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660 Eglinton Ave. E. Settlement

As of November 15th, the LPOA and RioCan have reached an OMB-Mediated Settlement regarding 660 Eglinton Avenue East (Sunnybrook Plaza). The settlement details can now be made public and are as follows:

The original application by RioCan called for two towers of 19 and 13 storeys, with podiums of various heights. The finalized settlement calls for significant improvements in height, massing, density, and urban design, as well as important guarantees of protection for the natural habitat and tree protection to adjoining properties to the east and north of the site. We can report that Board-assisted mediation involving RioCan, City staff, and the LPOA was extremely helpful in winning important concessions.

Here are the key elements of the Settlement:

Height, massing, density, and design 

Our objectives were to reduce height, and density, and improve the buildings’ design, setbacks angular planes, to create a simpler, more distinctive building profile and minimal shadowing.The final height reduces the originally proposed 19 and 13 storeys to 16 and 11 storeys, with a less massive appearance. Setbacks were introduced at the 5th storey instead of the 8th. The visual impact is considerably improved.

Outdoor amenities: 

There will be some surface parking (car and bicycle) as well as underground, and landscaping, with details to be dealt with in the Site Plan Application process; RioCan will supply us and the City with their Site Plan Application at the same time. We have already submitted many comments and concerns from residents on the subject, and will ask Councillor Burnside to ensure these suggestions are considered, and to set up a Working Group with the LPOA, residents, RioCan and the City to plan details.

Hydrogeology: 

Underground water and flooding have long been a concern at the Bayview/Eglinton location. RioCan agreed to pay for the professional fees of a hydrogeologist chosen by the LPOA to assess RioCan’s hydrogeology study and to investigate impacts of the construction on both the site, and adjoining properties. The situation was thoroughly analyzed, and RioCan confirmed to our hydrogeologist’s satisfaction that there will be no offsite deleterious impacts to neighbouring properties.

Traffic access and parking:

We continue to have concerns regarding impact on local residents from diverting traffic and site-related traffic patterns. These are matters which fall under City (not RioCan) jurisdiction, and LPOA intends to work for traffic solutions to protect residential streets.

Natural heritage and tree protection: 

These were major issues for both residents and the LPOA. The viability of several trees on homeowners’ properties was threatened. The LPOA hired an arborist (at RioCan’s expense) to identify concerns with RioCan’s natural heritage and arborist reports. The settlement allows for our arborist (again, fees to be covered by RioCan) to be present during construction of the retaining wall to monitor and evaluate tree protection issues, subject to neighbours agreeing to access to their properties for arborist survey purposes. The settlement provides for fence replacement to be covered by RioCan.

Section 37 Funds:

The settlement provides $2.7M for community purposes. Councillor Burnside has expressed an interest in these funds going towards the cost of a community centre to be located to serve the North Leaside community.

Residential/commercial/office component: 

According to the Settlement, there will be a minimum of 4000 square metres of non-residential gross floor area assigned for these uses.

Professional fees: 

RioCan will reimburse LPOA’s professional planning, legal, hydrogeological, and arborist fees (including future arborist fees during construction) less the amount already raised by the community including the GoFundMe account which we understand to be approx. $13,000.

IN SUMMARY, the LPOA believes that this Settlement provides both short-term and long-term provisions which are significantly improved over the original development proposal. The input received from local residents, both in public meetings and during the Ontario Municipal Board process, has been invaluable, and key to reaching these improvements. All of Leaside owes you great appreciation.