Residents shape Davisville School rebuild

Parents’ input brought height of proposed tower down to 12 storeys

Though there is still much planning to come, some details of the current proposal for the development at Davisville Public School are coming to light.

A meeting of major stakeholders in the neighbourhood unanimously adopted a plan with a 20-storey tower on the southwest portion of the land, but concerns from parents at a later public meeting led planners to knock that down to 12 storeys.

“We managed to change some of the parameters in response to the parents’ concerns,” said St. Paul’s Toronto District School Board trustee Shelley Laskin.

Laskin said it’s still premature to be talking about the development plans as plans are constantly being refined to balance the community’s concerns with the development needs.

“There has to be enough residential built to pay for the new school, so there is a bottom line,” she said.

But the 12-storey plan has the half of the property with field and playground on the Millwood side, which benefits the community because its houses would face parkland, she said. The school would face Davisville.

Immediate plans are to continue meeting parents in September to discuss their concerns before going to the board, Laskin said.

“There may be some ways to go until we bring this to the board in October,” she said. “We keep trying to refine (the plans) because that’s the whole point of consultation.”

St. Paul’s councillor Josh Matlow has had a representative at many of those consultations, but says he still has concerns the community is not aware of all of the information regarding what development means for the site and for the city as a whole.

He plans to hold a public meeting in September aimed at educating parents on the city’s Official Plan — which the board will be seeking an amendment to in order to go ahead with development plans — and what effects different kinds of development would have on the neighbourhood.

Though the meeting will be focused on informing the community, it will not be about saying yes or no to anything, Matlow said.

“I think we should all be open to looking at options that will both support the school board’s needs but also make sure that we protect the stability of neighbourhoods in midtown Toronto.

“Should we be open to looking for solutions? Always.”

Matlow was adamant he will not support an amendment to the Official Plan because of the precedent that he says it would set for future developments. He also believes the school board should be looking into a “Plan B” as a solution in the event their development plans don’t pan out.

“They need to consider how to improve the current facility and I’d be willing to help them on that,” he said. “Bottom line is, we want a great school for the kids, we want to maintain a public realm for the community and we want to protect the neighbourhoods and support public schools.

“I think we need to make sure we fulfil all those goals — one shouldn’t be done at the expense of the other.”

About this article:

By: Shawn Star
Posted: Sep 7 2012 6:19 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto