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Letters from residents to the City about Grenadier Square

posted Aug 18, 2013, 7:12 AM by 70HP Webmaster   [ updated Jan 22, 2014, 5:15 AM by Rishi Sharma ]
I've been monitoring the developments of the above-noted development application.
Along with hundreds of other affected residents, I attended the Nov 7th Open House.
 
The Nov 7th amendments that the Developer has made to their initial submission continue to cause serious concerns to the neighbourhood. 
Every element of the proposed development constitutes regression to the area and our quality of life; there are no positive impacts. 
 
The proposed buildings and the increase in density will cause an increase in wind and noise, and loss of sunlight and skyview, to all surrounding buildings and houses.     
 
The existing City By-Law for this area was enacted for specific reasons:  to ensure that the area's 'built form' is in accordance with sound planning principles that provide the residents with a positive "quality of life" (a priority of Jennifer Keesmaat) that does not cause negative impacts to sunlight exposure, excessive wind and noise, and the health and safety of residents.   That's why these brownstone townhouses were initially built, i.e. to offset the apartment buildings and single family homes. 
 
The proposed development will completely eliminate any greenspace that currently exists on these parcels of land. 
 
Let's not make the same mistakes that were made at 1844 Bloor Street regarding the elimination of greenspace, not to mention the unconscionable action of cutting down precious trees and causing distress to migratory birds.  We will never get this back. 
 
Yesterday, I waited at the corner of Quebec and Gothic for a long time, with numerous senior citizens, in order for the excessive wind to subside in so that we could cross the street safely.  I took each of them, one by one, arm in arm, to cross the street.  They were afraid.  I often do this in the winter months as well when snow and traffic make it frightening for our seniors.  Certainly, pedestrian safety needs to be a priority consideration.
 
The current level of road traffic is excessive and unsafe.  Turning on to Bloor Street or on to Quebec Ave is difficult even during the day, and significantly more congested at rush hour.  Driving along Glenlake and Quebec usually requires autos to pull over to let ongoing traffic to get by.  We currently have a real shortage of street parking and this kind of development will further exasperate the problem.  This is already a very high density area with the buildings, homes, daycare, park and subway.  The area cannot and should not take on any more.
 
Transit is now so crowded at rush hour that subway commuters never get a seat + usually need to wait for several trains just to get on a subway car.
 
We need to be assured that the public sector infrastructure can accomodate further development in this specific area.  For example, we experience a watermain break approx every 2-3 months which causes significant  amounts of water spewing from underground, re-routing of road traffic and a couple of days repair work by City public works.  Water, sewage, roads, and garbage collection are all issues of concern.
 
To further address the issue of infrastructure, there was a large notice posted by the developer at the 1844 Bloor Street construction site advising people that there is no guarantee that the schools in the area will have the capacity to take any additional children.
 
The whole issue of privacy, as it relates to quality of life, must also be assessed.  The proposed developments impose buildings erected so so close to existing rental buildings and condominiums that people will no longer have privacy in their home lives.
 
I empathize greatly with the renters in this area.  They are reluctant to speak up about the inappropriateness of the proposed developments because the land owner is also their landlord.  They feel that there will be adverse consequences if they openly oppose the development.  They have no voice at all. 
 
In fact, I greatly empathize with home owners and condo owners is this area.  It seems that we have no rights and no voice whatsoever. 
 
What has this City come to that developers have more rights and more authority with the City than do Residents.
Seems as though the dog is wagging the tail.  Very sad.  We're losing our control to build a wonderful, international, leading edge City where residents are happy with their living situations, proud of their city and know that their concerns are heard and acted upon.
  
A more suitable level of development would be simply to replace the current 3 floor townhouses in accordance with the original By-Law.  Note, only eight (8) townhouses currently occupy each of these two pieces of land.  Both parcels of land are very very small. Take another look, Please.
 
You have a tough job.  Please do the right thing.  We can never go back.

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The purpose of this letter is to express my concerns about the proposed Grenadier Square development and the potential negative impacts on a number of aspects of the community that I enjoy.

The current, low-level town homes provide an interesting variation in the residential styles of the area. In addition, these three-bedroom, rental, units help to fill a need in this community and something which would not be replaced by the units in the proposed development.

The height of the proposed towers is significantly above any of the neighbouring developments and would not be in keeping with the existing skyline profile. This increased height would also result in a major shadowing effect on the existing homes and community. The proposal would also reduce the actual, and perceived, density of the area and would result in an amplification of noise, vehicle traffic, and strains on the community infrastructure.

