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The Concerned Citizens of Quarry Lands Development

In Quotations:
"Some day it will be a textbook case for planners."
- Brian Ashton, Ward 36 Councillor

History of the Area
Chronology of Events:
Before the Seventies
The Seventies
The Eighties
The Nineties and Today
 

 


This chronology was prepared by Neil Cresswell on August 6, 2003.

During the 1940ís and early 1950ís, the lands were owned by Toronto Brick Company and were used as a sand and gravel quarry.

From 1954 to 1960, the lands were used as an unregulated municipal landfill site. This landfill was closed in December, 1960. In 1963, Runnymede Development Corporation acquired the lands from the Township of Scarborough.

The lands were designated and zoned for High Density Residential uses in 1968. The zoning provides for approximately 1,450 apartment units in four buildings and is still in force today. These land use permissions were implemented, in part, in recognition of the planned Scarborough Transportation Corridor, to be located immediately to the north of lands. This corridor was incorporated into both the Metropolitan Toronto and Scarborough Official Plans and was to provide for a high-speed link (rail or road) between downtown Toronto and areas to the east of Metro.

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In the early 1970ís, Runnymede entered into a development agreement with the Borough of Scarborough for the apartment development and provided the required levies and land dedications. In late 1974, the Minister of the Environment granted approval to develop the property in accordance with the 1971 Environmental Protection Act.

Runnymede submitted building permits to develop three of the four apartment buildings in 1975. The Borough denied the permits on the grounds that Runnymede was declining to install the services contemplated through the development agreement.

In 1976, Planning staff commenced a review of land uses in the community through the Birchcliff Secondary Plan Review. When the proposed plan was made public in early 1977, Runnymede interpreted it to be a reduction in the previously approved density for its lands and responded by taking the City to court for the issuance of the building permits. In January 1979, the Supreme Court issued an Order of Mandamus obliging the Borough to issue the permits for the three buildings upon completion by the applicant of the sewer and water works outlined in the development agreement.

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The apartment market subsequently declined and didnít recover until the late 1980ís. During this time, Runnymede didnít pursue the development with any vigour.

Runnymede began development of the Victoria Crossing Market Place, the retail plaza to the west, in 1984. The storm sewer servicing for this development was to tie into the main on Clonmore Road and a trench for this service was dug through the residential lands. During the excavations for the trench, barrels of xylene were uncovered. The barrels were secured and, with the surrounding earth, removed from the site.

The City of Scarborough formally introduced Site Plan Control Approval powers in all Zoning By-Laws in 1986.

When the apartment market picked up, Runnymede approached the City about enforcing the Mandamus Order. The City took the position that Site Plan Control Approval was applicable law and the owner had to go through this process before any building permits could be issued. Runnymede submitted a Site Plan Control Approval application to the City for the three buildings in August, 1988.

There was significant opposition to the proposed development from the local community and City and Metro Councillors. The opposition was based on environmental, built form compatibility, traffic and social concerns. The Provincial Minister of the Environment was petitioned in mid 1989 to designate the lands for an environmental assessment under The Environmental Assessment Act.

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A hearing in this regard was held by the Environmental Assessment Advisory Committee in October, 1989. Based on the Committeeís report, the Minister in January 1990 declined to designate the lands, providing four conditions were met. They were: 1. The City reviewing and taking a position on the appropriateness of the land use designations of the site. 2. The owner considering, to the satisfaction of the Minister, alternative ways of managing the waste on the site, including its removal. 3. The City retaining an independent engineering consultant to review the proposed development and report on the types and location of wastes on the site, whether the wastes should be removed and recommendations for gas emission control and monitoring. 4. The establishment of a public liaison committee with representation from local residents, the City, the Ministry of the Environment and the owner to set the terms of reference for the consultant review and provide input throughout the proposed project.

The Public Liaison Committee (PLC) was established in mid 1990 with representatives from two local community associations, the local Councillor, City Planning and Works staff, Ministry of the Environment staff and representatives of the owner. The PLC held a number of community consultation meetings, established the terms of reference for the engineering review, issued a proposal call and interviewed the candidate consultants. MacLaren Engineers was retained in August, 1991 to undertake the environmental audit.

MacLaren Engineers undertook its fieldwork (consisting of groundwater, soil and methane migration testing) through late 1991 and early 1992. MacLaren submitted its findings in a May, 1992 report which indicated the risks associated with the development of three proposed buildings were acceptable providing a gas collection system was constructed, monitored and maintained. It also concluded that the landfill waste could remain in place and recommended that explosive limit detection alarms be installed in all the buildings.

The engineering report was presented to the public in an open house on May 26, 1992. It was also submitted to City Council, which authorized its submission to the Ministry of the Environment. The report was submitted to the Ministry for review and approval in June, 1992.

In October 1992, the Ministry responded to the report with questions around some of the methodologies and assumptions and a request for further information. This request for further information required the City to extend the contract with MacLaren to undertake additional fieldwork. This was done during the winter of 1992-1993. A revised report was prepared in July, 1993 and subsequently submitted to the Ministry.

The Ministry responded to the revised report in June, 1994 with additional questions. MacLaren responded to the questions in September, 1994 and these responses were submitted to the Ministry by the City. The Ministry again responded in August, 1995 indicating a number of issues had been addressed, but there were still some outstanding concerns.

A letter was subsequently sent from the City Manager to Runnymede in December, 1995 indicating the City had met its obligations under the terms of the 1990 Ministers Order and it was up to the proponent to obtain a final approval from the Ministry. A similar letter was sent to the Ministry.

In 1997, the Ministry changed its practices and released the Guidelines for Use at Contaminated Sites in Ontario. This effectively removed the Ministry from approving consultant reports.

Scarborough City Council formally deleted the Scarborough Transportation Corridor designation from the Cityís Official Plan in 1995. However, as the designation remained in the Metro Official Plan, Metro appealed this deletion to the OMB. The matter was resolved when Metro also amended its Plan to delete the designation and the appeal was refused by the OMB in 1998.

After years of inaction, the City formally closed the 1988 Site Plan Control Approval application on April 23, 2002.

Some time in 1998 or 1999, Runnymede sold the lands to Gerrard Clonmore Developments Ltd. With no prior consultation with Planning staff or the local Councillor, Gerrard Clonmore Developments filed a minor variance application on June 5, 2003 seeking to reduce the minimum sizes of the apartments required in the Zoning By-Law. On July 30, 2003, The Committee of Adjustment deferred consideration of this application until October 15, 2003.

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