September 2016

Monthly Executive Meeting

15 September, 2016, 7:00-9:00 PM

Staff Lounge, University Settlement House

In attendance: Ralph (presiding), Max, Karen, Geoff, Julie, David, Pesha, Nicolas Rouleau, Willie Chin, Roger Carruthers.

Max introduces:

  • Nicolas who has bought 54 1/2 St Patrick, the “half-house,” and set up law offices
  • Willie who lives on D’Arcy and is concerned about next door neighbour who wants to make rooming house, currently 8 rooms, into 18-room rooming house with double the depth and additional third floor; Roger, who lives around the corner on Huron, is equally concerned.  1. Welcome:Approval of agenda and July minutes, moved by Julie and seconded by Karen, unanimous approval  2. Grange Green Plan:GGP Implementation:Ralph reports that our Councillor is interested in moving forward with the plan and would like an illustrative map; Ceta is attempting to locate a previous map produced by the councillor’s office. Ralph will send out to the group the HRVA Green Plan map as an example. The group felt it appropriate to have a specific GCA meeting on the Green Plan; Ralph will organize for late Fall.  Glasgow Parkette and St. Patrick Market Square Park are high on priority list of improvements for the Councillor as he has funds.  GCA should be clear about our priorities. Parkette planning and development as part of the GGP may be an ideal entry point for a more participatory process on the use of Section 37 funding.  Section 37 money in Ward 20 includes, among other sources, approximately $1million from 245 College. Grange Park Construction:Karen inquired re fencing for the dog park and when it would be installed.  Given that posts are installed, we should be able to use it as soon as we can; Max will follow up. Geoff noted that since the east-west corridor was opened, there are no additional garbage cans provided.  So, again, garbage is accumulating.  Max reported that GPAC received report from subcommittee of possible quotations to be used for the Grange Park pavers on the Stephanie Street walkway.  Authors are being approached for permission and then GPAC will make a final selection. 3. Community Standards:Laneway Naming:Ceta is managing this file. In her absence, Ralph reports that Silverstein’s has gone out of business, so previous city objections to a laneway name may be moot.  Max requested that the proposed alleys and names be made available for posting on the GCA website, once finalized.  Participatory Budgeting:Pesha asks if Ward 20 can be put forward for Participatory Budgeting.  Max recommended we attempt to use this process for Section 37 money as an initial step in community-based participatory budgeting, as has been done in Shelley Carroll’s ward.  Also suggested that a principle be established of geographic proximity to the development that is the source of section 37 funds for expenditure of funds. Pesha reports that Councillor has set aside Section 37 funds for existing TCHC buildings.  Max and Ralph request documentation of this process. 4. Planning & Development:33 Henry:Max requests consensus re intervention at Committee of Adjustment regarding this site, as the new owner proposes remodelling this building in a way that the adjacent and nearby neighbours object to.  The consensus of the meeting was that we should intervene at COA. U of T Engineering Projects:Ralph and Max identified this opportunity to work with U of T undergrad engineering students, who  examine a specific community issue, and suggest approaches and solutions, free of charge. The program require a specific client to be identified, one person to take responsibility per research question.This design course from the University of Toronto, called Engineering Strategies and Practice (ESP), ( seeks individuals/groups who have design problems that their undergraduate engineering student teams can solve, at no cost. GCA members as “clients” must meet three times with each team  – January, February, and March.  Each meeting must take place within a specific time period so that students can meet their assignment deadline.  Attached below is a client handbook to give you an idea of what to expect from the meetings.We will submit projects via an online form link, submitting one form per project: list of 10 potential projects was considered.  The U of T Coordinator confirmed to Ralph in advance  that all proposed projects are appropriate for their programme. Following discussion, all 10 were accepted and the following individual “clients” for each were proposed: 1.      Redesign of a problem intersection (focus St. Patrick and Dundas, with consideration of Soho and Queen; perhaps 2 separate projects) – Max2.      Cycle track safety and adjacent buildings (focus on 452 Richmond) – Max, in cooperation with the Garment District Neighbourhood Association3.      Green wall engineering (consideration of both attached and free-standing “walls”) – Nicholas and Ralph4.      Multi-use of dog parks (“furniture” for both dogs and people) – Karen and Geoff, with Ralph and Max (conditional)5.      Laneway Naming pedestrian information (how to convey the history of the names) – Ceta with David contributing technical skills6.      Construction hoarding design (city requires “artistic” hoarding; can this be done sculpturally as well as graphically?) – David, Ralph and Max7.      Drone-based mapping and promotion of neighbourhood facilities – David8.      Redesign or replacement of front-yard garbage bins – Pesha9.      Can prospective wind engineering studies be trusted to give accurate information about effects on pedestrians?  (Cases: 19 Duncan/219 Adelaide/217 Adelaide) – Max10.    How can large-scale construction projects be done without long-term disruption of streets and sidewalks?  (Case: 50 Wellesley and others) – Julie203 College:General agreement may be reached before the scheduled OMB hearing in November, with the most significant unresolved issue being height.  The developer fixed 10 of 11 planning issues identified by the neighbours and height was reduced from 36 to possibly 26 storeys.  Parking is still an issue; Planning insists on 59 underground parking spots, which the developer has offered in spite of the fact that his marketing consultant suggests that the provision of parking will not be an issue with prospective buyers.  GCA opposes the required parking as excessive and may argue at the OMB (if held) to reduce parking. Spadina Planning Study:Max expressed fears that the city’s much-delayed planning study of Spadina between Queen and  Bloor may flounder, as others have, with little action, many meetings, reports (which city planning will write to their own satisfaction), secondary plans, arguments at OMB by developers who object. Nevertheless, GCA will engage fully.  GCA is insisting that some owners of the brick and beam warehouses on Spadina be included on the study committee. 115 D’Arcy:Willie and Roger outlined the problems with the reconstruction and addition to the existing building which the owner is upfront in saying is intended as a student rooming house.  The consensus of the meeting was that the GCA should help in opposing this application. 87 Huron:GCA wrote letter in opposition (again) and Max attended the Committee of Adjustment hearing which turned down the previously deferred proposal.  We have dealt with related owners on another lengthy OMB battle; they don’t ever want to take no for an answer. GCA will continue to monitor. U of T secondary plan:Documents have been filed by the University with the city about this huge (paper) project which is a plan about how the University wants to build in the future.  Ceta and Max and other associations have been participating in this process for more than two years and we all requested to be shown the resulting secondary plan application before it was submitted to city, but this was  not done. (The application is massive, and we now have it.) East/old campus and west/new campus have very different architectural and planning issues; the secondary plan focuses on the built form and streetscapes of the west campus. Buildings and sites owned by the University on the opposite side of the perimeter streets (College, Spadina, Bloor) are not included in the eventual policies and rules of the secondary plan.  5. Institutional:                GCA Incorporation:This process is complete. Ralph and Max will set up business account with both names as signing authorities. Next Meeting: October 19, 7:00 PM