City of Toronto  
HomeContact UsHow Do I...?Advanced search
Living in TorontoDoing businessVisiting TorontoAccessing City Hall
 
Accessing City Hall
Mayor
Councillors
Meeting Schedules
   
   
  City of Toronto Council and Committees
  All Council and Committee documents are available from the City of Toronto Clerk's office. Please e-mail clerk@city.toronto.on.ca.
   

 

March 19, 1998

 To:Toronto Community Council

 From:Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services

 Subject:Railway Lands Central and West - Update on Urban Design Task Force, Provision of Affordable Housing, Early Construction of Bremner Boulevard and Cost Sharing of Bathurst Street/Bremner Boulevard/Fort York Boulevard Intersection, Concord Adex Developments Corp. (formerly Grand Adex Developments) - (Downtown)

  Purpose:

 At its meeting of October 6, 1997, the former City of Toronto Council adopted amendments to the Railway Lands Central and West Part II Official Plans and Zoning By-laws as requested by Grand Adex Developments (now Concord Adex Developments Corp.). In response to issues raised at the Council meeting, Council also requested staff to report back to the new Council in March 1998 on:

 (1)the membership and terms of reference for an Urban Design Task Force;

(2)ways to implement affordable housing;

(3)investigating the feasibility of advancing the construction of Bremner Boulevard between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street; and

(4)responding to the TTC request to cost-share the construction of the Bathurst Street/Bremner Boulevard/Fort York Boulevard intersection to accommodate left-turn lanes.

 This report responds to these Council requests.

 Source of Funds:

 Based on the former City of Toronto Council recommendation of October 6, 1997, funding in the amount of $20,000 needs to be added to the 1998 Urban Planning and Development Services ($10,000) and Community and Neighbourhood Services ($10,000) operating budgets to pay for an urban design study for the City=s housing blocks as described in this report.

 Recommendations:

 (1)That Council adopt the Terms of Reference for an Urban Design Task Force for the Railway Lands Central and West as set out in Appendix 1 of this report.

(2)That Council approve the membership of the Urban Design Task Force as set out in Appendix 3 of this report.

 (3)That staff prepare, in consultation with the Urban Design Task Force, an open space master plan for the Railway lands west of SkyDome, including linkages to publicly accessible open space and streets, to be incorporated into the Urban Design Guidelines for the Concord Adex lands and to amend the Urban Design Guidelines for public spaces in the Railway Lands Central and West.

 (4)That Urban Planning and Development Services staff report to the June 24, 1998 meeting of Toronto Community Council on the recommendations of the Urban Design Task Force.

 (5)That Urban Planning and Development Services and Community and Neighbourhood Services (Housing) staff be requested to hire outside support, as authorized by the former City of Toronto Council at its meeting of October 6, 1997, to carry out an urban design study of the City housing blocks in the Railway Lands West and that the study budget not exceed $20,000 (funding in the amount of $10,000 each be added to the 1998 operating budgets of Urban Planning and Development Services and Community and Neighbourhood Services).

(6)That Urban Planning and Development Services and Community and Neighbourhood Services (Housing) staff report to Toronto Community Council on the results of the urban design study, ongoing discussions with Concord Adex and terms of reference for a request for proposals to affordable housing providers to identify the full range of opportunities for development of the affordable housing sites on the Railway Lands West.

 (7)That the City secure, in the Precinct Agreement for the Railway Lands West, the City=s right to prebuild Bremner Boulevard between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street.

 (8)That the City secure, through Precinct and Section 37 Agreements with landowners in the Railway Lands West and Bathurst/Strachan Area, contributions toward the construction of the Bathurst Street/Bremner Boulevard/Fort York Boulevard intersection based on a 33% public/66% private cost sharing formula.

  Background:

 In April 1997, Grand Adex Developments Corp.(Grand Adex), later renamed Concord Adex, made an application to the City of Toronto to amend the Part II Official Plans and Zoning By-laws for the portions of the Railway Lands Central and West which it was purchasing from the Canada Lands Company. These lands are shown on Map 1. In response to this application, on October 6, 1997 Council approved changes to the Railway Lands Central and West Part II Official Plans and Zoning By-laws to permit: residential uses on Blocks 21 and 28; more flexibility in the built form to permit taller towers and lower base buildings; adjustments to individual block densities without increasing the overall density permitted; and changes to above-grade parking permissions on some blocks. Minor changes were made to local streets in the Railway Lands West. No changes were made to the approved parks and open space system.

