Condos versus factories: five battlegrounds in Toronto’s re-zoning war

Condos versus factories: five battlegrounds in Toronto’s re-zoning war

The clashing factions in Toronto’s condo fights used to be easy to identify: angry residents and ambitious developers. Now, the debate includes factory owners and workers as well. The city is currently undergoing a five-year-plan review, which allows landowners a rare chance to request a change to their property’s zoning designation, and with the supply of residential land dwindling, developers are hungrily eyeing parcels currently set aside for industry and offices. Here are five places where the battle is playing out.

South Etobicoke
The players: Mr. Christie’s Bakery workers versus Mondolez Canada, who owns the facility.
The situation: The bakery’s 550 workers are fighting Mondolez Canada’s plan to shutter it next year. Mondolez reportedly has a scheme for 27 towers (translating into 7,000 units) on the site, which would only be built if the city agrees to rezone the land. However, a Mondolez spokesperson said that even if the city decides against the rezoning, the company will still close the plant because its operations are not “viable.”

South Junction Triangle
The players: Castlepoint Realty versus Nestlé.
The situation: For nearly a year, Nestlé has been trying to block a Castlepoint proposal for a mixed-use residential development near its factory on Sterling Road. (The company worries resident complaints would force it to upgrade its operations.) Although area residents support the development, Nestlé workers do not, and they converged on city hall yesterday to hear a council committee’s decision on the project. They were happy—the committee rejected Castlepoint’s proposal.

Lansdowne and Dupont
The players: local residents and politicians versus GE-Hitachi.
The situation: Last week, the Toronto Star published a pair of articles about a 50-year-old uranium processing facility on Landsdowne that nearby residents only recently found out about. GE argues that the plant has a clean record and notes that its own employees feel comfortable living in the area. However, concerned neighbours are gathering forces for a November 15 community meeting, and local councillor Cesar Palacio mused, “Given we have a new (urban) community, is it the right place for this kind of operation?”

King Street West
The players: new homebuyers versus the stink from the Quality Meat Packers abattoir.
The situation: Many residents in the Niagara neighbourhood have come to terms with the smell from the nearby meat processing plant (some even praise the stench for keeping property prices from escalating). However, Quality Meats does receive complaints from buyers who weren’t informed their brand new condo was next to a slaughterhouse (and with more developments planed for the area, the complaints are likely to keep coming).

Various locations around the city
The players: microbreweries versus…no one, really.
The situation: In the face of all the NIMBYism and development wars, the Toronto Star has an uplifting article about one industry that is thriving in urban communities: microbreweries. It turns out everyone likes beer.

(Images: condos, Seekdes; Nestlé factory, jbcurio)