parking Study for Guildwood Village
    • How will the development’s limited parking spaces affect side streets and GO Station’s south parking lot?
  • Traffic Study / Pedestrian & School Safety for Guildwood Village

2) Tower Heights

The application includes one 25-storey tower and one 36-storey tower with the future addition of one 36-storey tower, one 38-storey tower and one 40-storey tower detailed in the Planning Rationale Section 3.3 ‘Block Context Plan’ on Pages 27 and 28.

The Block Context Plan provides the overall Vision & Spirit of this proposed development and must be considered in the review of this application.

In other words, while the application at hand and supporting documents only refer to buildings A, B, C, and D, it is imperative that the entire Block Plan – the Spirit and overall Vision for this development – is included in the application review in order for residents to have a meaningful reference and method to measure the long-term effects of this development.

  • Tower 1: 25-storeys – in application
  • Tower 2: 36-storeys – in application
  • Tower 3: 36-storeys – described in the Block Context Plan
  • Tower 4: 38-storeys – described in the Block Context Plan
  • Tower 5: 40-storeys – described in the Block Context Plan

Towers of this magnitude can only be described as extreme.  They are skyscrapers towering Guildwood Village. Twice as tall as 4301 Kingston Rd. Three times as tall as 55 Livingston Rd.

They are so tall, combined, they will form a wall to the north some 490 ft tall and 1,000 ft wide and completely destroy the existing visual character of the mid-century modern, single and two-storey Guildwood Village.

View of the Development from Guildwood Village Park
Rendering created by Guildwood resident using 3D file provided with Development Application

Based on the 20-storey tall 4301 Kingston Rd. which top floor can be seen as far away as Galloway and Guildwood Parkway, we know that any floor above 20-storeys will be visible within the same radius from the new development.

This map illustrates 20th floor visibility:

Of course, the proposed skyscrapers are much taller and will be not just visible but imposing from much greater distances.

Block Context Plan provided in Supporting Documents
Block Context Plan provided in Supporting Documents
View Before
‘Guestimated’ View After – we’ll ask developer to provide accurate 3D renderings from Guildwood’s perspective so we don’t have to guess.

The development application does not include a Sun/Shadow Study for Guildwood Village. This illustration is my own estimate: The towers will block the afternoon and early evening sun, year-round, for Guildwood residents from Toynbee & Burnage to Galloway & Dearham.

Residents in this part of Guildwood already have to deal with artificial bright lights from the GO station as well as loud noise from trains; rail squeal and screeching, locomotives firing up, accelerating and braking. Now, these residents will lose afternoon and early evening sunlight on top of all of that.

As Guildwood Village was completely excluded from any impact considerations in this application, I ask that the developer provides the following:

  • Visual Impact Study with and without foliage for Guildwood Village
    • Create 3D model of entire Block Context Plan (this includes one 40-storey tower, one 38-storey tower, two 36-storey towers and one 25-storey tower) so Guildwood residents can fully understand the visual impact from any vantage point at any time of year from within Guildwood Village, similar to Google Maps Street View.
    • During January and July, arrange for helicopters to hover at all 5 planned/envisioned towers so residents can fully understand the actual, real-life height and impact of towers.
  • Sun/Shadow Impact Study for Guildwood Village and West Hill (the Sun/Shadow study included with the application was inadequate for West Hill and excluded Guildwood)
    • Include the entire Block Context Plan
  • Create 365-day study, sun up to sun down.

3) Unit Sizes

The proposal includes 996 residential units to be occupied by an estimated 1,737 residents

  • 70 x Studio
  • 550 x 1-Bed
  • 269 x 2-Bed
  • 107 x 3-Bed

That means 620 units of the total of 996 units, or 62%, are Studio/1-bed apartments. That seems like an excessive amount of tiny living spaces.

The proposal estimates that of the estimated 1,737 residents a combined 449 residents will be daycare and school aged kids.

