Although new development applications have slowed recently, work on the yet to be approved RioCan site at Laird and Eglinton has intensified.
Since their original submission in 2016, RioCan has further consulted with my office, City planning and the community at large. In mid-October, they presented a Phase 2 plan to my Leaside Development Committee with the expressed intent of further refinements and subsequently a submission of a Phase 3 plan.
I was disappointed to hear that even though RioCan promised to continue to work with the community, they filed an appeal to the OMB. I am hopeful that this is merely an attempt to keep that option open ahead of proposed changes to the provincial oversight body.
On a somewhat positive note, the tall residential buildings are planned for the southeast corner where there will be no adverse shadow impact to existing homes. However, the 30- and 36-storey towers – alongside a 24-storey tower – are, in my opinion, still too tall for the neighbourhood. It is a concern which has been made clear to RioCan. The proposed 1,400 units result in a site density that is slightly higher than that at 939 Eglinton Ave. E., so we’ll be focused on getting that reduced as well.
I was encouraged to see that RioCan listened to earlier feedback and increased the size of the community centre from 7,000 to 20,000 sq. feet, which would allow for a gymnasium and other amenities. I believe this is crucial for Leaside as we not only strive to better serve existing residents but new ones as well.
Our transportation department has asked for a new north/south road which would align with the existing mall exit onto Eglinton. The community and I expect changes so this road doesn’t become an access point for further traffic infiltration into North Leaside.
It is my understanding that an existing challenge is the long-term lease held by Canadian Tire. I will continue to express my opinion that should they wish to relocate, the perfect fit would be the Smart Centre site next door – replacing the rumoured Walmart.