Press Release: Community Group wins $17 million Land Trust

(Download the PDF version of this press release here)

Community groups and nonprofit housing providers are pleased to announce the creation of a historic land trust that will invest $17 million in housing and community facilities.

Build a Better Bloor Dufferin (BBBD), a community group advocating for community benefits from the large development at Bloor and Dufferin, secured these benefits from Capital Developments. The arrangements will commit funds through local nonprofit housing providers Habitat for Humanity and St Clare’s Multifaith Housing Society.

The lengthy negotiations emerged from the community group’s continued efforts to ensure that the billion dollar development contributed significant amenities to the neighbourhood and moved past the current status quo in Toronto where massive developments still provide only modest investments in the community. A land trust will be launched with a $9 million contribution and $8 million interest-free loan from Capital Developments and Metropia, the companies redeveloping the Bloor- Dufferin site. Half of the land trust funds will be dedicated to affordable housing development in Ward 9, with priority to projects that directly benefit the Bloor-Dufferin community. Two million dollars of the funding is reserved for acquiring community space for nonprofit services and arts organizations in the neighbourhood.

The investment in the land trust comes in addition to the $10 million contribution toward an eight-storey building across from the site that the City of Toronto negotiated separately.

“This was intense multimillion dollar haggling,” said BBBD co-chair Maggie Hutcheson, “which we don’t do every day. But we were confident that a development this big could contribute more and we had to stick to our guns to make that happen. The status quo in Toronto is for developers to earn hundreds of millions out of density the City grants, with far too little of that value going to public benefit.”

“Other cities get far more, so we felt we had to dig in and get more for the community too,” said co-chair Emily Paradis. “Let’s hope that this becomes a pattern, and that the next negotiation and the next housing plan see more of the benefits created by the housing boom going to ease the pressures the housing boom is also creating.” BBBD is a community-based group of residents, local business owners, artists, service organizations, and members of the local school communities dedicated to the sustainable development of the Bloor-Dufferin neighbourhood as it changes with the proposed new development at the southwest corner of Bloor and Dufferin.

Contact: Maggie Hutcheson, maggie.e.hutcheson@gmail.com, 416-985-2424
Emily Paradis, e.paradis@utoronto.ca, 416-802-4025

It ain’t over till it’s over

Bloor Collegiate Institute, October, 2019

Hello BBBD supporters! It has been a dizzying few weeks, with some major new developments – including an anticipated date of November 5 for the City to make its settlement with the developer public, and the revelation of a December 31 expiry date for the purchase agreement between the developer and Toronto Lands Corporation. Read on for details! 

On October 2, BBBD met with representatives from Bloor-Dufferin Development Limited Partnership and the City’s Planning, Affordable Housing, and Social Development and Finance divisions, in a formal mediation process with land-use planning mediator James McKenzie. The issues discussed in mediation must remain confidential, but we can tell you that it was a very long day, with much intense discussion, and many calculators. Read on for details! 

Is it best time runs out?

Despite being closed as a TDSB school, Kent Public is still used today for visual arts and language classes.

There is a Dec. 31, 2019 deadline on the deal to sell the 7.3 acre site that includes Bloor Collegiate and Kent Public School for the development of luxury condo towers. According to newly release documents, the original request for offers, if the developers don’t get planning approval, we can walk away without repercussions. Read the full opinion article.

Night of Dread & The Sun in Winter

Celebrate 20 years of Dreadful Fun & How Multiple Towers Cast Winter Shadows

Clay & Paper Theatre’s 20th annual Night of Dread features one bonfire we’ll be using this year. At the end of the celebratory community parade (Sat. Oct. 26. Bring your kids; everyone walks) there is a now-traditional burning of our “fears” in Dufferin Grove Park. You write your fears on paper and commit it to a bonfire.

Those north of Bloor might have some fears about the shadow which will be cast by the proposed condo-towers on the darkest days of the year.

Richard Male, a local artist, created this GIF to illustrate how the luxury towers’ shadow will be cast across our neighbourhood on Dec. 31 of each year. (See below for his GIFs from June 21 and Sept. 21. There is no need for a GIF from the spring equinox, March 21 because the shadows are the same as on Sept. 21, the fall equinox.)

