Dear Friends and Neighbours,
Thank you for the massive outpouring of support at this morning’s rally at John Fisher Public School.
I was proud to stand with students, parents and neighbours in opposition to the 35-storey tower at 18-30 Erskine Avenue and to call on the province to put the well-being and safety of our communities ahead of the profits of private developers.
In my six years as a City Councillor, I have never seen this level of community engagement on a development – you should all be very proud of your efforts.
Below I’ve provided a brief update on my activities on behalf of the school and neighbourhood over the past two weeks.
I want to thank you once again for your engagement and assure you that I will do everything in my power as a City Councillor to address your concerns.
Actions Taken to Date
I wanted to provide a summary of what I’ve been doing over the past two weeks to address concerns I’ve heard from the parent community.
- I prepared a comprehensive briefing note for Mayor Tory and met with him to share the concerns of local residents and the John Fisher parent community. I also encouraged the Mayor to attend this morning’s rally at the school to show his support for the community.
- I’ve attended two meetings with MPP Kathleen Wynne to provide an update on this file and share the parents’ concerns about the proximity of this development to the school.
I fully expect these discussions with Mayor Tory and MPP Wynne to continue.
- I’ve written to Toronto’s Chief Planner, Jennifer Keesmaat, and the City Solicitor, Wendy Walberg, asking them to consider any and all options within the city’s jurisdiction to stop this development from moving forward.
- I’ve written a letter to the developer, KG Group, requesting that they work with the city and province to turn the property into a green space for the community. While this is contingent on KG Group being willing to work with us, my hope is that the developer will realize that this solution provides the best benefit to the school and neighbourhood. I have yet to receive a reply to my letter.
Third-Party Risk Assessment
I support the TDSB’s retention of a third-party consultant to conduct an independent risk assessment.
I completely agree that the second phase of the risk assessment should be incorporated into the developer’s Construction Management Plan. With that in mind, I’ve requested the TDSB keep city staff and my office informed on the progress and status of the risk assessment.
Relocation of John Fisher PS
I sincerely share your concerns about the potential relocation of the school and daycare for the duration of the construction.
While I have requested that the TDSB keep me updated on these discussions, the final decision about relocation rests entirely with the TDSB, which falls under the jurisdiction of the province, not the City of Toronto.
Communication & Updates
Throughout this process, I’m committed to working closely with the Parent Council and TDSB to address your concerns.
In recent weeks, my office has been inundated with emails and I’d like to thank you for your continued engagement on this issue.
Moving forward, to ensure transparent and accessible communication to all John Fisher parents and neighbourhood residents, I will be providing regular updates, like this one, via my office’s mailing list. I will also be requesting that these updates be linked to in the John Fisher Squawk so that parents not currently on my mailing list can stay updated. I will be posting these updates to my website at http://jayerobinson.ca/18-30-erskine-development/.
Finally, I encourage you to make your voice heard through the Parent Council. I have asked that they collect questions and feedback from parents and share this with me during our meetings so my office can address the community’s concerns more effectively.
As you know, I, like all of you, believe this development is irresponsible and should never have been approved by the OMB. I opposed this application from the very beginning and, in July 2015, city staff wrote an OMB directions report opposing the application.
In the last six years, in Ward 25 – Don Valley West, there have been 32 major development applications submitted to the city, including 18-30 Erskine. Of these, nearly 80% have been appealed to the OMB. Every single Ward 25 application that has gone to the OMB has been approved in some form – none have been rejected outright.
This is exactly why I have voted four times at City Council to remove Toronto from the jurisdiction of this unelected, unaccountable provincial body. However, the province has yet to act on Council’s repeated requests.
Last fall, the province conducted a review of the OMB and are expected to announce reforms this spring.