BPRO in the Media

Bedford Park and BPRO have been featured in news articles on TRNTO.com, which has been following the unfolding story of the proposed development at 3180 Yonge, starting with early neighbourhood concerns in their December 8, 2020 article. In their January 19, 2021 follow-up, they profiled the advocacy work done by BPRO President Ted Butler on behalf of residents of Bedford Park in early meetings with the developer.

Residents not happy about Yonge and Lawrence development that takes up an entire block

by Eric Stober for TRNTO

Posted: December 8, 2020

Some neighbourhood residents are not happy about the latest big development application submitted to the city of Toronto in an area mostly consisting of two- and three-storey buildings — Yonge and Lawrence.

The development application is for 3180-3202 Yonge St., between Bedford Park and Woburn Avenue, a little north of Lawrence.

The developer, NYX Capital, is requesting a rezoning of the block to allow for a mixed-use building of nine to 12 storeys with 109 residential units and five commercial retail units on the ground floor.

The zoning currently allows for a mid-rise up to nine storeys tall, according to local councillor Mike Colle.

The development takes up nearly a whole city block that currently hosts 12 two-storey residential and retail buildings.

The design includes a step-down from 12 to nine storeys on its north end and a design that NYX Capital CEO Yashar Fatehi described as a “blend of traditional styles with a modern look” in a statement.

There will be a rooftop terrace to provide green space to residents as well as private terraces.

The 109 residential units will consist of 15 one-bedroom-with-den, 38 two-bedroom, 44 two-bedroom-with-den and 12 three-bedroom, and there will be 91 parking spots within two storeys of underground parking, plus 83 bicycle spots.

Residents and Colle, though, are not happy with the proposal as they feel the density is too great considering the parameters of the area.

Colle explained that the area is already short on green space, traffic is a problem, and the local schools — such as Blessed Sacrament Catholic School — are already full. That’s not to mention shadows cast from the development would limit sunlight for the properties behind it, according to Colle.

“[This proposal] doesn’t fit the character of the neighbourhood,” he said. “The neighbourhood is designed for mid-rises.”

Colle is worried that if this proposal goes through, it will leave no space for residents to live their lives in the neighbourhood and enjoy themselves.

“I don’t know where they would go to walk their dog or sit and have a cup of tea,” he said. “There’s no space outdoors.”

While Colle knows that redevelopment is inevitable, he thinks that it should be an appropriate density in order to maintain the integrity and continuity of the neighbourhood.

“It’s got to be an appropriate beginning,” he said. “Just because there’s a subway entrance nearby doesn’t give them the green light to increase density beyond what city planners think is reasonable.”

Colle was referencing the amendments the province made to the city’s growth plan, “Midtown in Focus,” to allow for developments of greater density near transit stations. However, since the developer-friendly policy has been put in place, huge buildings have been proposed across the city in mid-rise neighbourhoods, going against city planning guidelines.

Colle said the city is already stretched to the limit and can’t feasibly outpace infrastructure to accommodate the higher density.

In response to these concerns, Fatehi said that the rooftop terrace will provide “more green space compared to what is there now,” and that the step-down of the building was done intentionally to minimize shadows on nearby residences, and there will be enough parking for residents on-site.

Ultimately, Fatehi said the current height of the development is justified due to the proximity to Lawrence station.

“More housing on transit just makes sense,” he said. “Especially when the transit station is under-utilized like the Yonge/Lawrence station.”

While Fatehi said he is more than happy to talk to the community, Ted Butler, president of Bedford Park Residents Organization (BPRO), said that NYX Capital did not reach out to residents before the submission and have not been cooperative.

“It’s war at this point,” he said. “The neighbourhood will mobilize against this.”

Butler has the same concerns about amenities being stretched as Colle has and said it is his duty to stand up for the residents who may be impacted by the development.

The development application is currently in the very early stages and is awaiting a preliminary report from the city, which will be followed by a public meeting before it goes to city council for approval.

Bedford Park residents still battling developer over huge condo project in uptown Toronto

by Eric Stober for TRNTO

Posted: January 19, 2021

Residents of Bedford Park had their first chance to meet with the developer behind a huge new proposal in their neighbourhood, but they say they are still “miles apart” on reaching a middle ground.

The proposal is for 3180-3202 Yonge St., just north of Lawrence. It calls for a rezoning of the area to allow for a nine- to 12-storey mixed-use condo with up to 109 residential units.

The development would take up almost the entire city block between Bedford Park and Woburn Avenue, except for a TD bank that is on the south end.

Residents, represented by the Bedford Park Residents Organization (BPRO), initially were up in arms against the development due to concerns over shadowing, traffic, overlook and density in the neighbourhood. The height of the proposal also goes against the current mid-rise character of the area.

To add to the tension, BPRO president Ted Butler said that the developer, NYX Capital, had not reached out to residents before their application and were not being cooperative.

Now the two parties have formally met for the first time.

“We had a healthy discussion,” Butler said. “[NYX Capital] stands by their proposal, which, of course, is unacceptable to us.”

NYX Capital’s CEO Yashar Fatehi said in a statement that the meeting with residents was an “introductory” one and the “first of many.”

“We discussed their concerns and expect to connect with them again later in the year,” he said.

While Butler said NYX Capital admitted there could be some changes to the proposal, he said they stand by that their “trump card” is the development’s proximity to Lawrence Station.

“They feel they have a right to start converting Yonge and Lawrence to Yonge and Eglinton,” Butler said.

However, Butler asserts there’s a “massive difference” between Yonge and Lawrence and the Bedford Park neighbourhood and Yonge and Eglinton, most notable are issues with traffic and pedestrian safety. For example, Blessed Sacrament Catholic School is right behind the site and requires many cars to be able to stop and pick people up.

“The traffic issue is key,” Butler said.

The proximity to Lawrence Station may help with the developer’s fight for rezoning, though, since the province amended the city’s Midtown in Focus plan to allow for greater densification around transit stations — without any consultation from the city.

Another community meeting will be planned in coordination with the city.

In the meantime, Butler is happy that residents were able to connect with NYX Capital and show that there were “powerful residents associations” involved. Ultimately, residents are hoping that the proposal will fall within city guidelines set for the area, which would limit the development to being a mid-rise, according to Butler.

“There are no more secrets anymore,” he said. “We’re starting from polar opposites and finding a middle ground is going to be a challenge.”

Links to the original stories as they first appeared on TRNTO.com:

December 8, 2020

January 19, 2021