I recently read with interest about a new development on Kingston Road. Now, before I start, Kingston Road is one of the ugliest miles of bad road in Toronto. Save for a couple of new developments of 5-7 floors that greatly enhance their areas, the street is unattractive. These two new condominium buildings are actually pretty good and they enhance the area.
This parcel was available for years. I, in fact, took a serious look at it two years ago. The site had a lot of hair on it. What I mean by this is that it was a hodgepodge collection of unstable-looking buildings. In addition, I thought it was going to be a huge battle with the city planning department and the local councillor. I felt this for two reasons: it consisted of more than six low-income housing units, and it was situated over a ravine. In Toronto, it is very difficult to re-develop a site with six or more low-income housing units. You need to relocate the units, or pay huge cash in lieu settlement to the city housing authority. The existing housing was appalling and well below human standards. With respect to planning issues, local residents that have it nice want it to stay that way. The selfish “not in my backyard” types that currently live in the ravine would most assuredly not want their cozy elite status to change. Shrouded in a phony ulterior motive of “saving the ravine,” they would fight tooth and nail to preserve their beautiful, small community for themselves.
So, of course, the article in the Globe and Mail on August 4th by Renata Daliesio piqued my interest. How only 47 units over 6 storeys on a substantially sized site caused such a huge stir is typical of Toronto development. The fuss created a group, “Friends of Glen Davis Ravine,” formed to fight the development menace. Of course, the local councillor and the NDP Federal representative are on board and all together they will fight the towering obilsque at the OMB.
Let me be clear. I hate NIMBY-ism. It is always based on personal greed and politics. The many that back a development stay silent and the minority of Nimby’s stir it up. Despite what the frenzy convince themselves of, it really comes down to personal loss and electoral votes. This is not about what the community wants. The majority would probably vote to see the project developed. It would be nice to truly see altruistic motives like what is really better for the city. In this case, it is totally reasonable and right to build a 6-storey apartment building on Kingston Road. The ravine is currently hosting larger buildings. We live in a city that needs to grow upwards. Kingston Road is a logical artery to receive this. Residents need to put away their selfish desire for a shadow-free, no neighbour world and do what is right to populate our modern city.