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Beach Lakefront Neighbourhood Association

Reactions to Proposal

The following are some of the many responses and reactions to the proposal that the BLNA has received from concerned residents and beach visitors who come to enjoy these neighbourhoods along the lakefront. If you would like to express your feelings on this issue, please email htabone@northfind.com


" It's an assault on our waterfront... If this project goes ahead it's precedent setting, and it will change the Beach beyond recognition"

Sandra Bussin - City Councillor for Beaches-East York


As a resident of the beach and dog owner who have the tremendous chance to walk on that part of the beach two or three times a day, I have to express how horrified I am with this new project... you will take away the character and uniqueness of the oldest neighborhood in Toronto. People should learn from the big mistakes that have been done with Harbourfront. How they destroyed any chances for that part of the city to have a great lake front with these horrible condo towers that will not age well and are blocking the view on our great Ontario lake forever?

This project on that part of the beach will destroy the cachet and devalue all houses around. Sweeny doesn't get it... we'd rather have 3 family houses than this "want to be modern/classic" thing.

I am from Montreal and I am used to a city that takes care of its heritage and takes pride in preserving the soul of their various neighbourhoods. Please do not let this happen, it will open the door to any other deep pocket and unscrupulous businessman who just want to cash in and don't think and don't care about the future of the city.

Feel free to use this message in any kind of petition against that project.

best regards,

Melanie Courtois
57 Fernwood Park Avenue


" It’s an important cause. Don’t let those guys get away with it. That monstrosity doesn’t belong there. " 

David Bernardi
Bloor St. W.
Toronto, ON M6S 1S1


SEPTEMBER 19, 2007

I am writing this to add my voice in opposition to the condo-building proposal for the foot of Neville Park, on the lakefront between Neville Park and Monroe Park.

The proposal is for a 5-story condo development facing on to the beach and Lake Ontario by the firm of Sweeny Sterling Finlayson. To build this development, 3 homes will be demolished and the most distressing part, well over 30-40 trees.  Some of these trees are over 150 years old and are part of the Neville Park Ravine, a protected ravine with some of the oldest Oak trees in Ontario; why would we just sit back and allow these majestic trees to be chain sawed down? The City of Toronto spends countless $’s trying to improve our quality of air by planting trees, does it make sense to allow these ancient and historical trees to be destroyed.

The land that these trees grow is of a sandy base. These majestic trees anchor the hill rising north from the beach where the development will sit. The Government with OUR tax money has spent millions of dollars creating a safe non-eroding shoreline in this area bringing in huge granite boulders from northern Ontario.  Part of the reason was to help protect the property on this hillside from the ravages of a windy, stormy lake the other to create a beach/park setting for the people of Toronto. Why would we now want to jeopardize the hillside by allowing a development of this size here and mow down the trees that anchor the hillside?

     This section of the beach has always had a charm and quietness not found anywhere else. There are 2 older apartment buildings in this part of the beach one a block to the east approx 43 years old and one 2 blocks to the west approx 60 years old if not older.  They are both 3 stories with basement apartments and carry the charm of the neighborhood with them. They create housing for all economic groups, which adds to the flavour and fabric of our community.

By allowing this development to come in we jeopardize our future, If we allow 5 stories now we set a president for possibly 6 next time and then 7 stories later. Soon there will be a wall of expensive condos for the wealthy only. This is not Harbourfront this is the Beach community.  Lets protect our heritage and stop this project now.

Thank-you for your time

Jennifer Base

JENNIFER BASE
NEVILLE PARK BLVD
TORONTO, ONTARIO M4E 3P8


Dear Harold,

We, the owners of 44 Munro Park Avenue, are absolutely opposed to the proposed development. Our main concerns are:

  1. The destabilizing of the community due to speculative activity. This type of development will without question change the quiet nature of the neighbourhood which is what attracted us here in the first place. Over the years as single dwelling homes have been apartmentised the tone has been changing for the worse. Munro Park is not as dignified and quiet as it used to be as the volume of residents has increased. It is also harder to find a parking space for our car and our viitors' cars. But it is still a beautiful haven worth protecting.

  2. What are City bylaws for if they are to be challenged and changed to suit the commercial interests of just a few people, and can the City be trusted to maintain it's standards on our behalf? Is the City's vision to increase the density and nature of the area and thereby reduce the intrinsic value of the neighbourhood and it's properties. We previously lived in the heart of the Beach but had to move further east to this quiet and dignified avenue of single family homes to find peace and quiet. Now this is being severely challenged by insensitive and unscrupulous property developers who don't seem to understand or respect these values.

  3. It is unfortunate that there is already a block of apartments next to the Waterworks but we should see that as en error of judgement of previous City planners rather than use it as a precedent setter. If the development between Neville Park and Munro Park were to go forward it would set huge precedents for a surge in the desecration of our neighbourhood waterfront. An article entitled "Avenues of Envy" in Toronto's National Post in April 2000 described Munro Park as one of the six most desirable streets in Toronto. It is precisely this that we should be protecting, that developers should respect, and the City should be protecting on our behalf.

Thankyou.

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:

  1. Let Councillor Bussin know your feelings

  2. Keep abreast of news via the BLNA website.

  3. Attend the Community Council meeting which will hear the city report on the plan (date TBA)

  4. 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    htabone@northafind.com 
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