The SpringFarm Ratepayers Association would like to send a big Shout Out to the more than 300 residents who wrote emails and/or spoke at last night’s meeting at Vaughan City Hall regarding the proposed Mizrahi and Salz developments for Yonge and Steeles. These important deputations included a series of professional, articulate, thoughtful, fact-based and persuasive remarks that gave City Council a great deal to consider before moving forward with the proposed developments. The points made by our members include the following:
- The Mizrahi and Salz proposals contravene the Secondary Plan approved by Vaughan Council in 2010 by more than double in both height and density, with no evidence supplied to justify these increases. The Secondary Plan already factored in the TTC subway station at Yonge and Steeles, and provided for up to 22 storeys of height.
- The combined total number of proposed residential units is 3,845, resulting in 10,400 new residents in an already congested and under-serviced area. Combined with two other proposed and anticipated projects, 20,000 new residents would live in a neighbourhood with a population of less than 1,000 people. This is 20 times greater than the current population.
- SFRA found the supporting studies filled with misleading assumptions and faulty methodologies. For example, the Transportation Impact Studies grossly lowballed the extra traffic generated by thousands of new residents. They provide fewer than half of the required parking spaces because they assume that most of those thousands will rely on the already over-capacity Steeles buses.
- The 10 proposed residential towers in the two projects, ranging from 16 to 54 storeys, together will cast shadows as far north as the railway tracks, leaving much of the area cold and dark, and reduce the quality of life for both current and future residents.
- Local community services (schools, parks, libraries, community centres) are currently vastly under-serviced and the proposals make no attempt to address those needs for current residents and the projected 20,000 new residents. There is no green space provided to comply with the Secondary Plan requirement for a linear park between the current houses and the new high-rises.
- The developers propose to extend Royal Palm from Hilda to Yonge, but not to build it until much later, leading to additional construction chaos.
- The projects are not coordinated with neighbouring properties. All four proposed projects must be integrated, rationalized and coordinated in a block Development Plan, in compliance with the Secondary Plan and with the agreement of local residents.
The SFRA positions were based on the results of a Residents Survey and input from Crestwood Road residents. At the end of the Council meeting the SFRA urged Councilors to not accept these projects separately, and offered to work cooperatively with all four developers to create a master plan for the area conforming to the Secondary Plan requirements. At the meeting, Sandra Yeung Racco, Ward 4 Councillor said, “Thank you to all the residents for coming forward and making comments. You have made some really good points and brought up some good points, good statistics and good reasoning. I agree with a lot of those comments….both of these applications need to go back, really rethink, if you’re going to build for a long time… Both of these applications, if you were to asking me right now, would I support it right now, I would absolutely not because it does not equate to what we define as a complete community.” Regional Councillor and Deputy Mayor Mario Ferri said “the people who spoke tonight spoke eloquently and made some very thoughtful comments…The proposal, the way it is right now, at this stage, is difficult for me to support, but I’m sure that, given the meetings that will take place, some of the proposed changes that will be worked on, and that way, we have a proposal that can move forward but in a way that respects the surrounding and existing community.” In addition to recognizing the quality of the deputations, Ward 5 Councilor Alan Shefman says he plans to bring a motion to Council to initiate a Vaughan-Yonge Centre (VYC) Task Force to help prepare a Master Plan for the neighbourhood’s redevelopment. Next steps: The City’s planning staff will review all of last night’s proposals and submit their reports to Council and the public in the next four to six months. The community will then have an opportunity to respond to the staff reports and their effect on the proposals. (This may be affected by the VYC Task Force if set up.) To watch a video recording of the Council proceedings, click here (discussion on the proposed development starts at the 1:06:47 mark).
Download the Survey Results (PDF) for Yonge-Steeles Redevelopments.