DPRG Spring 2017 Newsletter

The Presidents Corner…  by John Plumadore
Deer Park Residents Group (DPRG) wants to be a more progressive and inclusive association for all residents within our community boundaries. It is for this reason the DPRG is on a focused path to raise our awareness level and promote membership. It is also why we include, home owners, renters and condo owners.

The population of Deer Park has a median age of 40 years, and the number of citizens grew by 8.8% as of 2006.  DPRG is made up of 709 houses/townhouses, 88 duplex units, 30 triplex units, 12 four plex units, 1,958 condo units and 76 apartment buildings. 59.6% of our residents live in multi-residential units.   51% of the population are one person households. We are young, vibrant, and highly educated in Ward 22. The population, according to the Ward Profile 2011 Census, City of Toronto, is small at 65,515. As you can see, we are diverse when it comes to housing types with very interesting demographics.

Our Communications Committee is launching some new initiatives that will improve our communications with our members and help recruit new members.  Deer Park is about to grow with new high rise condos and rental buildings scheduled to be built over the next five years (although we oppose some of the developments). With new growth comes the revitalization of the Yonge and St. Clair commercial area.  An extensive rebuild to the roof cover of the Rosehill Reservoir with neighborhood input, hopefully will result in a new park for the area.

Finally, we are working with the City to have the DPRG area’s street signs and replacement tree and flower planters on Yonge St. identified as the Deer Park Neighbourhood. Residents of Toronto will be learning more about our Deer Park area as we grow and become more dynamic and visible.

Communications Report by Stephen CameronSmith, Chair Communications
The Communications Committee is actively working on a new logo and slogan for the DPRG. This will allow better branding and awareness as we move forward. We are also developing a totally new website with lots of diverse resource information for single and family households. We are looking at ideas to engage the retailers with our community neighbourhood.
BTTA Launches Election Campaign by John Plumadore, President
Brentwood Towers Tenant Association (BTTA) has launched an election campaign from now until June the 18th, 2017, on Above Guideline (Rent) Increases, re capital expenditures, over and beyond Ontario
Rent Guideline set in June of each year.

Tenants are expected to pay for capital expenditures when in fact they are capital investments that should be made by landlords. The “campaign” will include news releases, flyer distribution and a “town hall” meeting, closer to the election date.

Toronto Council passed a motion calling for the province to eliminate capital expenditures and have landlords set aside 10% of revenues for capital, similar to condos.

Update on Development in Deer Park by Martin Myers, Chair Development Committee
We previously reported, the City had refused an application for a 42 storey condominium to replace the buildings south of the corner Scotiabank running from 1429 to 1417 Yonge St..  The developer has appealed to the OMB and a hearing is scheduled for June 2017. A revised application was submitted for a 46 storey building, adding 4 floors of office space. Planning Staff have issued  a staff report. The report not supporting the development was presented at the Feb 22nd Community Council meeting and accepted.  The matter will now go to the OMB.

Slate Asset Management LP, a real estate REIT, now owns the office buildings at the four corners of Yonge and St. Clair, and four additional properties along St. Clair East and West. Slate is currently improving the St. Clair Centre at the north east corner of the intersection. They are also working on developing a Business Improvement Area Association for the Yonge and St. Clair businesses, which could help improve the attractiveness of our sidewalks. (We expect the City’s replacement of the crumbling concrete planters shortly.) Slate is currently working on a significant development of a combined commercial/residential building at the south-west corner of Delisle and Yonge.  We are awaiting further information.

There are no further updates for the construction of a third rental building at the Bretton Place site (Rosehill Ave.), the Chiropractor College proposal for a seven storey office building on Pleasant Blvd. or a new design on the Wittington Properties (parking lots) on Alvin Ave. This property was previously approved for two buildings, of which one is 35 storeys.

Yellow Creek (The Vale of Avoca) and the Rosehill Reservoir by Joan York, Treasurer
Last fall the DPRG joined forces with Moore Park Residents’ Associations and the Summerhill Residents ‘ Association (SRA) on the “call to action” to repair the badly neglected and degraded Yellow Creek and David Balfour Park.

Last September, Parks and Environment, Toronto Water, and other departments, undertook to report back in February 2017 on work towards a master plan for the remediation of Yellow Creek and the establishment of a working group to provide community input. This has now been moved forward to April 6th. The reason is to allow for several reports on ravine issues, to be addressed at the same time including the implementation of the City’s overall ravine strategy.

