A staff report on the Jane-Finch Initiative was adopted, with amendments, by the Economic and Community Development Committee at its March 10th meeting. The report will be considered by City Council on April 1-2, 2020. Members of the public are welcome to submit comments via email to ecdc@toronto.ca.

The Jane-Finch Initiative is about planning for the future of the area and how best to leverage the investment in light rail transit (LRT) for the benefit of local communities. The goal is to develop an integrated plan for the area that advances social equity and economic inclusion for current and future residents, encourages the appropriate kinds of growth and development in the area, and guides investment in community improvements. Engagement is at the heart of the initiative and we’d like to hear from you. Find out how to get involved below.

The Finch Avenue West corridor is anticipated to undergo significant change and development in the coming years. An 11-kilometre, 18-stop light rail transit line (LRT) is under construction along the corridor running from the TTC’s Finch West Station to Humber College, with expected completion in 2023. The LRT will provide convenient and reliable rapid transit to area residents, businesses and institutions, bringing improved connections to the city’s higher-order transit network for a part of Toronto that has been underserved.

In December 2015, City Council directed staff to undertake planning studies for focus areas along the Finch Avenue West Corridor in advance of the opening of the new transit line. The intent was to leverage the public investment in transit infrastructure for the benefit of local communities. City Council identified the Keele-Finch area as the first priority for study (see Keele Finch Plus). City Council approved the Jane-Finch area as a subsequent priority for a future planning study.

In anticipation of this transit investment and the potential for growth and change in the area, several City Divisions are collaborating on a community planning exercise in the area. Through an engagement process that will allow residents to help shape the planning of their community, the purpose of the Jane-Finch Initiative is to align people- and place-focused initiatives into an integrated complete-community framework for the area.

Through an engagement process that would allow residents to help shape the planning of their community, the purpose of the Jane-Finch Initiative is to align people- and place-focused initiatives into an integrated complete-community framework for the area.

The initiative would involve three integrated streams of work:

  • Stream 1: Engagement with residents, stakeholder groups and businesses, as well Indigenous communities and African, Black and Caribbean communities, to identify needs, priorities and aspirations;
  • Stream 2: Community Development Plan providing a framework to guide change and growth in the community and advance initiatives to further enhance social cohesion, community safety, inclusive economic opportunities and stronger neighbourhoods; and
  • Stream 3: Land Use Planning Framework Update with Official Plan policies and zoning to shape the development of a transit-supportive complete community, and to identify the community facilities and other infrastructure needed to support anticipated growth and respond to any long-standing issues in the community.

The community development plan and the updated land use planning framework are intended to be companion documents that would work in tandem to further advance social equity and economic inclusion for current and future residents, manage future growth and development, and guide investment in infrastructure and services.

The diagram below shows the interconnectivity of the three streams of work and the components being led by the City of Toronto’s Social Development, Finance and Administration (SDFA), Economic Development and Culture (EDC), and City Planning (CP) divisions.

Figure 2: A diagram showing the interconnectivity of the three streams of work and which Divisions will lead each component.

Other involved Divisions include Toronto Employment and Social Services, Transportation Services, Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Toronto Public Health, Children’s Services, Shelter, Support and Housing and Toronto Water. The initiative will also involve collaboration with the Toronto Public Library, the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board and Toronto Community Housing.

Map of the Jane and Finch study area with colour coded shading. Light purple area represents Neighbourhood 24: Black Creek and the yellow area represents Neighbourhood 25: Glenfield-Jane HeightsThe initial boundaries of the Jane-Finch Initiative would align with the areas covered by ‘Neighbourhood 24 – Black Creek‘ and ‘Neighbourhood 25 – Glenfield-Jane Heights‘ to capture analysis and community consultations undertaken by the City as part of the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy. This study area, which is illustrated in the map above, is roughly bounded by Highway 400 to the west, Steeles Avenue West to the north, Black Creek to the east, and Sheppard Avenue West and a portion of Black Creek to the south.

In later phases of work, the boundaries of the land use planning framework component will be scoped down based on:

  • walkability – 500- to 800-metre walking radius from planned LRT stops,
  • land use – areas where growth and change are encouraged and/or may be desirable and warranted;
  • lot sizes and ownership patterns – larger parcels where development potential is greater; and
  • other factors that may arise during community consultations and/or planning analysis.

The boundaries of the Community Development Plan may similarly be adapted for certain purposes including, for example, to consider employment opportunities in industrial areas just outside of the original study boundaries.

The Jane-Finch Initiative has three phases, with community engagement and stakeholder consultation at each phase. In Phase 1, staff will take stock of the existing conditions. Options for the community will be developed in Phase 2. In Phase 3 the policies will be refined and brought into the final framework for presentation to Committees of Council.

The Study will take approximately three years to complete. We are currently at the very start with an initial staff report on the Jane-Finch Initiative being considered by the City’s Economic and Community Development Committee at its March 10, 2020 meeting.

 

Phase 1 is entitled Taking Stock and Analysis). It would involve producing an existing conditions background report; establishing a vision and guiding principles for the initiative; conducting background research and analysis for the social development, economic development and planning frameworks; and identifying the emerging priorities. Phase 2 is entitled Options. It would involve drafting the Community Development Plan and land use policy directions; identifying planning and design alternatives, and initiating potential quick start projects. Phase 3 is entitled Towards Implementation. It would involve finalizing the Community Development Plan and Land Use Planning Framework; holding a statutory public meeting regarding the land use policy documents, which may include an Official Plan Amendment, a Zoning By-law Amendment and Urban Design Guidelines. Community engagement and stakeholder consultation would take place over the entirety of the Initiative's three phases.

Staff Reports to City Council and Committees

Economic and Community Development Committee – March 10, 2020

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