 When approving the amended by-laws the former City of Toronto Council also requested staff to report back on a number of issues related to these amendments as follows.

 Urban Design Task Force

 AEstablished an Urban Design Task Force on the public spaces in the Railway Lands Central and West and that the Commissioner of Urban Development Services be requested to report back to the Land Use Committee or its successor in March 1998 on specific terms of reference, participants and funding requirements for the Task Force.@

 Affordable Housing

 ADirected staff to continue discussions with Grand Adex on potential options for developing affordable housing on the City=s housing lands and prepare a report on the discussions and a detailed outline on how the City=s housing lands could be developed to the Land Use Committee or its successor in March 1998 and authorized staff within the Board of Management approval limits, to hire outside support to facilitate these goals.@

 Early construction of Bremner Boulevard

 ADirected that the extension of Bremner Boulevard to provide westerly access to the Railway Lands West portion of the proposed development be required as part of the commitments (by the city and/or landowners) associated with the development.

 Directed that the extension of Bremner Boulevard be completed as soon as possible, but at least as soon as commencement of construction of any buildings on the Railway Lands west of Spadina Avenue.@

 Left-turn lanes and cost-sharing of Bremner Bathurst intersection

 AAdopted, in principle, the recommendations contained in the communication (October 6, 1997) from the Toronto Transit Commission; which are:

 AThat staff be directed to ensure that the design of the future connection of Bremner Boulevard to Bathurst Street include separate left-turn lanes, and relocated streetcar tracks to allow these lanes, ... ;

 That the associated costs of these improvements be included in the financial contributions requested from all private and public development interests in the area, who will benefit directly from the upgraded infrastructure; this would be analogous to contributions required for other basic community services such as schools, parks and daycare centres; and

 That this matter be brought forward for consideration by the new City of Toronto Council, with the recommendation that the new Council allocate additional funds for the planned rehabilitation of the Bathurst Street bridge at Bremner Boulevard, currently scheduled for 1998-1999 to cover the remainder of the costs of upgrading the intersection of Bathurst Street and Bremner/Fort York Boulevard@.

 Requested staff to meet with the Toronto Transit Commission and the developers in the area and report to the new Council on issues raised in the communication (October 6, 1997) from the Toronto Transit Commission.@

  Comments:

 (1)Urban Design Task Force

 (a)Background

 The former Council=s establishment of an Urban Design Task Force for the Railway Lands Central and West responded to former Councillor Leckie=s motion and the resulting recommendation from the September 30, 1997, Land Use Committee meeting requesting the Commissioner of Urban Development Services to report directly to Council on (among other things):

 AThe establishment of a design competition and task force on the urban design of public spaces in the Railway Lands Central and West, including but not limited to:

 - provision of on and off road pedestrian and bicycle connections;

- interface of private and public spaces;

- parks needs and designs;

- appropriate sidewalk widths and furniture;

- the design of 2 pedestrian bridges over the rail corridor;

- linkages with Fort York;

- public art;

- linkages over/under the Gardiner Expressway to the waterfront;

- water features;

- storm water ponding/treatment.

  Membership of the Task Force is proposed to include representation from the Niagara Residents= Association, the Draper Street Residents= Association, Friends of Fort York, Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association, Harbourfront Condominium Association, Toronto Entertainment District Association and Harbourfront Corporation@

 This section of the report and the Terms of Reference attached as Appendix 1 respond to these requests.

 The Urban Design Task Force is intended to provide an opportunity for area landowners and community and business groups to review the urban design work done to date in the Railway Lands Central and West and to give advice to staff on public space issues -- streets and parkland -- in the Railway Lands Central and West.

 The Task Force process may also help to address concerns raised by four of the parties which made Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) appeals to the Concord Adex amendments to the Railway Lands Plans. At the pre-hearing conference dealing with the appeals, the OMB directed City staff to review the urban design issues raised by these appellants as part of the work of the Task Force. These appellants have therefore been added to the membership of the Task Force.

 In order to provide a framework for the Task Force, in January, 1998, Urban Planning and Development Services staff set up an urban design work group. Four architects and one landscape architect were asked to look at the changes to the Official Plans and Zoning By-Laws for the Concord Adex lands and to make suggestions for the development of urban design guidelines. The participants were: David Anselmi, George Baird, Ken Greenberg, Michael Kirkland, and Bruce Kuwabara. City staff and representatives of Concord Adex provided background information to the work group. The recommendations of the work group are attached as Appendix 2 to this report.

