So the Bayview-Carling CDP is late. And its boundaries keep changing. And it looks like it’s a Plan chasing the buying decisions of condo developers. And oops, they missed those developable Carling Avenue lots the Feds have just posted For Sale signs on. Could it get worse?
The City has divided the CDP into three smaller ones. The Bayview end is still not put to bed, with developers already wanting to change where the City will permit high rises, and how high they may be. And the City itself is changing its Bayview Yards plan to accommodate new ideas, like a film studio and office tower(s). The Carling end missed those big vacant lots by NRCan and studiously avoids dealing with the Sir John Carling hulk and its site. Whew, that leaves just the middle section, the Gladstone CDP, to do in the next year or two. Plenty of time.
Except there isn’t. Time. The land rush is already underway, with Claridge having snapped up 1040 and 1050 Somerset Street (either side of
Bayview Breezehill Avenue at Somerset). The printing plant on Gladstone is going to move out, and post-decontamination, there’s a huge site for redevelopment (its also in the picture below, on the lower left). And now the Feds have put half of their 1010 Somerset Street (the so-called Oak Street complex, because nothing around here ever has an address that means anything) up for sale:
The new OTrain multi-user pathway runs along the west (left) edge of the site. It’s 2.5 hectares in size, and the south (bottom) end of the site is immediately adjacent the proposed Gladstone OTrain- LRT station. Alas, a lot of the catchment radius drawn around the new station falls in the Carling CDP, which hasn’t been paying much attention to the Gladstone area.
I vaguely recall that the city proposes to construct said station with development funds from adjacent sites. Provincial policy and the City’s OP call for major intensification for sites adjacent to the transit facilities like this.
The City’s Gladstone CDP is silent on this, of course, because it hasn’t been started yet. The City may well declare this a holding zone, entertaining no development applications until the CDP is done, but that’s just so much hot air. The land is for sale now, once a developer buys it, the pressure is on. It would have been much better to have decided what to do with the land before someone buys it, so they pay accordingly, knowing what its potential uses are.
Although it will be interesting to see just how secure title is to all that land, since the last I heard the City cannot find documentation that it ever gave up the road allowances through the 1010 site, and there is a live sewer still under the former Champagne right of way. Another career opportunity for archivists.
The Gladstone CDP will not be starting from scratch. Existing neighbourhood plans call for linking the two halves of Laurel that are presently disconnected (it would run right through the word Somerset in the picture above). Residents will want a bike-ped connection; I suspect Mr Dark will want a motorist-sized bridge.
There is also a strong call for additional parkland in the neighbourhood It would be efficient to expand Plouffe Park, behind the Plant Recreation complex. While the available site would not be connected except for a tiny corner, the land needs to be acquired by the city as they could trade it for a site a bit more north later on. Until then Oak Street would enjoy a ped-cyclist east-west connection over to the OTrain MUP, if the building is demolished. But if its a keeper, then we might have potential for some indoor uses.
In the last Preston Street planning study the subject of redeveloping 1010 Somerset came up. Residents of the dead-end streets running west off Preston wanted no part of connecting through to the new site, even for pedestrians, but with the OTrain MUP and proposed Gladstone station, opening up those streets to the west makes ever more sense.
The Preston BIA has floated numerous ideas in the past for the site, including adaptive re-use of the warehouse structure (if sound) for a market building, or meeting venue (although this seems to be coming to fruition in the smaller Bayview Yards building rather than here), and proposals for a series of mixed-use low-rise buildings, some of which have been covered in previous stories here: https://www.westsideaction.ca/planning-exercise-ii/
But money talks. And whoever buys this site in the next few months will be pushing the City to plan accordingly. I feel sorry for some of the well-meaning planners who have been on this study for years, and never able to complete it. Now the city has another embarrassing case of a CDP that’s too little, too late.