In anticipation of 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. The aim of the Jane Finch Initiative is to develop an integrated plan for the Jane Finch 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.

Finch Avenue West 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 avenue 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 Finch Avenue West 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 and Finch area as a subsequent priority for a future planning study.

Through an engagement process in which residents can 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 involves three integrated streams of work:

  • Stream 1: Engagement with residents, stakeholder groups and businesses, as well Indigenous communities and African, Caribbean and Black 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.

The boundaries of the Jane Finch Initiative study area align with Neighbourhood 24, Black Creek and Neighbourhood 25, Glenfield-Jane Heights. The study area 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.

The initial boundaries of the secondary plan area are based on criteria including walkability (500- to 800-metre walking radius from planned LRT stops), land use (areas where growth and change may be desirable and warranted), lot sizes and ownership patterns (larger parcels where development potential is greater), and other factors that arise during community consultations or planning analysis. The boundaries of the secondary plan study area may be adjusted based on community input and analysis.

A map of the Jane Finch Initiative draft secondary plan area.

The Jane Finch Initiative has three phases, with community engagement and stakeholder consultation at each phase. In Phase 1, staff are taking 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.

 

The diagram illustrates the Initiative phasing as follows: 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.