 (b)Terms of Reference for the Urban Design Task Force

 The detailed Terms of Reference are attached as Appendix 1 to this report. In summary, members of the Urban Design Task Force will be asked to give advice on:

 (i)identifying issues related to public space to be addressed in the urban design guidelines for the Railway Lands Central and West;

(ii)creating an open space master plan for the Railway Lands Central and West;

(iii)developing criteria for and design details of the public space system, streetscape and civic design;

(iv)developing design objectives for the pedestrian bridges at Portland Street and between Portland Street and Spadina Avenue; and

(v)locating and phasing public art.

   (c) Membership of the Task Force

 The Task Force will be chaired by Councillor Olivia Chow (Ward 24) and include two City Councillors, area landowners and leaseholders, community and resident groups and four OMB appellants as listed in Appendix 3.

 The Urban Design Task Force will be supported by a technical advisory team led by Urban Planning and Development staff and include staff from Parks, Works, Property, Housing and representatives of the City Cycling Committee, Safe City Committee, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and Heritage Toronto. In addition, the following interested parties will be kept informed of agendas and recommendations of the Task Force: Urban design work group members; English Language Separate District School Board No. 40; Toronto District School Board; and the Toronto Society of Architects.

 (d)Timing and Number of Meetings

 The Task Force is proposed to meet four times as follows:

 Meeting 1 - April 7, Awareness

City staff will define the scope of work of the Task Force, provide background information on the existing area, context and planning controls and describe the expected outcome of the process.

 Meeting 2 - April 20, Brainstorming

The urban design work group will present its ideas and recommendations and each member of the Task Force will have the opportunity to raise any issues which they feel the group should address. City staff will provide a draft outline of the urban design guidelines to help focus the work of the Task Force. This will be followed by general discussion.

 Meeting 3 - April 27, Action

City staff will present a summary of the discussions of Meeting 2 to begin to help the group to define recommendations for draft urban design guidelines.

 Meeting 4 - May 4, Recommendations

The recommendations of the Task Force will be summarized by City staff for review and approval at its final meeting. These recommendations, along with the relevant previous recommendations of the work group will then be brought forward to Toronto Community Council in June to be incorporated into the revised urban design guidelines for the Railway Lands Central and West.

   (2)Affordable Housing

 City staff have met with Concord Adex representatives to continue discussions about opportunities to develop affordable housing on the City housing lands in the absence of funding programs. Concord Adex is interested in continuing discussions with the City and has defined options for the City=s consideration. The following reviews the City=s objectives for the provision of affordable housing in the Railway Lands, summarize recent discussions with Concord Adex, and describe next steps.

 (a)City Objectives

 In order to meet the objectives of the City=s Part I Official Plan, in 1986 CN Real Estate provided 4.45 acres of land to the City to accommodate approximately 1,500 affordable housing units. The City=s housing blocks are located in the Railway Lands West and originally comprised blocks 31,32,33 and 36. In 1995, the City transferred Block 33 to Wittington Properties Limited in exchange for parkland west of Bathurst Street and land to be dedicated to public streets. The City continues to own the remaining three blocks in the Railway Lands West which could accommodate up to 1,100 affordable housing units. In order to address the City=s Official Plan objectives and the ongoing need for affordable housing in the City, City staff=s objectives for its blocks are to:

 (i)provide long-term, affordable rental units;

(ii)provide a full range of unit types to accommodate families, seniors and singles; and

(iii)continue to distribute the affordable units across the Railway Lands West in accordance with the City=s current ownership.

 (b)Update on current discussions

 In a recent meeting with City staff, Concord Adex representatives indicated that they are willing to continue discussions about a number of different approaches to help the City develop affordable housing, including:

 (i)working with the City to develop a mix of market and affordable rental units on the City blocks;

(ii)purchasing a portion of the City=s density from its affordable housing blocks which would be transferred to other blocks owned by Concord Adex; or

(iii)purchase of all or some of the City blocks allowing the City to use the funds to provide affordable housing elsewhere.

 Options (i) and (ii) above could help the City to achieve a number of its housing objectives and are consistent with the direction being taken by an internal staff working group looking at the rental housing supply across the City. Option (iii) does not address the City=s housing policy objectives and staff are not recommending that the City sell its lands in the Railway Lands West. This position was supported by the former City of Toronto Board of Management.