  • 89 Children Requiring Childcare Spaces
  • 180 Public School Elementary Students 
  • 46  Catholic School Elementary Students
  • 91 Public School Secondary
  • 43 Catholic School Secondary
  • 449 Total

Questions:

  1. Is the intent that Studio/1-bed apartments will be occupied by single individuals or multiple people?
  2. Is the intent that children will be living in the Studio/1-bed apartments or exclusively in the 2-3 bed apartments?
  3. Does all of this meet the City’s standards for family dwellings? 
  4. Do these unit sizes meet the City’s goals for Quality of Life, Physical and Mental Health and Wellness for children and their parents?
  5. Will the 996 units be rental or owned?

4) No Affordable Housing Units in Proposal

The proposal includes 996 residential units but none are designated Affordable Housing Units.

As explained in the Planning Rationale on Page 27:  “With respect to the provision of affordable housing, there are currently no in-force policies which would require the provision of affordable housing. Rather, Section 5.1.1 of the Official Plan identifies the provision of affordable housing as a potential community benefit in return for an increase in height and/or density. In this regard, the applicant would be amendable to the provision of affordable housing, should this be requested by the City, as part of a Section 37 community benefits package.”

The City of Toronto can request Affordable Housing Units in return for granting the developer additional height or density incentives, see https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/980b-cp-official-plan-chapter-5.pdf

If the City of Toronto’s new Inclusionary Zoning policy requiring 5-10% of units to be Affordable Housing Units, this only generates 50-100 Affordable Units of which 31-62 are Studio/1-bed apartments. 

This seems like very little Affordable Housing benefit compared to the enormous size and scope of this project.

Questions:

  1. Will the City of Toronto request Affordable Housing Units in this development?
  2. Will the City of Toronto’s new Inclusionary Zoning policy requiring 5-10% of units to be Affordable Housing Units apply to this development? Link to Policy Announcement: https://www.toronto.ca/news/toronto-city-council-adopts-new-inclusionary-zoning-policy-to-get-more-affordable-housing-built/ 
  3. Which sizes and how many?
  4. What is the City’s goal for Affordable Quality Living? 

5) Lack of Parking Spaces

This proposal includes only 453 Parking Spaces for 1,737 residents in 996 units. 

The proposal estimates 449 residents are children of various ages. I then assume the remaining 1,288 residents are adults. 

It does not seem realistic that 1,288 adults in Scarborough – where the car is the primary mode of transportation to and from work and recreation – would require only 453 parking spots. I believe it’s safe to assume residents will have many, many more cars than allotted parking spaces, presumably 400-600 more cars.

Questions:

  1. Where will residents park additional cars?
  2. Will they park on side streets?
  3. Will they park in GO south lot (south of tracks?
  4. Where will GO users who used to park on the north lot park their cars?
  5. Will residents and GO users be forced to park on Westlake?
  6. How does this affect Guildwood Village residents who rely on parking at GO?

Request: Parking Study for Guildwood Village and Guildwood Village Residents.

6) Traffic

It appears the proposal’s Transportation Impact Study was completed in 2020 during COVID when traffic volumes where down compared to normal years. With traffic volumes returning to normal and dedicated bus lanes now installed it’s reasonable to assume traffic will be affected. 

Many may decide to bypass the potential development area congestion via Guildwood Village’s Westlake or Guildwood Parkway. This would put even more pressure on Livingston Rd by Guildwood Junior Public School and St. Ursula Catholic School.

Request: Post-COVID Traffic Study / Pedestrian & School Safety for Guildwood Village

7) Misaligned Demographic Data

Section 2.1 (page 90) in the Planning Rationale explains that data from City of Toronto Neighbourhood Profiles 136 ‘West Hill’ and 140 ‘Guildwood’ will be aggregated to create a Demographic Profile for this development.

Two issues come to mind;

  1. Data from Profile 139 ‘Scarborough Village’ should be included in the aggregation to provide a more accurate socioeconomic picture of the development area.
  2. Profile boundaries 139 ‘Scarborough Village’ and 140 ‘Guildwood are misaligned (they follow Stats Canada’s misaligned Census Tracts 0331.01 and 0331.04 rather than actual boundaries) resulting in misaligned data application. The Guildwood Village Community Association (GVCA) and others have raised this important issue with SPAR as well as Stats Canada. The issue still has not been resolved. This Development Application is a good example of how this misalignment affects real-life research and decision making.

