André and Jennifer Pienaar
44 Munro Park Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario, M4E 3M3, Canada.
October 1, 2007
Every now and then an issue develops that rouses the sensibility and sensitivities of most people. In the Beach, such an issue has been brewing with the announcement that a developer (Dermot Sweeny) intends to build a luxury 5-storey condominium complex on the waterfront in the Eastern Beach. If you are not familiar with the issue, the developer has filed an application for variances to the city’s official plan to allow construction of condominium complex accommodating 16 suites and a 4-storey townhouse complex. In the process, three existing waterfront homes as well as several mature trees would be destroyed. The buildings would be located at the foot of Neville Park and fronting the beach between Neville and Munro Park on the eastern end of the beaches. More details are available at www.blna.net. the official website of the Beach Lakefront Neighbourhood Association. A planning report is pending to review the application and will be presented at a future community council meeting. Several community meetings have already voiced opposition to the project but the developer is undeterred. And no wonder…these units are expected to fetch upwards of 2 million dollars a piece. Right now we are witnessing the preliminary skirmishes which will undoubtedly lead to a showdown at the offices of the Ontario Municipal Board or OMB, a government agency charged with resolving such issues and which has the ultimate power in adjudicating development disputes. Ontario is the only province with such a board. It is no secret that the board has generally sided with developers often overturning sound official municipal plans and statutes.
A community is generally made up of individuals, who choose to live together because of shared values, culture or lifestyle. In the Beach area, we have an eclectic mix but for the most part most Beachers share a desire to maintain the “cottagy” feel to the area, which reflects its heritage. A proposal such as this becomes an assault on that sensibility. A major concern is that this project will serve as a precedent for similar ventures paving the way for other developers to take beachfront property and build similar condo projects. If you believe, as I do, that the Beachscape (as well as Streetscape) is public property and that no individual has the right to impose their will over the will of the community, then you must participate in this fight. Neighbourhoods, like all natural environments, have to be actively preserved or they can become vulnerable to unwelcome incursions which can eventually change the entire character of the community (witness Yorkville).
There are 4 ways at this time to support the initiative:
Let Councillor Bussin know your feelings
Keep abreast of news via the BLNA website.
Attend the Community Council meeting which will hear the city report on the plan (date TBA)
Monetary support. Or purchase an Elizabeth Berry print (see website: www.blna.net )
Councillor Bussin 416-392-1376
Leontine Major 416-397-4079 (City Planner)
Harold Tabone: 416-205-9909 x222 firstname.lastname@example.org
Beach Lakefront Neighbourhood Association www.blna.net
As a postscript, it should be known that this developer is not above using dirty tricks to achieve his goals. At last weeks meeting it was revealed that a long time owner of one of the properties, an elderly gentleman, unintentionally sold the property to an agent acting on behalf of Mr Sweeny, despite assurances by the buyer that the property would not be redeveloped.
Frank Loritz, Chair
KBRA Directors and Officers