The delay does not affect work on the ravine. The first step, Toronto Water’s Geomorphic Hydrological Study will start this spring and is expected to be finished in the early spring of 2018.

The Master Plan for the ravine, including both the major construction to handle storm water surges, and related parks improvements, including repair to paths and bridges, will depend on the results of the Geomorphic Study.

The very graphic photos and Ravine Report by members of the Summerhill, Moore Park, North Rosedale and South Rosedale Associations is on the website at Summerhill Resident’s Association (SRA), http://summerhilltoronto.ca/ravine-appeal.php and can be downloaded by scrolling down to the bottom of the page and clicking on “Ravine call to action” under the heading attachments.

Rosehill Reservoir Rehabilitation Project
The project’s construction start date is currently set for the fall of 2018.

At a packed meeting on November 23rd at 44 Jackes Avenue, a group of senior architects, landscape architects, planners and designers from the community presented A Vision for the Rosehill Reservoir Park. The team has been expanded to include senior team members from Parks, Forestry and Recreation which enables it to address outstanding issues around Rosehill Gardens, Little Park and other concerns outside the construction site of the reservoir.

A Public Consultation Meeting will be held on May 18th. The Rosehill Vision Committee and the City are currently working together to prepare an optional park plan which they will present at the meeting. Additional information is available on the Summerhill Resident’s Association (SRA) website http://summerhilltoronto.ca/rosehill-reservoir-rehabilitation-project.php and from Kate Nelischer, Sr. Public Consultant, knelischer@toronto.ca

For a respectful density in Deer Park and the preservation of historical homes
by Chris Keating, Chair Historical Preservation Committee
Homes, built in the 19th century, provide a neighbourhood with character. It’s a controversial subject as City Hall shows little interest in correcting the long and complicated process of registering the few remaining heritage homes on our streets as “designated” before the fast moving developer gets a demolition permit.

The next few years will be critical in dealing with the increasing development pressure in Deer Park. Instead of protecting heritage homes from destruction, it’s financially more attractive to Councillors, encouraged by their planning staff, to grant site approval and award the developer by rezoning the site to a much higher density, for more tax revenue- in the public interest.

Fortunately this is not the case with our Councillor. The DPRG met with the Heritage Preservation Services (HPS) in Josh Matlow’s office to promote the idea that the lovely, 19th century homes in our neighbourhood are worth saving and should be preserved from demolition by developers with the force of law. As it stands now, this is not the case.

Toronto has a shameful record when it comes to protecting its architectural heritage. Recently, the beautiful, 110 year old Bank of Montreal building at Yonge and Roselawn Avenue was brazenly demolished even though City staff had identified the building “to be of heritage interest with heritage value.”  Linda McCarthy, Director, Lytton Park Residents’ Organization was quoted as saying “Developers have been running amok destroying our city’s precious history with no regard to the communities that live here and future generations,

Although the job of Heritage Preservation Services is to protect heritage buildings, this City of Toronto Department is overwhelmed with requests, and the process has become moribund.

Michael Vaughan, owner of a “designated” home in Toronto saidI do not know of anything meaningful the City does to help owners preserve heritage properties, quite the reverse. That is why I, regretfully advise anyone who asks, that they should oppose designation or listing.”

In the past few months DPRG passed two motions;

(1)“To save the character of our neighbourhood by preserving as many contextual, historical and architecturally significant houses as possible, we move that the DPRG meet with Heritage Preservation Services with the purpose of establishing financial support to “designated” historical homes in Deer Park, such as reinstating the previous tax reduction for “designated” homes, so that the owners will be able to defray the expense of restoration, required by the Heritage Preservation Services.”

(2)“To save the character of our neighbourhood by preserving as many contextual, historical and architecturally significant houses as possible, the Deer Park Residents’ Group requests that Heritage Preservation Services, City of Toronto, establish Oriole Gardens from Oriole Road to Lawton Blvd. as a Heritage Conservation District.”

If you are interested in preserving the heritage of the Deer Park area, send your thoughts to
councillor_matlow@toronto.ca and copy info@deerparkresidents.ca

DPRG Annual General Meeting
The DPRG annual general meeting will be held on Tuesday June the 6th at the Calvin Presbyterian Church, 26 Delisle Avenue. The membership desk will open at 6:30 pm with the meeting starting at 7:00 pm sharp. Our area Councillor Josh Matlow will bring us up to speed with what has transpired in the last year and matters for the future.