Requests:

  1. Include data from Profile 139 ‘Scarborough Village’ to generate a more accurate Demographic Profile for this development application.
  2. Request SPAR to adjust the 139 ‘Scarborough Village’ and 140 ‘Guildwood profile boundaries to match the actual and (very) physical boundaries of Scarborough Village and Guildwood Village.

Guildwoodian Encourages Dialogue

NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard) implies residents are selfish, privileged, ignorant and irrational in their opposition and/or request for information and desire to contribute to a given development proposal that affects their community.

NIMBY is used to shut down dialogue by deriding and belittling community members who ask questions.

As such, the term is abhorrent and offensive.

Have a debate but do not use the term NIMBY to stifle dialogue or belittle someone.

3 comments

  1. I grew up in Guildwood (went to Poplar Road Junior Public in the 90s, Jack Miner Senior Public in the early 2000’s and graduated from Laurier Collegiate in 2007) and lived in the community with my parents for many years following graduation. It’s safe to say I’m familiar with the community and always loved the community engagement and “feel”. So different than other suburbs! Your blog is 100% part of why I think the community remains so strong.

    Want to know why I left? Opinions like this. I am a single, young professional (well, I have a partner) who would have seriously considered staying in the community if there was more housing of different types, instead of just single family homes on large lots. *Some* people like living like that and it certainly works for certain life stages. However, the developments at 4121 Kingston road seem to offer what much of Guildwood does not: small spaces for compact living. Why do you make such value judgements of these spaces, as if no people could possibly benefit from not having to do yard work or spend an entire afternoon cleaning the house? We need a diversity of housing types.

    You also seem to assume that all of these people are going to be driving everywhere. Really? The GO station right next door has 15 minute service during the day, VIA trains going elsewhere in the country and frequent TTC service in Kingston Road. If anything, this is an opportunity to further make a dent in car culture. Again, some people like to drive but I promise you; give people options and we would see a lot less traffic in this city.

    You *do* make a good point about the lack of affordable housing, which is why I’m not going to just brand you as a NIMBY, but come on, why not just make that argument instead of opposing the entire project? Developers certainly aren’t our friends but at some point, we do need new housing stock.

    Don’t even get my started on the spurious “light and shade” arguments. My grandparents lived on Toynbee Trail and their house appreciated an insane amount over their lifetime, people will survive a slight bit of shade from much needed rental housing. If they get sad, they can just look at their net worth.

    All in all, I hope the NIMBYS lose this one and the project gets approved. Bye for now.

    Like

    • Hey! Great comments! Especially about compact living. I experienced compact living for 25 years of my life. Many of those years in an apartment so small it didn’t even have a shower. We showered at the local pool. I’m not judging. I have an opinion based on my own lived experience.

      I’m a big proponent of developing this lot. It would benefit so many people including current residents in West Hill, Guildwood and Scarborough Village. But I do not support skyscrapers towering over Guildwood. I believe the negative impact of skyscrapers outweigh the benefits. Again, I want this lot to be developed but I don’t want skyscrapers.

      NIMBY is not a bad thing when what you’re opposing offers a negative that outweighs the positive. I’m against the skyscrapers, I’m not against developing housing for quality living, compact or otherwise.

      Regarding transit/parking, someone working in a warehouse in Markham will not take GO downtown to go to work. I think it’s wrong to assume the majority of residents will not need a parking space and I think it’ll result in major issues for everyone inside and outside of the development.

      Humans need sunlight.

      Like

  2. It appears that the proposal eliminates both of the north GO parking lots. Where do they propose these people park?

    Because of insufficient parking for GO further east, parking at Guildwood GO draws people from Pickering. It also draws from Markham and Scarborough north.

    Once people get fully back to work, the parking lots will be fuller than they are now. Unless the traffic studies were done more than 2 years ago, they won’t realistically reflect use.

    The north lots appear significantly larger than the south lots, so how do they propose dealing with double the number of cars for the south lot? It will also significantly increase traffic on Westlake.

    Like

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