These proposed glass towers do not blend with, or enhance, the existing developments or homes in the area. Also, with their proximity to High Park, I am concerned about the negative impact on local and migratory birds and butterflies who are unable to notice this type of feature and are frequently killed. The proposed development would also significantly reduce the number of mature trees, grass, and open space which are beneficial to the local animals, birds, and insects. This would change a wonderful, green, suburban neighbourhood into a more congested, urban region which is not in keeping with the nearby High Park.

I can appreciate that there is a need for development to take place in order to accommodate the increasing number of people who want to live in, and enjoy, the High Park area. Unfortunately the size and tone of this massive development will only result in negative impacts on the area and will lead to the general deterioration many aspects that make living in High Park so wonderful.

I trust that you will take my concerns into consideration as you work with the developer, City Council, the Planning Department, and the local community. Hopefully this will result in a radically reduced development with far fewer negative impacts on the High Park area.

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Although it is widely recognized that the subway corridor needs densification, the two proposed 31 storey developments at High Park Ave and Bloor St should be reconsidered or eliminated entirely. 
 
I have visited friends in Vancouver's crowded condominium areas and was appalled at the lack of privacy and total loss of view.  Yes, it is true that we don't own the aesthetic value of our surroundings, but consider the ramifications of such a development on the neighbourhood as a whole, including the impact on local car traffic, increased noise pollution, and the beginning of the end of ‘Bloor West Village’.  In addition, consider the massive surplus of condominium units which currently exist in Toronto.   
 
I don't suppose the developer wants to compensate the many senior citizens or mothers with children living in our buildings for many years of endless daytime construction noise.  I have several tenants on my floor who are well over 80 years old.  Please don't ruin it for us.  We’ve already got the Daniel’s development to contend with.    
 
Not that it matters, but I will probably leave the neighbourhood if these developments go forward. 

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I am strongly opposed to the development proposed As Grenadier Square Development.  As a long term resident of High Park I have seen our infrastructure and street traffic increase tenfold in the past decade.  This neighbourhood already has high density and also serves as a recreational area for visitors to High Park from all over Ontario.
Couple this with all the demands on the infrastructure, street traffic, plus recycling and garbage removal noise required by the thousands of units already present and approved,  adding a development of this magnitude would destroy the residential characteristic of this neighbourhood making many tax paying residents want to flee.

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I read this article in the Star today about steps the local councillors took to put at least a delay on the Walmart moving into the Kensington Market area and I wonder if this same concept could perhaps be applied to our issue here in the High Park area with the 31 story tower proposals, and other potential proposals down the road. If I’m understanding correctly, council voted to put a one year freeze on any re-zoning for commercial retail in the area until a proper study/analysis is done on the impact to the neighbourhood.
 
Would it be possible for you as councillor to introduce a similar “motion without notice” “interim control bylaw” to put a freeze on any re-zoning for condo developments in the High Park/Bloor West area until a study is done to determine what kind of intensification the infrastructure in the area (such as TTC, sewers, daycare, libraries, grocery stores, etc.) can handle? It seems that there could be a strong argument for this given that as we’ve talked about at the working group meetings, there have already been the other 4 condo developments along Bloor Street in addition to this newest proposal and who knows what others are coming.

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Please help us stop the Proposed Grenadier Square MEGA Development. It is obvious that the planning for this kind of development has to be done much better and serve the public interest.

The proposed plan is very ugly....It just does not fit there: nothing but townhouses fit there!

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As a resident of the High Park neighbourhood since 1991 I have seen it change and certainly not for the better always. The reasons include the cutting of trees on streets and the entry of new high-rise condos.  Thankfully I do not see as much of tree cutting as I used to.  Perhaps it still goes on but is not within my area.  In any event the reason I am writing to you is because I most STRENUOUSLY am against any more high-rise buildings in the High Park neighbourhood.
 
Thankfully there are still some residents of High Park who believe in quality of life of their neighbourhoods that they are willing to give their time, money and energy to preserve and promote a better quality of life. 
 
