Mississauga Councillors Approve and Reject Two Contentious Applications


Published June 14, 2018 at 10:47 am


During a recent Planning and Development Committee meeting, Mississauga city councillors voted on two contentious development applications, and their decisions either added to the chagrin of some or the relief of others…albeit that relief may be temporary.

The two development applications are the townhouses proposed around Old Barber House in Streetsville, and the EV Royale-proposed eight-storey, 91 unit condominium at the site of the Piatto Restaurant in Erindale Village, which some residents have described as “a cruise ship that will never set sail,” forever “docked” at the mouth of the Credit River.

While this was the first PDC meeting held under rules as set out in the newly established Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), these two applications were filed under the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Whatever decision that was made by council would fall within the framework of the rules under the OMB.

Conceptual drawings of townhouses around Old Barber House

The Old Barber House is a unique historic Victorian piece of architecture that had been a fine dining restaurant until it shuttered its doors back in 2016. Prior to the closure, plans to construct some 16 three-storey townhouses, five three storey detached homes, and four two storey back to back dwelling units were revealed.

Barber House development concept plan

After receiving comments and feedback from residents over compatibility with the neighbourhood, council approved the application in a vote of 7 to 4. Mayor Bonnie Crombie, and councillors Karen Ras, Sue McFadden and George Carlson (who represents the area) voted against approving it.

City staff gave a presentation on the development application before the vote, and came away with these conclusions:

Some of planning staff’s conclusions on the application

But that didn’t sit well with a number of residents who came forward to speak.

“We’re disappointed by the politicians who say they are on our side, but when it comes time to vote we don’t get the votes, and we’re disappointed in the planning department for not doing their job and looking ahead,” one man said, saying that the plans, when they come to council, are different from what was previously discussed.

Another woman asked why these townhouses were so poorly designed. “I’m not saying we shouldn’t have any development; I’m saying we should be getting more nuance as to what we are actually getting,” she said.

Ward 5 Coun. Carolyn Parrish voted for the application. “This is a much more reasonable development. It’s been massaged so many times it doesn’t even look like what it was in the beginning. And I’m going to support it, because if this goes to the OMB, they’re going to come back with more units.”

Mayor Crombie agreed with the residents with regards to her decision, “I don’t like it; that is a scenic route, it’s too much density. I represented (Streetsville) when I was a federal MP, and I don’t like what is happening to the Barber House,” she concluded, saying it’s not the right thing to build on that location.

As for that eight-storey, 91 unit condominium where Piatto sits at Erindale Village, the reaction was quite different; Mississauga councillors were unanimous in opposing it and voted to turn down the application.

Because comments had to be submitted verbally at PDC in order to be on record at the OMB / LPAT hearing, there were a lot of residents who wanted to get their thoughts in.

Ward 6 Coun. Ron Starr voices his opposition to Piatto development

Ward 7 Coun. Nando Iannicca, the councillor who represents this area, said “this is the one where we have to draw a line in the sand. In my 30 years in office I have never gone through the process of some six community consultations, meetings and presentations, and not swayed one single person to change their mind.”

The cruise ship reference was brought up by some residents. “At least cruise ships sail away; this one will be stuck docked at the end of our street,” one man quipped.

One shocking comment was from a resident named Mary (pictured above) complaining about the loss of community in Erindale Village that occurs when condo dwellers and “international students” from Erindale Academy come in. “It’s already not safe with these international students taking pictures of houses and getting dropped off by Uber,” she said.

However, it was not all unanimous, as some residents came forward to speak in favour of the building’s potential to bring vibrancy into the area in the long term. One man said he looked forward to moving into some place smaller, and thought that there was some over-exaggerated hysteria at play, to some jeers from the audience.

And another woman, who was not an Erindale Village resident but lived nearby, said she thought some vibrancy would be brought along Dundas Street with the new building, saying it looked rather quiet at the moment (even before construction began).

The reality is these two developments were going through the old OMB process, so even though the hearing for the Piatto condo will take place at LPAT, it’s still under the OMB rules. There were some residents who sounded “hopeful” that they could get both developments struck down under the new planning board, but that isn’t going to be the case.

You can also see the nascent beginnings of positioning amongst some members of council as the municipal election looms in October. Mayor Crombie was adamantly against the townhouses around Barber House in a way not previously seen, and Starr’s speech on his opposition to Piatto development showed clear opposition.

“All parties – the city, residents and developer – have spent so much time and energy on this matter. I think the city, residents, and developer would have preferred to have come to an agreement on a development that would have been satisfactory to everyone involved. Without the necessary infrastructure such as the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan even in place, council reiterated this is not the right place for this scale of development right now,” said Andrew Gassmann, a candidate for council in Ward 7.

Is it worth ‘preserving’ the unique character of Erindale Village in the midst of change? While it sounds like the most rational thing would be to have rapid transit along Dundas first in order to see if the ridership growth warrants higher density, the reality is higher density is coming everywhere in Mississauga, and people have to get used to a changing city.

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