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2007 01 18
Active 18 Replies To The OMB

Reading Toronto contributor Ken Greenberg provided this image illustrating what kind of development the OMB's decision allows.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007 (Toronto): At a press conference today at Toronto City Hall, members of the local residents’ group Active 18, Councilor Adam Giambrone, and architect and urban designer Ken Greenberg condemned the recent decision of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to approve a “condo jungle” of developments on Queen St. West. The Queen West Triangle, as it is colloquially known, is a mixed use area in Toronto’s growing gallery district that currently contains the fifth largest concentration of artists in Canada (by postal code). Many of those artists live at 48 Abell Street, in a warehouse building now fated for demolition.

Both the OMB and the City came under fire at the press conference. Active 18 member Charles Campbell, who represented the coalition before the OMB, noted “the unfortunate decision of the OMB should not be set up as an excuse by the City for its overall poor performance in this matter.” He pointed out that understaffing at the City Planning Department, delays in putting crucial planning documents in place, the failure to designate 48 Abell as a heritage building and the lateness of the City’s attempts to acquire parkland meant while the City had been effective in presenting planning evidence at the OMB, it was simply too late.

“Something is broken here. Who’s in charge of city planning?” asked Ken Greenberg. “This decision could not make a more powerful argument for the abolition of the OMB and the creation of a more workable City Planning structure.” Greenberg noted that the OMB is a unique institution that distorts the entire planning process in Toronto - misallocating resources, sapping energy and producing consistently poor outcomes for Toronto citizens. He also stated that it was “hard to imagine that anything more could have been done by Active 18,” pointing out that the community had understood the need and opportunity for growth, consistently supported reasonable development in the Triangle area, and had spent hundreds of hours of volunteer time consulting with the community, noted professionals, and attempting to work with the developers and the City.

Councilor Giambrone stated that the City has asked staff to prepare a report outlining any options for an appeal or next steps.

The following prominent Toronto citizens join Active 18 and the City in expressing their dismay at the OMB decision and its ramifications for good planning and development:

Alan Broadbent, Chairman and CEO, Avana Capital Corporation
Stephen Bulger, Stephen Bulger Gallery
Helen Burstyn, Chair, Ontario Trillium Foundation
David Crombie, President and CEO, Canadian Urban Institute
Diana Crosbie, President, Crosbie Communications
Vera Frenkel, artist
Jane Glassco, Trustee of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation
Dean Goodman, Levitt-Goodman Architects
Siamak Hariri, Hariri Pontarini Architects
Janna Levitt, Levitt-Goodman Architects
Catherine Nasmith, Architect, President - Architectural Conservancy of Ontario
Paulette Phillips, Artist and Professor of Art at the Ontario College of Art and Design
Jessica Rose, artist
Sandra Shaul, Annex Residents’ Association
Alex Spiegel, greendoors development inc
Deanne Taylor, VideoCabaret
Christina Zeidler, Gladstone Hotel
Eberhard Zeidler, Zeidler Partnership Architects

This list of names is growing and will be regularly updated on the Active 18 website.

For more information, please see http://www.Active18.org or email
[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 01/18 at 10:57 AM

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