The City received an application for construction of a place of a religious assembly at 6496/6508 Winston Churchill Blvd. by the Meadowvale Islamic Centre. This application is for a 18,095.8 square foot building and parking.
The Planning and Development meeting was held on Monday September 21, 2015 at City Hall and Council voted in favour of the proposal. I was the only Councillor to vote against it.h
I am deeply disappointed at the final decision of Council on October 14 to approve the Meadowvale Islamic Centre.
I am very proud of the hundreds of Ward 9 residents who attended the meeting, and of those who spoke and presented solid facts to Council that were ignored.
I am also angry that my residents who felt that the building was not compatible with the neighbourhood were labelled racist in a video that was taped well before the meeting. This was an insult to the residents of Ward 9 and shows disrespect for the concerns of our community.
The facts were before Council. There was a parking report paid for by the City that clearly showed that there will be a shortfall in parking and there was no permanent solution to resolve the problem. Those concerns were ignored in place of the staff report that, while it showed that the parking meets the by-law requirements on paper, recognized the shortfall and had no solid solutions.
I fear for the safety of the pedestrians that cross the intersection daily and will now have serious conflicts with turning traffic. This is a real situation today and an increase in traffic will only make it worse.
Good planning looks at all sides of an issue not just the numbers. Communities are people not numbers and the wellbeing of the people of Ward 9 was not fully considered in this decision. The residents who will be faced by a large busy building 25’ from their homes will be the ones who will be impacted yet their needs were not at the forefront of the decision.
This was not about religion. It was not about the need for a mosque. The community recognizes that need and supports it. I recognize the need and support it and I have tried to find a more suitable location for the facility. The issue was location and impact and this is simply not the right location for a facility that will generate such a high amount of traffic.
The community will be deciding in the next few weeks if it will appeal Council’s decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.
This has been a very contentious proposal and I have been consistent in not supporting it. The site chosen is much too small to support a use of this magnitude and will have serious traffic, parking and noise impacts on the community. The height of the building will also seriously impact the quality of life for the adjacent residents, many of whom have lived there for over 30 years.
While I support the need for the Meadowvale Islamic community to have a place to worship, I feel very strongly that this location is not the right one for such a use.
I held several Ward meetings regarding this proposed development and the concerns of the Meadowvale community have consistently focused on traffic, parking and size and height of the building. I am waiting for the opinion of an experienced Planning consultant to advise me if the residents have a chance of winning an appeal at the Ontario Municipal Board. If there is a chance then I will call a meeting and residents can hear the facts and decide what they wish to do. As Councillor I cannot be a party to the appeal but will certainly work with the community and do whatever I can.
Thank you again for all the support in my opposition to this application. It was the wrong decision and is not good planning and will have an impact on our community for many years to come.
Click on the below links to see the plans submitted to the city:
Revised December 1, 2015
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Tag(s): Pat Saito