1366 yonge street toronto

Toronto neighbourhood wants to save a building but it's really just about condos

Toronto's ongoing housing crisis requires an unprecedented influx of new residential units, but in a recurring theme of new development in the housing-starved 416, a local neighbourhood association wants to make sure a large new building does not come to fruition in their backyard.

The Avoca Vale Residents' Association — representing their community in the Yonge and St. Clair area — has filed a change.org petition to fight an application to redevelop 1366 Yonge Street, an existing mid-rise building at the northwest corner of Yonge Street and Balmoral Avenue.

Developer Bazis proposed a new 41-storey condo tower for the site in 2022, a plan that would result in the demolition of an existing four-storey commercial building home to a pharmacy and medical building, as well as popular Italian restaurant Capocaccia Trattoria.

1366 yonge street toronto

The existing Balmoral Medical Arts Facility at 1366 Yonge Street would be lost to the proposed redevelopment. Photo via change.org/Avoca Vale Residents' Association.

The petition to "Save the Balmoral Medical Arts Facility" takes direct issue with the loss of the medical centre, though the language of the appeal for support suggests that the tower's 135-metre height and the addition of almost 500 new condominium units are not exactly welcome in the neighbourhood.

"Our community is faced with a dire healthcare gap if the Development Application for 1366 Yonge St. is approved in its present form, and the existing Medical Arts Facility housing 62 doctors' offices, a urine and blood clinic, an x-ray and ultrasound facility, and a pharmacy is demolished," the petition reads.

"In its place, a 41-storey condominium tower will be 'squeezed' onto this site which will contravene many of the city's essential planning policies," states the petition, without specifying which of these policies it directly contravenes.

Even if zoning is the issue here, it is widely known that Toronto's zoning policies are out of date and rezoning for substantial density increases is relatively standard in Toronto.

Without really identifying specific planning issues, the petition underscores concerns about the proposal replacing "a vitally important healthcare facility which has, for many years, served most effectively our community and its large seniors population."

The petition says that "This population will soon be increased significantly with the construction of a 17-storey Assisted Living building located directly across the street, and soon-to-begin construction of another similar facility down the street at Balmoral and Avenue Road, in addition to multiple high-rise residential projects approved or proposed for this immediate area."

Which sounds more like a plea by homeowners to prevent others from owning homes in their neighbourhood than an appeal to save a medical building.

The plea for support gets back on track by stating that the building's closure would exacerbate "the overall ongoing removal of healthcare facilities from our community," mentioning medical offices at 29-39 Pleasant Blvd., and the proposed removal of wellness facilities contemplated at 45 St. Clair Ave West.

"Once these doctors, health care professionals and support labs leave, they are not coming back."

Over 3,400 have signed the Residents' Association's petition to stop what it calls a "very harmful development application," with a goal to hit 5,000 signatures.

Lead photo by

Roy Varacalli

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