With the sun low in the southern sky on Dec. 21, a majority of the shadow will be cast north of Bloor; onto Gladstone Ave. in the east and Russett Ave. in the west. The shadows will extend up much of the way to Wallace Ave and Shanly St. to the north.

If you have some fears about the proposed towers on the school lands and Dufferin Mall, you may want to attend our neighbourhood’s famous Night of Dread. The parade starts at 4 p.m. at Dufferin Grove, followed by “mockery” in the park at 6 p.m. and a dance at 7 p.m. If you can’t attend, then donate at clayandpapertheatre.org. We need to support Night of Dread as part of our fall traditions, just like Thanksgiving or Halloween on Havelock St.

Are You in the Shade?

How much sunlight will you lose when they build luxury condo towers at Bloor/Dufferin? Check out these GIFs

Having six towers, four of which range from 33 to 39 storeys nearby will cast some real shadows in our neighbourhood.

But who will end up in the shade?

Richard Male, a local resident, took data from a City of Toronto planning department website to create these graphs. The data is from official development proposals submitted to the City. 

One GIF is for the summer solstice, June 21, and the other for the fall equinox, Sept. 21.

Residents from Emerson to the north-west of Bloor/Dufferin and Havelock at Dufferin Grove Park south-east of Bloor/Dufferin will be in the shade for substantially more time than present. See if your balcony, garden or patio will be in the dark.

Richard has offered to prepare a winter solstice GIF which will indicate the shade thrown by the towers at a time of the year when the sun is at its weakest and catching a few, faint winter rays are our only hope.

It will be a GIF for Hallowe’en.

The grey shade in the GIFs is our present shadows. The blue and purple shadows indicate how much more of our homes will be in the shade with the building of the towers. Blue for the condo towers on the school land; purple for the proposed apartment towers on Dufferin Mall. 

Time is running out !

BBBD Calls Developers into Mediation Over Bloor Dufferin Site

Rainbow over Kent Public School. Sept. 23, 2019

After more than 20 meetings with the City, Councillor, and developers in the past year, BBBD has requested a mediation process. Talks stalled earlier this month when it seemed that the proposed settlement with the developer would create only a fraction of the affordable housing, community space, and green space that we know is achievable on the site. BBBD sees mediation as an opportunity to both demonstrate the viability of our community’s vision for the site and build a bridge to a workable solution. In hopes of arriving at an agreement quickly, we will go into mediation next week, on October 2nd.

We believe that the public land at Bloor and Dufferin has the potential to showcase an exciting new approach to redevelopment in Toronto that can help turn the tide on our housing crisis and the growing inequality in our city. Respected nonprofit housing developers have shown how we could build five times more affordable housing on the site than what’s currently on the table. We’ve endorsed a visionary plan that would see hundreds of units of affordable housing integrated into the 2,000 proposed condominiums, along with a beautiful, spacious community hub. This could be a new St. Lawrence neighbourhood—a truly inclusive community for residents across all income brackets, next to a subway station. What better use could we make of this public land? Read our entire fall newsletter.

Summer survey results

The results of our summer survey show we want affordable housing, community space and parks

See more survey results here

We asked—and you answered! BBBD’s summer community survey garnered more than 125 responses from people of all ages (half under 40) and all living situations (60% owners, and 40% renters). See the results here.

How high the sky?

Comparison of the towers coming to Bloor Dufferin

Richard Male, a local resident, put together this graph that illustrates how high the proposed condo and apartment towers are in comparison to existing buildings. The luxury towers slated for the school lands and the parking lots at Dufferin mall are way out of scale in comparison to what already exists in our neighbourhood.

On the left are existing high rises in our neighbourhood; 1140 Bloor, for example, is the New Horizon Towers.

B-Ball to condo sales

That lonely, but much-used, basketball net smack on the corner of Bloor Dufferin to become condo sales office. BCI grad Nick Vo shoots a few hoops 

Along with a proposed sales office for the condo towers, Capital Developments have also pitched an artist’s alley and market square in the form of container markets. 

One thought on “Press Release: Community Group wins $17 million Land Trust

  1. Rebecca Hagey says:

    As the affordable housing advocate for the Toronto University Women’s Club I want to see Sistering and Romero House on Bloor Street benefit massively in the new scenario because of desperate need and well documented competence of these organizations. The YWCA is also a credible partner to develop affordable housing for women.

    Like

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