 From a housing policy perspective, the Railway Lands provide a unique opportunity for the City to build affordable rental housing, which is in increasingly short supply. The City owns the land and could use the land=s value in partnership with Concord Adex or another housing provider to produce self-financing affordable rental housing. Based on recent studies carried out for the former Metro Toronto, it appears that with zero land costs, low interest rates, advantageous tax rates and a mix of market and affordable housing to permit cross-subsidies, it may be possible to deliver affordable rental housing in the absence of conventional housing programs.

 The large land area and potentially high unit count offers the City a rare chance to develop a well-planned, mixed-income community with a range of unit types and a mix of tenures. Incorporating market and affordable rental units will help to make the development more financially viable. In addition, the City=s most westerly housing blocks are well-positioned in that they are close to existing TTC service, parkland and a new school and community centre in Bathurst Quay which could allow for their early development.

 According to Housing and Real Estate staff, from a financial perspective it appears that, based on current land prices, the sale of the City housing blocks would not yield sufficient funds to permit the delivery of a significant number of affordable units elsewhere. If the City is not in a position to proceed with development in the near future, it would be preferable to hold onto the lands until the City is in a position to develop or the land value increases as a result of the development of the Concord Adex blocks.

 (c)Next Steps

 To move forward in defining ways in which the City can effectively deliver affordable rental housing in the Railway Lands West, I am recommending a two step process: hiring an urban design consultant to assist City staff in reviewing the development options and built form for its sites; and preparing a request for proposals to rental housing providers to help to ensure that the City has identified all available options for its lands.

 (i)Hiring an Urban Design Consultant

 The Council action of October 6, 1997 directed staff to continue discussions with Concord Adex and Awithin the Board of Management approval limits, to hire outside support to facilitate these goals.@ In order to develop a request for proposals and to assess the Concord Adex proposal that the City sell a portion of its density, the first step would be hiring an urban design consultant experienced in the delivery of affordable housing. The consultant would then:

 (1)test density and massing options on the City=s housing blocks to ensure that the City can build cost-effective buildings which can respond to market demand;

(2)determine if there is excess density that the City could sell to finance affordable rental development or if the density should be retained;

(3)ensure that the built form on the housing sites is compatible with the recently approved built form on the Concord Adex blocks to allow for the physical integration of the affordable housing into the neighbourhood;

(4)provide preliminary unit counts and costs to develop the City=s sites; and

(5)determine whether Official Plan and zoning by-law amendments are required for the City lands.

 The urban design study is expected to take approximately 2 months to complete and is estimated to cost a maximum of $20,000. City staff would consult with Concord Adex and Wittington during the process.

 In order to develop building proposals for the City=s housing sites and cost estimates to help test financially viable approaches to developing the City sites, it is necessary to bring in consultants with broad experience in the design of affordable and market rental housing and in costing all aspects of housing projects. The City does not have the expertise or staff resources to complete this study in-house.

 This funding request was not previously included in our 1998 operating budget as it was necessary to do a preliminary review of options for the housing sites to define the work required of outside consultants. It is only in the past week that staff have been able to establish a consultant budget for architects and quantity surveyors to help staff test the feasibility of various options.

 (ii)Issue request for proposals to affordable housing providers

 In order to ensure that the City has identified all opportunities and to allow other housing providers to make proposals to the City which may be more advantageous than those Concord Adex may propose, the City should, after completion of the urban design study and further discussions with Concord Adex, issue a proposal call to affordable rental housing providers. Proponents will be asked to provide proposals to build affordable housing either on their own or in association with the City. Concord Adex will, of course, be welcome to respond to this proposal call if it wishes.

  City staff will continue discussions with Concord Adex on various options for affordable housing as it refines its options for its lands.

 (3)Early construction of Bremner Boulevard

 The existing Stadium Precinct Agreement secures, on title, two-thirds funding by CN Real Estate (the previous owner) and one-third funding by the City for the section of Bremner Boulevard between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street. Funding the City=s one-third share of Bremner Boulevard between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue is already contained in the City=s 5-year Capital Works Program. Concord Adex has agreed to build Bremner in stages to serve its development and to front end its two-thirds share of Bremner to Bathurst Street at the time of the first occupancy permit on Block 26 shown on Map 1.

 Council has directed that Bremner Boulevard be completed as soon as possible A...but at least as soon as commencement of construction of any buildings on the Railway Lands west of Spadina Avenue.@ Should the City chose to prebuild Bremner Boulevard, it could do so at any time since the lands are in escrow and the right of the City to prebuild will be secured in the Precinct Agreement with Concord Adex.

