By ALAN SHACKLETON
Southwest Scarborough residents will get a chance to learn more about development plans for the Quarry Lands site, just northeast of Victoria Park Avenue and Gerrard Street East, at a community meeting set for Monday, Sept. 23.
The name of the developer who will work on the project on the City of Toronto’s portion of the lands will be revealed at the meeting, said Scarborough Southwest Councillor Gary Crawford in an interview with Beach Metro News.
“This has gone through a very long planning process,” admitted Crawford of the city-owned portion of the Quarry Lands which cover approximately 19 acres on a site that was once a quarry for the making of bricks.
It is one of the more significant sections of land still available for development in City of Toronto, and there has been much community consultation over the years on what should be done.
Crawford was not able to reveal many details about the plan in advance of the meeting, but he believes residents will be happy with it as it is an improvement over a previous plan that had already been generally accepted by the community.
Most important, said Crawford, was that the commercial component of the earlier plan that included big box retail fronting Victoria Park Avenue had been scrapped and the amount of parkland in the plan to be revealed on Monday had increased to approximately 4.5 acres which will remain the property of the city.
“They realized that the commercial component of it was not going to work. There was no interest in it, and they had to go back to the drawing board,” he said.
“They have also reconfigured the entrance site and expanded the park, and there is more low density on the site,” added Crawford.
He said he was pleased with the plans and he thinks most community members will feel the same way. He added that as in earlier plans, an affordable housing component will also be part of this latest proposal.
The portion of the land to be discussed at Monday’s meeting is owned by the City of Toronto, which selected the developer after a competitive process through the city’s real estate agency CreateTO (formerly known as Build TO).
There is another portion of the Quarry Lands site that has been owned by a development company now known as GDC for decades. That section of land is located in the far northeast corner and has been zoned for decades for four highrise towers.
“The eastern portion is a far more complex and controversial portion of it,” said Crawford.
However, he pointed out that even though the zoning for highrises has been approved for years and was confirmed by what was then the Ontario Municipal Board, there are no immediate development plans in the works by the owner.
“They have never acted on it, but the approvals are there,” said Crawford.
Monday night’s meeting takes place at the Birchcliff Bluffs United Church, 33 East Rd., in the Warden Avenue and Kingston Road area, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Representatives from the selected developer, Councillor Crawford, CreateTO and city staff will be on hand to present concepts for the plan, answer questions and receive public input.
Crawford said it is still early days with the plan that will be revealed on Monday as site plan approvals and numerous other approvals still need to happen before it becomes it is finalized and work begins.