Report on December Local Planning and Appeal Tribunal hearing

The precedent-setting Ontario Municipal Board (OMB)/Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) hearing on the proposed 8-storey condo development at 2915-1917 Bloor Street West in The Kingsway is now completed

Last Friday (December 7) was the twelfth and final day of the proceedings (the initial phase took place over eight days in June). Lawyers for the developer (Fieldgate Homes), the City, and the Sunnylea-Kingsway Community Association (SKCA) presented their summaries to the Chair of the hearing. Based on all the evidence he’s heard, he will make his decision within the next six months.

In this last stage of the contentious hearing, your SKCA professional advisors did a good job of presenting their evidence. Prompted by our lawyer, Bruce Ketcheson, then cross-examined by the developer’s lawyer, our urban planner David Butler, and our urban designer, Rick Merrill, spoke strongly in support of the City of Toronto’s position that bylaw 941-2003, with its six-storey maximum building height, should remain in force in The Kingsway.

During the hearing proceedings, the developer’s hired experts and lawyers criticized our community’s well-planned development guidelines and actually made a number of inaccurate statements to the Chair hearing the case. For example, the Park Lawn Cemetery was suggested as a “green space” adjacent to the proposed condo even though it is a private property and not immediately adjacent to 2915-2917 Bloor Street.

Now we await the written outcome of the hearing, which will likely come down to the Chair having to decide if bylaw 941-2003 should stand, or whether the Mid-Range Guidelines used in some other Toronto neighbourhoods, plus the province’s Growth Plan (which encourages intensification, especially around subway stations), should guide development in this area.

The Sunnylea-Kingsway community should be proud that a very effective opposition to over-development on Bloor Street was mounted, including the support of the Kingsway Park Ratepayers Inc., the Thompson Orchard Community Association and Councillor Mark Grimes. Few other Toronto neighbourhoods have banded together with such focus and fundraising strength. We are very thankful that so far, well over 300 donors – all listed on the SKCA website ( – have stepped up to help preserve the esthetic of The Kingsway. The financial support of these concerned citizens has been crucial to our efforts to stop over-development, with its many negative consequences, along Bloor Street West between Prince Edward Drive and Mimico Creek.

We continue to need additional funds to pay the bills of our professional advisors for their recent work, and we want to include as many names as possible as contributors to the defence of our community. If you haven’t contributed to SKCA yet, now is the time to get your name on the list. And if you have made a previous contribution, please consider doing so again.
Donate by credit card by visiting our website at and clicking the Donate button; or
Write a cheque payable to SKCA and mail or drop it off to:

Penny Moles, 22 King George’s Road, Etobicoke, ON M8X 1L1; or
Tom Gough, 36 Meadowvale Drive, Etobicoke, ON M8Y 2N9

A tip of the hat and a big thank you to some of the biggest names in real estate in the Sunnylea-Kingsway area. Recent donations from Christine Simpson and Joanne Gludish, in addition to those previously received from Linda Tickens, Jane McKaig and Ana Santos are very much appreciated. Please consider their support of our community when choosing real estate services in the future.

Update on the 2915-2917 Bloor Street OMB Hearing

The hearing began on June 4 in regard to the proposed development on the site of the former medical building and lasted for 8 days. All the same players will reconvene — for what’s expected to be four more days — on December 4, 2018 to finish the hearing.

Representatives of the Sunnylea Kingsway Community Association (SKCA) attended every day of the hearing, as did our experts, lawyer Bruce Ketcheson, planner David Butler and designer Rick Merrill. These three gentlemen are critical to our fight to maintain the 6-storey limit.

One day of the hearing featured the testimony of 14 local residents who, according to the Chair of the OMB hearing, provided thoughtful and meaningful insight into the issues concerning the community. Examples of our neighbours’ concerns included: overall mass and height of the building; loss of privacy; damage and loss of tree canopies; large balconies overlooking backyards; laneway morphing into a street; impacts on local street traffic; overall strain on existing infrastructure; and the proposed use of Park Lawn Cemetery to augment the lack of green space in the development. This last concern about use of the cemetery addressed the assertion by one of the developer’s experts that the cemetery constituted “green space” and a relevant parkland/recreational area…!

All resident presenters should be congratulated on a job well done in supporting the position of the overwhelming majority of local residents that 6 storeys should continue to be the maximum.

So far, the developer’s experts have presented their testimony and have been cross-examined by the lawyers representing the City and SKCA. The developer’s agents are arguing that the more permissive Mid-Range Guidelines should govern development on this part of Bloor Street, while the City and SKCA maintain that the Kingsway Urban Design Guidelines and accompanying bylaw 941-2003 should continue to be used.