 Staff have met with representatives of Concord Adex to discuss its prebuilding the entire length of Bremner Boulevard as soon as it begins development west of Spadina. Concord Adex has seriously considered Council=s direction but cannot commit to advancing its trigger for construction of Bremner as it significantly affects soil management and carrying costs of the development. Concord Adex has indicated that it may consider advancing the trigger if the City agrees to reduced contributions to other public infrastructure elements in order to be able to afford the additional cost of building the road, however I cannot recommend that other arrangements be changed.

 In approving the Concord Adex by-laws City Council also approved, in principle, a risk assessment approach to soil management which would permit Concord Adex to place, under certain conditions, soil which does not meet residential guidelines, under City streets and parks. Concord Adex plans to place soils as development proceeds. If the City prebuilds Bremner, Concord Adex will have to either pre-excavate and fence its development sites or forego the significant cost savings of risk-based soil management. The City, as a landowner, would also forego cost savings which it may realize through risk-based soil management for its housing sites.

 If the City prebuilds Bremner Boulevard, the implication is that the City would front-end the entire construction cost until Concord Adex begins development on Block 26, when it is required to contribute its two-thirds share. If Concord Adex chooses to pre-excavate its development sites, the City may also be faced with a major new street bounded by fenced, pre-excavated development sites.

I am therefore not recommending a change to the Concord Adex trigger for Bremner Boulevard, but that the City secure, in the Precinct Agreement for the Railway Lands West, the City=s right to prebuild Bremner at any time.

(4)Left turn lanes and cost-sharing of Bathurst Street/Bremner Boulevard/Fort York Boulevard intersection

 (a)Review of Bathurst Street/Fort York Boulevard/Bremner Boulevard intersection options

 The intersection of Bathurst Street/Fort York Boulevard/Bremner Boulevard was reviewed in some detail in 1996 as part of the work of the Bathurst/Strachan Transportation Working Committee. The mandate of this Working Committee was to explore the range of transportation measures which might be considered to accommodate traffic and transit demands resulting from development of the Bathurst/Strachan lands and adjacent areas. With respect to the intersection of Bathurst Street/Fort York Boulevard/Bremner Boulevard, two potential measures were identified to minimize delays to streetcar service: implementation of transit priority; or reconstruction of the north and south approaches to the intersection to include separate left turn lanes.

 The Working Committee also noted that, due to the fact that this section of Bathurst Street is on a bridge structure, widening of the structure to provide turn lanes would incur a substantial premium, which has since been determined to be as much as $4.3 million. By comparison, it is estimated the cost to implement transit priority at this one location would be less than $100,000.

 In response to the TTC request (outlined in its communication of October 6, 1997) that left-turn lanes be built on Bathurst Street to minimize transit delay, Planning, Transportation and TTC staff took a detailed look at the feasibility and potential benefits of implementing transit priority and/or left-turn lanes under forecast operating conditions. In order to undertake this assessment, the following assumptions were established:

 (i)a long-term forecast would be used since the present rehabilitation work on the Bathurst Street bridge is intended to have a 30 year plus life;

(ii)that the Railway Lands and Bathurst/Strachan Area would likely achieve full build-out; and

(iii)that the Front Street extension to the F. G. Gardiner Expressway would be completed.

 The review also considered the configuration of the future Fort York Boulevard west of Bathurst Street. Currently, approvals are in place to extend Fort York Boulevard westerly to Fleet Street, however, as part of the work of the Bathurst/Strachan Transportation Working Committee, selective analysis of an option to extend Fort York Boulevard to Lake Shore Boulevard West was also undertaken.

 If Afull-turns@ are assumed at the intersection, the analysis indicated average delay to vehicles on Bathurst Street (including TTC vehicles) would increase by as much as 2 minutes in the morning peak hour compared to existing conditions. In this case, without north-south left turn lanes, it would be necessary to introduce a morning peak period southbound left turn restriction in order to provide a base level of operating conditions conducive to transit service. This would be necessary with or without the Front Street extension.

 Similarly, the application of transit priority as a mitigating measure would only be effective if a morning peak period southbound left-turn restriction was introduced at the intersection and the Front Street extension is in place. Notwithstanding this finding, the southbound turn restriction would limit local access to lands east of Bathurst Street which is not desirable. TTC staff also argued that a turn restriction would not constitute a permanent measure to address transit concerns, since the implementing by-law could, in theory, be withdrawn at any time in the future.

 Construction of north-south left turn lanes would take left turning traffic on Bathurst Street out of the through traffic stream during the peak hours and at all other times of the day. The preliminary analysis indicated implementation of north-south left turn lanes would permit Afull-turns@ at the intersection at all times and would not be dependant on the Front Street extension to off-load arterial traffic. TTC staff have indicated this continues to be the preferred option due to the fact that the turn lanes are Apermanent@, and the risk that the Front Street extension may not be in place when the intersection is built.

 As a result of the preliminary technical analysis, staff concluded that the provision of north-south turn lanes would result in a Abalanced@ set of operating conditions with transit vehicles incurring some minor delay but in general maintaining acceptable operating conditions. Additionally, arterial traffic would continue to operate at reasonable levels of service and all local access to the adjacent lands would be maintained through the intersection.

 Upon conclusion of this preliminary analysis, City staff met with the area landowners (Railway Lands West and Bathurst/Strachan Area) to discuss the analysis and cost-sharing of the intersection. The landowners appeared to agree in principle with the need for the left-turn lanes. City staff will be continuing discussions on cost-sharing based on more detailed cost estimates which are being developed.

 (b)Cost-Sharing

 The Precinct and Section 37 Agreements with the various landowners should include:

 (i)cost-sharing of the Bathurst Street/Bremner Boulevard/Fort York Boulevard intersection based on a 33% public/66% private formula;

(ii)the requirement for a follow-up traffic review at the time that the intersection is to be built to confirm the need for left-turn lanes based on traffic conditions at the time;

(iii)a peer review process to allow each of the private landowners to review the traffic/transit analysis and conclusions; and

(iv)an updated design and cost-estimate for intersection improvements.

 As noted, the construction cost of this intersection, which includes filling and rebuilding retaining walls, is estimated to be maximum of $4.3 million based on available information. Following from discussions at the meeting with the landowners, City staff are preparing more detailed cost estimates for a range of construction options, to be available by the end of March, 1998. The construction costs of the left-turn lanes was not included in the current rehabilitation of the Bathurst Street bridge as the bridge repair work did not extend as far south as the proposed intersection and the left turn lanes will not be required until Fort York or Bremner Boulevard is built.

 In terms of cost-sharing of the intersection, the formula that has been applied to Bremner Boulevard would continue, 33% public/66% private. The City=s 33% share for left-turn improvements would be divided between City Works and TTC capital budgets in a manner to be determined. The City=s share of Bremner Boulevard is contained in the 5-year projection of capital works. The remaining two-thirds will be cost-shared amongst the landowners in the Railway Lands West and Bathurst/Strachan Area in a manner to be determined. I am recommending that this two-thirds be secured through Section 37 and Precinct Agreements with the landowners as they apply for as-of-right zoning for their landholdings. The Bathurst Street/Bremner Boulevard intersection is not specifically addressed in the previous Precinct Agreements and was not part of recent discussions with Concord Adex. The existing Stadium Precinct Agreement does, however, address the private landowners obligation to Aconstruct intersections with existing highways@.

 Conclusions:

 The Urban Design Task Force will assist the City both to complete the urban design guidelines for the Railway Lands Central and West and to possibly settle or narrow four of the eight appeals of the Concord Adex by-laws which are currently before the Ontario Municipal Board.

 In response to Council=s request that staff report on potential options for implementing affordable housing on the City blocks in the Railway Lands West, the urban design study will help to identify options and provide:

 (1)the basis for the City to respond quickly to any opportunities which may arise -- such as tax incentives or new programs -- to build affordable housing in the Railway Lands West;

(2)an opportunity for development of the City lands to occur in parallel with the private development blocks; and

(3)some certainty to Concord Adex and Wittington about the form of development on the City blocks.

 City staff are continuing discussions with Concord Adex representatives to finalize the Precinct Agreement which would permit Concord Adex to begin development of its lands in the Railway Lands West. The Precinct Agreement for the Railway Lands Central has already been executed. Addressing the timing of the construction of Bremner Boulevard and cost-sharing of the Bremner Boulevard/Fort York Boulevard/Bathurst Street intersection as set out in this report will allow City staff to complete these sections of the Agreement.

  Contact Name:Lynda Macdonald

Telephone (416) 392-7618

Fax: (416) 392-1330

E-Mail: lmacdon1@city.toronto.on.ca

     Paul J. Bedford

Director, City Planning and Chief Planner

 (p:\1998\ug\uds\to981556.pln) - aa

Appendix 1

Terms of Reference

Urban Design Task Force, Railway Lands Central and West

 Objectives:

 To provide a forum for community input into the urban design of the public space system, streetscape and civic design.

 To give advice on the development of an open space master plan that will enhance the public realm within the Railway Lands Central and West.

 To give advice on the development of Urban Design Guidelines for the Railway Lands Central and West.

 To make recommendations for the design of the Pedestrian Bridges at Portland Street and between Portland Street and Spadina Avenue.

 To give advice on public art locations and phasing

 Tasks:

 (1)Review the existing open space (Fort York, Northern Linear Park from Spadina to the Skywalk, Roundhouse Park, Harbourfront) and approved open space plans in the area, (Garrison Creek Community Project proposals, King/Spadina Community Improvement Plan).

 Establish objectives for an open space master plan. Particular objectives should include: north-south and east-west linkages such as public linkages to the waterfront, Fort York, neighbourhoods to the north, and over or under the Gardiner Expressway.

 (2)Review and comment on the recommendations of the urban design work group. A summary of the recommendations of the work group are attached as Appendix 2 to this report.

 Review the recommendation by the work group that staff prepare concept plans for the Portland Street vehicular bridge and Brant Street pedestrian bridge, including cost estimates in order to expedite construction of both bridges.

 (3)Review urban design work done to date for the Railway Lands Central and West, including:

 (a)draft outline of Urban Design Guidelines, prepared by City staff

(b)structure Plan, as contained in the Official Plan

(c)streetscape design proposals

(4)Give advice on the design of the public spaces and pedestrian bridges including:

 (a)criteria for parks and open spaces with particular regard for safety; microclimate and pedestrian comfort; lighting; interface with streets and the rail corridor; public furniture; opportunities for tree planting; storm water management; grading; opportunities for water features;

 (b)programming of uses for parks and open spaces and their effect on design;

 (c)circulation patterns for cycling and pedestrian linkages to waterfront and how they impact the design of the parks and open spaces;

 (d)location and design of the permanent pedestrian bridge;

 (e)design of temporary pedestrian bridge at Portland;

 (f)identify projects and suggest criteria for possible design competitions;

 (g)identification of potential public art opportunities;

 (h)design of the interface between private and public spaces; and

 (i)location of proposed utilities to maximize the potential for street trees.

 (5)Review streetscape and civic design details including: tree planting on streets, publicly accessible open spaces and setback areas; streetscape design including sidewalk widths and pavement patterns; and public furniture such as benches, light standards and waste receptacles.

 (6)Review the agreed-upon phasing for the construction of the public spaces and give advice on priority public art locations.

  Appendix 2

Recommendations of the Urban Design Work Group

February 1998

  The following proposed changes to the Official Plan, Zoning By-law, Urban Design Guidelines and Agreements are the recommendations of the Concord Adex urban design work group and will be considered in the context of the Task Force meetings:

 Official Plan

 Railway Lands Central

 Spadina/Bremner - add wording to the Official Plan regarding the role of Spadina Avenue and Bremner Boulevard as major north-south and east-west connectors in the city, and strengthen the need for consistent design elements and strong edges.

 Railway Lands West

 Spadina/Bremner - add wording to the Official Plan regarding the role of Spadina Avenue and Bremner Boulevard as major north-south and east-west connectors in the city, and strengthen the need for consistent design elements and strong edges.

 Change the alignment of buildings on the north side of Bremner Boulevard to require buildings to follow the street alignment. This should be reflected in the Structure Plan, which is included in the Official Plan.

 Zoning By-law

 Railway Lands West

 Adjust the setbacks requirement along north side of Bremner to allow buildings to follow the road alignment.

 Additions to Urban Design Guidelines

 Emphasize the role of Spadina and Bremner Atwo powerful streets which traverse the plan north-south and east-west@. These streets should have all the characteristics of great urban boulevards and as such, should have well defined edges, publicness, lively uses and attractive sidewalks.

 Define the location of towers and their role in framing streets, parks, defining intersections, and as part of a coherent overall composition

 Establish more detailed design guidelines for the landmark tower on Block 22, to describe base, shaft and cap definitions and potential for a tapering floor plate.

 Add descriptions of several building typologies including towers, mid-rise and row housing.

