As you know, I’ve opposed the 18-30 Erskine Development from day one. I agree that it does not represent good planning and believe that it should not have been approved at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). When an application is appealed to the OMB, it is the provincially-appointed OMB member that has the final say – not your elected representatives or the City’s Planning division. I’ve voted four times at City Council to remove Toronto from the jurisdiction of the OMB but unfortunately the province has consistently refused to respond to Council’s request.
Although the City is required by provincial planning legislation to allow the construction of the OMB-approved development to proceed, we have the opportunity to provide comments on the applicant’s Site Plan and Construction Management Plan.
I’ll be working with the Construction Management Committee to ensure that the highest possible health and safety measures are implemented prior to the issuance of any demolition or building permits. Although the issuance of any permits are likely months away, I’ll also be working with the Construction Management Committee to assign a team of City staff and TDSB representatives to this file during the demolition and construction processes and to provide neighbours and parents with a public-facing contact at the City.
My understanding is that the TDSB has retained an environmental consultant group to provide an independent risk assessment of the proposed construction. My office has ensured that this group is included in all discussions with the Construction Management Committee, and we have provided them with all documents pertaining to the applicant’s Construction Management Plan.
Furthermore, I’ve assured the members of the Parent Council that I will not move forward with any aspect of this application without their input. At all critical steps of this process, I will be looking to the Parent Council for direction on how to proceed.
Finally, while the final decision on relocating the students lies with the TDSB, I absolutely agree that the school should not be cornered into bussing their students to accommodate a private developer. That’s why I’ve formed the Construction Management Committee and will be working closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the highest possible health and safety measures are implemented at John Fisher.