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Feb 14, 2008  |  Vote 0    0

Employment study proceeding for Kodak lands

North York Mirror

As the Weston and Mount Dennis community waits for an application by the developer of the vacated Kodak lands, the city's economic development department is going ahead with an employment study of the area.

"The city has very ambitious employment targets," said economic development officer Ian Brown, at a townhall meeting Monday night organized by Ward 11 (York South-Weston) Councillor Frances Nunziata. "We're looking for good jobs...and we're looking for economic growth."

About 70 community residents and business owners came out to the York Civic Centre to hear if there were any updates on the status of the 52-acre Kodak lands on 3500 Eglinton Ave. W.

When the developer, Metrus Properties, previously suggested the idea of building primarily retail last summer, the idea wasn't well received by the community.

Many again voiced their opposition to any retail development on the land, which would require Metrus to apply for a zoning amendment.

Some argued it would not provide good quality jobs to local residents. Others said it would negatively impact existing businesses on Weston Road.

City staff is still waiting for an application from the developer, said Kyle Benham, director of business development and retention in the city's economic development department, adding, "the timing of the application is completely within their control."

In the meantime, the community is being asked for ideas of what they do want to see in the employment study area, which includes the Kodak lands as well as Weston Road from Church Street to just south of Eglinton Avenue.

"Whatever happens at Kodak will have a huge impact on Weston Road," said Nunziata, who is also against the construction of retail stores on the vacant land.

Mount Dennis resident Marabelle McTavish wanted to see more industry and manufacturing type employment in the area with a focus on environmental initiatives.

"We want a green centre for excellence," McTavish said. "I'm certainly looking for something that's going to continue to build and enhance Weston Road."

Kodak Canada was the largest employer in the area before it left the premises, employing about 800 employees in 2005. Total employment within the study area was 3,409 in 2006 - a decrease of 2,816 jobs over the past 11 years.

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