 Encourage a public route along the entire southern edge of the northern linear park, including vehicular access, if appropriate and feasible, to enhance safety and publicness of the northern linear park.

 Encourage strong, continuous streetwalls and emphasize the fact that heights in zoning by-law are minimums. Encourage heights recommended by the work group to define the edge of the street, and a hierarchy of street wall heights related to hierarchy of streets.

 Encourage continuous arcades or canopies along Spadina Avenue, including along spaces between buildings and across the bridge. Weather protection on Bremner Boulevard should be encouraged and could vary depending on the type of building facing the street. Minimum dimensions of arcades should be established.

 Emphasize Agateways@ on Spadina Avenue at Front Street and Lakeshore Boulevard, and be more prescriptive about streetwall and towers at these locations. More prescriptive measures should be set out at the site plan approval stage when the first Development Context Plan is prepared.

 Encourage a wide landscaped boulevard on the north side of Bremner Boulevard to accommodate a double row of trees, cafes, benches, bicycle parking, etc., exclusive of any weather protection.

 Encourage any grade-related units to be at the same level as the street, and encourage higher floor-to-ceiling heights to permit a range of uses. Guidelines should also address treatment of residential uses at grade.

 Consider a datum line for colonnades and arcades along Spadina Avenue, as well as base buildings to provide consistency to the streetwall and continuity with the King-Spadina built form.

 Examine a split sidewalk along Spadina Avenue to permit access to retail at the ground floor of the buildings as well as a sidewalk following the sloping grade of the street. Examples and precedents should be identified.

 Examine the potential for a view terminus at Bremner Boulevard and Spadina Avenue.

 Recognize the long-term potential for retail on the Spadina Avenue bridge.

 Address the need for a unified design approach for the new neighbourhood to support its development as a place and emphasize the need for Bremner Boulevard and Spadina Avenue to act as unifying elements.

Include a structure plan in the urban design guidelines which shows the context of Harbourfront, Bathurst/Strachan and King Spadina.

 Agreements

 Add a statement indicating that all development proposals shall have regard for the Urban Design Guidelines.

 Maintain permissions in the Agreements for a lane along the northern limit of Block 29, and to maintain emergency access route along northern limit of Block 24.

 Consider a lane along northern limit of Block 32 in the terms of reference for housing provider on this site.

 Maintain the option for the pedestrian bridge to line up with either Draper Street or Brant Street.

 Recommendations to Council:

 That staff prepare an open space master plan for the Railway Lands west of SkyDome, including linkages into publicly-accessible open space and public streets, which should be incorporated into the Urban Design Guidelines for the Concord Adex lands, and to amend the Urban Design Guidelines for the remainder of the Railway Lands West

 That staff prepare preliminary design drawings for the Portland Street vehicular bridge and (Brant Street) pedestrian bridge including cost estimates in order to expedite construction of both bridges.

 Urban Design Task Force

 That the recommendations of this work group be forwarded to the Urban Design Task Force, with additions by staff, for the Task Force to build and comment on.

Appendix 3

Membership of Urban Design Task Force

Railway Lands Central and West

  City Councillors:

Councillor Olivia Chow (Ward 24), Chair

Councillor Kyle Rae (Ward 24)

Councillor Joe Pantalone (Ward 20), Chair of Urban Planning and Development Committee

 Landowners and Leaseholders in the Railway Lands Central and West:

Concord Adex Developments Corp.

Wittington Properties Ltd.

SkyDome

Canada Lands Company

TrizecHahn

GO Transit

CN Rail

Toronto Terminals Railway Company

City of Toronto Housing

Royal Bank Data Centre

 Community and Residents Groups:

Harbourfront Square Residents Association

Harbourfront Residents Association

Harbour Terrace

Niagara Residents Association

Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association

Draper Street Residents Association

Toronto District Entertainment Association

Friends of Fort York

Harbourfront Centre

Garrison Creek Community Project

 Ontario Municipal Board Appellants:

City Front Developments Inc.

R. Scott James

J. Robert Naylor

Trees for Toronto G.T.A. Regeneration Trust Inc.

 

   
Please note that council and committee documents are provided electronically for information only and do not retain the exact structure of the original versions. For example, charts, images and tables may be difficult to read. As such, readers should verify information before acting on it. All council documents are available from the City Clerk's office. Please e-mail clerk@city.toronto.on.ca.

 

City maps | Get involved | Toronto links
City of Toronto 1998-2001