Who Are We?
Building a Better Bloor Dufferin is made up of local residents, businesses, community services agencies, arts companies, and others who have come together out of shared alarm and concern about the proposed sale of local public land for private redevelopment.
What's the Problem?
The TDSB-owned land at Bloor/Dufferin:
- has served as an important multi-use community asset for generations of local families,
- has been paid for by taxpayer dollars already,
- is one of the last remaining large parcels of public land on the Bloor subway line, and;
- is located in a community where real estate is too expensive at fair market value for many non-profits,
arts groups and potential residents.
Last year, 1300 Toronto residents petitioned to ask that the sale of the public land at Bloor/Dufferin take into account the multiple needs of the local community and the area that surrounds it. After a decade of community dialogue regarding future use of these lands, it is now broadly understood in our community that these needs include: a robust community hub; deeply affordable housing; adequate green space; significant reinvestment in Bloor Collegiate Institute; and other tangible community benefits.
Unfortunately, the process through which the Toronto Lands Corporation (TLC) sold this land did not take these community needs into account. Provincial regulation required only top market value for the land and the provincial funds currently allotted for a “community hub” at the site are woefully inadequate. We are aware that the TLC has been working toward a more open and publicly-minded community process at other sites, having learned from this flawed process in our community, but that leaves a significant gap here at Bloor and Dufferin.
What Are We Asking For?
The community wants to resolve this issue. If the sale of the TDSB land at Bloor/Dufferin cannot be stopped, the current provincial government can still ensure that the deal does not leave community needs unmet. With the $121 million sale of this land and the community asset that it represents, the community needs $48.5 million in additional funds reinvested in the site to help ensure that redevelopment of this public land will include a robust community hub, adequate public green space, affordable housing, and a sufficient rebuild of Bloor Collegiate. Specifically, the reinvestment in the community should include:
- Additional finished space and funds of at least $16.5 million for a community hub of 70,000 square feet as envisioned by the multi-stakeholder 18-member Community Hub Visioning Group who consulted with approximately 450 diverse local residents over a 10-month period. These funds must be additional to the $7 million already allocated to the hub.
- Additional land (minimum additional 0.5 acre, which we estimate is valued at approximately $7 million) for public green space to relieve current and future overuse pressures on Dufferin Grove Park and the loss of well-used public tennis courts and basketball courts on the site
- Land for a 200-unit building of deeply affordable and supportive housing (estimated value $15 million). This would be in addition to the required minimum 10% of affordable housing units that should be integrated into the proposed buildings.
- Additional funds of at least $10 million for the rebuild of Bloor Collegiate, to ensure that the school will adequately serve its student population and also remain a resource in the community for community celebrations, public meetings, and showcases of student efforts. We support the concerns of the local school community that the enrollment projections for this site are low and that the current provincial funding formula would not provide sufficient funds to build a school of adequate size for its growing population. These funds must be additional to the money already committed by the Province for the rebuild.
If we are to lose this valued community asset, the Province needs to reinvest $48.5 million to restore community capacity. This, in combination with the provincial funds already committed, represents only about half of the revenue gained from the sale of these community assets . Because of the many concerns about the process to date, we are relying on the government to act on this in the current term of office so the community is not left in further uncertainty, and can move forward with the City-led development process at this site with confidence.