(In a closely related matter, agents for the proposed development at the Kingsway Car Wash site (Humbervale and Bloor) made arguments similar to the 2915-17 Bloor developer just last week at Community Council. SKCA spoke in opposition to this proposal, and Council adopted a staff report that recommended that the City fight this application at the OMB; more on that at a later date.)

The first of two city experts has provided their testimony and been cross-examined by the developer’s lawyer. The hearing will resume in December with the second City expert speaking, followed by the two SKCA experts on planning (Mr. Butler) and design (Mr. Merrill).

The essence of the hearing really comes down to one clear and distinct issue: will the existing bylaw 941-2003 that allows development of six storeys and no more on this part of Bloor Street be allowed to remain in place, or will the OMB rule that the Mid-Range Guidelines should apply – opening the way for taller buildings in the Kingsway.

Of particular concern for residents living north of Bloor was the stated belief of the developer’s experts who feel that while 8 storeys on the south side of Bloor is appropriate, 12 – 15 storeys could be accommodated on the north side.

SKCA is now challenged with funding an additional 4 days of our hired experts’ time at the December portion of the OMB hearing. More than ever, we need your financial support!

Results of the September 25th Meeting

On Monday, September 25 approximately 100 Sunnylea/Kingsway residents gathered at the Etobicoke School of the Arts for a community information meeting regarding the proposed 9-storey development at 2915/2917 Bloor Street West. An Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing regarding the proposal is scheduled to take place over eight days in June 2018.

The position of the Sunnylea-Kingsway Community Association is that the proposed development should comply with the 2004 Bloor Kingsway Urban Design Guidelines, which permit buildings of up to 6 storeys only.

The keynote speaker at the meeting was lawyer Bruce Ketcheson of Ritchie Ketcheson Hart & Biggart LLP. Mr. Ketcheson has extensive OMB experience, including recent work with the Humber Valley Village Residents’ Association, and he will representing the Sunnylea-Kingsway Community Association at the June 2018 OMB hearing.

Mr. Ketcheson described how the neighbourhood would be affected by the proposed development and answered questions, drawing from his broad experience with development projects. His remarks included the observation that the developer will have an architect speak about the purported benefits of the design of the building and how it is consistent with City guidelines regarding mid-rise buildings. (Note: those guidelines exclude the area addressed in the Bloor Kingsway Urban Design Guidelines; the proposal would require a zoning by-law change). To rebut that position, testimony will be required from the City, representatives from the community, and our SKCA professional advisors.

Mr. Ketcheson’s comments also included the following: Many of the issues in this case will relate to the fit and compatibility of the proposed building with the adjacent properties, and intended ‘look’ of this section of Bloor Street. This is not about the principle of re-development for a mixed-use building, but rather the scale and design of the building.”

To that end, and to defend our interests, SKCA has hired not only Mr. Ketcheson but also planner David Butler (The Butler Group and urban designer Rick Merrill (The Planning Partnership)

SKCA Hears From the HVVRA, October 17th

On October 17th, the SKCA met with approximately 35 community residents at All Saints Anglican Church and received a presentation by Anne Anderson, President of the Humber Valley Village Residents Association, and Joanne Pickard, HVVRA VP, who spoke about their experience with the upcoming redevelopment of the Humbertown Shopping Centre and adjacent lands.

They emphasized the importance of SKCA focusing on fundraising to pay for the professional counsel required to make the best possible case to the OMB. In addition to the legal expert already retained (Bruce Ketcheson) they strongly advocated for a planning expert and urban designer (David Butler and Rick Merrill – see below.) Ms. Anderson’s comments also included the following:

“While it would be nice to avoid the cost of hiring an urban designer or architect and relying instead on the City’s experts, there are a few things to keep in mind. The developer’s urban design expert will outline all the reasons that the proposal ‘fits’ at this location and therefore represents good planning.  He/she will also present strong arguments against the 2004 Bloor Kingsway Urban Design Guidelines document to undermine its significance. Your urban designer/architect must refute its evidence by reinforcing the City’s expert testimony and offering different and potentially stronger evidence. Having two urban design witnesses in favour of 6 storeys is more compelling than one. At our January 2017 OMB hearing regarding the apartment buildings adjacent to Humbertown, our goals were not entirely the same as the City’s. At the end of the day, the OMB Chair ruled that the residents’ experts’ position was more reasonable and ruled accordingly.”

