City of Toronto shuts down Scarborough Hindu temple over zoning

News Dec 14, 2016 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

The City of Toronto has effectively shut down a mid-Scarborough Hindu temple, which is appealing the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

The Canada Kanthaswamy Temple Society had used a Birchmount Road warehouse as a place of worship while its home, also on Birchmount, was being rebuilt.

But after the property’s manager, Doverhold Investments, lost a Nov. 3 minor variance appeal at Scarborough’s Committee of Adjustment to permit worship in the warehouse for three years, the city inspected the building at 1380 Birchmount the next day.

On Nov. 7, it issued an “unsafe building” order for the warehouse banning “assembly use”, which includes worship, recreation and classroom teaching there.

Industrial buildings don’t have the same safety system requirements in Toronto as schools or places of worship, so the inspector cited the lack of a fire alarm system or adequate emergency lights at 1380 Birchmount.

But the building is also in an industrial employment area where places of worship aren’t permitted.

Scarborough Centre Councillor Michael Thompson said he told the society about this three years ago, when the temple moved in. “They just basically ignored it,” he said this week.

A similar city order shut down a mosque and private school operating at the Sakinah Centre, two doors away at 1430 Birchmount, on January 29.

That order remains in place, but on November 10, the Sakinah Foundation, which owns the industrial building, asked the city to review a proposal for interior alterations which would change it into a recreational facility.

Thompson, who is the city’s Economic Development chairperson, said the Kanthaswamy Temple’s presence in the warehouse “created a little landslide” of interest in religious groups wanting to occupy employment lands in the area.

“Other people want to do what they want to do.”

The councillor, however, said the city can only work with such groups to find another, more suitable location.

No one appeared to be at 1380 Birchmount when a reporter visited. Attempts to contact a spokesperson for the temple society, or to get a comment from Doverhold, were unsuccessful.

The Sakinah Centre also did not respond to requests for comment.

This week, city’s deputy chief building official, Bill Stamatopoulos, confirmed an application was made on November 18 to appeal the Scarborough committee’s decision to the board.

No hearing date has so far been set, but Thompson in a motion asked Toronto Council, meeting this week, to have the city defend the decision on 1380 Birchmount, if necessary.

Doverhold had also sought the Scarborough committee’s permission to have 94 parking spaces at 1380 Birchmount, instead of the required minimum of 153 spaces.

A project manager for the temple, Consult Ranjan Inc., said on its website Canada Kanthaswamy had spent 15 to 16 years in a converted one-story industrial building at 733 Birchmount “that had surpassed its design life”.

Calls made to the society’s general contractor, the Whitepine Group, to find out when the phased rebuilding of the temple at 733 Birchmount is scheduled for completion, were not returned.

City of Toronto shuts down Scarborough Hindu temple over zoning

Mosque nearby remains closed, but proposes recreational use

News Dec 14, 2016 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

The City of Toronto has effectively shut down a mid-Scarborough Hindu temple, which is appealing the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

The Canada Kanthaswamy Temple Society had used a Birchmount Road warehouse as a place of worship while its home, also on Birchmount, was being rebuilt.

But after the property’s manager, Doverhold Investments, lost a Nov. 3 minor variance appeal at Scarborough’s Committee of Adjustment to permit worship in the warehouse for three years, the city inspected the building at 1380 Birchmount the next day.

On Nov. 7, it issued an “unsafe building” order for the warehouse banning “assembly use”, which includes worship, recreation and classroom teaching there.

Industrial buildings don’t have the same safety system requirements in Toronto as schools or places of worship, so the inspector cited the lack of a fire alarm system or adequate emergency lights at 1380 Birchmount.

But the building is also in an industrial employment area where places of worship aren’t permitted.

Scarborough Centre Councillor Michael Thompson said he told the society about this three years ago, when the temple moved in. “They just basically ignored it,” he said this week.

A similar city order shut down a mosque and private school operating at the Sakinah Centre, two doors away at 1430 Birchmount, on January 29.

That order remains in place, but on November 10, the Sakinah Foundation, which owns the industrial building, asked the city to review a proposal for interior alterations which would change it into a recreational facility.

