Will We Ever See Better Public Transit In Scarborough???

October 11, 2019

Dear Ward 24 Residents,

“Its like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. You spend a year painting it and you have to start again. It’s a never-ending challenge.” – John MacLeod (died October 3, 1937)

I found a lot of irony in this quote for a couple of reasons. First, I was sitting in my chair in Toronto City Council about to debate a development application in Scarborough when this quote came across my screen. Second, the development application was on Eglinton Ave East, where it intersects with Brimley Road.

The development in question is for 2787 and 2791 Eglinton Avenue East. The link to the report we debated at Scarborough Community Council and the Toronto City Council can be found here:

The site in question is a small strip (no pun intended) plaza, no taller in height than two storeys. The pun because previous tenants included a strip club, a bowling alley, and a bar.

City Council has seen this file twice in a year. We had an extensive debate both times because the developer’s original application was for 6 blocks of stacked townhouses. City Council basically said “Go fix it….and come back”

The developer came back with an even smaller application, 5 blocks of stacked townhouses, an increased parkland area, and threw in some money for what we call “Section 37 Benefits”.

You might thing naturally the developer made the units bigger and took up more space? No…..The number of units decreased, along with the amount of livable space to be created (And no affordable housing either)

The City of Toronto Planning Department at all levels is against this application. There are three major planning parameters they follow:
1. The Avenues Study
2. The Provincial Policy Statement (2014)
3. Growth Plan for The Golden Horseshoe (2017)

Since it violated all three of these three guidelines, I thought sending this project back to the drawing board would be easy……. Turns out I was wrong. The majority of my Council colleagues voted for the lower density 15 – 8.

My motion they voted against:
1. City Council refuse the application to amend the Zoning By-Law for the lands at 2787 and 2791 Eglinton Road for the following reasons:
a. The proposal underutilizes the development potential of the site;
b. The proposed development would set a negative precedent along the Avenue;
c. The proposal has not demonstrated how it will fit into the planned context and vision for Avenues;
d. The proposed development has not demonstrated compatibility with the future Eglinton East LRT; and
e. The proposed development is not consistent with the PPS (2014), conflicts with the Growth Plan (2019) and is not in keeping with the Official Plan.

City Planners would prefer a building 6 – 8 floors in height!

Normally I wouldn’t get too wound up about a planning application in a neighbouring Councillor’s Ward (Gary Crawford) At first glance I wasn’t even initially too surprised it violated three planning studies. What really caught my eye was the fact the next stage of the Eglinton Avenue East LRT from Kennedy Station is supposed to go right by the front door of this application. Immediately adjacent to this site is going to be one of the stops for the LRT!

Approving this a development in its latest rendition sets a horrible precedent not only for Eglinton, but major roads across Toronto. Imagine taking the Eglinton East LRT from the Kennedy Subway Station looking at all kinds of tall office towers and condominiums where strip plazas used to be…..until you get to Eglinton and Brimley and see townhouses??

And maybe more in the future, where present day strip plazas get re-developed, because developers will use this as a planning precedent. “Build quick and get out” will be the construction mantra.

Continue your trip the rest of the way along Eglinton Avenue East from Bellamy Road to almost Morningside Ave, (This is my Ward) where a large number of developers are sitting on properties, waiting for the green light on LRT construction.

Many have told me when this happens, they will have a shovel in the ground.

To get an LRT from Kennedy Station to the Pan Am Aquatic Centre we need higher density….and politicians with the vision to make it happen!

All my Best,


October Highlights

Dear Ward 24 Residents,

The 10th City Council meeting was held over October 2nd and 3rd, 2019. At this meeting items were adopted in numerous categories such as climate and environment, road safety, housing, licensing and standards, and diversity, social and health issues and more.

On the declaration of climate emergency, Council voted to declare this state and adopt a stronger target for emission reductions aiming for net zero emissions for Toronto by 2050.

City Council supported a motion calling on Transportation Services to work with two contracted vendors to provide crossing guard services at 704 locations. The School Crossing Guard program plays an essential role in safeguarding communities across Toronto. Crossing guards maintain the safety and wellbeing of schoolchildren as they walk to and from their schools.

I’m happy to inform that City Council supported my recommendation to immediately cease the issuing of new licenses to payday-loan establishments in Toronto. These outlets are now required to give their customers information about credit counselling services to help manage their financial situations to avoid cash shortfalls and cyclical debt. Council also voted to prohibit payday-loan establishments, pawnshops and cash-for-gold vendors from advertising on City property.

In 2016 the City’s Open Door Program was approved to support the City’s efforts to deliver new affordable homes and help meet housing targets. At this time City Council authorized City funding to facilitate the creation of the 651 affordable rental homes in eight non-profit and private sector developments across Toronto.

Council has approved a motion requesting the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) board to explore discounted post-secondary fares taking into account the provincial government changes to post-secondary fee system. The TTC will be asked to report on this matter during the City’s 2020 budget process.

The development of a gender equity strategy for the city was directed by City Council along with the support for establishing a gender equity unit within People and Equity at the City. Creating this unit will provide dedicated resources to ensure the creation of a robust strategy.

Full details on the October 2nd and 3rd City Council meeting can be found here.

On October 5th Toronto explored the 14th edition of Nuit Blanche in downtown Toronto and Scarborough. There were nearly 90 projects from 300 artists, which included performance art, interactive installations, sculptures and mixed media. Eight projects remain on display including Ephemeral Artifacts at Scarborough Town Centre and Scarborough Royalty in Albert Campbell Square. More details on which projects are still on display across the city can be found here.

You can also vote for your favourite photo taken at Nuit Blanche Toronto 2019 here. You can vote by liking the one you like most on Instagram. 

All my Best,

Paul W. Ainslie