Climate Protection Plan

On the May 13 Council agenda there is report identifying how the the Township will develop and ultimately execute a plan for reduction of energy consumption and greenhouse gas.  As indicated we have base line data from 2012 against which we can measure progress.  Goals are proposed.  When I compare the latter to what was in our original 5 year Integrated Community Sustainability Plan of 2012 I am pleased to see far more specificity.  I question whether our targets are aggressive enough as the target of 30% reduction in corporate energy emissions (kg of eCO2) by 2030 (vs 2012) is same as we set in 2012.  Urgency today is much greater than we perceived in 2012.  As report indicates increased investments in energy management initiatives will be required and will need to considered in the 2020 budget process.  I look forward to seeing full plan at 6/24/19 Council meeting for

Museum Renovation

On May 13 Council agenda there is report identifying the need for to increase capital budget for the renovation of the interior of the museum at Heritage and Cultural Centre. Explanation for the increase is reviewed in the report.  As was the case for Laskay Hall there are often surprises when renovating heritage structures; hence an increase of $50,000 to the $300,000 budget is recommended. The museum which is the one room Kinghorn School built in 1861 merits this renovation:   it will make this building an accessible exhibition space for both honouring King’s history with a permanent exhibit illustrating it and other exhibits.

Schomberg Community Hall Renewal

On 5/13 Council agenda there is a report recommending the advancement of a project to renovate and revitalize the Schomberg Community Hall.  Advancement to June 2019-2020 is entirely appropriate in order to use a $100,000 grant offered under the Enabling Accessibility Fund of the Federal Government.  As reviewed in the report the closure of this well used community space does create problems for 3 very popular annual events:  Schomberg Street Gallery, A Main Street Christmas, Schomberg Agricultural Fair.  Staff are committed to working with the groups who organize these events.  I know examples in other municipalities where comparable problems have triggered some very creative solutions which have been sustained long after the originating problem was solved.   The $1 million capital for this project was originally budgeted for one year later. Given how the Schomberg Main Street Revitalization Project is marching forward (see the Staff report updating status here) advancing the Community Hall project is excellent.

King Road Streetscaping

On May 13 Council agenda there is report recommending contractor for the King Road streetscaping projects.  The 1st phase of this significant project is for the road from 2585 King Road (new Municipal Centre) to Dufferin which will be executed in 2019 and 2020.  This phase includes new sidewalks, a multi-use path, tree planting, decorative poles for banners & flowers and some road widening to enable creation of dedicated left-hand turn lane and right-in deceleration lane into 2585 King Road.  Design and construction for the segment from 2585 King Road to Jane will be in the 4 year capital budget cycle.

Important Development Applications in King City

On May 13 appealed their Council agenda there are two very important reports  about development applications in the area east of Jane and north of King Road (Mansions of King and Bushland Heights) .  The critical nature of both applications is twofold.  i)  Density is much higher than it is in our official plans, including the new draft one.  ii) The land to be developed, although zoned for residential development, would be designated natural core in the Oak Ridges Moraine except that it is in the settlement area of King City.  The 2 proponents appealed their applications to the OMB (now LPAT) more than a year ago; the hearings have now been scheduled.  The intent of the reports is to provide an update on the applications.  In addition, as is customary for Staff reports, the public can make deputations.  After the latter Council will move into closed session to meet with our lawyer and to give Council direction. As it is direction for a LPAT hearing there will not be public disclosure of that direction

The Mansions of King (MOK) application includes both single detached and a medium density condominium type development to create 313 dwelling units.  As reviewed in report calculation of the density is complex and not agreed yet. The range is 18.8-13 units/ha. Our official plan cites 7 unit/ha.    Also concerning is the fact that the medium density block is only a concept at this stage.  The Bushland Heights (BH) application is to build 88 single detached units amounts to a density of  9 unit/ha.

Despite pressure from developers in the past approvals for development in King City have adhered to achieving 30 meter buffers (minimum vegetation protection zones) adjacent to environmental features with the exception of “pinch points” which are carefully defined and tested for necessity.  Initially MOK was not respectful of this but has almost come into compliance.  TRCA is paying close attention to this.  In contrast BH is still aggressively pursuing minimums of 12 meters.

A very complex issue is connections to the arterial roads of the two subdivisions i.e. King Road and Jane St.  Each of the subdivisions is large enough that each must have 2 ingress and egress options for safety.  IF both subdivisions were built simultaneously it would be simple:  MOK plans show a road north of King Rd; BH shows one road onto Jane; and the plan shows a good connection between MOK and BH.  But there is no certainty of approval of both nor of timing.

The MOK plan shows an option of accessing by Jane but using an easement which comes out onto Manitou from where a commuter could then access Kingscross Drive and then Jane.  The implications of this option are significant.  What is understood is that residents in Kingscross are opposed to this because of impact on their neighbourhood. And of course the two property owners on each side of the easement are concerned.  I don’t believe the Township has assessed the ongoing operational costs of this option:  as a road ending in a cul-de-sac Manitou is currently more like a rural road than a local road in an urban environment.  What are capital costs to upgrade it?  Will Kingscross need to be upgraded to deal with the new traffic?  What are the ongoing incremental maintenance costs?

Any development in a greenfield site raise concerns about impact on water supply of adjacent properties.  In this case the concerns are significant as the adjacent properties are on private wells, some shallow and private septics.  The reports for both projects identify need for well monitoring etc and ensuring there are resources to fund remediation.  Getting very specific about the latter  in conditions for approval will be required.

The environmental issues in both these proposals are very significant.  There is a very significant wetland complex which has its terminus right where MOK proposes to develop.  The East Humber and/or several streams run through the properties.  In the water courses there are species at risk.  TRCA still has big questions/concerns.  And ultimately the amount of cut & fill required by these developments threaten the acquifers below.  In the MOK plan there are actually plans to move a vernal pool which is an intermittent wetland.

The specific plans for lots still need to worked.  In MOK there is one situation of particular concern:  as is one established property in Kingscross will have 5 MOK lots backing onto them.  As reviewed in the report BH is still proposing reverse-frontage lots which is contrary to policy.

My concern about these two applications on a landscape which merits serious consideration of conservation (as opposed to development) because of its landform has only been heightened by daily news about our diminishing wetlands, species extinction and flooding.