Thompson, who is the city’s Economic Development chairperson, said the Kanthaswamy Temple’s presence in the warehouse “created a little landslide” of interest in religious groups wanting to occupy employment lands in the area.

“Other people want to do what they want to do.”

The councillor, however, said the city can only work with such groups to find another, more suitable location.

No one appeared to be at 1380 Birchmount when a reporter visited. Attempts to contact a spokesperson for the temple society, or to get a comment from Doverhold, were unsuccessful.

The Sakinah Centre also did not respond to requests for comment.

This week, city’s deputy chief building official, Bill Stamatopoulos, confirmed an application was made on November 18 to appeal the Scarborough committee’s decision to the board.

No hearing date has so far been set, but Thompson in a motion asked Toronto Council, meeting this week, to have the city defend the decision on 1380 Birchmount, if necessary.

Doverhold had also sought the Scarborough committee’s permission to have 94 parking spaces at 1380 Birchmount, instead of the required minimum of 153 spaces.

A project manager for the temple, Consult Ranjan Inc., said on its website Canada Kanthaswamy had spent 15 to 16 years in a converted one-story industrial building at 733 Birchmount “that had surpassed its design life”.

Calls made to the society’s general contractor, the Whitepine Group, to find out when the phased rebuilding of the temple at 733 Birchmount is scheduled for completion, were not returned.

City of Toronto shuts down Scarborough Hindu temple over zoning

Mosque nearby remains closed, but proposes recreational use

News Dec 14, 2016 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

The City of Toronto has effectively shut down a mid-Scarborough Hindu temple, which is appealing the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

The Canada Kanthaswamy Temple Society had used a Birchmount Road warehouse as a place of worship while its home, also on Birchmount, was being rebuilt.

But after the property’s manager, Doverhold Investments, lost a Nov. 3 minor variance appeal at Scarborough’s Committee of Adjustment to permit worship in the warehouse for three years, the city inspected the building at 1380 Birchmount the next day.

On Nov. 7, it issued an “unsafe building” order for the warehouse banning “assembly use”, which includes worship, recreation and classroom teaching there.

Industrial buildings don’t have the same safety system requirements in Toronto as schools or places of worship, so the inspector cited the lack of a fire alarm system or adequate emergency lights at 1380 Birchmount.

But the building is also in an industrial employment area where places of worship aren’t permitted.

Scarborough Centre Councillor Michael Thompson said he told the society about this three years ago, when the temple moved in. “They just basically ignored it,” he said this week.

A similar city order shut down a mosque and private school operating at the Sakinah Centre, two doors away at 1430 Birchmount, on January 29.

That order remains in place, but on November 10, the Sakinah Foundation, which owns the industrial building, asked the city to review a proposal for interior alterations which would change it into a recreational facility.

Thompson, who is the city’s Economic Development chairperson, said the Kanthaswamy Temple’s presence in the warehouse “created a little landslide” of interest in religious groups wanting to occupy employment lands in the area.

“Other people want to do what they want to do.”

The councillor, however, said the city can only work with such groups to find another, more suitable location.

No one appeared to be at 1380 Birchmount when a reporter visited. Attempts to contact a spokesperson for the temple society, or to get a comment from Doverhold, were unsuccessful.

The Sakinah Centre also did not respond to requests for comment.

This week, city’s deputy chief building official, Bill Stamatopoulos, confirmed an application was made on November 18 to appeal the Scarborough committee’s decision to the board.

No hearing date has so far been set, but Thompson in a motion asked Toronto Council, meeting this week, to have the city defend the decision on 1380 Birchmount, if necessary.

Doverhold had also sought the Scarborough committee’s permission to have 94 parking spaces at 1380 Birchmount, instead of the required minimum of 153 spaces.

A project manager for the temple, Consult Ranjan Inc., said on its website Canada Kanthaswamy had spent 15 to 16 years in a converted one-story industrial building at 733 Birchmount “that had surpassed its design life”.

Calls made to the society’s general contractor, the Whitepine Group, to find out when the phased rebuilding of the temple at 733 Birchmount is scheduled for completion, were not returned.