The ongoing dispute over a proposed highrise at the corner of Wellington Street West and Parkdale Avenue will continue this summer.
Housing developer Minto Communities wants to build the mixed-use project at 1186, 1188 and 1194 Wellington St. W. on the southwest corner of the intersection.
Its 2021 application was amended and finalized in August 2022 with a plan for a 16-storey apartment building featuring more than 200 units as well as about 13,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The 0.6-acre property is currently occupied by a Rexall drug store and the old Elmdale Theatre.
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The height limit for the property is six storeys, and Minto sought a zoning bylaw amendment to accommodate the project. The company’s proposal to the city outlined a traffic flow strategy and argued that the development would be a net benefit to the area.
City council ultimately rejected the proposal last year. Minto appealed the city’s decision to the Ontario Land Tribunal, an independent body that is the province’s final arbiter of development disputes.
The tribunal has had three preliminary meetings on the issue, and a hearing on the dispute has been scheduled for Aug. 14 at 10 a.m. It’s unclear when the tribunal will announce its ruling.
In addition to Minto and the city, representatives from the Hintonburg Community Association and Suncor Energy will also take part in the hearing. The community association plans to argue against the development alongside Suncor, which owns a Petro-Canada gas station across the street.
Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper, who lives near the site, said the community’s reaction to the project has been largely negative.
“The majority of what I’m hearing is opposition to the building,” he said, adding nearby residents are concerned about the height of the proposed tower and the increased traffic the development would generate.
“I think there is significant discomfort that if this building is allowed to move ahead, it will see significant increase in (building) height in many more places,” said Leiper, who also chairs council’s planning and housing committee.
The site’s proximity to light rail, bus routes and Highway 417 makes it an appealing location for many residents, but nearby streets aren’t designed to handle the volume of traffic that comes with such large-scale projects, he added.
Petra Thoms, who owns the World of Maps across the street, said she’s worried the development will increase congestion in the neighbourhood and make it harder for customers to find parking near her store.
Thoms said she’d like to see the building set back farther from the sidewalk to provide more room for trees and walking space.
“We need more affordable places, but they’re not building that,” she added.
But Amandine Pajor, who owns the Amandine Patisserie French pastry and coffee shop just down the street, said she thinks the development would boost traffic in her store.
“It would be a good thing for me and my business,” she said.
Minto Communities, Suncor and the Hintonburg Community Association did not respond to requests for comment.