Building a Green Toronto: A Tale of Woe


It is not a big project, just a few townhouses proposed for a midtown parking lot, in a city that has a Green Development Standard that is supposed to encourage sustainable development. The City even promised to "fast-track" approvals for green projects. And they don't get greener than this, an award winning, zero energy project that will "showcase ground source heat pumps powered by photovoltaic panels", solar hot water generation and a design that addressed "health, energy, resources environment and affordability."

Then it hit City Hall.


Most of the Sustainable Urbanism Initiative Team, in the parking lot that should be a project by now. Tory Zimmerman

Elvira Cordileione reports in the Star:

Mark Gorgolewski of Ryerson's Sustainable Urban Initiative notes: "My main comment (about the approvals process) is that there's not the co-ordination needed between departments or even between people within the same department."

Architect Lou Ampas: "It's a bit anti-climactic, I must say, especially given the lead-up to the meeting over the past six to eight weeks."

The Chief Planner said they did not need much parking, given that it is on a bus line and a block from a subway station. The Works Department balked.

The senior researcher at CMHC, the federal agency that is helping fund the project, says Toronto planners resisted all efforts to fast track the type of development it claims it wants to encourage.

Acting Director of Planning Raymond David says bureaucrats do not have the authority to give any applicant preferential treatment. That's a job for city councillors, and so far, he says, council has instructed them to give priority only to affordable housing applications.

The head of the Committee of Adjustment, Anita MacLeod, says "when the Annex group submitted its application in mid-September, the committee had a severe backlog and didn't get to it until November. At that point, staff asked for clarification in two areas – a rezoning waiver and an easement issue. It then sent the file back to Ampas" ::The Star

So now just about every official in Toronto has put their two cents in except for conspicuously silent Mayor David Miller, who we all voted for because he was going to bring in a broom, clean up City Hall and and make the city work. What a farce, rapidly sinking into tragedy.

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