Resident calls for more Yonge-Eglinton development

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Resident calls for more Yonge-Eglinton development

It’s not often you get a resident coming to a council meeting asking politicians to approve more development in their neighbourhood.

But that’s exactly what happened last week when Erskine Avenue resident Jonathan Skelcher came to North York Community Council to urge politicians to approve a 32-storey residential building containing 422 units at 99 Erskine Ave. and 66 Broadway Ave., northeast of Eglinton Avenue and Yonge Street.

“We’re actually quite ready for it,” the 10-year resident of the neighbourhood said.

“There are some issues we hope the city and developers will deal with infrastructure…(but) that area should be built up. It is common-sense development.”

Councillors approved the project, which still requires approval from city council, Oct. 30.

Even though the building will obstruct his rented penthouse view of the sunset a few weeks a year, Skelcher said the development should proceed because he shouldn’t be able to stop progress.

The development is proposed by developer Beaux Properties International Inc., working with builder Deltera Inc., which is part of the Tridel Group of Companies, one of Canada’s largest residential developers.

“We couldn’t ask for a better builder,” Skelcher said.

His support for the building left councillors shaking their heads, even asking him if he had an interest in the development.

“We never, ever get the other side and it’s interesting to see the other side,” said York West Councillor Anthony Perruzza, who said normally residents come to council meetings to complain developments will add to traffic headaches and put pressure on already overcrowded amenities such as schools, parks and sewers.

Skelcher assured councillors he is a personal trainer and will not financially benefit from the project.

What’s more, he urged councillors to approve other developments in the area, which is slated for significant growth due to its proximity to the Eglinton subway station and the building of the Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown light rapid transit line.

He said the developments should proceed as long as developers pay to upgrade infrastructure and amenities in the neighbourhood.

But not everyone is as thrilled with the proposed development.

Ira Micay, director of a townhouse condo corporation to the west of the project, said residents are worried about higher densities, the increase in traffic especially around a nearby school, the loss of mature trees and the reduction of surface parking in an area already lacking in parking.

“If we had our way, things would stay as they are,” he said.

Willowdale Councillor David Shiner complained about the height of the building in the middle of the block rather than on a main road, warning it will open the door to other developers who will want to push the envelope.

“I don’t believe 32 storeys is appropriate. It’s the creep, it’s the condo creep,” he said.

Deltera manager Peter Jacovcic said the building will be a “great addition” for the Yonge-Eglinton centre.

His comments were echoed in a report from city planning staff.

“The proposed development improves the lands by replacing extensive surface parking with dedicated parkland, landscape amenity area and a publicly accessible pedestrian walkway,” it said.

“The proposed development achieves a good fit with the area by providing a built form that maintains adequate sunlight, privacy and sky views from the public realm.”

The parking lots and an outdoor pool will be replaced with landscaping and a new outdoor pool. The walkway will extend down the west side of the proposed and existing buildings, where it will connect with a new park fronting on to Broadway, the report said.

A grocery store originally planned to be part of the development is no longer included, the report said.

Brandon Lee Cell 416-471-0353, HL/Bayview

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