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The question to ask is when do we put a firm stop to the development of high-rise properties in the High Park neighbourhood. If you do not stand in the way of it now, all you are doing for your constituents is waving the real estate developers through, if not cheering them on.  The very attraction for families who want to buy a home in High Park is it’s verdant greens, tree-lined streets and it’s quiet.  If the green light is given to continue high rise development not only will the value of homes fall.  But there will be a gradual exit of those who seek elsewhere the quality of life they once had in High Park.
 
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In my opinion if high rise development here continues the way developers want it will set High Park on the path to becoming like downtown Toronto. For example the plan for high rise construction alongside High Park in place of the present townhouses will revive the high rise development of the 1970s.  The problem is that we are not living in the 1970s, and the High Park Village Complex cannot be considered as an ongoing license for new high-rise development.  We already have the Daniel’s 14-storey development on Bloor West/Pacific. This is quite enough.

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I wish to register my opposition to the excesses in developments....they want to replace airy townhouses and trees with 61 Story towers of concrete. On pacific Ave. they have cut down 30 very valuable Oak trees. More Concrete with glass. Stop the assault on our air and green space.

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As a resident of the High Park area for the past 10 years, I am very concerned about the MEGA development.  I expect that you've heard from others who are concerned, both by the size and capacity of the buildings and the sheer number of people that would be added to a small area in this way.

I'd like to hear from you with your plans to ensure the current development will not proceed.

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I am concerned about the adverse impact this development will have on the neighbourhood. Specifically:
  • The height of the bldgs. exceeds by 10 times what is currently allowed by By-law 22621.
  • The construction of some 600 units could represent at least 1,000 more people living in these bldgs. in a small and specific area This raises various concerns:
    • traffic congestion on High Park and Quebec Aves.
    • parking shortage
    • additional pressure on TTC at the High Park station
    • additional pressure on neighbourhood schools
    • demands on infrastructure: sewage system and other facilities
Please also consider the character of this neighbourhood, which is probably at present an appropriate balance between apt./condos and private homes. The twin towers being proposed probably presages further development of the same kind, which will favour more of the same kind of construction of high-rise apt. and condo buildings in the area, which will drastically change the character and ambience of the area.

I have been a resident of the area for 14 years and care very much about its character.

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Given the anticipated increase in subway users from the proposed condo developments on Quebec and High Park Aves., in addition to the development on Bloor & Parkview Gdns., I wonder what plans are under way to expand the use of the High Park Subway station which will also welcomes many visitors to High Park.  An elevator would ease congestion and well as make travel more accessible to those who cannot manage stairs and excessive congestion.  

I hope you will appreciate how urgent this is to those of us who rely on public transit and I look forward to hearing from you with regard to plans for  an elevator installation.
 
I am also concerned about the wind tunnel that the hight of the proposed development will create on Quebec Ave.  There are many seniors who live in the area whose ability to leave their buildings and walk along Quebec Ave. will be affected.  In fact it is already difficult for me and on windy days I have to avoid using Quebec Ave. 

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I have lived in the High Park area for the past 35 years and have enjoyed the neighbourhood as have all Torontonians who have occasion to visit the park.  The landscape is now being changed in a negative way with the construction of condominium towers in an already high density area along Bloor Street  by the park.  While the city was in the process of discussing the proposed tower at Pacific Ave. and Bloor, Daniels, the developer, appealed to the OMB, who approved The High Park condominium.  The trees in the entire block were cut down this week....including the black oaks...during nesting season.

Now two 31 storey towers are being planned for Bloor St./High Park Ave. and Bloor St./Quebec Ave.  Even though the community is suggesting alternative ideas for consideration, it is anticipated that the developers will once again go to the OMP which will approve their plans.

Traffic congestion, parking problems and overcrowding at the High Park subway stations are only three of the many issues that will negatively impact the area.  Other issues pertain to health & safety issues, sunlight, wind, noise, air quality, water, sewage, garbage collection, emergency services, school boards and hospitals in addition to public and private sector infrastructure considerations.  The loss of friends who are planning to move from the area because of the developments is disconcerting.  The elderly residents in this well established area are particularly vulnerable.  

With the help of the OMB we are not only destroying our neighbourhoods and ruining the beauty of picturesque High Park, but we are courting future economic problems when the bottom falls out of the Condominium market as predicted by some economists.

You have the power to dismantle the OMB.  Doing so would be a great service to the city of Toronto.

