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Beach Triangle Residents Association

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The Beach Triangle Residents Association, Toronto, Ontario

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Rainsford & Queen Condominium Development

By Chris Blythe

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Residents in the Queen and Rainsford area are expressing concerns regarding a condominium development proposed for the North side of Queen St., just West of Woodbine. Several residents have contacted BTRA Board members to have their say. Best take note. Your area may be next.

Among the main sensitivities expressed are building height, traffic congestion, potential laneway blockages caused by construction (during the development phases) and by commercial service vehicles once the project is completed. Increased commercial noise and odour have also been mentioned.

To Be Demolished for New Condo Development

At a recent community meeting laying out the plan, we learned the City is poised to allow the developers to exceed the four floors currently allowed. Several local residents say six stories plus utility cabins on the roof will negatively impact the quality-of-life in the area by shading their properties and blocking off-lake air currents and views.

Traffic concerns are primarily focused on a 'T'-shaped laneway behind the site. This laneway currently provides access to the backyards and parking spaces of many homes fronting on Rainsford, Woodbine and Queen. It can only be accessed from behind the proposed development - either off Rainsford or off Woodbine. Residents are concerned the additional car and service vehicle traffic introduced by such a large development will increase laneway congestion and cause blockages.

The busy intersection at Queen and Woodbine plays a major role here as well. It is already hampered by congestion and turn restrictions for much of the day. Some residents suggest this will prompt condo residents to use other means to access the lane from Rainsford. They may, for instance, choose to take Northern Dancer and Boardwalk Dr. to get from Lakeshore to Rainsford. Or they may begin taking Rainsford and Columbine from points North. The result could be increased traffic infiltration in both the Triangle and areas South of Queen St.

Increased noise and garbage odour is another hot potato. Based on experience from development one block West, some residents are worried commercial delivery and garbage pickup will not only block lane access, but generate loud noise and smell during all hours of the day and night.

The designers of the proposed project say a residential waste control system will keep garbage in a special, indoor holding area until pickup by the city at prearranged times. But in response to specific questioning by a BTRA board member, it is clear the businesses will be independently responsible for waste disposal and will not use this indoor facility. This could easily mean laneway dumpsters and commercial garbage pickup with associated noise and odour.

Not all Triangle residents are against the plan. Some say it could bring new life to a currently tired stretch of Queen. Several are expressing support of the project's thoughtful design, 'green' features, space-friendly stepped profile, and a floor-plan calling for larger, fewer, units versus many smaller ones. Some suggest the project may actually enhance property values.

That said: this is not the first, and is not likely the last, development to push building height and traffic density standards in the neighbourhood. Serious quality-of-life and property issues are being raised. Over time, similar issues may well be raised elsewhere on Queen, on Kingston Road and along Woodbine.

We feel the outcome of this project will impact other development to come. Developers should not be allowed to tread on the toes of current residents. And City Hall must do more to address such issues. But residents must be involved too.

That's why this project deserves your critical attention now. You may like the proposed plan. You may not. Whatever the case, speaking up later will be more difficult. You deserve to be heard and your neighbourhood deserves your input.

Let's talk about it. Then let YOUR thoughts on the matter be heard.

Contacts:
Sandra Bussin, Councillor: sbussin@toronto.ca
David McCully, EA to Sandra Bussin: dmccull@toronto.ca
Leontine Major, Planner: lmajor@toronto.ca
Francis Pritchard, City Clerk: teycc@toronto.ca

The following two illustrations depicts the maximum shadow area for the new development as a 6-story complex, and as a 4-story complex.

Condo Shadow Study 1

Condo Shadow Study 2