2016 Fall Newsletter

The Deer Park Residents Groups’ new e-newsletter, launched with this Fall 2016 edition, will be sent to all members on a quarterly basis, by season. The e-Newsletter will be more relevant with timely issues and will invite contributions from our members and the community at large. Stephen CameronSmith and President John Plumadore will be Co-editors in conjunction with the Communications Committee. This new format will help raise our profile within the Deer Park Community and with decision makers, both political and influential, to make our community more responsive to our needs.

2016-dprg-nov-newsletter

 

2016 Annual General Meeting, June 16 7PM

Our meeting will be held at the same location as 2015: Calvin Presbyterian Church at 26 Delisle Ave.  Councillor Josh Matlow will speak to initiatives in our neighbourhood, our ward and beyond.

The annual meeting of the DPRG is an opportunity for local residents to learn about activities during the past year. The agenda will include a summary of actions taken by the DPRG, events in our district and an election of members of the Board for the coming year. The DPRG encourages anyone in attendance, who is not already a member, to become a lifetime member for a one-time fee of $25.00.

The DPRG welcomes members who are interested in participating in its activities and possibly serving on the Board. If you wish to be a candidate for one of the open positions on the Board for the coming year, please send an e-mail before June 10 to deerpark@sympatico.ca. For anyone without e-mail, please write to: DPRG P.O. Box 185, Station Q, Toronto, ON M4T 2M1.

December 2015 Update

The DPRG Board of Directors has met on 3 separate occasions since the summer to discuss items that impact our community. At the moment, we are pleased to inform you that there is no major issue currently facing the Deer Park neighbourhood. On your behalf, the Board continues to work on the following matters:

Planters on Yonge St near St. Clair
The city is removing all the old concrete planters that have lined Yonge Street near St. Clair Ave.  New, more attractive planters will be installed later in 2016. The new planters should be low maintenance and hopefully adjacent businesses will look after them.

Parking on Yonge St near Summerhill
Earlier this year, ‘No Parking’ signs on Yonge St near Summerhill were altered to allow for parking in the evenings and on weekends. With the support of the DPRG, Councillor Matlow was able to maintain the no parking restriction in our district’s section of Yonge St. Strong opposition from the DPRG and the resident associations to our south led to a temporary freeze on allowing parking further to the south. We can now report that the City has abandoned plans to allow parking in this area of Yonge St.  The voice of area residents was heard and it seems have prevailed. The traffic problems we experienced because of parking on Yonge should not recur.

Snow removal on residential sidewalks
Our DPRG board member, John Plumadore, has been lobbying the city, on our behalf, to have the city’s sidewalks in our neighborhood cleared of snow and ice.  As you may be aware, there other areas outside of the former ‘old City of Toronto’, that are provided with this service by the city. Although we have not been able to change what is a city-wide issue, we have been keeping this inequity on the city’s agenda with the hope that snow removal for all of Toronto’s sidewalks will soon be added to the city’s budget.

Remember, if you are 65 years and older, you can arrange for free snow clearing from the public sidewalk in front of your house (see application form).

New Development – 1427 Yonge St. Update
An application for a by-law amendment for the property at 1427 Yonge St to become the site of a 42 storey condo/commercial building was denied at City Council. The developer had until December 3 to file an appeal at the Ontario Municipal Board.  We are not aware of any appeal, so there may be a revised proposal submitted by the developer to the city in the future.

DPRG By-laws
The DPRG Board has extensively reviewed and revised the DPRG by-laws to be more reflective of our current activities. You may recall that the DPRG was incorporated in 2008. Since that time, a number of aspects of the association have changed. The by-laws have now been updated and approval of the changes will be requested from the DPRG membership at our next annual general meeting in the spring. The revised version of the by-laws will be circulated to the DPRG membership prior to the AGM.

Best Wishes & Happy Holidays,

Martin Myers
President DPRG

Annual General Meeting, June 2nd 7PM

This year, the meeting will be held at a new location, Calvin Presbyterian Church at 26 Delisle Ave.

The annual meeting of the DPRG is an opportunity for local residents to learn about activities during the past year. The agenda will include a summary of actions taken by the DPRG, events in our district and an election of members of the Board for the coming year. The DPRG encourages anyone in attendance, who is not already a member, to become a lifetime member for a one-time fee of $25.00.