SKCA General Meeting Held on September 25th

The SKCA held a community meeting September 25th, 7-8:30pm at the Etobicoke School of the Arts Auditorium – 675 Royal York Road. Bruce Ketcheson, the lawyer selected to represent SKCA at the June 2018 Ontario Municipal Board Hearing regarding the proposed 9 storey condominium at 2915/2917 Bloor Street West, spoke at the meeting to address questions such as:
– What is the role of the SKCA’s expert witnesses (including Mr. Ketcheson) at the OMB hearing?
– What is the potential impact of over-development on the character of the neighbourhood, property values, traffic and schools?
– What will the OMB decision mean to future development proposals along Bloor Street in the Kingsway?
– What are the next steps to help ensure that the proposed development stays consistent with current zoning bylaws and guidelines (e.g. height and density maximums)

June 29th OMB Pre-hearing

The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) pre-hearing regarding the proposed 9 storey condominium development at 2915/2917 Bloor Street West took place Thursday, June 29th. The Sunnylea-Kingsway Community Association was granted party status for the future OMB hearing, which will take place on June 4th, 2018. Having party status will help to ensure that we can present a united voice for community concerns. 

SKCA was represented at the pre-hearing by lawyer Bruce Ketcheson of Ritchie, Ketcheson, Hart and Biggart. Mr. Ketcheson has extensive OMB experience and recently represented the Humber Valley Residents’ Association. 

The financial support of community members such as yourself made it possible to incorporate SKCA, which was an important step in obtaining party status, and to retain the legal counsel of Mr. Ketcheson. Thank you! 

City of Toronto Votes to Support the Bloor/Kingsway Avenue Study

On Wednesday May 24th, Toronto City Council voted to adopt a motion put forth by Councilor Justin Di Ciano to authorize the city solicitor to attend the Ontario Municipal Board hearing to defend the Bloor Kingsway Avenue study, which recommends a 6 storey height limit for developments. You can find more information on that vote here.

What’s the issue:

A developer has applied to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to build a 9-storey building that would significantly exceed current height and density zoning by-laws at 2915/2917 Bloor Street West (currently the site of a single-storey medical building just west of Prince Edward Drive). 

This proposed development would also violate other community protection by-laws, including neighbourhood shading and green space allowance.

An unfavorable OMB decision will be precedent-setting, allowing such excessive-sized buildings to mushroom in our Bloor/Sunnylea/Kingsway neighbourhood.

Current by-laws, policies and guidelines allow for buildings along Bloor Street (from (Prince Edward to Mimico Creek) to be up to 6 storeys, provided that they include appropriate density and green space.

Toronto City planning staff and local City Councillors are united in opposing this application.

The Sunnylea Kingsway Community Association Forms

The SKCA came about through meetings among residents concerned about the impacts of the proposed development at 2915-2917 Bloor St W.

What we have done so far:

We have hosted two community information meetings (on February 26th at the Brentwood Library, and on March 30th at the Etobicoke School of the Arts), and had representatives make presentations at the May 2nd meeting of Etobicoke York Community Council.

 What we are doing:

The SKCA will be obtaining party status at the OMB to present a united voice for community concerns at the OMB hearing (date TBD). We will need to obtain the services of expert witnesses at a cost that is currently estimated to be $40,000.

Update (August, 2017): SKCA has obtained party status at the OMB and retained legal council, the date for the OMB hearing has not been set.

Sign Our Petition

Residents of Sunnylea and The Kingsway have started an online petition to ask developers at the 2915-2917 Bloor St West site to adhere to existing city planing guidelines. You can see that petition here.

Etobicoke York Community Council Votes to Support the Bloor Avenue Study

On Tuesday May 2nd the Etobicoke York Community Council (EYCC) voted unanimously to support a motion put forth by Councillor Justin DiCiano asking for resources to oppose the recently amended permit application at the 2915-2917 Bloor Street W site. Specifically, the motion asked that “City Council authorize the City Solicitor, together with Planning staff and other appropriate staff to attend the Ontario Municipal Board hearing to oppose the applicant’s appeal respecting the Zoning By-law Amendment application for 2915-2917 Bloor Street West in its current form, and retain such experts as the City Solicitor may determine are needed in support of the position recommended in the report (April 21, 2017) from the Director, Community Planning, North York District.”

The SKCA did its part to publicize the meeting, which filled the Community Council chambers and overflow section. The EYCC heard arguments from Dean French of the SKCA, as well as other community associations and individual community members, all of whom echoed the sentiment that we are in favour of development along Bloor street West, but ask that developments adhere to established city bylaws and ordinances. The next step in the process is to present this motion to Toronto city council, who will then decide if they support the decision made by the EYCC.