Toronto’s nastiest NIMBY fights
Urban bellyachers are challenging the long-held notion of Toronto the Tolerant. Here’s a look at some of the city’s most controversial developments, and why their detractors are so mad
A MISSISSAUGA MOSQUE
Opponents claimed it would increase traffic and create noise from a proposed outdoor speaker. A too-tall minaret, they said, would be out of place in the residential community.
INCENDIARY QUOTE: “Vandalism will increase and crime in the area will [be] of far greater concern…[including] a massive increase in the number of sexual assaults.”—Kevin Johnston, former long-shot mayoral candidate
THE OUTCOME: The mosque’s leaders lowered the proposed height of the dome and minaret. After a four-hour marathon meeting, Mississauga council approved their application.
A BLUE SPLASH PAD CANOPY
The aqua hue horrified Cabbagetowners, one of whom called it “a gaudy embellishment” that clashed with the heritage nature of the area.
INCENDIARY QUOTE: “We seem to be having designed some sort of Las Vegas water works.”—Steve Poulin, area resident
THE OUTCOME: City workers switched the canopy to a dark green.
A MAUSOLEUM AT A CEMETERY
At a height of four storeys, it would, in the words of one local resident, cast a “shadow of death” on the area. Holy Cross Cemetery officials argued that since the current mausoleum will soon reach capacity, the new build was necessary.
INCENDIARY QUOTE: “We never thought there would be this gigantic structure—this monstrosity—to house bodies right in the middle of it.”—Kaaren Bell, cemetery neighbour
THE OUTCOME: Construction is scheduled for spring 2016.
The development, near Yonge and Eglinton, was to be four storeys and 80 units, situated in close proximity to detached homes. The prospect so terrified some 50 residents that they formed the Density Creep Neighborhood Alliance and launched a Save Our Streets (SOS) campaign.
INCENDIARY QUOTE: “Right now all the houses are $1.1 to, say, $2.2 [million] but they’re looking at putting in places that are only $500,000.”—Lisa Goodwin, area resident
THE OUTCOME: The developer has appealed to the OMB.
NOISE FROM LEFT FIELD BREWERY
Leslieville neighbours claimed the din from the brewery on Wagstaff Drive filtered into their yards. The owners posted signs inside the pub asking that customers keep the volume low. They also conducted their own noise tests, which showed the decibel levels to be moderate.
INCENDIARY QUOTE: “They’re being very bad neighbours.”—Amélie Waddell, neighbour
THE OUTCOME: Détente, for now.
A TAOIST TEMPLE
Markham residents said the Wong Dai Sin temple would clash with the area’s aesthetic and argued the fact that it offered tai chi classes technically made it a fitness facility, not solely a place of worship. One resident expressed particular concerns about carbon monoxide emissions from congregants’ cars and beeping alarm systems.
INCENDIARY QUOTE: “[It’s] a parking lot with a structure built over it.”—Brian Finer, area resident
THE OUTCOME: In 2012, the temple leaders appealed to the OMB. Their application was approved. The temple opened in August.
CULLING 14 TREES
The owner of 256 Chaplin Crescent submitted plans to cut down 14 trees to accommodate his home reno, but 22 outraged neighbours took their arboreal concerns to the committee of adjustment, with backup from the city’s urban forestry department and Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow. They bemoaned the loss of trees and canopy coverage.
INCENDIARY QUOTE: “[This] will adversely impact their quality of life, and it will change the existing character of the neighbourhood.”—Councillor Josh Matlow
THE OUTCOME: The neighbours won at the committee of adjustment. The owner has appealed to the OMB.