Demolition of Foundry heritage site paused after backlash from the community

“Doug Ford claims this is to “build affordable housing,” but we have since learned that the majority of the development is slated to be market condos,” said Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam
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Save the Foundry- Respect Local Planning, a petition to stop the city of Toronto from demolishing four heritage buildings on the Foundry site in the West Don Lands, has accumulated 21,900 signatures.

The site is a provincially owned property that falls under a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO), and it has been a heritage property since 2004. 

The provincial government has said it is tearing down the site to build new affordable and market housing. According to CTV news, Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark said he would pause the demolition as a “good faith” gesture, pending a legal challenge on the properties. 

As of February 1, St.Lawrence Neighbourhood Association (SLNA)  announced on their social media that the Association won a temporary injunction to stay the demolition of the Dominion Foundry Buildings on Eastern Avenue until the end of February, pending the court’s decision. 

SLNA’s letter outlining specific concerns

Community members said they had no idea about the demolition until someone noticed construction equipment. City Council submitted an urgent request to halt the demolition and asked the premier, among others, to review several assessments regarding the site. 

“Premier Ford’s government is not considering any community feedback in his plan to bulldoze heritage properties in the West Don Lands area of Toronto. We fear this will repeat itself throughout Ontario,” the petition reads. 

According to the petition, Premier Ford and Minister Clark did not consult the community and did not provide courtesy notification to the local MPP or City Councillor.  Without notifications or announcement, the demolition crew arrived at the Dominion Foundry Complex on January 14. 

“I was on a Heritage Committee for six years, and I am disgusted with the entire concept of a Municipal Zoning Order, and I know most planners are as well. Community participation in the planning process is now a thing of the past. What a shame!” said Eric Carr in a comment forum of the petition.  

Dog bearing signs ‘dogs against demolition’ and ‘#SaveTheFoundry.’ Photo: Courtesy of Kristyn Wong @kristywongtam / Instagram)

Kristyn Wong-Tam, councillor for WARD-13,  has issued a statement criticizing Ford government’s actions. The councillor does not believe the intended purpose of the demolition to be affordable housing. 

“The MZO issued 153 to 185 Eastern Avenue- also known as Blocks 17 and 26 permits up to three tall buildings, maximum total residential gross floor area of 74,810.45 square metres. MZO is entirely silent on matters of heritage and affordable housing, which discredits any claims from the province they are committed to these objectives,” Wong-Tam said. 

According to Ontario Construction News, the province took a sidestep to Toronto’s usual planning processes, including community consultations, which means that Corktown residents have no say in what will replace the Foundry site. 

Photo: Courtesy of Kristyn Wong @kristywongtam / Instagram) posted on instagram on January 21

“It was only last Thursday that the community and I learned about Doug Ford’s plan to demolish four 100-year old heritage buildings in the West Don Lands. Doug claims this is to “build affordable housing,” but we have since learned that the majority of the development is slated to be market condos,” posted Tam. 

 

Wiki Production Code: A0545

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