Scarborough, like other parts of the city, is growing and “more and more of that growth is going vertical,” Raymond David, the area’s community planning director told a meeting on condominiums last week.
The health of the city’s condominium communities is critical, he added, which is why the city is offering residents a chance to influence policy where condos are concerned.
Toronto’s had a condo-boom - 10,000 units a year added over each of the last 10 years - and now it’s time to see what sort of communities have emerged where condos are clustered, said Peter Moore, a project manager for the city’s planning division.
Along with Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue in North York and Islington Avenue and Bloor Street in Etobicoke, Scarborough’s city centre is now one of the city’s condo zones.
A new secondary plan was approved for streets around Scarborough Town Centre in 2005, and by 2011 there were 6,586 units and 12,174 residents in the district, with thousands more units approved but still not built there.
About three dozen people, including a half-dozen condo board members, a couple of property managers and a few people who don’t live in condos but are near them shared their likes and dislikes about condo living last Wednesday at Scarborough Civic Centre.
“Vertical communities,” the meeting was told, sometimes pay more in property taxes than neighbours in detached homes while receiving fewer services.
Residents complained they face dangerous traffic pulling out of their highrise driveway, that a building’s owners contributed for a park that wasn’t built, that there is not a Canada Post box on a nearby corner where they can mail a letter.
One woman mentioned a “general lack of creating a community” she suggested could be solved by “music in the parks, that sort of thing.”
A property manager said, some condo buildings, lack of a good supply of electricity, charging “dirty hydro” and brownouts are burning out their elevators and other systems.
Moore said the consultation (www.toronto.ca/planning/condo_consultation.htm) will identify issues, find who is responsible for managing them, and create recommendations for the city.
An online survey in March will be used to “verify that we got the right issues” before a second round of public meetings in April or May, he said.
Ontario’s government, and not the city, will be responsible for fixing building standards and some other problems, but 11 years after the Ontario Condominium Act came into effect, the province is reviewing it, expecting to let the public comment on initial findings this fall (http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/Pages/condo_rev.aspx) with plans for legislated reform in the spring of 2014.