Sheppard Centre Update

John continues to be frustrated by the amount of residential development in the area. A recent post referencing the Sheppard Centre among other development proposals in the area can be found here.

With the Sheppard Centre, as is often the case, John was opposed to the proposal of another condo highrise, but the City’s Planning staff recommended in favour of it.  In other cases, even when the staff and the Councillor opposes a development, it can get approved at the Ontario Municipal Board.

Something needs to change.  Any new highrise development in the area should be offices, not residential condos.

Recent employment numbers have illustrated the problem.  In the last 5-year census period, Ward 23 population increased over 11%.  A recent 5-year study showed job growth in the North York Centre at only 0.5%.  From 2013-14, we actually lost 520 jobs.  Our community is paying a steep price, in the form of daily traffic gridlock, for the OMB’s conversion of commercial or mixed use zoning to more residential condos, and for allowing residential development to outstrip local jobs.  The City has to find a way to protect employment lands in its growth centres to allow residents to live and work in closer proximity.

A few silver linings in the Sheppard Centre decision:

1) It seems that John’s work with senior planning staff is starting to bring them around to his way of thinking.  He is optimistic that some progress can be made on new strategies to prevent ongoing reoccurrences of the same issues.

2) This redevelopment will come with a major revitalization of the retail space at Yonge & Sheppard.  This will have a positive impact on our local street scape and become part of a larger street improvement initiative also under way.

3) John was able to negotiate with the developers committing them to a number of major community resources to be paid for by the developer in addition their section 37 contributions.

Other concerns raised at local community meetings on the proposal have also been addressed.  The applicant has agreed to studies to increase pedestrian safety, especially in the vicinity of Cardinal Carter Academy, and to improve the alignment of the Doris and Greenfield intersection reducing its traffic impact.  The structure’s new loading area will be six times larger then what currently exists greatly reducing the disruptions currently seen on Greenfield Avenue.