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OUR AREA IS CURRENTLY THE MOST DENSELY POPULATED IN HIGH PARK AND ALONG THIS ENTIRE STRETCH OF THE BLOOR/ DANFORTH SUBWAY LINE. THIS APPLICATION PROPOSES TO SUBSTANTIALLY INCREASE THIS DENSITY EVEN FURTHER SO THE QUESTION BECOMES  "How much is appropriate?" 

I request a Professional Area Study to be completed by a neutral party.

I am aware of Toronto's  commitment to seniors,  "Toronto Senior Strategy 2013". Toronto has made a commitment to make the city safe and livable for seniors.  We need  a thorough and professional study done to assess the impact that this (and any other developments) could have on our seniors who have been part of this community for so long (and  all seniors). Their needs deserve to be heard and respected. They should not have to live their last years to threatened to leave their apartments, or feel forced to move due to the stresses of ongoing years of construction outside their front door and an increase in population that is overwhelming. This would be a new study, one that needs to happen regarding this  and other developments.  THIS IS THE TIME TO CREATE THIS PROCESS and it needs to be completed regarding this proposal.

So I am requesting an "IMPACT ON SENIORS STUDY". I believe this should be done for each and every proposal. We should be working toward making life better for this population. We are all heading there. We all deserve a respectable quality of life.

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I would like to express my concerns about the proposed 610 condo unit development for Quebec and High Park Avenues.  I have lived at 50 Quebec Ave. for the past 35 years and have thoroughly enjoyed the neighbourhood.

If these two proposed towers are constructed, there will be increased density in an already high density area.  Traffic congestion, parking problems and overcrowding at the High Park subway stations are only three of the many issues that will negatively impact the area.  Jean has legitimately raised issues pertaining to health & safety issues, sunlight, wind, noise, air quality, water, sewage, garbage collection, emergency services, school boards and hospitals in addition to other public and private sector infrastructure considerations. 

I was truly upset this week to see the trees being cut down for The High Park Condominium Project in a large one block area just opposite High Park.  Tearing down these trees and building a tower opposite the park in a city full of cranes and condo developments that may well not sell is a sad commentary on planning for our city.  And we are only continuing to exacerbate the problems by continuing to endorse towers along this stretch of Bloor Street.

We are not only destroying our neighbourhoods and ruining the beauty of picturesque High Park, but we are courting future economic problems when the bottom falls out of the Condominium market as predicted by some economists.

Your support in promoting alternatives to the towers would be greatly appreciated not only by the residents of the High Park community but by all the people in Toronto who have occasion to enjoy High Park.

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High Park subway is already frustrating.  By the time the trains reach HP in the am (e.g. this morning at 6:59) they are full almost to capacity and it is standing room only.  The time between the trains increases in the summer months and adds to the stress.  Combine this with buses feeding into the various subway stops prior to HP and crowding becomes a serious issue.  There are times when I have to let at least one train go by before I can actually board a train.  Not fun when I have a deadline that requires me to be at work on time and it is about time the TTC recognizes this.

Add this concern to the increase in unit density with folks using HP subway station and it is going to be an even more of a challenge to get to work safely.

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I recently purchased a property at 100 Quebec Ave, and am extremely concerned about the proposed Grenadier Square Redevelopment.

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We should follow the Royal York and Old mill neighbourhoods where the heights were kept to a more human scale. It preserves the neighbourhood and maintains its character.

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We are writing to inform you of our opposition regarding the rezoning application of these properties.

The proposed changes are of concern, as they: 
  1. Exceeds the allowable heights, and is unacceptable.  The current allowable height is of a more proportional to the streetscape
  2. The proximity to the High Park is too close and sets a bad precedent for future developments in the neighborhood. 
  3. It should be in keeping with other buildings already present in the neighborhood, where they are within six to eight stories
  4. Are not in keeping with the neighborhood character and appearance
  5. The height impedes neighbor’s view of High Park
  6. High Park should be protected form over development, as has happened in other communities, for example, Harbourfront, Fort York and Liberty Village developments
  7. We are concerned the current infrastructure is unable to cope with the density of these new developments, should they be allowed to proceed
Please register our opposition to these building variances.

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I would like to express my deep concern re the proposed development of two 31 storey buildings at 51-65 Quebec Ave and 52-66 High Park Ave.
 
I believe that these locations are not designated for a development of this height and magnitude and I would strongly oppose any action on the part of the City of Toronto to change the existing designation.
 
The High Park area has more than its share of large apartment/condo buildings already; surely a development of this type would seriously compromise the liveability of the neighbourhood.

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