Housing Crunch Scuttles North York Parking lot PlanSource: www.thestar.com
Controversial plans to bulldoze some vacant Eglinton Ave. West homes to make way for a new city parking lot are officially on hold as city staff determine if affordable housing can be built there.
However Mike Colle, the local councillor, is still hopeful some new parking will emerge, saying businesses in the Eglinton-Caledonia Rd. have been hit hard by disruptions due to Eglinton Crosstown transit construction and spots at 2204-2212 Eglinton would help them stay afloat.
“Perhaps what we could do is combine the housing with some parking so that we’re providing housing, plus we’re keeping (businesses) alive,” Colle (Ward 8 Eglinton-Lawrence) told reporters Tuesday after the announcement of $2.3 million in federal summer jobs funding.
“There is desperation in this … ” for businesses, he said. “We want the parking plus the housing.”
Mayor John Tory, who on Monday joined calls from advocates for affordable housing to pause the parking lot plan, said Tuesday he is not ruling out some parking at the site “below or above or somehow contained within a development that also contains a substantial amount of affordable housing. “The principal focus should be on the affordable housing, near transit, not on parking near transit. So it’s one of those things where I just think this was a time to stop and reset,” Tory said.
Amplifying concerns over the L-shaped property — a two-level, four-unit apartment building, a commercial building and single-family home at adjacent 601 Caledonia, bought by the city since 2013 — is Toronto’s housing crisis with skyrocketing prices and scant affordable rentals.
Earlier this year Tory launched a program called Housing Now that aims to kick-start construction of affordable rental homes on surplus city land, through a new city agency called CreateTO.
Mark Richardson, a Toronto housing and open data advocate, first raised the alarm over the 24-spot Green P plan, questioning use of the site, and others, on the website HousingNowTO.com.
On Tuesday the Toronto Parking Authority board voted to pause construction plans and have city staff report back. as early as September, with options for the site.
The Star has learned that parking authority plans to tear down another home to build a parking lot, at 186 Caribou Rd. in the Lawrence Ave. W.-Bathurst St. area, are also on hold. City staff earlier said the parking authority had applied to knock down a bungalow and build a 21-space lot.
On Tuesday, city staff said “the file is on hold. There is no development application at this time.”
With files from Jennifer PagliaroDavid Rider is the Star’s City Hall bureau chief and a reporter covering Toronto politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider