UPDATE TO THIS LETTER
ABCRA has worked closely with Tribute, the developer of this site, over 18 months. While ABCRA did not agree with the City’s approved hight of the tower we are pleased with what ABCRA, working with the Annex Residents Association and Councillor Saxe was able to accomplish as it relates to an improved public realm and the addition of wider sidewalks. We are especially pleased with the negotiated on-site parkland dedication for the purchase by Tribute of two Avenue Road properties, #209 and #207. These two properties will be added to 211 Avenue Road that ABCRA secured as part of the development negotiations of 1140 Yonge Street. Together these three properties will create a magnificent new Avenue Road gateway into Ramsden Park.
Toronto City Council, Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West, Suite C47
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Attention City Clerk
Dear Members of City Council,
Re: ITEM DM3.1 (Response regarding Notice of Intention to Designate 148 and 156-158 Avenue Road under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act (PH35.12)
On September 28, 2022, City Council deferred consideration of Item PH35.12 to a future City Council date in the first quarter of 2023. It is our understanding that the item will most likely return to the February 7, 2023, meeting of Council. Furthermore, the ABC Residents Association is aware that the proposed Heritage Designation is being processed concurrently with an application for Official Plan Amendment and Zoning Bylaw Amendment (21 178720 STE 11 OZ) proposing a 35-storey mixed-use development.
In review of the development application, the applicant is proposing to remove existing buildings along Avenue Road to increase the width of pedestrian sidewalks, provide for a signature plaza at the intersection, increase on-site public space and widen an existing laneway for both vehicular and pedestrian use. These public realm enhancements are desirable for both pedestrian and vehicular safety and support the creation of a community node at a key intersection in the City of Toronto.
In addition, we have been advised that the applicant has secured 209 and 207 Avenue Road as part of its Section 42 contribution which, when added to the already secured 211 Avenue Road, will create a magnificent gateway into Ramsden Park.
In review of the designation report we have no concern regarding the designation and retention strategy for 220 Davenport Road; as the distance separation between the curb on Davenport Road and the existing building allows for an ample pedestrian sidewalk width. We do however have concerns regarding the proposed heritage designation of 148 Avenue Road and 156-158 Avenue Road as retention of these existing buildings would adversely impact the delivery of the proposed public realm improvements.
As previously stated through our engagement in the Avenue Road Corridor Safety Study, Avenue Road is an intimidating street with fast moving traffic. Both Avenue Road and Davenport Road are identified major arterials with vehicles typically travelling in excess of the posted 50 km/h speed limit, according to the study. The condition on Avenue Road with narrow sidewalks obscured by utility poles and a lack of buffer to cycling and vehicular lanes poses a continuous pedestrian safety issue. The existing buildings at the northwest corner of Avenue Road and Davenport Road obscure visibility at the intersection, creating an unsafe sightlines condition for all pedestrian and road users. The safety issues are exacerbated during winter months where usable portions of sidewalk are further narrowed with snow moved from the roadway.
ABC has reviewed ERA’s Assessment of Conservation Strategies dated November 24, 2022, which provides an overview of heritage retention alternatives. We believe retention of the two building is not feasible, viable or desirable. Retention of the buildings in situ directly interferes with the delivery of enhanced public realm. Relocation of the building facades to a new location would require drastic alterations; and is not in keeping with a more modern and fitting adaptation of the corner with the setback. The Associations concur with ERA’s recommendation on building replacement (Option C).
In conclusion, ABC support the applicants proposed public realm improvements including the delivery of a minimum unencumbered sidewalk width at 2.1 metres and greatly improved sightlines at the intersections of Avenue Road and Davenport Road and the laneway at Avenue Road. To support these improvements, the Associations request City Council refuse the proposed heritage designation for 148 Avenue Road and 156-158 Avenue Road.
ABC Residents Association