Province Issues Surprise Zoning Orders for Development Sites – My Statement with Councillor Wong-Tam
Late on Friday October 23rd, we learned that the Government of Ontario issued a series of Minister's Zoning Orders (MZOs) affecting three sites in the West Don Lands: 373 Front Street East and 90 Mill Street (Blocks 3, 4 and 7), 125 and 125R Mill Street (Block 20) and 153 to 185 Eastern Avenue (Blocks 17 and 26). These MZOs were issued without notification to City Planning or the local Councillors, and were discovered by chance by a member of City Planning.
The impact of these MZOs is the shuttering of community input, side stepping of the municipal process, and raises new questions as to how the City can now properly plan these sites. City Planning has raised concerns about discrepancies between the draft bylaws in front of City Council for 373 Front Street East and 90 Mill Street, hampering community input at the 125 Mill Street application that had been submitted only this summer, and potential loss of current and future community benefits. Critically, there is significant risk to heritage assets at Blocks 17 and 26 which contain the Dominion Foundry Complex, the largest concentration of heritage buildings to be preserved within the Precinct. The impact of the MZOs the province has enacted has created more questions than answers.
This move to impose new zoning without consulting the public or the City of Toronto sets a dangerous precedent for the development of other provincial lands in Toronto and across the Greater Toronto Area, including future transit-oriented development above GO stations and subway stations. Provincial zoning orders are final and cannot be appealed. The Provincial Government must commit to working collaboratively with the City and communities on this and all other developments, without exception.
Without a chance for the community or the City's professional planners to review and respond to the development, it is impossible to identify and address the range of issues that need to be considered for every new development, from water and sewer capacity to wind impacts to safe vehicular access points. A good process is critical for good planning, and for building a desirable, equitable and economically dynamic community.
Click here to view our emergency motion to City Council calling on the Province to work with the City on all development proposals, which was approved yesterday, and to ensure there are no future surprise zoning orders issued in Toronto.
The previously-scheduled community consultation meeting for the application at 125R Mill Street will go ahead as planned on Monday, November 2nd. Please join me and City Planning staff to learn more about the Province's MZO and discuss next steps together. Click here to register.