Providing public realm improvements, improving indoor and outdoor amenity, and extending the local street and pedestrian network are key objectives to set the framework for any redevelopment in tower neighbourhoods. The purpose of the Bathurst-Fisherville Block Study is to create a planning framework for six privately owned ‘tower in the park’ sites with a land area totalling over 8.0 hectares. The Block Study looks to implement existing and emerging Official Plan policies that would direct key elements of the Block Study, including: land uses, built form, height and density, streets and blocks, parks and open space, streetscape improvements, transportation network, community services and facilities, and service infrastructure among others.
The Block Study will address the layout and design of public streets and other pedestrian and cycling connections, parks and open spaces, and built form issues such as building type, location, organization, and massing.
There are three development applications in the study area: 25 Fisherville Road, 6040 Bathurst Street and 5 Fisherville Road, and 6020 and 6030 Bathurst Street. City Planning’s objective is to integrate the Block Study analysis into the review and refinement of the applications.
Staff are targeting to report to City Council in the second quarter of 2019 with recommendations related to the Block Study.
The Focus Area of the Bathurst-Fisherville Block Study includes seven rental apartment buildings on six lots: 25 Fisherville Road, 5 Fisherville Road and 6040 Bathurst Street (two buildings on one lot), 6030 Bathurst Street, 6020 Bathurst Street, 6010 Bathurst Street, and 12 Rockford Road. The Focus Area also includes the McDonalds located at 6170 Bathurst Street and the financial institution located at 6172 Bathurst Street.
The guiding principles set the framework for the Bathurst-Fisherville Block Study and will inform future development within the area. The seven guiding principles have been developed by Staff and were informed by community feedback and key policy direction:
- Promote New + Improved Green Spaces
The focus area is characterized by ‘towers in the park.’ The existing buildings are 1960s slab high rise buildings surrounded by surface parking lots and un-programmed green space. The existing trees and green space are very important to neighbourhood residents. Site organization should be configured in such a manner and surface parking should be reduced to create new opportunities for a network of programmed and un-programmed green spaces including, but not limited to, parks, privately-owned publicly accessible spaces (POPS), green roofs, streetscaping and outdoor amenity areas. Programmed spaces may include amenities such as playgrounds, dog parks, benches, shade structures and drinking fountains.
- Improve Mobility Options and Connectivity
The existing buildings are isolated from one another due to fencing and changes in grade. Connectivity and safety should be enhanced for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles to provide options for mobility, including but not limited to, wider sidewalks, new bicycle infrastructure and pedestrian crossings. Existing and future traffic conditions should be analyzed.
- Animate Bathurst Street
The existing buildings do not have a strong relationship to Bathurst Street. They are set back from the street, fenced and generally have only residential uses at grade. Bathurst Street itself has a substandard public realm. Bathurst Street should be animated with active land uses, new buildings that frame the street, new green spaces and an improved public realm that would facilitate improved mobility for all users.
- Ensure Social Infrastructure to Support Existing and Future Residents
The existing community services + facilities are strained. In order to support an increase in density and population, opportunities should be sought to maintain, enhance and secure community services and facilities and to link where possible to capital planning and other funding tools. Affordable housing should also be explored.
- Universal and Accessible Design
The demographics of the study area are changing. Young families with children are moving into the area that was previously occupied mostly by senior citizens. New and improved public spaces and amenities should be suitable for all ages and accommodate people of varied abilities. The draft Growing Up: Planning for Children in New Vertical Communities direct how new development can better function for larger households.
- Provide Appropriate Transitions to Adjacent Uses
A fundamental principle of good planning and urban design is to ensure that new development will be appropriately designed and compatible with existing development within, and in close proximity to the focus area. The areas surrounding the focus area are varied in their use and form, ranging from stable residential neighbourhoods, to the west, to high rise residential buildings to the north, east and south. New development should have suitable setbacks, separation distances and provide appropriate transition to existing adjacent uses.
- Introduce High Quality Built Form and Design
Community character will be enhanced by the collective design of a diversity of new building types (townhouses, midrise buildings, tall buildings and so on) in the focus area. Building design is a contributing factor to the look and feel of the community as a whole. Site Plan Control for the new buildings, in combination with applicable guidelines, will ensure appropriate designs are created and implemented.
Scheduling & Phasing
The Bathurst-Fisherville Block Study consists of three phases. The Study is currently in Phase 2.
Phase 1: Inventory and Analysis (Summer/Fall 2018)
- Community Engagement: Community Meeting #1
- Collection of background information
- Community outreach at the Bathurst-Finch Hub
- Analysis of background information and community feedback
Phase 2: Alternative Concepts (Fall 2018/Winter 2019)
- Community Engagement: Community Meeting #2
- Creation of block plan concepts and alternate options that are guided by the guiding principles
- Evaluation of guidelines to inform future development options
- Perform transportation operations analysis and safety analysis and complete quantitative multi-modal assessment and performance review
Phase 3: Direction for Development (Winter/Spring 2019)
- Community Engagement: Community Meeting #3
- Presentation of final principles and objectives
- Provide direction for future development within the Focus Area on the Block Study