The DPRG welcomes members who are interested in participating in its activities and possibly serving on the Board. If you wish to be a candidate for one of the open positions on the Board for the coming year, please send an e-mail before May 19 to deerpark@sympatico.ca. For anyone without e-mail, please write to: DPRG P.O. Box 185, Station Q, Toronto, ON M4T 2M1.

Winter 2015 Newsletter

Sidewalk snow removal program

The DPRG has taken the initiative in getting the City to remove ice and snow from sidewalks in our district.  The City plows the sidewalks on all streets in the old suburbs (Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough) and even in certain parts of the old City of Toronto such as Forest Hill.  However, most of central Toronto, including the vast majority of Deer Park, does not receive city snow plowing.  Homeowners and businesses are required to plow their own sidewalks by the City by-law, subject to a $125 fine, but this is not vigorously enforced. Otherwise, our sidewalks can be difficult to navigate, after even a small snowfall when owners do not clear or make safe their sidewalks.

The DPRG has been encouraging Councillor Matlow to bring this issue to City Council.  We believe that our sidewalks are used far more often by pedestrians than other neighbourhoods which receive ice and snow removal.  Also, Deer Park has one of the highest concentrations of seniors in the entire city, a population who often find it difficult to walk over ice and snow. We do not expect our initiative to achieve instant results but we intend to persevere until we solve this problem.

Note that seniors can apply for a special service to have the City plow the sidewalks in front of their houses (but not apartments or condominiums).

Development issues

67/72 Heath St West:

Despite the objections of neighbours, the DPRG and Councillor Matlow, a developer received approval from the Committee of Adjustment last August to replace two original Deer Park houses in good condition with 3 modern-looking townhouses. Neighbours submitted an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. With the assistance of Councillor Matlow, the city agreed to support the appeal by providing a lawyer and paying for an outside planner, creating the unusual scenario in which the city was appealing a decision of its own committee, the C of A. Two DPRG board members took the lead in the appeal and the DPRG agreed to become the principal appellant providing that it would not be responsible for any costs of the action.

The OMB hearing was on Jan 21 and seemed to go well from our perspective. However, we recently learned that the OMB Chair ruled against our appeal, despite a strong presentation by our planner and the intervention of Councillor Matlow on our behalf. We were very disappointed in the decision and consider these events as one more reason why the current system for approving proposals which contravene the city’s by-laws.

40 Heath St West:

In this instance we were more successful. Discussions between the owner of this property and neighbours with involvement of the DPRG Board resulted in a change of plans. Instead of 2 townhouses which contravened the city’s by-laws, the owner decided to replace and existing detached dwelling with a similar structure in keeping with the character of the neighbouring houses.

40 Oriole Gardens:

A new single family dwelling with a rear located garage design is currently in planning for review. We anticipate that variance will be truly minor in nature.

1427 Yonge St:

The DPRG was recently invited to a meeting with Councillor Matlow and a developer who wishes to construct a 41 storey combination condo-office building on the east side of Yonge St just south of St Clair. The discussions are in a preliminary stage and plans are now being submitted to the city’s Planning Dept for their review. The initial response is that the building is too high.

Signs which exceed the permitted size

The DPRG was approached by a businessman who wanted us to support his plans to put a large sign on the wall of an existing office building on St Clair. The sign greatly exceeded the size permitted by the City’s Sign By-law and was thought by the board to be obtrusive and an eyesore for those living in neighbouring condos. We turned down the request and decided that from now on we would not endorse any sign which does not conform to the by-law.

Parking on Yonge St below Woodlawn Ave

Councillor Tam (Ward 27) whose ward is to the south of our ward 22 which stops at Woodlawn, submitted a proposal to Council to allow for parking in the evenings and on weekends on both sides of Yonge St south of Woodlawn. The DPRG strongly opposed this proposal on the grounds that nearby city parking lots were under-utilized and that the changes had not taken the impact on traffic into account. As of now, we understand that the proposal is to receive further study before being implemented. The DPRG has requested representation on the committee examining the proposal.

Changes to the traffic signals at Heath and Yonge

Some time ago, the DPRG together with the city’s traffic engineers worked out a plan to revise the traffic signals at this intersection to improve pedestrian safety. However, the plans needed to be changed because of an underground ‘vault’ containing various services lying underneath where a post was needed. We have been told that the city will now proceed with reprograming the existing traffic lights at the intersection to a 3 sequence protocol, similar to the ones on Yonge St at Soudan and at Blythwood.

Improvements to Yonge St

Councillor Matlow has acquired some funds to improve the appearance in the Yonge St. and St. Clair area. The DPRG was part of this initiative.  Improvements to the Lawton Avenue Parkette at Yonge St. are under study and a public meeting is planned  to obtain neighborhood input.

Business Improvement Area (BIA) Yonge/St.Clair

Councillor Matlow has contacted the retailers and there is very little interest in establishing a BIA due to the short term tenancies of the retailers. The area is in transition.

Reductions in speed limits in Deer Park

The DPRG Board has been discussing ways to make our residential streets safer. One idea, recommended by the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Toronto and supported by Councillor Josh Matlow, is to lower the speed limits on residential streets to 30 km/hour.  There is evidence that reducing the speed by 10 km will have a significant impact in lowering the risk of accidents, especially those involving pedestrians. This proposal is not without some controversy and a survey of DPRG members to obtain their input is pending. Meanwhile, City Council has concurrently initiated consideration of this change on all local streets in the Toronto-East York district. In a separate move not involving the DPRG, the speed limit on Oriole Parkway beside Upper Canada College is to be reduced to  40 km/hour.

We need your help

The DPRG Board welcomes suggestions from members for possible ways to improve our neighbourhood. We would also like to reach out to more residents and have attached an application form for membership in the DPRG with the hope that you will approach your neighbours to join.

Martin Myers

President, DPRG

2015 Winter Newsletter.pdf

Development Update

67-71 Heath St West

Plans were submitted by a developer to build 3 townhouses on this site where 2 single family dwellings currently exist. The DPRG supported area residents in their opposition to the project which contained many variances from the city’s building by-laws. Nonetheless, the Committee of Adjustment approved the proposal. The residents have taken the initial steps to launch an appeal of this decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.

609 Avenue Road

Since 2007, there have been plans for construction of a condominium at this site. The plans have changed twice with the latest submission being made at the August 20 meeting of the C of A. This time the application was for relatively minor changes to plans which were approved in 2011. With the help of Councillor Josh Matlow and the DPRG, the residents at the adjacent Lonsdale Condo were able to get the application deferred to give them a chance to review what was being planned.

The problem was that the Lonsdale Condo residents were unaware of the major changes that were proposed in 2011 and as a consequence they did not oppose them. This time, it was only possible to get the developer to make relatively minor alterations to the plans which are to go forward to the C of A on Oct 9.

Lessons learned from these applications

The DPRG can provide advice and support to area residents but we need to be notified ASAP before plans are submitted to the Committee of Adjustment. Residents must be vigilant to identify potential sites for development nearby. If the developer is able to get the plans reviewed by the City’s Planning Department without input from the residents (and DPRG) then it much more difficult to get changes made at a later stage in the process. Be aware of what is happening on your street.

Yonge-St. Clair Streetscape Improvements

The DPRG has been working together with Councilor Matlow to improve the sidewalks on these major streets. Old planters need to be replaced and the sidewalk needs a ‘makeover’. Attempts have been made to create a ‘Business Improvement Area’ which is the best was to engage the business community  in this effort. Good news came at the end of August. It seems that a substantial amount of money has been allocated to this undertaking. Once the election is over, the DPRG  will seek out more details from our Councilor on what is going to happen next.

Brentwood Towers on Lascelles Blvd

 

Brentwood Towers on Lascelles Blvd. has received approval to build 10 townhouses.  The City of Toronto and the landlord O’Shanter have agreed to a Section 37 of the Toronto Planning Act not to pass on any rent increases to tenants for underground garage membrane, new sidewalks, a parkette in front of 23 Lascelles open to the general public, a community room for tenants, open up the Kay Gardner Belt Line Trail to the complex with two new entrances/exits, replace trees 3 to 1 in the courtyard and a number of other minor changes.

This proposal was developed after meetings with the landlord, the tenants, the DPRG and Councillor Matlow.

DPRG Board for 2014-2015

The DPRG welcomes two new members to the board:
Peng Chang and John Taranu
The executive remains unchanged:
President – Martin Myers
Past-President – Cathie Macdonald
Vice-President – Heather Barham Secretary – Diana Cable
Treasurer – Chris Keating

Other board members include: Steve Bederman, Steven CameronSmith, Alison Himel, John Plumadore and Chris Rutsey